6 Keys To Having The Dream Quilt Shop


Quilting Contessa shares her thoughts on what customers love to see in quilt shops. These are the top 6 ideas for your local quilt shop.

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6 Keys To Having The Dream Quilt Shop

Shop owners or future shop owners, have you ever wondered what your customers would love to see in your shop? Here are a few ideas for you to consider.

6 Keys To Having The Dream Quilt Shop


Customer Service is #1

Quilters are very social people! If you want great customers and repeat business, the most important thing in your quilt shop should be customer service. When people walk in to your shop they want to be warmly greeted and offered assistance. This is the area where many shops receive a failing grade and the worst customer reviews. When considering whom to hire for your shop, keep in mind that the friendliness your employees exhibit can/will make or break your shop. The employee who knows everything and can do-it-all perfectly herself may just not be friendly enough to make customers want to return. I have heard from numerous friends and FB group friends that they have visited stores where they felt unwelcome and no one greeted them and they refused to return to the store no matter what beautiful products were offered. If you treat every customer with friendliness and respect whether they are purchasing a high dollar machine or a simple spool of thread, your customers will want to return and they will provide you with great word-of-mouth advertising.

Smiling Faces Needed


Inviting Environment

The very best quilt shops make their environment inviting by installing great lighting and grouping fabrics by color or type. If you carry batiks, making a wall of beauty where the bolts of fabric are arranged by color will draw in your batik lovers. The same applies for reproduction fabrics, or particular styles like Kaffe Fassett fabrics, flannel, wool, or panels. For your other cotton fabrics, it is very helpful to place like colors together. This arrangement creates an orderly feel that your customers will appreciate and your store associates will find easy to work with.

Arrange by Color Great Natural Lighting


Books and Patterns and Notions Oh My

As quilters we each have our personal favorite quilting style, but it is important to remember that as you are making purchases for your store you need to appeal to a wide variety of quilters by carrying books, patterns, and notions that appeal to patch workers, applique enthusiasts, English paper pieces, and "newbie" quilters, as well as hand and machine workers. If you leave out any of these groups, you may miss out on entire groups of customers and visitors. That small group of appliqué patterns that you carry might bring sales of fabric, needles, thread, fusibles, True Grid, scissors, batting, and a thimble. Not a bad return on your investment of $5-$10 on that copy of a pattern. No one shop can carry every new book and pattern or notion, but carrying a wide variety of products can make your shop very attractive to your regular customers as well as visitors from other areas. This approach will also have your customers advertising for you.

Books and Patterns


Spacing for Safety and Increased Sales

If you have revolving racks or a wall of patterns, make sure your customers can stand far enough back from them to see the patterns on the bottom levels. If the customers can't see the products well, they won't purchase them. If your shop is wheelchair, walker, and stroller friendly, your customers will be safe and happy while they are shopping and they may just be able to come in more often with their friends.

Spacing for Safety & Sales


Samples Sell!

As soon as you purchase a pattern for your store try to have someone make a sample, or see if you can borrow a sample from the designer for a short time. People love to be able to see a finished project up close. If that is not possible, see if the designer will allow you to blow up a picture of their front cover and display it near the door so that customers will see your new pattern offerings as soon as they arrive. It might be just what they need to inspire them to purchase the pattern and everything that goes with it.

Samples Sell


Classes and Demonstrations Excite Your Customers

Again variety is key. Quilters love to try new techniques and use new tools. Try offering a demo day when you get in new patterns and tools. Use your newsletter to advertise your demo day and let your customers know that they can try out the new products. Also be prepared to take sign-ups for classes using the new tools and patterns so that you may capitalize on this opportunity.



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Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Appliqué

See Also: Freezer Paper Applique, Needleturn Applique, Machine Applique, Reverse Applique, Shadow Applique
Attaching individual pieces of fabric to a background to form a design.

Same As: Applique
A cloth which traditionally uses a manual wax-resist dyeing technique. Due to modern advances in the textile industry, the term has been extended to include fabrics which incorporate traditional batik patterns even if they are not produced using the wax-resist dyeing techniques. Silk batik is especially popular.
The layer in the middle of a quilt sandwich between the Top and Backing layers consisting of wool, polyester, blends, silk, or cotton.

Same As: Stuffing, Filling, Wadding, Filler
A soft fabric which can be made from cotton, wool or synthetic fibers. It is usually loosely woven and slightly furry and is very warm. It's tendency to ravel makes it a very good fabric to use for rag quilt.
Small sewing supplies such as pins, scissors, rulers, seam ripper, and so on.
An individual fabric shape joined with other patches to make a quilt block or sometimes a one patch style quilt. These may be cut from templates, rotary cut or free hand cut.

Same As: Piece

See Also: Double Nine Patch, Four Patch Block, Nine Patch, One Patch
A small, dimpled cap, usually of metal, designed to fit over the end of the finger to protect it from injury as it repeatedly pushes a needle through cloth during sewing or quilting.
Quilting Contessa

Quilting Contessa is a collection of various authors around the world that have submitted articles for the QuiltingHub 'How To' quilt wiki.  These are authors that do not write enough to have their own authorship, yet provide valuable content for the site.  If you wish to submit an article, contact us on QuiltingHub.

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