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Topic: Dream with me! - Input please please please :)  (Read 1450 times)
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foob
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« on: January 28, 2007 08:28:12 PM »

Well, I have a very exciting opportunity. I'm thinking about starting my own brick and mortar fabric store...

So, here's where the input is needed..

What things do you think would be offered in your dream fabric store?

I plan on using not normal stuff like simplicity patterns and all that. I want to go the more indie route and purchase the good stuff from people who actually have an opinion and a worthwhile point of view...

Any help?
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brubendall
« Reply #1 on: January 28, 2007 10:02:11 PM »

My favorite fabric store is a mom-and-pop store here in town.  They carry stuff I am not able to find other places.  The best part is their one-of-a-kind upholestery pieces.  I think they buy in bulk from the local furniture stores - when a piece of furniture is discontinued the furniture store sells off the extra fabric they had for making the furniture in the different fabrics.  Most of this is in smaller pieces, so they pre-cut it into 1 yard sections and sell them as is.  Larger pieces they do sell by the yard, I think they usually have at least 2 yards to do this.

Since we don't have anyone in town that sells Amy Butler, that would be on the top of my list, too.  I also like Sis Bloom, Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, to name a few.  Those aren't really "indie", but I still like them.  Smiley
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Bananna_AnnA
« Reply #2 on: January 28, 2007 10:47:25 PM »

If reprodepot.com became an actual fabric store, that would be my dream store.
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« Reply #3 on: January 29, 2007 12:39:00 PM »

I think a LOT of people are looking for a good place for knits.
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itscribe
« Reply #4 on: January 29, 2007 02:07:31 PM »

A general suggestion...Wherever people buy fabric in your area now, I would "shop" and hang around a bit - strike up a conversation. Ask them what they sew, what they have trouble finding and the like. Don't stand there with a clipboard - poeple hate surveys; but, they'll talk for an hour to another crafter.

Getting ideas here is good, but your town will have more or less available than the rest of us.

I would recommend that you always have a "clearance" area. I can't tell you how many times I found that awesome bargain and then spent a hideous amount on premium fabric to find something that matched my bargain. LOL

If there's a big-box type store that carries the common patterns, I would stick with the indie folks for those. If there's nowhere within an hour or two that carries the major pattern companies, you might want to consider carrying them or at least making them available for order.

Make sure you design the shop with room for classes. This will bring you extra income (even if you have to hire the instructor) and the students will of course need fabric to make the project. To me the whole thing about mom-and-pop fabric/yarn/craft shops is the community it fosters.

What an exciting time for you! Just be sure to take your time, consider what your area already has available, find what's missing, and don't be a fabric snob.  Roll Eyes
One thing I would love to see in a smaller store is a computer set up  for the Internet with a list of suggested suppliers. That way the customer can still benefit from your expertise and not have to figure out what they need alone in their home. If you have someone looking for fabric for a purse - they could order the handles right from your shop. I would think you could find a number of folks selling these extra items where you could work out some cooperative agreement. (Give them some fabric to use on their samples and have them send you some handles.)
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foob
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« Reply #5 on: January 30, 2007 05:14:48 AM »

Wow thanks for the great replies guys! I really appreciate it. itscribe, great point about Simplicity patterns and the like. I have kind of a cornered market where I'm going to be going. Since Wal-Mart is pulling out of fabric, the closest place is going to be about 1 hr away.

Some things that I was wanting to do was find the little girl scout troops in the area and ask if they would like to come in and work on their sewing badges. Also, someone that could fix machines and someone who would definately teach classes. I want to take the place to more of a "Studio" type environment. I'm going to make fabric reproductions of major works and have a whole area for me/someone I hire to work on projects for everyone to see. Smiley

Brubendall, I will definately be interested in stocking Amy Butler, Sis Bloom and the like. The fabrics I pick I think will just be more than your average so so cotton print ya know?
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itscribe
« Reply #6 on: January 30, 2007 08:09:43 AM »

What a great idea about the girl scouts! Get 'em young, get 'em for life.

The sewing machine tech is a good idea as well. There's a sewing shop where I used to live that had several generations of techs and were the best in town. Couldn't bring your machine and not buy something.  Roll Eyes

I do think that maybe having a small section of discount cottons might be a good idea. Since you will essentually be replacing Wally World, it might get some folks coming in to have a small say $2/yard area.

Maybe you could have some promo - bring in your old Wally World fabric receipt and get some sort of discount on your first purchase?
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« Reply #7 on: January 30, 2007 08:32:23 AM »

Ooo I like the Wallyworld discount. I feel bad for all the women around my home town that don't really have anywhere to go to get the fabrics. Walmart shut their old haunts down and is now taking away the fabrics. :/

But! I'm going to fill this Huge hole in the fabric industry, yes I am! Smiley
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« Reply #8 on: January 30, 2007 08:42:23 AM »

i  think  a wide  variety  of  colors and  textures in fabrics and yarns. low price!!!  and  a fill a bag sale   every  so  often.......  thread and hooks and stix  and velco and  oh  my I am getting  giddy  with  the  thought  of it all under one  low priced  roof!!!  woo....  oh  patchs  ribbons, trims,  embelishments,  and  a  machine available to  sit and do an  applique  or 2....   for   those  of  us  not  financial  sound  enough to  actually  purchase  one..........   oh and  maybe a  small  daycare  area  so we  can  browse  un  interupted.......  no  scratch that I would feel odd  leaving  my kids  in  that......   ok  zippers and  buttons (old and new)  oh and  sewing  machine parts too......  interfacing adn webbing....   I  must  go  before I hurt  myself!
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looking for instant coffee from australia or russia made with mustard and champagne.  VIOLET CRUMBLES and VEGEMITE would be welcome swap items!!
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« Reply #9 on: January 30, 2007 08:57:16 AM »

Hahah jloveg! Me too! Smiley This is so exciting. I don't know how I'll be able to actually run a store with out going google eyed over all the merchandise hehe. Smiley

I was thinking about having a great little daycare area. Not too big and not too crappy (ie dentist's office). I know that most of my target audience would love to shop for fabric but their little ones get all antsy. I want it to be an enjoyable experience. I'm definately going to offer free coffee and great idea about the machines for general use. I like I like Smiley
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