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August 08, 2011

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Hey- So I have an idea for you. I am an interior designer and at every design center, i.e. NYC, LA, SF, they have fabric showrooms, where rep groups showcase fabrics that designers can then order to make into pillows, drapes, etc. They don't stock bolts of fabrics, just memo samples that are maybe 1/2 yard. There's one in SLC that I go to weekly and they carry all kinds of fabric lines and I just order through them direct. It takes about 1-2 weeks to get the fabric and it is drop shipped to my office. You may want to consider setting up your shop like a fabric showroom and not carry inventory as a way to reduce overhead in the beginning. Your quilter customers can check out the samples, and then order the quantity they need. I am not sure who the manufacturers of these fabrics are, but you may want to contact them and see if you can be a sales rep for them and set up shop that way. Just lease an affordable space and bootstrap the decoration of the place. Once you start to get some good business, it will be easier to get a loan-- just some thoughts. Good luck!

Sorry- there may be a glich with the selling of the fabric. Typically these groups will only sell wholesale, so you have to check and see if the manufacturers would provide memo samples if you are a retail shop.

Go, go Shannon...you can do this. Great to see your dream come alive. You have amazing support. I'll keep spreading the nosherie news.

YEAH Shannon! You are awesome! If we ever come to St Louis the first place I will visit is your store! Tell your family we say Hello!
maurisa walker

Girl! You are a rockstar. Wish we lived close enough so I could bring by some ice cream and cheer you on in person. Can't wait to see the final product.

It's going to be amazing Shannon. I can hardly wait to lounge on the comfy chairs by the fireplace. I know it will be a beautiful place.

Hi Shannon - I love your vision! I want to live in your store! It sounds so homey, but also buzzing with creative energy. I love it.

A few things:

1) I looked at your blog - you don't "dream" of a fabric store, you HAVE a fabric store! Yay!
2) Is the stock mainly focused on home goods fabrics or does it include clothing fabrics? I think stock "range" defines your targeted audience, which in turn, affects your marketing strategies.
3) I think fabric stores are incredibly intimidating to people who are just learning or want to learn to sew but don't even know the terms "bolt" and "yardage" let alone "selvage." If you can market your store as being beginner friendly through employing and playing up your staff as being above and beyond helpful and empathetic to feeling clueless in a sewing store, you will win a lot of customers.
4) In terms of money, give your business plan to everyone you know (if you have not already done so) regardless of whether you think they have money to invest. The people who I thought would invest didn't, and the ones who did were the least likely. You never know you is going to catch onto the dream!
5) My mind keeps going to marketing your product. What are you marketing? Is it just fabric? Or, is it lessons, community, inspiration, etc.? I think of Mood in NYC - the store I go to when I need fabric. Those people sell fabric - that's it. The selection is amazing, but don't think they are going to advise you on a project or help you figure out yardage.
6) Okay, I promise to stop at this last one! Can you tell I love your store?! I think offering mother/daughter sewing classes would be a good thing.

You've gotten some great ideas! Best of luck in your new adventure. Fabric is art! Frame a few for your new store decor

Thank you for all the wonderful comments and for your encouragement. Saying that I'm excited for this is quite the understatement. I hope to be successful and have fun while doing it!!

I can't wait to see your new store. Congratulations on opening your dream business. I would love to talk with you! 314-941-9953 cell
Tracy

Hm, it sounds like a good idea for a store. Be patient with it - don't rush things and keep cool. The growth of a business idea into an actual business can make for a very satisfying experience, so I hope you find success in that field!

My granny’s a fan of fabrics, and she’ll probably want to see your products! How are your plans now? I think you’ve figured out ways to make everything better now. :)

oh good! i am not alone! first of all...good for you and thank you for sharing. i am pregnant with my 2nd child and have decided when my husband finishes his masters program here in indiana and we move out of this hell hole town...i AM starting my own specialty fabric shop/studio/boutique! it is happening. i have a degree in fiber art and have found this is what i truly want after many other business/creative trials within the field. if you have time, i would love to here some more about your business plan and so on. we have another year before we move and are hoping to get back to nashville, tn but really will be going where ever he finds a job. i want to get a business plan going now while i am stay at home mom sewing in my spare time. do you have any helpful resources i may find helpful. any personal advice. i would really just be thrilled to hear back from you! good luck and maybe i'll come visit the shop if i am ever in st. louis. thanks again!

- B!

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About this blog

  • When I took a sabbatical from Wall Street to pursue a different dream and help others live theirs, I learned that women in the U.S. may be placated, even pampered, but because we aren't dreaming, we are also desperate and depressed. Drawing on a variety of sources, ranging from academic studies to pop culture, dare to dream encourages us to dream. And then to act on our dreams.

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