... to brick & mortar quilt shops.
I visited a large quilt shop yesterday and walked away empty handed and disappointed. Here are some observations:
- Be friendly. It's not hard to smile and greet someone who walks through the door. A simple "hello" will work. "What brings you in today?" is even better.
- If a customer asks if you have binding clips, please don't respond with "no, in our classes we don't teach our customers to use those". I guess I'm not one of your customers...
- If a customer asks if you carry a certain line of fabric or a certain designer, please don't wrinkle your nose and tell me that you don't like that line. BTW, I was asking about Hope Valley...
- If a customer is looking at bolts of fabric please don't walk in front of them and start putting bolts away right where they were looking without even a simple acknowledgement. Really??
- Don't assume that a younger customer is not a good potential customer. Treat your customers the same; young and old. Greet and speak to everyone. Yes, your regulars who happen to be retired are important but younger quilters are your shop's future!
I correspond with a lot of new quilters and I hear at least one a week talking about how intimidating shopping for fabric is in a quilt shop and it's not the large number of bolts of fabric that scare them away. The "sewing circle" mentality can be intimidating and downright discouraging. No wonder the number of quilting blogs, tutorials, and fabric shops have exploded online...
I'm glad I wasn't a new quilter going into that shop yesterday because I'm afraid I might have left very discouraged. So to the new quilters out there, don't let a store experience discourage you. For every un-helpful quilter, there are five more ready to help a new quilter out.
I know there are fabulous quilt shops out there, I just happen to not live near any of them. There is a new one that just opened up near my office and while it is small, it has potential. I shop there as much as I can and I really hope that it can overcome the stigma that quilt shops around here are developing. If you happen to have a great quilt shop near you, support it and appreciate it because they are hard to find!