Monday, February 21, 2011
Most quilters have noticed that the price of quality fabric has been skyrocketing lately. At Alderwood Quilts, we are committed to selling high quality fabrics, even if that means increases. Sadly, increases are inevitable. Every shop is making their own decisions about how they market their products. I just wanted to give you some food for thought, as you decide where to shop and how to spend your fabric budget. Above all, please don't take out your frustration on the nice person cutting your fabric. Believe me- they dislike the increases even more than you do!
You may have heard that cotton prices are going up. If you'd like to understand more about it, here are some statements by some people who manage the top fabric manufacturers. This is a link intended for shop owners and is one of the best documents I've seen to explain the reason for the price increases.
I recently heard someone say that shop owners must be happy that the cost of fabric is on the rise because it means more profit per yard to us. WRONG! In the first place, we actually care about our customers and we're not happy when friends are in pain. But from a business standpoint, this is not working out to our favor. Higher wholesale costs mean that we have to spend more to maintain inventory. Customers often have a dollar amount they can spend (as opposed to just buying whatever they like). Assuming that a customer is going to spend the same amount that they always have, this means that she will be purchasing fewer yards of fabric per month. In order for the shop owner to have the same selection (number of bolts), she will be spending more for that inventory and getting fewer sales (purchases) with slightly higher profit per sale. At best, this adds up to a break even. At best. Please don't take this as me "whining". Being in business means challenges. That's the way it goes. Fabric retailers have to step up to the plate and be creative about how they market fabric. They need to step up the customer service. They need to maintain a good attitude. It's what it takes to stay in business. I'm just letting you know that we aren't raking in the money just because the price of fabric is going up. Believe me- we're just as upset as you are!
So waddaya do? Our budgets are pinched and prices are going up and we just LOVE to quilt! You love that new fabric but your wallet doesn't love it... what's a girl to do???
*Consider buying some fabric from a new collection as a focus fabric and using fabric from your stash to coordinate with it.
*Consider alternating projects... buy new fabric for one quilt and then use fabric from your stash for the next... alternating back and forth throughout the year.
*Why not swap with a friend- "shopping" at each others' stashes, and then fill in what you need by purchasing new fabric to go with it.
*Consider selling some of what you make, or selling your services as a quilter. If you don't feel that your skills are strong enough to quilt for pay, maybe you can do sewing repairs, sew on scout patches, buttons, do hems, etc. Ask around and let the word out that you will do small repairs for a reasonable fee. Then stash that money away to pay for new fabric.
*Consider purchasing kits. The fabric for kits is cut to the amount needed, with less leftover fabric than if you purchased yardage. The price of a kit is sometimes (not always) a tad bit higher to compensate the seller for cutting time. But it still generally more cost effective because of the efficient use of fabric. Of course, it means you aren't making your own fabric selection, but it may work for you sometimes.
*Keep your eyes open for sales at your local quilt shops and share the news of deals with your friends. Sign up to receive newsletters from your favorite local quilt shops and online shops so you will be notified of sales.
***Important*** Buy the best quality fabric you can afford. It's better to make one quilt with quality fabric than 3 quilts that are going to fade and fall apart. Your time is worth the cost of quality fabric. Send the fabric manufacturers the message that we don't want them to compromise on quality!
Please do consider all options for purchasing fabric. All fabric retailers- the large fabric and craft shops, the small independent local quilt shops... large and small online shops.. are feeling the pinch these days. Many local quilt shops have been closing in recent years, and I have to believe that the new price increases are going to cause even more to close down. That's very sad. I'm not telling you how or where to shop. But do consider that when you make a purchase, you are supporting THAT business and that business model. Do you want the large "big box" stores to grow bigger and have a great selection and always be there for you? Do you want the small local quilt shops with teachers and knowledgeable staff to assist you to stay in business? Maybe you want both? You vote with your dollars. Just as every vote counts in a political election, so does every purchase count (no matter what you're buying). There's a woman (the fab shop hop lady- the find-the-bunny shop hops) who says we should promote spending at regular portion of our quilting dollars at our local quilt shop. Even if you regularly shop with the big stores, spend a portion of your dollars at small independent stores if you want to see them stay in business.
I know-- it still stings. I wish I had better news for you, but the sad truth is that quality fabric is going up. (Don't shoot the messenger, please!)
Posted by Sue at 9:49 AM