What Not To Do As A Quilt Shop Owner


A recent survey of 100 quilt shops to see what they were doing to grow their businesses yielded some shocking results. We discuss the good and bad.

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What Not To Do As A Quilt Shop Owner

QuiltingHub has been selling itself since 2013 with the addition of the Quilters Trip Planner, so I have personally not been on the phones to sell or talk to quilt shops unless they had a support issue. I was curious to see if quilt shop owners were still running their shops as a hobby or a business.

I jumped on the phones again and called 100 quilt shops to personally give them tips on growing their shop and have them read all the tips we have written. Almost all of them, we got into a discussion about their goals, how they retain customers, and how they get new customers.

What Not To Do As A Quilt Shop Owner

I had hoped that the collective wisdom of the shop owners would have grown since 2013, but it has gone backwards.

  • 72% are actively working to keep customers coming back.
    28% Aren't? Really?
  • 38% are actively advertising for new customers in print media (papers/books).
    62% Aren't? Really?
  • 11% are actively advertising for new customers on internet media.
    89% Are completely ignoring potential customers who only smart phones? Really?

I was stunned. Please do not run this as a hobby -- Run it as a profitable business instead! If you become a quilt shop owner and you are not working to keeping your customers coming back, and not working to bring in new customers from both print and electronic media; why are you in business? How long will you be in business? We did this same survey in 2013, and found more people doing it right than today. This would result in record shops closing, and they are. Do not be a statistic, do this right, not wrong.

Keep Customers Coming Back

Customers come back to see new stuff in your shop. Put on sales, like an end of bolt sale, to get rid of old stuff to make room for the new. Use your website and Facebook page to spark interest in returning customers. Your website and Facebook are not for new customers, they have to know you exist to look at it.

Post your sales and events on your website. Post photos of customer quilts and new items on Facebook. Customers will be happy you did and share it with 10 times as many people.


Use Print Media to Advertise For 55+ Quilters

More experienced quilters (usually 55+), still prefer paper media. So advertising in quilt shop books, and special interest papers like the Country Register for them. If you do not do this category, you are missing those people. You are handing them to your competitor shops that do advertise.


Use Electronic Media to Advertise For 55- Quilters

Quilters under 55, are not using print media to find anything. They are not using phone books, shop books, or newspapers to find anything. They are using their smart phones, tablets, and computers. If you either do not appear here, or your listing is unattractive, you are handing the business away to those who do. QuiltingHub was designed for this. Get access to 400,000 quilters viewing over 22,000 quilting resources at a page rate of over 1 million page views a day for only 27 cents a day. You need to be where people are looking for you, and you need to look good. Add your photos and events. Quilters are far more likely to visit a shop with photos and a sale then ones without.


Don't Fall Into The Trap

Do not be one of those who says, "I will advertise when I start making money." You advertise to make money. When you get going, spend about 10 to 20% of your income on growing you existing and new customers. If you are not growing, you are dying.


More Info

Last month we released Growing the Quilting Industry. Read it for more tips from other shop owners and quilters to help you grow.

In addition, QuiltingHub has impressive benefits for quilt shop owners. You can watch a summary video or read the benefits yourself.


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