I had been to Amitié textiles before. Perhaps today (11/11/2015 at 1200) was not the best day to go. As I mentioned in the leading post on why I am doing these reviews the way a shop makes you feel is super important and unfortunately I left the store today feeling that if I had been a regular customer and was known I would have received more attention.
So for the basics
Address 103A Gardenvale Rd, Gardenvale 3185
Open Mon-Friday 0930—1700
The store is described as a “mecca for quilt lovers located in Melbourne. Fabric, patterns, classes, block of the month and more! Owned by Jen Kingwell.”
Amitié was started in 2005 by Jen Kingwell for her love of bright, contemporary and modern fabrics. Amitié Textiles carries a huge range of inspiring fabrics suitable for patchwork, dress making, quilting, home décor and other craft and sewing projects. It is now classes as one of Australia’s leading fabric and quilting stores. They source fabrics from all over the world. The stock is ever changing so visiting regularly helps to keep the quilter up to date. The shop is not only bricks and mortar but has an online component as well. There are classes offered throughout the year with guest lecturers and tutors to mix up the regular class structure.
Amitié is a French word meaning friendship. The goals and objectives of the business include service of the online and in-store customer. They aim to create the best patchwork and quilting experience for the customer that can be embodied in the spirit of friendship. This is why the staff are chosen for their sewing skills and their commitment to the best shopping experience while the customer is in store. They state on their website that they will assist with choosing fabric or help you with your latest project. They are always happy to help. It is believed that a store can only survive by offering extraordinary customer service. The staff and teachers are committed to giving the best experience that they can. They believe that everyone who walks out of the shop or uses the internet site should leave with a pleasant experience and will come back again with their friends.
Window display (Is what a prospective customer first sees that draws them to your store, to the signage that directs them around, and the merchandising displays that catch their eye and ultimately influence them to purchase something)
(Sorry about the poor quality photo – there was so much reflection on the window)
It was lovely, bright and clear layout. It wasn’t telling a story and there wasn’t a focal point to draw me into the store. It was a simple arrangement that was cute with some lovely quilts that you could obviously learn how to make if you came into the store. (7 out of 10)
Layout of store/presentation (Presentation should serve to fulfil your customer’s needs as they shop with you. A good store design and layout will ensure that shoppers can move comfortably and easily throughout the space, and it will allow them to find what they’re looking for)
(image courtesy of thimbleanna.com)
Products are mostly at eye level and below making them easy to view. The displays are eye catching and are not cluttered you don’t feel like you need to dig through things to find what you are looking for. There wasn’t anything unique on display to make me remember the store specifically, quilts for example. There was good lighting and enough space to move around easily. I did feel invited into the store by its colours and displays. The fabrics are in colour groups making it easy to find what you are looking for. There are patterns, threads and notions all grouped together. The fabrics are a little tightly packed making it hard to pull them out and put them back if you would like to. (8 out of 10)
There seemed to be a lot of staff on shift. They were unpacking new stock and cutting fabric for bundles for new quilt pattern bundles. There were a handful of other customers in the store at the time I went in and even though I was in the store for around 20 minutes staff were either cutting the fabric or attending to their regulars. They seemed to know the other customers by name and were chatting and helping them with fabrics for quilts and suggesting upcoming classes they may want to book into. I was carrying around a bolt of fabric through the store and was not greeted or offered any assistance. I did pick up a few pattern packets and some applique tools. I would have liked to ask some questions but I was asked if I wanted my fabric cut and then taken to the counter and told the amount without being given the opportunity to converse any further. I was overall left feeling a bit disappointed in the service I received today. (5 out of 10)
My experience vs stores objectives
Overall I score the store today 20 out of 30. Which isn’t bad but it is not excellent.
The store is meant to provide the customer with the best experience possible and the website states that the staff will help you to choose fabric and patterns. That you should leave feeling that the experience was a pleasant one. I feel that the shop is a beautiful shop and I really enjoyed moving around and looking at everything. I would have liked to see a bit more inspiration on display. I was disappointed by the lack of staff attention that I received. I feel that as a newbie it can be hard to ask for help with quilting things. I just didn’t feel like I received as much attention as I should have on this visit.
I do feel that this may have been an unusual experience though. Perhaps with the large delivery of fabrics the staff were distracted by putting stock on the shelves and there did seem to be a lot of staff on the floor. I thought there may have been a few more on than normal for the expected delivery and cutting of packages. Other quilters seem to love the store. I think if you put more staff on for the day they need to make sure that they are still aware of what is happening with the customers in the store. It isn’t hard to greet each person who walks into the store and ask them if they need any assistance. I think that would have made a big difference to my experience today.
I try to be honest and fair in my write up of this review. I was so excited to get to visit Amitié on my day off from work. I did leave feeling very disheartened and disappointed. I will go again. Though I will probably be more likely to shop on-line than to visit the bricks and mortar shop.