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Store Owners - What's Your Niche?

Summary

Don't let your quilt shop be an unorganized collection of fabric and notions. Get a notion to have your own niche and shine as a quilt shop. Read how!

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Store Owners - What's Your Niche?

Are you a little bit country? Or a little bit rock-n-roll? I hope this makes you smile! But I'm being deliberate here. What does your quilt store say about YOU? The big question is: what is your niche?

adjective 5. pertaining to or intended for a market niche; having specific appeal.

Store Owners - What's Your Niche

 

Unfortunately, too many quilt stores tend to be a bit unorganized with their fabric selections, the books and patterns they carry, and what their store is all about. They haven't found their niche, or don't know how to create one. Look around your store. Do you tend you carry a lot of floral fabrics? Maybe you have a serious wall full of amazing solids, marbles, and tone on tone fabrics. Or maybe you just love unique, fun "I-spy" type prints like insects, race cars, vegetables, and frogs. Then you've got a start on your niche and didn't even know it! So now what?

As a quilt store owner you want to cover all the basics when it comes to making the customer happy. Your goal is to entice them to return to your shop and share the word about your fabulous fabric lines, patterns and books. So what does recognizing your niche have to do with this? Let me share.

One of my favorite quilt stores (which I don't get to as often as I'd like because it's a fair distance from where I live) has an obvious niche which the store owner caters to throughout her whole store. Her niche is reproduction, folk art, homespun, and vintage-look lines of fabric with that wink of antique-ness. Not only do her lines of fabric speak of her love of vintage (even her holiday and baby lines!) but she carries this over to her patterns and books. The kits she puts together, and the quilt samples on the walls, are stunning! I could roam her store for hours, and - isn't that the point? From the lighting in the store, to the bathroom, to the décor scream this store owner's niche.

Fat Quarters

 

On the other end of the spectrum is a neat quilt store not too far from many of my quilting friends that carries only Moda fabric from specific designers. The niche of this store owner is obviously bright, fun, and colorful fabrics. Again, all of her store samples are amazingly beautiful! Walking into this store is very uplifting, and a customer can't help but smile! The store owner makes sure that she has coordinating patterns and books that will play perfectly with the fabric that she carries. She also has a great wall of solid fabric in those same bright colors. All kits for sale and quilting gifts scattered here and there fall into the same playful look of the store.

Colorful Array of Fabrics

 

We all have our favorite quilt stores that we head to for specific projects. Another favorite store of mine, and many of my friends, has a room filled with civil war fabrics, books, patterns, and accessories that is shared with a cute area full of 1930's fabrics, books, and patterns. Quilters know exactly where they need to go to fulfill their needs for that special civil war or 1930's quilt, tote, or table runner.

Simply Red Stack Image

 

Once you discover your niche - consider your pattern and book purchases. Carry those that will inspire your customers to purchase your fabric from those patterns and books. Find free quilting patterns that play up your fabric lines. Display threads and quilting gifts that also coordinate with your store's niche! Go for it!

 

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Glossary

Homespun
A fabric woven with colored threads instead of printing the fabric after it is woven. Homespun fabric is generally plaid and looks the same on the front as it does on the back. Named for its French inventor, Joseph M. Jacquard.

Same As: Jacquard
Tone on Tone
Refers to a printed fabric that is made by combining different shades and tones of the same color. These fabrics often appear to be solid when viewed from a distance, but their printed motifs become recognizable on closer inspection.
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