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Posts Tagged ‘Quilt Market’

The Fortune Is In the Follow-up

Wednesday, November 7th, 2018

follow-up

 

How good are you at follow-up? You know, that is where the money is.

I was talking with a few of my clients who were heading back from Quilt Market with lots of follow-up items. Some were clearly immediate, such as filling orders, and those get processed right away.

The problem for my clients was that they came back with all these notes that weren’t really money related or where they couldn’t see the clear money connection or where they couldn’t remember the conversation. Plus they felt overwhelmed getting back in gear. And, the follow-up is in question.

What I have found through the years is that when I pay attention to following up on a consistent and timely basis, it lets me build better relationships, which is really my goal, and that means adding to my business bottom line.

Read more…

Are trade shows worth your time?

Wednesday, October 17th, 2018

 

Quilt Market, the quilting and soft crafts industry trade show, starts in a few weeks. I’ve been going since 2004. I’ve gone as a vendor, a member of the press, and an educator. Today when I’m not teaching, I spend my time walking the floor, networking, and making connections.

I have always been a fan of trade shows, partly because I love all the tchotchkes. I have buttons, coffee cups, pens and even a couple of stuffed animals from the trade shows I have visited. I have developed quite the reputation among my family and friends for enjoying trade shows.

If you are on the fence about going to Quilt Market or any trade show, here are some reasons why you should make the time.

Read more…

Quilt Market Trends

Wednesday, November 6th, 2013

I just love Quilt Market. It’s inspiring to see new fabrics, new notions, not to mention all those quilts! While space does not permit a full review, here is a highlight of some of what I saw.

  • Downton Abbey® was the rage, and not just on television. Andover Fabrics showcased its new Downton Abbey line at a packed, standing-room only Schoolhouse where they were joined by the show’s head of costume production and head of set design. The line features collections for the major characters.
  • Blue and navy are trends right now, as is gray as a neutral. Gray is also moving toward the warmer, tan side. You could see this in a number of booths, including Michael Miller, pairing the gray with citron.
  • Use of social media was big. Lots of people were shooting videos, posting on Facebook and Instagram, and using hashtags. Moda had a good time with hashtags shooting a video of its designers saying “Hashtag, show me the Moda!”
  • Bernina introduced several new products, including its new top-of-the-line sewing, embroidery and quilting machine, the Bernina 880, which features a full 12 inches to the right of the needle, a 1,200 stitches per minute speed, a bobbin with 80 percent more thread capacity and a seven-inch color touchscreen with scrollable navigation, and more. Also new, and available in the spring, is Bernina’s longarm machine, so watch for more on that.
  • Stella Lighting introduced its new Stella Edge, which clamps onto the table edge. This LED light features the same Tri-Color Spectrum technology as in Stella’s other two lamps.
  • Clover introduced its new Perfect Press Collection by Joan Hawley. This line of 10 products is designed to bring great basics back into your pressing station. I particularly liked the Hot Hemmer, a hand-size ruled, heat-resistant surface that lets you measure, mark and press straight hems, round, interior or miter corners. Also useful is the Dry Heat Pro Finish Pressing Sheets for use with heat-sensitive projects including vinyls and laminates. And, if space is an issue, you’ll love the 2×4 Mighty Mini Board, a compact ironing board that’s also perfect for small items.
  • LaviShea introduced new scents to its popular Lotion Bars. The moisturizing lotion bars melt with your body heat and do not leave a greasy residue making them perfect for handworkers.

Please share your thoughts on your favorite finds below.



Quilt Market Impressions

Wednesday, May 18th, 2011

As always, Quilt Market is inspiring. Fabric companies have new lines to show, pattern designers have their latest releases, and new products are introduced to the quilt industry. Here’s some of what I saw.

1. Rapid Fire Lemoyne Star. Following up on her success with the Rapid Fire Hunter’s Star, Deb Tucker has introduced a ruler for this block.

2. Big Beautiful Bugs! Andover Fabrics introduced this latest line from Lonni Rossi that features moths dragonflies and bumblebees, bugs with wings. The bugs, all drawn with dots, are available in 3 colorways: spa colors; red, gold and black; and green and brown.

3. Shabby Chic Hits Quilt Industry. Rachel Ashwell of Shabby Chic fame has released a line of cotton quilt fabrics. The 46-SKU line is her first for quilt shops and will be followed by a home dec line. Rachel told me that she was humbled by the tradition of community of quilters.

4. Quilt Designed Hot/Cold Bags. Kona Bay Fabrics introduced a line of hot/cold  bags in 11 designs. Available in two series, the Great Northwest and Elegant Beauty, the bags retail for $8. These would be perfect for shop hops that want to include a meal.

5. Bag, bags, more bags. We continue to see lots of bag patterns. Sometimes I wonder why, and then I remember a bag always fits! I also saw lots of patterns for aprons and little girls’ clothes.

6. Water-soluble, iron-on, pre-printed guides for crazy quilt stitches. These came in kits with wool pieces, threads and the guides. I saw people on the plane using the product and the results were lovely. They were from Sew Cherished.

7. Lots of bright, clear colors. I really like the clean look of today’s fabrics,  and I found lots to like in many booths. I particularly liked the display in Michael  Miller’s booth with the story boards of the colors that went with the new lines.

8. On the gift side, I liked the lotion bar from LaviShea. The bars melt with your  body heat and absorb quickly and completely without leaving a greasy residue, perfect for quilters and fabric.

 

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Morna McEver Golletz is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Professional Quilters, an association to help quilters, fiber artists and other creative arts entrepreneurs build business success. Her weekly e-zine offers tips, techniques and inspiration to help you craft business success from your creative arts passion. You can sign up for a F.R.E.E. subscription at http://www.professionalquilter.com.

What I Saw at Quilt Market, Part 1

Wednesday, November 3rd, 2010

Each year I’m always amazed at the numbers of new fabrics, notions, tools, etc., that are introduced at Quilt Market. Here is some of what I saw.

1. Gammill Quilting Systems introduced a new tracking system. The Breeze Track System features 16 stainless steel wheels on a vertical track. Customers found the Breeze Track System offered less vibration and was quicker moving than the horizontal 8-track rubber wheel system. You can have your machine retrofitted for $1,000.

2. I saw more laminates and oil cloth. Several designers, including Tula Pink with Westminster Lifestyle Fabrics, did a line that featured some of her designs in both fabrics. Also from Westminster’s FreeSpirit division is the new Designers Basics Program featuring solids, dapples, houndstooth, twine, instincts, pinwheels, beads and frescos that combine with the prints from Westminster.

3. Hoffman Fabrics has terrific new Bali batiks that feature seahorses and shells. The lines have been popular with buyers along the coastal areas.

4.  Also in the batik area, I saw a wonderful 1/2 inch batik stripe in the Elementals line from Lunn Studios and Robert Kaufman Fabrics. Also from Kaufman is the bright, fun and cheery Daisies & Dots by Piece O’ Cake Designs.

5. Shelly Stokes with Cedar Canyon Textiles introduced her new book Design Magic for Paintstiks on fabric as well as new DesignMagic(TM) stencils and new Sorbet Paintstik colors.

6. Joan Hawley with Lazy Girl Designs was in the Checker booth showing off her newest patterns, including the “Suzi Purse Insert and More” designed to be used as an organizer for your purse or a desk caddy. The pattern includes two sizes and is perfect fit for any of bags made from Joan’s patterns or bags you already own.

Stay tuned for more next week.

Quilting Industry Value Exceeds $3.5 Billion

Thursday, September 30th, 2010

Every few years Quilts Inc. (producers of International Quilt Festival and International Quilt Market) and Creative Crafts Group (publishers of Quilter’s Newsletter Magazine) commission the Quilting in America ™ survey to determine the size and dollar value of our industry. They also look in-depth at 2,500 qualified “dedicated” quilters to learn more about their buying habits. Here are some of the key survey findings:

  • Total U.S. quilting industry value is $3,580,000,000 ($3.58 billion).
  • Total quilters exceed 21 million, an average of 1.3 quilters per household
  • Quilting households spent an average of $219 on their craft in 2010, up 27 percent from 2006. Dedicated quilters spend on average $2,442 per year on quilting for a total of $2.5 billion.
  • Dedicated quilters estimate the average dollar value of their “stash” to be $3,677 and their quilting tools and supplies to be $8,542.
  • Dedicated quilters own an average of 2.7 sewing machines and 25 percent own more than four machines. In the last 12 months of the survey period, 19 percent purchased a new machine spending $2,679 on the machine.
  • Currently 91 percent of dedicated quilters own a personal computer and 73 percent regularly access the Internet. They average two hours per week on quilting websites, 56 percent go online two or more times a day and 28 percent belong to Facebook.

You can read more about the survey, including additional results in the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join

Getting Through Your To-Do List

Wednesday, September 22nd, 2010

With the travel I’ve had this month and that I see ahead – hello, Houston and its deadlines – I have to be quite organized to get it done. Here are some tips for accomplishing all that’s on your to-do list.

1. Start with a written plan. Clear, written goals are essential. What is the major goal and what are the sub-tasks? For example, my trip to our industry shows, Quilt Market and Quilt Festival in Houston, is a major goal. It has a number of sub-goals, including creating handouts for the two classes I will be teaching, developing a look for the booth, shipping supplies, developing an order form, etc. I have written out all the specific tasks for each sub-goal in my plan. It lets me focus easily and assures I don’t forget anything.

2. Prioritize the tasks and set deadlines. You need to determine when all the sub-tasks need to be done for the goal to be completed. In the case of Quilt Market/Festival, we know it takes place beginning Oct. 29, so I create a schedule backwards showing when my display materials and class materials need to be shipped. I also like to build in a little extra time. And, you might find out that not everything on your list will get done, so focus first on those activities that have the greatest impact on your business results.

3. Make a daily schedule. Take time either first thing in the morning or the night before to plan your day. Then take daily action toward your goals. How you work toward your goals will vary. You may like to work on one project to completion or divide your day into large blocks for different tasks. In my case, I plan to work on the handouts for my classes on one day and then ship the materials this week. That way they are done, I can check them off the list, and I won’t rush at the last minute.

4. Create and use systems if possible. I have a checklist for booth supplies for trade and retail shows. When it nears time for me to pack my supplies to ship, I get out my checklist, note any additions I may have added at the last show, and print a revised copy to use. I allow extra time in case I need to replace something on the list, e.g., masking tape or a new bulb.

5. Not everything on your list will get done. Remember the 80/20 rule. Twenty percent of your activity results in 80 percent of your results. Concentrate on work in the 80 percent; that’s where your ROI (return on investment) will be.

6. And, finally, let go of perfectionism.This is a hard one for me. One of my mentors says to work to “good enough.” It might be that you set a timer for some of the tasks and what you accomplish in that time is “good enough.”

One of my favorite resources for getting things done is Eat That Frog! by Brian Tracy. The book’s title references a quote from Mark Twain: “Eat a live frog every morning, and nothing worse will happen to you the rest of the day.”

Brian goes on to offer his own two rules about “frogs,” your most important task. “The first rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat two frogs, eat the ugliest one first. The second rule of frog eating is this: If you have to eat a live frog at all, it doesn’t pay to sit and look at it for very long.” So when I have lots on my plate, I look for the frog and start there.

How do you handle getting everything done on your list?

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Meet Quilt Artist Jane Sassaman

Wednesday, August 4th, 2010

Jane Sassaman’s art quilts and fabric lines are instantly recognizable due to their exuberant style, inspired by the decorative arts. Jane herself is known as an inspiring and effective teacher. Eileen Doughty spoke with her on the phone recently to learn more about her and her business.

How do you describe yourself to a new acquaintance?
Introducing myself has become easier since I’ve started designing fabric because I can say, “I’m a fabric designer and an artist.” That’s a good place to begin. If the discussion continues, I’ll add that I’m a fine art quilter.

Looking back, what were your early goals?
I started as an art quilter. Entering Quilt National was my first big goal. From there, I picked shows that would produce a color catalog, as more people may see the publication than the show itself. That was my approach to getting out there. Quilt Visions was another goal. Paducah and Houston were great too, not only the shows themselves, but the competitions.

I watched Penny McMorris’s PBS show that featured the first wave of art quilters – Ruth McDowell, Nancy Crow, Terrie Hancock Mangat, among others, who did so much to break the trail for us to follow. I consider myself a second wave quilter and was able take advantage of the work the first wave did.

You seem to be a natural at marketing yourself and your work.
I have had a booth at Quilt Market for the past two years. I do the Fall Market because that’s when my fabric comes out. It’s the place to make sure people see what you’re doing.

I feel a bit like the odd woman out compared to other designers who put all their energy into designing and marketing their fabric. I can’t let go of art quilts, so I am in two camps. Doing Market is one way to do my part in promoting the fabric. Westminster/FreeSpirit has such an extraordinary group of designers.

One thing I understand is having a “look.” That’s where my strength is. Also, I take good photographs to sell the work. Other people may be better in making the calls to sell their patterns. I’m pretty good at putting together the actual product. I’d dearly love to have someone who thrives on business to partner with.

I’m at the point right now that I have to decide if I want my business to get bigger and how to get bigger. We do have some friends in the marketing world. There’s always a little hesitation in the back of my brain, because I so love to hole up in the studio and make work. You think if you get too big, you won’t have time for what you love to do. Studio time is so precious. If you want to grow, you should have knowledge of where you want to go. Not that you shouldn’t be flexible, but you should be able to guide it according to your dreams rather than someone else’s ideas.

Any tips for those starting out, building their careers?
Find your proper audience after you find your artistic voice. Some people bang their head against the wall, entering a show not appropriate for their work. If you want to be successful, then go where your work will be appreciated. There are so many ways to go about having a career, even some that no one has explored yet. There are ways to be a quilt artist that still haven’t been done.

What I Learned at Quilt Market

Wednesday, May 26th, 2010

Quilt Market, the quilt industry’s premier trade show, took place in Minneapolis May 21-23. Minneapolis always seems to welcome us with warm weather and this year was no exception. Thursday, I think the temperature was in the low 80s. Here, in no particular order, are some of the things I discovered at Quilt Market:

1. Quilters Newsletter and Quilts Inc. presented the latest results of the Quilting in America™ 2010 survey. This is the sixth in a series of studies done since 1994 with the intent of measuring the amount of time and money quilters spend on their hobby in addition to profiling the key segments of the market. Some findings: Estimated dollar value of the quilting industry is $3.58 billion. Total quilters in the U.S. now exceeds 21 million. In 2010 dedicated quilters spent a total of nearly $2.5 billion. The dedicated quilter has $8,542 in quilting tools and supplies and owns on average $3,677 worth of fabric. Watch for more details on the survey findings in the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter.

2. Demos are becoming more popular and with good reason. Demos sell. If you don’t demo, here’s an idea I saw in the Thangles booth – use a digital frame to play a video. While the sound was low, you could watch what was happening. It’s another way to engage your booth visitor. MB Hayes with Thangles credits Fabric Café with the idea.

3. Do you want to keep your rotary blade sharp? Try The Cutting Edge ruler system from Sullivans and Pat Sloan. The ruler features full see-through, non-skid frosting and a unique red grid system that highlights the 1/2 inch marking. What is most unique about the ruler is it has an inlaid diamond powder edge that continually sharpens the blade that runs against its edge.

4. Ruffles, ruffles and more ruffles. Michael Miller Fabrics introduced white, raw-edge ruffles, cut on the bias at 3 inches. To showcase the idea, they had a tuffet made from ruffles. And, once I saw the ruffles here, I was seeing them lots of places, particularly on patterns.

5. Clover introduced a new wrap ‘n fuse piping. All you do is cut your fabric, wrap it around the piping, press to fuse and when cool, you have instant piping. It comes as small as 3/16 inches. Clover also introduced a line of eco-friendly bamboo handled notions.

6. Lots of wonderful fabrics: Rue Saint Germaine, Robyn Pandolph’s new line from RJR; an organic cotton line from Kauffman; Ricky Tims’ new Oodles of Doodles line from Red Rooster; Timeless Treasures‘ Tonga Treats, 2.5 inch strips and 10 inch squares from its Tonga Batiks line;  a color wheel line from Avyln; wonderful new pieces from Kona Bay, Moda, Benartex; Clothworks, Northcott, and others. We are so lucky to have this much quality fabric to use.

7. Kaufmann has released an ipod app that’s a quilting calculator.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

Six Tips to Better Booth Sales

Wednesday, May 19th, 2010

During a recent trip to Cape May Point, NJ, I went to a local crafts cooperative with some wonderful work. I remember my days as the quilt/fiber artist at a fine crafts cooperative outside Philadelphia. It’s a great place to sell your work, meet your customer and gather marketing information.

Whether you sell your work in a cooperative or in a booth at a show like Quilt Market, here are some tips to help you increase sales:

1. Set an intention or goal for the show. Is it to make a certain amount of sales, to get your patterns picked up by a distributor, to test a new product? When you are clear on your intent, you’ll be more focused, and your results will show that.

2. Establish eye contact with show visitors, smile and engage them in a conversation. Ask questions that will lead to an answer that is not yes or no. Share something of yourself and your product. Your customer is buying you as much as she is buying your product. And, I’m sure you’ve been to a show where the craftsperson sits on a chair in the corner of an empty booth. Of course it’s empty; no one feels welcome to enter! Get up and greet your customer.

3. Qualify your buyer, i.e., separate the browsers from the buyers. Quilt Market is filled with what I call “the entourage,” quilters who want to see what Market is all about. And, I love quilters who want to become involved in our industry; they keep our industry vital. However, while they may have some influence or be the buyer of the future, they are not the decision-maker today. I’m not saying to ignore them or be rude. You can engage them in a conversation, only find out who makes the buying decision and try to get to that person.

4. Have plenty of handouts and brochures. Not everyone is ready to make a decision when they first meet you. Some like to take materials back to the hotel room and compare before buying. Be sure to bring an original of your handouts in the event you need to get copies during the show.

5. Have a way for people to contact you later. At the cooperative I visited in New Jersey, all the artists had business cards; none had a web site noted on the card. Many times, I’d like to peruse the artist’s web site and see what other work she might have. Not all your buyers will purchase while they are in your booth or even at the show. Make it easy for them to see your product line.

6. Keep up your energy. If you are doing multi-day shows, it’s easy to get run-down. Have healthy snacks and water in the booth. Try to stick to your regular sleeping routine, something I find hard to do at shows. If your energy is zapped, it will show in your results.

Hope these tips add to the success of your next show. And, feel free to share your tips with our readers.

The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.

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