Sunday, August 9, 2015

Shop Update -- The long and the short of it.

Dear fabric lovers!  
I hope this note finds you all well!  I've been hinting at some big changes that are happening  here at Whimsy Quilts &  Fabrics on Instagram  and this is the newsletter where I tell you allll  about them. =)  I've included both a short and  long version because I know not all of you want to hear the nitty  gritty details.  ;)

 Short version:  
 We opened a fabric shop in 2012.  It got too big (think 2-3 of  your LQSs combined) and now it needs to get much  smaller.  To that end, we will have inventory reduction sales  all month long, starting with 25% off all non-quilting cotton  substrates (aka canvas, rayon, brushed cotton, lawn, voile,  knits, double gauze & eyelet.)  Use code "SAVE25" to save  25% off anything in this catalog

Long version (aka the really honest, behind the scenes  story aka the ones the more "professional" people don't tell.  I'm really transparent and want the people who support our  shop to really know who they are supporting -- a real human family with a business owner wife/mommy who fails and  learns and trys again.):  

 To tell you about the future, I (Cristi) think I need to give a  little bit of history first.  We started selling fabric in April of  2012 as a way to supplement our income as I left my job as a scientist.  I loved it because I love fabric (!!!) and I could do it from home while my kiddos slept, freeing me up to be a SAHM. Our first purchase was just one collection of fabric.  As that collection sold, it freed up funds to buy more fabric and over the past 3 years, our shop has grown in exactly that way.  I am eager to please and as our business grew, I  would get in any collection that a customer asked for and I  loved it!  I loved being able to be all about the customer.  (Of  course, that was within certain parameters -- I've never gotten in something that I hated.  ;) )

Then at a certain point about 1.5 years in it got way WAY too big... and I was honestly too busy working to ever really see it. For several months in a row, we were getting  deliveries every day and over 5000+ yards of fabric a month.  That's over 350 bolts of fabric a month.  BOLTS.  (Just let that image sink in for a second.)  After about 6 months of that, we took a step back and asked ourselves  "what do WE want this business to look like?"  We had  been working all day (16 hours a day) for 7 days in a row for  a while.  My hubby would work the shop when he got home from his job all day.  My good friend Desiree helped out 1-2  days a week back then and that's when I would grocery shop and clean.  And I would mother my 3 AMAZING children right in the middle of it all.  We were exhausted!  I mean like literally e.x.h.a.u.s.t.e.d.  And fabric was in every room of our house (even our master bedroom).  We asked for advice from our local bank's small business advisor (word  to the wise:  your bank probably has one and they are SO smart!  They will help you for free if you have a business account!!)  He told us the shop was driving us (and not vice versa) and we needed to stop buying so much fabric.  (I  suppose that should've been obvious!!)  Anyways, we cut our buying in half.  And then in half again.  Now that's where we have been at most months since (unless Cotton + Steel releases, ha!).  (I mean can we all just stop for a second and say these ladies are fabric geniuses??)  However, I'm  finding that we are still ordering too much and overall running too large of an operation such that I'm not accomplishing my goals. 

This is the place in the story where I sat here and asked myself, what exactly are my goals?  This is what I've come up with: 

1. I can't carry so much fabric that it creeps into our living space. Ever. This means that I need to sell about 1/3-1/2 of what we have (because it takes up too much space in our house). This bodes very well for you, my favorite fabric lovers!!
2.  I can't financially hurt my family because I order too much fabric.  This means I can't order anywhere in the vicinity of what I have ordered.
3. I can't work in the fabric shop so many hours that I can't be a good wife and mother. This means that I need to have designated hours where I respond to DMs, PMs, emails, & texts and that I put my phone in my purse more often.  
4. I need to do this job in a way that serves YOU (the customer) well.  This means that I respond to all of your questions/messages during that time frame so that you never wait a full 24 hours before hearing from me.  And it means that we ship as fast as humanly possible.  
5.  I need to do this job in a way that makes me happy (& not stressed).  What this means to me is that I need to do this business smaller, but with more finesse.  More customization.  More ready-to-ship custom bundles, quilt kits & patterns (like the ones shown below). I'd love to be able to say "yes I have time to design a custom quilt kit!" every single time you ask.  And then lastly, but maybe the most exciting, I want to design fabric.  This is a dream that Desiree and I both share and we have started down the path towards designing fabric and hope to show our portfolio by Spring Market. 

So that's it!  That's our plan.  Sell a bunch, provide more finesse & customer service, curate more bundles & quilt kits, & design fabric.  If you have read this far, holy smokes!  Thank you!!  

We will have inventory reduction sales all month!!  Stay tuned!  And thanks so much for your support!!

Whimsy Quilts & Fabrics
ps If you like what you see here, please follow us on Instagram @whimsyquilts !!

Examples of the kinds of  things we want to do MORE of in the coming months! 
I want to make patterns like this (below) available to you!!  Also, this is an example of a quilt made with double gauze which is on sale using the "SAVE25" coupon code found in this catalog!

Custom Quilt Kit made for an *awesome* customer who wanted all Cotton + Steel for a Moda Building Blocks Pattern. We can do this for you!  Just ask!!

Custom Quilt Kits made to go with Lindsey Neill's adorable new Rainy Day Quilt Pattern!

Black & White Custom Bundle curated with the help of one of my favorite quilters Holly @hollygetsquilty!

A butterfly quilt pattern I hope to have ready for you soon!  All of the patterns I 
am designing will come FREE with the purchase of a custom quilt kit. 

The 2 bundles below are Whimsy Girl Custom Bundles curated by Desiree Swanson for our Bundle of the Month Club!

Thanks again for being here!!