Recently I spotted the famous Liberty prints in my Spotlight store. So, one question that I have when people tell me about how it is making Liberty more accessible to everyone is…
“So, at Spotlight Liberty is $50/metre @ 110cm wide. At my Liberty supplier (a small business) I pay $55/metre @138cm wide. So, for an extra $5 you get 2,800cm for you project… that makes a big difference. Not to mention you are supporting a small business.”
Quilt shops today must compete with Spotlight and online shops for price and selection. To set up and account with a fabric manufacturer you need a credit card, a tax file number and a store address. You pick out the bolts and no further questions are asked.
Many online stores can sell fabrics for at least $4 under rrp. Combine that with the cost of having space limitations and overhead costs – online will win out. But what about for the customer?
It must be disheartening to be undercut by the online stores. Don’t get me wrong. I have bought from online stores – It is more affordable, sometimes the service is better.
The local quilt store experience is not about the process, but the attitude and the feel of the shop. We all want to feel welcome and feel free to browse. When we do we will almost ALWAYS buy something.
Sometimes I feel that because I am younger than a lot of the “regular” customers I get ignored. These are the shops that also offer classes or groups during the day when I am at work so I can’t be included.
What a local quilt store has then no online shop can ever have is in person interaction. The one-on-one experience that a knowledgeable caring person can give makes you feel like you belong and want to shop there.
Support your local shop, even when you pay more for the fabric. Though remember they are equally responsible for embracing their customers.