2015 is almost over, so it’s time for us to sit down and do a long, hard assessment of what we did right over the course of the last 12 months, as well at what didn’t work out quite as good as we had hoped. You know what they say, those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, so here’s how it went this year.
First- the Good Stuff
Our Retail Show Schedule-You might recall that due to the amount of time it takes to prepare for these shows, AND also the resulting amount of time we’re away from the studio (and our primary goal of publishing patterns), that last year identified Road to California and AQS Quiltweek Paducah as the 2 shows we MOST wanted to add to our schedule in order to get the most return for our efforts. And how lucky we were to be accepted in BOTH venues this year. Trading cold NC for warm & sunny southern California in January was fabulous and we can’t say enough good things about Paducah, KY! Both shows were successful for us and well worth attending again in 2016!
Hardware & Zippers at Quilt Festival- Ever since we started vending at retail shows, our customers have been asking us to offer the zipper & hardware necessary for particular designs as a discounted kit. But here’s the deal… up until this Fall I just couldn’t figure out how to do this but still be able to use my barcode scanner to facilitate the sale. BUT!!!! This summer I finally found out about “in-house barcodes”. These are barcodes that can be used privately for inventory type purposes, and coincidentally they work beautifully in this application. Our discounted Hardware & Zipper Kits were a big hit at Festival, so you can bet we’ll be moving forward with this option for our 2016 shows, so do keep that in mind if you’re planning on attending Road 2 California, AQS Quiltweek in Lancaster, PA or in Paducah, KY or Quilt Festival in Houston. 🙂
The New Gridwall Display- And speaking of our zipper & notions line, we realized at AQS Paducah that even though our revolving carousel displays had served us well for many years, that we had pretty much outgrown them, especially if we intended to continue growing our collection of unique zipper tapes (which we do). So over the summer we made plans to replace them with a gridwall system that would provide us with much need room for growth. I was a little concerned about how well these metal grids would fare on the long freight ride to Houston, but they weathered the trip great!
A Brand NEW Staff Member– Most of you know that we lost one of our senior staff members two years when our beloved Jeter died and even though many family members and friends encouraged me to adopt a new kitten right away, it just didn’t seem right. But this summer my husband found the PERFECT future employee for us! Yeah… he’s a little rough around the edges, and he’s required WAY more attention that I thought, but he sure is fun!
And now… here’s what disappointed us this year!
You might remember that we did not attend Spring Quilt Market in 2014 due to the birth of our granddaughter, so we were excited to return to Minneapolis, MN… the site of a very successful Spring Market for us in 2010. But things have changed a LOT since 2010 and it was painfully apparent in the foot traffic, or the lack thereof at this show. It’s certainly no secret that the attendance at these Markets has been falling off dramatically. Some blame it on the new credentials being required for admission and some are blaming it on the fact that so many quilt stores have gone out of business since the recession. But whatever the reason, there’s an unbelievable amount of expense involved in vending at Market. So much in fact that we’re being forced to rethink our involvement in this Spring ritual, beginning in 2016 when the Market returns to Salt Lake City, a location that seemed to have the least amount of foot traffic of any show I’ve attended to date. I know come next May I’ll feel bad about missing it, but sadly I know its the right decision for us.
So…there you have it.
The good, and the not so good from 2015. But hey, do YOU have any comments, or suggestions for improvement for us? As usual, I’d love to hear what you might have to say and remember, we love reading your comments and answering your questions too, so please feel free to leave them in the space provided below.
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