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Are You In a Market Frenzy?

Wednesday, October 22nd, 2014

quiltmarket2014In the past few weeks several of my clients have talked with me about what I am calling trade show frenzy. They are going to Market for the first time and do not know what to expect, what to bring, etc. I thought I would share some of my tried and true tips.

  1. Set an intention before you go. Of course, it would have been good to have done this a few weeks back, but it is never too late to set an intention. What do you want to have happen as a result of your going? Is it more sales? Is it more names on your contact list? Is it to pick up a distributor? Is it to fill holes in the shop inventory? Is it to make connections? The clearer you are about what you want, the more likelihood that you will be focused in that direction and it will happen. I also think it would be productive to start each day with a focus on what that intention is. This puts you in charge.
  1. Be open to all the possibilities in front of you. While you have an intention, you will be confronted with many, many opportunities. You may have the chance to chat with someone you admire. You may make a connection with a distributor who is interested in your patterns. You may have a chance meeting with a shop owner looking for a teacher or vice versa. You do not have to make a decision about the possibility, just make note of it and follow-up later.  P.S. Be sure to have business cards/handouts with you.
  1. Watch for energy drains. This could be too much noise (and Market will be noisy). It could be that you are hungry or thirsty. It could be too much chocolate from the stash every booth seems to offer. Maybe you have a headache. It could be general stress. Look for where it shows up in your body. This is about awareness. You probably already know where your energy drains come from so be prepared. Have water and healthy snacks available. Know where you can head when the noise gets to you.
  1. Most of all have fun! It can be overwhelming — and remember if you do not get everything done you want, another Market comes around in May.



Please do! Just use it in its entirety and be sure to include the blurb below:

Morna McEver is the founder and CEO of the International Association of Creative Arts Professionals where creative arts entrepreneurs craft 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 FREE subscription at


Quilt Market Impressions

Wednesday, May 21st, 2014

I am just back from Pittsburgh and Spring Quilt Market energized and with an action list. How about you? Here are just some items I saw.

  1. rotary cutterIt’s the rotary cutter’s 35th birthday, and Olfa was celebrating. Do you remember the original? I do. Olfa introduced the rotary cutter in 1979, and it revolutionized the way that quilters and other crafters create. Can you imagine creating the quilts we do today without one? The photo includes the original rotary cutter on loan from the Japanese offices of Olfa. In keeping with innovation, Olfa has introduced a quick-change blade release; no more washer and nut assembly.
  2. Fairfield Processing Company introduced Foamology. The lightweight foam elements have stickybase™ adhesive for easy DIY decor uses. Available in rigid and soft types, you just peel off the paper backing, wrap your fabric around the form and stick it in place. It comes in flat and tufted versions. Fairfield showcased a huge wall of attendee-created blocks.
  3. New from Soak, the laundry care people, is Flatter, a starch-free smoothing spray. Made with Plant Derived and Renewable Ingredients, Flatter has no sulfates, no silicones, no SLS or SLES – and definitely no wrinkles. It comes in four fresh, clean fragrances. Soak also showed its designer nail polish sets.
  4. On the fabric front I noticed we were still seeing lots of clear colors, which I like. I also saw ruffles and pennants in a number of booths. The influence of the modern quilt movement continues with a number of fabric companies devoting lines and divisions to this area. Showing its first collection was Cotton + Steel, a new division of RJR Fabrics.  C + S is a collaborative venture from designers Melody Miller, Rashida Coleman-Hale, Alexia Abegg, Sarah Watts and Kimberly Kight. Each designer creates her own collection and then the team collaborates to “color” the group and decide what designs will be printed on quilting cottons and other fabrications. This is an exciting approach to fabric design geared to help shop owners reach the emerging new generation of sewers.

I have also posted some photos on Facebook of what I saw, so pop on over there for some more details.

Pittsburgh, Anyone?

Wednesday, May 14th, 2014

QMPittsburghHow many of you do trade shows, whether that is exhibiting or attending? 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 quite the reputation among my family and friends for enjoying trade shows. Scroll on down for some of my favorite tips.

  1. Know what you expect to get from attending or exhibiting. It is better to go in with an intention than it is to just show up and see what happens. Take time to figure that out. It could be as simple as to see what is trending, sell a set number of patterns, add names to your mailing list or build your business skills in the classes. If you know ahead of time what that is, you are more likely to see that happen.
  2. Being at a trade show, whether that’s as an exhibitor or attendee, is really draining. Take healthy snacks, such as fruit or nuts, with you. Stay hydrated. If you take this step, you are less likely to end up at a vending machine or grabbing the latest sugary item at each booth you pass.
  3. Skip the Sample Spree line. Every year I check the line for those waiting for Sample Spree, and every year, but last fall, I see the same people waiting in line starting at 2 pm to get into an event that starts at 8 pm. By waiting in line, you miss half the Schoolhouse Sessions and a chance to pick up some valuable knowledge. Plus, once the doors open, everyone gets in within the first 7 or so minutes. (This past fall was the first year I did not find the same person at the head of the line. She searched me out during the day to let me know she was no longer waiting in line, and instead was taking advantage of Schoolhouse.)
  4. Have a plan for each day. Before the show starts go through the program and mark those exhibitors you must see. Create a schedule that includes any appointments with fabric companies or distributors. Many shop owners walk the floor on day one, collecting literature and reviewing it at the end of the day. The second or third day, they buy. Other shop owners know what they need specifically and buy as they go. Figure out which plan works for you. Be sure everyone in your group has the schedule and knows your plan.
  5. Look for ways to connect. Much of the value of attending trade shows is in the connections you can make. In addition to renewing old connections, try to make some new ones. You will be glad you did. And, while you are at Quilt Market, look for me. I will be walking the floor and giving a lecture. I would love to connect with you.

What are your favorite trade show tips?

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.

Are You in a Trade Show Frenzy?

Wednesday, October 23rd, 2013

2013 quilt market IAPQ boothI will admit that I got in mini-one this year. And, I’m sure that many of you who do Quilt Market or Festival, or any creative arts show, have been in this position. You have a big list of what needs to get done before the show and you are trying to manage it all and something will go awry. For me, the last week has been filled with technology issues, from my email program not functioning and losing emails, to delays with outside vendors, to issues with my color laser printer. Naturally, they don’t happen in a good time frame. The key for me was to think about what I learned from this? I think you may be able to use these tips:

  1. Add more time into your plans. I actually got out the 2014 calendar and made notes as to when to accomplish certain tasks. Of course, I could not have anticipated the printer problem, though if I printed earlier, I would have had time for the repair.
  2. Be clear about what your intentions are for the show. I realized that some of what I was doing did not really fit with what I wanted to accomplish at the show.
  3. Remember that if something does not get done, it does not get done. In all likelihood, no one will know that but you.

Please share your thoughts about this blog below.

More From Quilt Market

Wednesday, June 12th, 2013

Quilt market picContinuing my reporting from a couple weeks ago, here is more of what captured my eye in Portland at this year’s Spring Quilt Market:

1. As always Moda had lots of new designs in yummy colors. From its news designer, Gina Martin, comes bright, graphic and whimsical patterns depicting birds, bird houses and garden flowers in her premiere collection, Wrens & Friends. From designer Kate Spain comes Sunnyside, a bright collection of yellows, blues, greens and tangerines. The latest collection from Zen Chic an Brigitte Heitland is Barcelona, a cheery collection of graphic prints, tiles, strips and dots. Also loved the booth design. It featured more than 19,000 laser cut leaves in the top fall Bella colors sewn into a hanging forest. (

2. Sawgrass Technologies is bringing digital fabric printing to the mass market with its FabricMaker fabric printing system. The system, available in personal or professional packages, lets individuals or shops print custom Fat Quarters, 24″ or 44″ yardage in its unique 8-color ink set. (

3. Island Batik launched Quilted in Honor, a fund-raising initiative for Operation Homefront, one of the nation’s top military fund-raising organizations. The flagship of the program is Island Batik’s Quilted in Honor fabric line designed by Kathy Engle. A wide range of retail products were designed and crated by Quilted in Honor partners to support the project. (

4. New from Omnigrid is the On-Point™ Ruler designed by Donna Thomas. This ruler measures across the diagonal rather than the sides. This is great for cutting squares, triangles and rectangles that are to be set on point in a border or inside a patchwork block. (

5. ArtKloth is a canvas-like foundation cloth that can be used to create projects ranging from totes to wall hangings to roller shades. It’s versatile and you can fuse fabric onto it, glue or rubber stamp on it or paint on it. It’s available in sheets or rolls. (

6. I always love the colorful display at the Michael Miller Fabrics booth, and this year I was not disappointed with the swan boat that graced the booth with its “Spring is in the air” theme. New from Tamara Kate is Flight Patterns, which was inspired by dappled light, fresh breezes and care-free summer days, and les Monsieurs, which is best described as all boy filled with whimsical cars, planes and castles. Laura Gunn’s Edges featured graphic circles, grids, lines and mosaics in a collection of springy brights and neutrals. Also premiering from Michael Miller is a new batiks line. (

Please share your thoughts on what caught your eye below.  

Quilt Market Report

Wednesday, May 29th, 2013

QuiltMarketEmbroiderIt’s always exciting to see what’s new on the market, whether that’s fabric, notions or a new magazine. Here’s my take on some of what I saw at Quilt Market last week.

Color, color, color. We are still seeing lots of bold and bright colors. I didn’t see pastels. I did see lots of fabrics that were reminiscent of 1930s fabrics. I also saw more what a friend termed “street wearable” patterns and more embroidery patterns. Here are some more specifics.

  1. I mentioned embroidery. This was celebrated to the max by Heather Bailey who introduced a line of embroidery patterns, some of which are quilt labels. Heather recreated one of her patterns stitched on a 6-foot by 10-foot wall. She was still stitching the wall during the show. Heather also won a best booth award for this creation. See a portion above.
  2. New from Carolyn Friedlander is her Slow Sewing Studio line. This pattern group celebrates hand sewing and socializing. This is just another example with the trend that we are seeing of hand work.
  3. Amy Barickman with Indygo Junction introduced Crossroads, a new line of softened denim. It’s 100% cotton, 54″ wide and available in white and 13 colors.
  4. New from Pind Inc. is the Quilt Design System. This 72-inch “Butterfly” system was designed to be functional, space saving and aesthetically pleasing. It is easy to assemble and features options for up to four design walls. The system is also perfect for using as a stretcher frame on which to mount silk for painting, and it can accommodate a large canvas for painting.
  5. is the perfect solution if you want to connect your digital memories to your quilts. You attach a sticker with a QR code to your quilt label. When someone scans the code, they are directed to a site online where you’ve uploaded a video or audio making your gift even more personal.

More next week.

Please share what you saw that was new on below in our Leave a Reply section.

Have you started planning for 2013?

Wednesday, November 14th, 2012

Have you started thinking about your plans for 2013? I know it’s mid-November, and we still have more than 45 days left this year. You still have enough time left to make an impact on your results for 2012. I like to do some looking back at the year, seeing where I am currently, and some looking ahead. Of course, I still have to be engaged in the tasks I have at hand if I want to finish the year in a good place.

One of the recommendations I made to my private clients in the past couple of weeks was to start planning 2013 now. Many of them had plans for the first quarter, maybe as far as May and Spring Quilt Market. Most also had big picture ideas, only they didn’t really know where the projects fit in. That’s why I like using a very, very large calendar of the entire year. You can get one like this from an office supply store. It’s erasable and has really big spaces for writing.

If you want to be more creative, here’s another idea. A couple of years ago, one of my clients covered cork boards with batik fabric to complement her office. She then printed off letter-size sheets of each calendar month from a calendar program on her computer. Here are the boards before she added the calendars. The beauty of this system is she can take down each month as it ends, move the calendars and then add another for the next year. The system is a perpetual 12-month calendar.

And, if your studio space is limited, go ahead and print out the individual calendar pages and keep them in a binder where you can take them out and look at the whole year at one time. The idea is that you can get this bigger look at your year.

I’m sure you have goals that you want to accomplish next year. Here are some steps to take to put them onto the calendar.

1. Block time to work on your calendar planning. If your goals are important, it’s important to have time to plan when you’ll accomplish them.

2. You might want to create some kind of color coding system that works for you. For example, if your activity involves travel away from the studio, you might want to mark that in red.

3. Start by adding the commitments you already have, the teaching gigs, the shows, etc.

4. Go back and look at the big goals that don’t have dates, for example, the book you want to write.  Then look at the calendar and plan backwards. If your book is due Sept. 15, look at the steps involved and mark due dates for each. You might want to have the outline of the book done on Feb. 15, Chapter One done on March 15, quilts for Chapter Two done on April 30, etc. You are more likely to accomplish this if you assign deadlines and won’t be stressed by having to rush to get the job done. Deadlines lead to commitments.

5. Include vacation. It might be marked in blue. We all need to recharge, and if you don’t put it in the calendar, it’s likely not to happen.

6. Include planning time. I’ve read that the time spent planning pays back 10 to 1 in time executing. I’m not sure about the accuracy of that estimate; I do know it saves you lots of time.

7. Once you have a good look at your year, where are the holes in your calendar? Use this opportunity to see where you can market more to bring in income. This could be adding a new class or developing a new pattern for example.

What ideas do you have for planning next year?

Please share them below.

Meet Celine Perkins

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

In the Summer 2012 issue of The Professional Quilter, Eileen Doughty profiled Celine Perkins, pattern designer and owner of Perkins Dry Goods. Here’s an excerpt of the article:

How else do you advertise your business?

I advertise regularly in American Quilt Retailer. At Market, I do Schoolhouse workshop sessions and contribute to the FabShop Dinner as a table sponsor. (The Fabric Shop Network is a trade association for independent quilt and fabric retailers; they publish FabShop News. They have a dinner for shop owner members right before Market opens.) I’ve been a sponsor for several years, usually donating prize bags for two tables.

I have also participated as an organizer for two Booth Hop events at the 2010 Minneapolis and Kansas City Markets. Last fall in Houston, I joined in the Aurifil Booth Hop.

What have you experienced as a vendor at International Quilt Market?

I have been to 13 Markets since spring of 2005. I try to go to every one, for several reasons. At Market, you have a unique opportunity to meet your customers, face-to-face. You have fantastic networking and educational opportunities. You see what’s new and trending. You get inspired.

After driving back from Kansas City this year, I’m not convinced that it’s easier to drive than to fly! I fly to the majority of markets with my “booth in a bag.” I get a half-booth space (affordable and manageable for one person). I share hotel and car expenses with two or three other designers that I’ve gotten to know. We make a trip to Sam’s Club and Target for booth accessories when we all arrive. I also request that my booth be placed near these designers so we can help each other during the show.

Once I vended at International Quilt Festival in Chicago just to see what it was like. I found that it takes a lot of single pattern sales to pay for a booth!  That convinced me that the independent quilt shop is my primary customer and that Market is the best place to sell my product, not at a retail venue.

How do you split your time between all the various tasks of running your business?

That’s a really good question. My husband has always been impressed with how many plates I can keep in the air. I think this is kind of funny since I don’t always feel very organized, and sometimes I think being “over organized” is a defense mechanism. I make lists, sometimes too many, but lists nonetheless. And I am constantly thinking about what comes next.

My routine is to be in the office by 6:30 a.m. At about 8:30 a.m. I take a break (errands or the gym), then come back and work from 11:00 or so until 4:00 p.m., when I go to the post office or UPS. I work seven days a week, but go from one thing to the next, in and out of the studio, especially on weekends.

I try to stay connected with others in the quilt world, whether they are designer friends or shop owners. It can be very socially isolating to work for yourself in a one-man shop.

I see “Studio and Family Time” on your website schedule, for June and July. Do you have “rules” for keeping your business and personal lives separate (and sane)?

At dinner time, the computer is turned off, and the sewing machine is off-limits.

To relax, I go to the gym at least three times a week and walk with my husband after dinner every day that the weather allows. I lost a significant amount of weight in 2010-11 and through that process have learned to make my health more of a priority. It’s pretty amazing what happens when you get a little selfish with that kind of thing.

I also started knitting more seriously when a close friend opened a yarn shop. It’s a great excuse to spend time away from work with a good friend!

The “Studio and Family Time” came from a need to clear the calendar of business commitments during summer months. The kids are home from school, and there is usually a family vacation planned. My dad passed away a few years ago, and my mother now summers in Minneapolis. We spend a lot of time together. It’s a priority for me to be able to spend time with the family, and blocking out those months seemed like a good way to make that “public.”

If you would like to read more of Eileen’s article on Celine Perkins, it’s included in our Summer 2012 issue of The Professional Quilter and available to IAPQ members. 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.

Please share your thoughts below.

What Was New at Quilt Market (Part 2)?

Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

I wanted to continue my look at some of what I saw at Quilt Market. It’s always filled with so much that it’s hard to capture it all.

1. USAUS introduced its Half-Rectangle Triangle Ruler Bloc Loc set. The tool has a channel that grips the seam line, keeping it in place so you can square up the shape accurately. You have two tools, one for left facing seams, one for right. Fast and accurate! Also available is a new book, The Block-Maker for Half-Square Triangles. USAUS also has tools for squares and flying geese. (In case you were wondering, as I was, about USAUS, it’s an acronym for United States and Australia, the homes of business owners and creators, Janna and Paul Thomas.)

2. It’s not even Christmas in July and, of course, we were seeing Christmas fabric. Riley Blake introduced Alpine Wonderland by Sherry McCulley Studio. The delightful 23-piece collection comes in three colorways and features an alpine village, whimsical trees, an advent calendar panel, other prints and textures. Also in Riley Blake’s booth was a black and white (I saw lots of black and white) QR quilt. It included five QR codes that you could scan that took you to Riley Blake’s YouTube videos and blogs. Also loved the chevron fabric from RIley Blake.

3. New from Art Gallery Fabrics is Indie by owner and designer Pat Bravo. The collection is a cultural fusion of designs from all over the world featuring exotic florals and geometric prints. Colors range from deep purples, jewel greens, blues and majestic golds.

4. J. Michelle Watts Designs introduced the Quick Ripper, a battery operated seam ripper. It’s fast and lightweight. And, if you’re a longarmer and need to remove stitches, it will work from the edge of the quilt in. Definitely a time-saver when needed.

5. Also making its Market debut was Quilty, the new publication from New Track Media, edited by Mary Fons. It’s tag line is fresh patchwork + modern quilts. And, it is.

6. Michael MIller’s booth was fun of color and fun. With its themed “Pierre’s Famous Traveling Circus,” the booth featured pachyderms (elephants were a theme in several fabric lines and patterns) dressed in the fun spotted fabric that makes up this 49-piece collection of big dots, little dots, starlets, stars and harlequin squares along with circle prints and a stripe all in bright colors.

If you saw something new that you loved at Quilt Market or your local show, please share it below.

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