Online Marketing with Fabric Shop Owner Laura of Global Fiber Shop

January 27, 2023

Online Marketing with Fabric Shop Owner Laura of Global Fiber Shop.

Laura is a talented woman running a successful online fabric shop. In Episode 93: Online Marketing with Fabric Shop Owner Laura of Global Fiber Shop, hear how she has found success and become savvy at marketing. There are a lot of takeaways and things you can learn from Laura as she shares her journey…especially if you are thinking of running you own online shop. 

Online Marketing with Fabric Shop Owner Laura of Global Fiber Shop.

In this episode, I chat with Laura about the following:

  • Laura shares about how we met at Quilt Market and how she became a guest on the podcast. 
  • She was in International Education before opening her fabric shop. When Covid hit, she decided to pivot. Laura shares her journey of opening up a shop. 
  • Laura loves color and fabrics and has a skill for putting fabrics together well. 
  • I asked if it has been profitable to own an online fabric shop. She shares some details about how that has gone for her as we discuss revenue and how long it took her to see profit. 
  • We talk the logistics of time (and timing) as well as space for owning a fabric shop.
  • What she does to cut her fabric and the awesome table her husband made for her! What she sells and in what amounts and where. She has both and Etsy shop and a website. Laura covers why and what some of the pros and cons are to each.
  • We talk about keeping track of inventory.
  • Marketing Strategy is covered and how she hasn’t yet spent any money on marketing! She shares what is working for her. 
  • We cover the evolution of quilting and buying fabric over time as we discuss buying online verses in the store. 
  • Laura shares a little about collaboration and how she teamed up with Suzy Quilts. How when collaborating, you want to make sure you make a win win. 
  • What happens if you buy fabric that wasn’t a hit? How she decides what to buy and sell. She does not put out into the world anything she doesn’t believe in. 
  • How has her business been since Covid you wonder? Hear why she thinks she has been successful.

Show Notes

Here are photos that are mentioned in the interview, including the fabric cutting table! 

fabric shop/ workspace and fabric cutting table
fabric cutter

Where You can FInd LAura and her Shop

You can follow Laura on Instagram 
Or on her Website Global Fiber Shop
She is also offering a discount for the Craft To Career Listeners! 
Receive 10% off with this Discount Code: CTCFRIENDS



[Music] welcome to episode 93 of the craft a
career podcast I am getting excited because we’re getting close to the 100th
episode on the 95th episode I’m going to announce how I’m going to celebrate
I haven’t decided yet frankly which is why I’m not announcing yet so I’m giving myself a couple of weeks to figure that
out I am so excited so we will think of
something and announce something so keep an eye out for episode 95 because I’m gonna be brainstorming some kind of fun
celebration for the 100th episode this week on the podcast I have Laura Perry
of global fiber shop and it is so fun to
have her on the podcast I really love meeting you listeners in all the
different ways this is definitely a first for me and how I met this guest
for the podcast and I’m really glad that we met and that our paths cross so it another plug for
just taking the opportunity to be in the room with someone when you get a chance
so you’ll have to hear Laura’s side of what happened and how we met and how she
ended up being on the podcast and like I said I’m so glad that she is because she
is just a very talented woman and is running a very successful business so
there is a lot for you to learn from Laura she runs an online fabric shop
and if you go to the show notes it’s forward slash 93
you will see photos of Laura and also her workspace which is beautiful when we
were chatting I was saying oh our listeners you know they can’t see you but that fabric behind you is so
beautiful and then she also shares a photo of how she cuts fabric this table that her husband made for her that is
such a Time Saver and it’s genius and Laura I think you’re gonna have a lot of people reaching out to your husband
being like uh how how did you make this because it just looks amazing so let’s
dive in let me introduce you to Laura and let’s get started foreign
Laura thank you so much for being here on the podcast thank you for having me for our listeners can you share who you
are in the quilting world and what you do my name is Laura Perry and I own a
global fiber shop which is an online uh quilt shop online textile store
and where are you located I am located as you can see I know your listeners can’t see in my home in my home studio
and we’re in Massachusetts okay very cool so we’ll dive into more details but
before we do I just want to share with the listeners how you and I how this came about why
are you on the podcast do you want to share the story sure uh well you know they say showing up is is half the
battle right so I attended my first Quilt Market uh this past October
and was able I was posting that I was there and realized that someone else I had collaborated with recently was also
there so we made arrangements to meet up and she said oh I’m gonna go over to uh
Elizabeth’s book signing and I didn’t even realize you were there until that moment I’m like oh I’ll tag along too I
think that we were probably an hour earlier so I guess we’re still oh were you you’re all still setting up and um
very graciously gave us the numbers that we could come back and and see you I was so thrilled to to get to meet you in
person awesome so this was your first Quilt Market ever first Quilt Market ever and how come you decided to go uh
one of the things I I opened my shop um it was you know I’m approaching two
years now it’ll be two years in March so I believe this year was the first Quilt
Market they had had in a couple of years because of covid um and they have a series uh before the
actual Market officially opens called the schoolhouse series and that piqued my interest as a new shop owner I’m I’m
here to learn all the things so did you learn things I am curious which Schoolhouse things you went to and what
was the most what did you love you know yeah um I did I
I feel like I learned something new about the industry on a daily basis so I
which I love that’s where I’m at my best is when I’m sort of researching and digging into all the things
and I did learn a lot um one of I attended a lot of sessions about Google and how to optimize my
website for Google searches and um I walked away actually feeling a little
bit better about what I was doing feeling good good I I’m on the right track there’s certainly a lot of work to
do but I’m on the right tracks so okay you can’t who who did you meet up with too that you had met before I
collaborated Jessica Ellison she was a pattern tester for Wellspring designs and I had just
worked with them on a on a Sundance quilt her one of her new quilts patterns yeah yeah well I love Casey she’s a good
friend of mine that is so cool so okay then you came in line for the
book signing and when it was your turn you said I’ll let you say and you’re I’m sure I was all like clumsy no you
weren’t it was it was fun to meet people and I just um I just mentioned that I had been listening to the podcast and uh you’ve
been a wonderful resource again because I’m I’m here to learn everything I can about how to serve the customers better
and just how this industry Works um and I had mentioned that I’m a fan of the podcast and you asked who I was and
what I do and here we are and did I feel like
I was the one who was like oh we should have how did that I don’t even remember now my gosh you know being clumsy how
did that conversation go was I like oh we I think it was it was pretty it was brief in the moment I mean you’ve you
got a lot of people so but um you’re so kind and I just mentioned my name and the name of my shop and I think the shop
may have registered and you said oh I would you know really be interested to talk to somebody who owns a textile shop
a fabric shop so yeah you asked me to send you an email reach out and I did I wish you were so nice as anyone who
listens to the podcast knows emails are my kryptonite it’s just not not my skill set I have someone in there
helping um I get it I think you were pretty patient because I think as it does it takes me a while to get back to people
so thank you for being patient as I’m like oh yeah now how about now I get it completely yeah
so yeah I I do a lot of Education
memberships there are a lot of people in the quilting Community you know quilt
upreneurs who are very curious about selling fabric kits all the things so
I’d just love to hear your journey how did you decide yeah
so you know like many other people who probably are sitting in front of you at the moment who are newer to the industry
it was a coveted pivot which um I feel
nothing but gratitude for my experience and have to acknowledge
the privilege that I that I had going into this because opening up a fabric shop means a again
you can see the quantity of inventory behind me it’s an investment and that’s
not something that I I think that I could have done if I hadn’t already had
I’m far enough in my in my life and career that I could that I could invest in that
um so that’s the one cautionary tale I would say to people is you need to it it does
I’m not a gambler and sometimes it feels a little bit like gambling when you’re buying a new collection and you’re wondering is this is this going to
um I love it but is this going to be something that other people like as well um and so you have to be able to stomach
a little bit of that but my journey I I this is a total pivot I um was in
International Education before this so totally different yeah I know that is
that what does that look like what did you do I was uh I worked for a private school and I was the director of their
International Education Program so I would work with the international students that would come and stay and go
to school here in the United States so what grade levels these are high school how many people are coming from
International this is very interesting I’ve not heard of such yeah we could have a whole conversation about that it’s huge it’s a huge industry
um the school that I was at I had at the peak I think I had about 40 students why
why are they coming I mean you’re in Massachusetts it’s near like Harvard and stuff well right that’s the dream for so
many of them um many of them some of them would come for a year like any kind of students
abroad exchange um I had a lot of students from Asian countries and they came because their
end goal was to go to college in the United States and they saw this as a way to help increase their their application
and improve their English well that’s fascinating I could dive down a rabbit’s hole with that I’m very
intrigued all of a sudden we could totally go down to rabbit’s hole for that right
um I I had I did that for 10 years or so loved it I also got to take students
abroad which was like American students abroad which was wonderful where did you go and then I’ll shut up and we can move
on but um I think the best one was Italy I’ve
got to take students to Italy for a couple weeks I think that was uh that was the year right before covid
okay um and I had already made the decision that I was going to Pivot
I was just ready to move on and do another another thing uh but covid definitely nobody was coming after covid
so uh the school I was working for was was already going to uh was going to
close because of covid um and so it’s okay I like I said I had already decided I wanted to Pivot but it
gave me the time that I needed to figure out exactly what this next thing was going to be
and I had always been a hobbyist Viber artist I would say um I think I was like third or fourth
grade when my friend taught me to cross stitch and it stuck and I was doing that and knitting
and I didn’t learn to sew until I was pregnant with my son since about 15
years ago but that’s always been a big part of my life and I didn’t know that that could
be a career or a thing that people could actually do and maybe in my defense
maybe it wasn’t 15 years ago this may have been more of a Evolution now where
I can sit here and do what I’m doing um I I don’t know that the resources the
technology was there to support someone like me doing what I’m doing 15 years ago yeah with online shops because I
mean there have been fabric designers and quilt pattern I’m trying and I’m very curious how the evolution but I
will say it I think in the last five to ten years with social media right blogs
YouTube it’s totally changed the trajectory it’s been a game changer because I I’m a I’m a person that likes
to follow a pattern I like to follow a recipe and I and I would undercut myself and I’m not a creative person that’s
what I would tell myself that was the I’m not a great uh I’m not great at
drawing so I’m like I’m not I’m not an artist in that way so how would I ever have a career as a pattern designer or
something like that um and I now know that there are other skills involved that I do have that I
can leverage what skills do you have that you feel like oh I can bring this to the table well I do I’m I’m a little bit of a
fabric nerd and I love color and texture um and I love playing with the I can see
the patterns and the colors and know how to bring them together it’s good for you for recognizing that it’s
um I think it’s that’s also been a bit of an evolution for me too but uh I
think I’m I’m good at it yeah good for you I love it I love that you say that yeah I have customers who keep coming
back to me and and say I love these bundles that you’re putting together and um lots of custom requests but
if um I think there’s a there’s a a segment of people out there who have the
sewing skills and the ability to you know to put these quilts together but maybe are intimidated to
to choose the Fabrics it’s very fascinating because there are so many different aspects of quilting that can
lend itself to a career some people love teaching the piecing some people love writing the patterns on people ticketing
you the fabric I like teaching people how to make a career in this you know I mean there’s so many different venues
and I I am just so happy to hear you vocalize this is something I’m good at
we as females in particular are so shy of saying that or like oh that’s so
conceited it is not like let’s own it I am so I love love love hearing me say that so thank you so now the the itty
bitty details of it when you start it well first of all oh I have so many questions first of all let’s ask this
has it been profitable do you have a profit okay so the answer the short
answer is yes I I do and it’s a modest profit which
that’s where I’m at now I’m in that stage of how do I scale this and what what is that going to look like uh it
was an experiment it was something that my husband and I had talked about I’d like to try and do this thing let’s see
if it’s even going to work I had zero um I had zero uh experience in online
retail from the fabric industry truly did not know what I was doing when I
started so I wasn’t sure if this was going to work or not but I had an idea
of what I wanted to try and do and I’m happy to say it’s it grew way faster
than I anticipated that it would and so I am profitable but I’m at that point now where
I I need help yes yeah I need help to keep up um and so I need to think through and
that’s a lot of what this year is going to be what what that looks like so okay you’ve been doing it for two years you said it’ll be two years in March was it
profitable the first year because let’s no let’s talk about revenue and profit you’re going to have a lot of Revenue
because you’re selling but then you have to put money back into it so the profit you know so the first year no problem no
no profit but I was covering expenses okay well so you weren’t in the red no I
wasn’t in the red I would say it it took a full year to get to the point where
I’m like okay I’m I’m breaking even I’m covering it I’m covering expenses I’m still able to reinvest
in the business because it usually takes about two years to like start earning a profit so that’s above
average so profitable and then let’s also talk about the
logistics of your of the time and the space right let’s I’ll hear from you about that okay
so for time it’s I it is it is all consuming it is time consuming
um and I love it so yes so uh the job that I had had in
the past was also very time consuming but um and I loved what I did but I’m
also at the service of everyone but myself if that kind of makes sense so
with this it’s a there’s nothing but a labor of love here everything I’m doing I’m doing because I’m wholeheartedly
interested in it and um it’s it’s been wonderful
and I’m also right here in my home so I’m gonna run down in about an hour and
go pick my son up from school and I have that kind of flexibility um if anything I struggle like everyone
who works from home no matter what it is you’re doing with the balance right because you’re it’s on an eight to five
job right the first thing I do it’s the last thing I do every day
um and it’s always on my mind yeah do you know how many hours I don’t want a day or two no I know right I
don’t want to know how many hours um I don’t I mean so in terms of filling
orders uh I I try and I have the expectation set out there but it’s a
Monday through Friday deal um and so when I when I have my shipping
times out there and I say five to seven business days um which is where I’m at right now
um that’s Monday through Friday the reality is I end up working Sunday nights or Saturday mornings or whatever
but it that’s that’s the standard and I would love to be faster right now than
that but again it’s I need help yeah I’m curious if you offer
by the yard or if everything’s for your sanity if it’s like I only offer these
sizes or what what does that look like for you right now I’m I’m doing I’m cutting fat quarters so I don’t I don’t
know if you can see behind me um I know that your your listeners can’t
but when I started off I literally had the cutting mat and the rotary cutter and I was like hand cutting the back
corners and around the holiday season my husband walked in he’s like no this is
not gonna work this can’t keep going um and he’s a he’s an engineer and that’s how his mind works he’s like we
need to sort this out you’re going to lose your mind like I’m already losing my mind it’s done that’s too late so he uh he
made me this proper cutting table with you know the the trough thing that goes
through it and uh and I use electric scissors so it’s doubled what I can what I can cut but I
do I do bundles I do Fat Quarter bundles and I do increments of a quarter yard so
I won’t if someone says 3 8 of a yard I ask them to to round up that’s
to protect my sanity and for inventory management okay
well yeah so I have so many questions first of all do you mind taking a few your of this area that I’m seeing and
the table and we can put it on absolute note so it’ll be um forward slash 93 so if people want to go
see photos of that and then I’m curious what platform do you use to sell your stuff I started off with Etsy because I
felt like that was the easiest plug and go platform to to figure out what I’m doing with and then
I moved on to I do have my own website now on Shopify and again I like Shopify a lot yeah and
that’s where again I I don’t I don’t know without those resources if I would be sitting here
um doing what I’m doing you know 15 years ago because I don’t have I’m not a programmer I don’t have
web design experience and I needed I needed that infrastructure to be in place in order for me to do what I’m
doing well and now I’m thinking if I were to run a fabric shop that one thing I like
about Shopify that I’m sure other platforms have as well and probably Etsy but anyhow um you know
if you buy a bolt and it comes with 15 yards okay that’ll have this many fat quarters
so you can go in and list exactly how many right you have so you don’t have to keep that inventory keep track I do keep
the inventory in a separate spreadsheet and it is time consuming and the reason is because
um at least for now uh Shopify and Etsy I haven’t found a plug-in that I
that works for me that where they will talk to each other I know they exist um but for the way that I do
um so you know I have Art Gallery solids for example and I have X amount of this color but that color is also being used
in two other bundles so how do you keep track of how many you really have available if you’ve sold 10 bundles and
six yards for example um I haven’t found a plug-in that can handle that kind of
math yet I will say if there are any Engineers who know how to make computer
programs I’ve got there are some holes out there that if I had the skills I would totally
develop these platforms one is a membership platform and then here’s one like please if you have that skill set talk
to us we have a program that will be hugely it’s just a matter of time right someone’s going to figure this out
um and I do I wish I tried some law forms are getting some little plugins
are getting close they just can’t quite get they haven’t quite pieced it out completely yet um but I I bet you I bet
you soon it’s coming soon I hope so I wish it was me I wish I had that skill set I just don’t so I don’t either yeah
so okay you do still have your Etsy shop then I do um it’s
Etsy has its own Universe its own yeah I mean people are accustomed to shopping there so I feel like I can’t completely
shut that off um and they’ve been it’s it’s been a
very solid Revenue stream the the downside is I lose a little bit
of control with that right um and the way things are listed are are I personally would find it more
um time consuming to shop there I’ve been to shop on a website or my website
because of the way things are listed and that’s just Etsy driving the way it’s listed
um but you know with my website I can have it listed the way I’d like but I have to
drive my own traffic to the website and that’s the thing because people would have to know to go to I would still go
to Etsy from time to time if I’m looking for something for sure because it’s like the Google of finding right Fabric or
whatever you know so yeah I still go there so I think that’s smart
um have you ever had someone buy something and you have you’ve sold out of it for
sure like uh how how I mean let’s hear worst case scenario how that played out and best case scenario how that played
out in real life absolutely it happens um and I feel horrible when it happens
most of the time people are very kind and I try to look through my orders on a
daily basis to see where I think that might happen where what happens the most
often is when I’m having a sale and it just goes faster than I can that I can keep up with
um and one of the things that I have started to do is I’m probably going to
move away from selling yardage on Etsy and just put my bundles there
smart that is smart and that way it’s it’ll be easier for me to see what’s
available it’s just one less thing to keep track of um and yeah I I offer them the refund
right away and everyone has been really kind and understanding but I’m a consumer too you haven’t had anyone yeah
I know right you haven’t had anyone be nasty uh not around that okay what areas
have you had the frustrated customer we all have them so I have them I mean
I think that the way that people get frustrated are people who uh who may not
really understand exactly what it is they’re purchasing um and um
and you know nine times out of ten I I can really count on one hand how many
times I’ve had a customer where it’s like okay that was really out of line one of the funniest ones I had was I made a um a quilt kit
um with one of my you know strongest collaborators which has been Susie
quilts I made a quilt kit for her that was awesome probably one of my best-selling quilts too and it was just black and white and one of the reviews I
got was um they gave me a three out of five which people probably think is okay on
Etsy that actually dings you anything less than a five days you um which really sucks right that’s why I
say you lose control of that um but they said it was three out of five because it’s just black and white fabric and like well you bought a two
colors like what did you yeah um but you know okay so well at least if
people read the reviews they’ll be like exactly you know what you’re buying and I just you know I kind of laughed to
myself and I did reach out and you know you know I’m sorry you’re disappointed what can I do to you make it better and she didn’t respond it’s fine but I would
say and really like 99 of the people have been lovely and I’m human and I’m one
person and I absolutely make mistakes and uh I own a mistake immediately and
make it right I go above and beyond to make it right and people recognize that so yeah and the good the good customers
who you want to keep around recognize that and the other one you’d rather not have them you know I have a really high return customer rate too which I’m
so grateful for so great well then you’re doing something right okay and we have to touch on this marketing strategy
yeah you making bundles for Susie quilts how did this happen and then I want to
talk about other marketing things that are working for you okay um I I have paid zero dollars for
marketing zero that’s phenomenal good job okay this is so cool I’m so proud of
you um and social media is huge again uh
Instagram is for Instagram is the biggest uh feeder for me I know other people have been more active with
Facebook uh and we can talk a little bit about that too because it is two different uh
demographics I think um and that might have something to do with the responses that I’m getting from
my customer base as well what do you mean by that I think that people who shop on Facebook
um or who only use Facebook tend to be older and they may not be as comfortable
buying online oh I hadn’t thought about that correlation you’re right okay maybe I’m
right maybe I’m not I don’t know no you are I would absolutely say that you’re right I mean it’s an older demographic
who’s only on who’s only on Facebook you and I are on Facebook and the younger generation might not be my kids
definitely are not they couldn’t be less interested yeah even Instagram my kids are like not on
Instagram that’s like us and older Instagram
[Laughter] so an Instagram crowd
um particularly those that started quilting or or really dug deep into quilting
during covid are used to buying online so the experience of
I mean I understand as a customer too you’re buying you’re looking at this bundle you’re just looking at pictures and then crossing your fingers you like
it when you get it right it’s I understand how and it’s not one thing’s not cheap fabric is not cheap so that’s
quite an investment to make when you can’t see the thing and touch the thing and hold it in your hand before you walk away with it so I do the best I can to
to have accurate descriptions and make my photographs as clear as possible
I’m not a photographer that’s something I would love to be able to to have an
assistant doing for me so on the on the agenda for the future
for the country this year um but I find that they’re used to that
experience and so um I don’t have a lot of pushback from
customers who are shopping through that stream um it’s usually people who are more
anxious about it to begin with OR who haven’t purchased fabric they’re
used to walking into a quilt shop or Jo-Ann Fabrics or they’ve never purchased fabric before who who have a
little more anxiety about about purchasing oh I could see that now that’s interesting I feel very naive
because even an older generation from myself let’s just say even the oldest who are still
alive who are quilting I guess I had just never thought because well my mom’s passed away but even if
she were around she is not used to buying online I hadn’t thought of that I had figured for sure of course they go
to the fabric store but but also online but no my mom never bought fabric of mine she would always go into a store
and see it I had not I feel so naive for not even thinking about that and I well
I mean if you think about it too my mother too like I think the world has just changed so fast in the online world
has changed so fast relative to their experience with it that Etsy is a good
example we’re used to you buy the thing on Amazon and it’ll be here this afternoon even which is crazy
as far as psychologically but no and I think people who follow me on
Instagram and who are Instagram feeds to my website not Etsy they know they’re buying from me a person one person not a
big Corporation um Etsy I think it’s a little more vague to
people because I think they think of etsy as an Amazon and they don’t always understand they’re interacting with
individual people they not Etsy is not sending you the thing it’s the person from Etsy that you’re buying
from um people who are not accustomed to making those purchases have more anxiety
around it which of course they would great I get it right well and especially even just if you’re a brand new quilter
my sister my twin sister made her first quilt it was very interesting to go through with her what does
Fat Quarter mean what absolutely different like well I want this fabric
where do I find it but now I want this one to go with it and just the whole beginner experience I was like oh it
would it’s very overwhelming when you’re brand new it is very overwhelming and I remember
I remember making my very first quilt I actually pulled it out last week I made it for my son when I was in that sewing
class and there’s nothing about that quilt that I like don’t get rid of it don’t get rid of it
um but I didn’t know I literally knew nothing about quilting other than I
thought this would be something that I would like to learn I knew nothing about fabric how to pull color together when I
say like I’m I it’s been an evolution and I and I know what I like now and I know how to put colors together this was
all I remember walking into the quilt shop and she asked me what I wanted to make and I’m like well I’m pregnant I’d
like to make a quilt for my baby so she chose all primary colors and it’s just
very the prints are very juvenile looking there’s something wrong with that it’s a baby quilt that’s not at all how my home
would look or even what his his baby room looked like at the time so I just let her do her
thing to help me and I think again that’s an evolution in the quilting industry too like I think the prints
have changed the color Aesthetics have changed and evolved with our generation
and those who are younger than us too well and I obviously I designed for art gallery but they were my first love and
fabric and I think me too because I grew up with my mom who had a very different
aesthetic for me and even when we went to the Quilting Shops I’m like I don’t have anything going to Quilt Market in
2015 blew my mind I was like whoa you know like they have trendy I’m still
processing through what I saw there okay because you just read it for the first time I’m so glad to hear that okay
because I’ve heard you know it’s changed over the years that’s not what it is but for you it was phenomenal you know I’m
sure that’s the case too right I I’m sure I have nothing to compare it to because that was my first one I’m so
happy but I am sure those loved it yeah I’m sure that those people who had been doing this much longer than me can see
how it’s changed um and I you know I I went to my first quilt con last year too and I had the
sense that um that also it was you know covet has had an impact it was probably smaller
you probably had less people present and vendors present and things like that compared to what it had
been in the past but it still blew my mind right still amazing well I did go to I’ve been now to two quilt cons I
really wish I could go with this trip but I can’t so 2024 I’ll be back but um I went to the one in what is it Austin
uh right before the like right as kovid was like well what is this thing the one right before yeah which was cool but I
went to the one last year too in Phoenix I didn’t I don’t know maybe I was just so like eyes wide like whoa but it felt
cool to me it feels very relevant like very uh very relevant I I just I walked
for hours and hours and hours and looked at all of those quilts and I kept going back through the aisles
because I would see something I hadn’t noticed before and um I’m just in awe and all of all the
talent energy I mean I leave those shows with so many ideas and excitement and I
keep hearing people like are is it going to keep especially Quilt Market is it going to happen still is it going to happen I’m like please for the love
please don’t let it die like I it is so huge to make you and me here we are like
I you know showing up there’s something to be said for just showing up yeah if I hadn’t
um if I hadn’t met up with Jessica that day I wouldn’t have known that you were at Quilt Market
um and yeah I wouldn’t be here if I hadn’t gotten in line to say hi so I do
want to go back though how did you start how did you ever team up with Susie quilts yeah okay so uh like I said I had
the Etsy store first um and the very first collaborator I’ll back up a little bit the very first
collaborator that I reached out with um with someone who I just followed on Instagram um Brooke sheiklin from edemonia Studios
I loved what she was doing and I asked if she would be willing to um to do a collaboration I wanted to put together a
bundle for a pattern that she was releasing um and in hindsight I’m like what get what that how did I have that Gall I
love it and I love it I’m so glad you did it takes that you know it does and
to her credit why in the world she said yes well I’ll speak to that as a as a
quilt pattern designer you’ll take any publicity so if you own a quilt shop because you’re the one
taking the gamble like for sure you bought the fabric you know like we’re out nothing you are simply marketing our
pattern for us so like sure we’ve got nothing to lose you know
um so she was really kind very sweet she she curated a bundle out of the very limited selection I had at the time
um and we did a little giveaway when her pattern released and I went from like I
think I had maybe five Instagram followers my mom was like included
um probably my husband um to I don’t know maybe like 80 people
out of that and that felt huge to me at the time and I you know it’s not about the number of followers I
I’m the first person to tell you that but when you’re starting out to go from zero to something right right
so she gave me that little leg up I reached out to a few other people and I
was so pleasantly surprised at how many yeses I got for the probably for exactly what you’re
saying right it they understand I’m really I’m holding the fabric I am taking the gamble so to speak yeah
you’re paying for it yeah um but I have found the community the quilting Community just to be so kind
and welcoming and um uh just willing to to be collaborative
and I really appreciate that so with Susie um I sent her an email I actually sent
her like three emails over the course of a couple of months and I said to my
husband I’m like all right this is gonna be the last one because I don’t want to seem like I’m stalking her
torturing a good lesson right here you kept with it and honestly she probably wouldn’t recognize if you were sending I
don’t know I mean well so here’s the thing she’s I mean she I had zero or
relative to her followers um but also I knew because she’s very
public with her her well I’m sure she she picks and chooses what she wants to present but I knew she was pregnant and
she was I can’t remember if she had had the baby or about to have a baby I’m a mom I know totally what that time
in your life is like and it was her second baby which the jump from one to two is
rockster world yeah for sure and I said to myself like I’m sure she has other
things on her mind I’ll just send her one more and then I’m Gonna Let It Go um and around that time I believe she
had also hired probably because she was she knew she needed help right a Communications manager her name is Laura
Hopper um and she responded to me and was so
kind and so lovely and she had seen some of the posts that I had done on Instagram for other bundles I was doing
and said I love what you’re doing I love your aesthetic and we would love to work with you
um I was like hi fur yeah I probably
still am and it has been such a fun
a fun rewarding collaboration it’s been great for for the for the shop but I
thoroughly enjoy working I work with Laura pretty closely when we when a new pattern is coming out we put together a
bundle to go with it and it’s so much fun that is so cool so does she how when when you work together is it like you
saying here are some fabrics and you kind of bounce ideas off like let’s trade out this one and try that or that kind of um so she’ll send me should they
have a little pattern testing group so the pattern goes out to the group of testers
um and then if Laura wants to work with our shop she’ll reach out or I’ve worked with other pattern testers in that group
for Susie um and sometimes the testers
are just open to anything that you have um an inspiration for sometimes it’s
Laura would send me a picture of the black and white quilt for example or another
we did another sort of neutral quilt bundle and she’ll say we want to make
this what do you have that we could work with and we’ll send pictures back and forth until we’re happy with it and then
I sent her the fabric she makes it and they take wonderful pictures okay so she’ll make it so do you ever like sell
a bundle to the pattern tester so that someone will make it with your bundle usually if if someone is if it’s a
collaboration I have with the pattern designer then I will usually give the a
bundle for free to the tester to make it okay and so they will say I want like
Susie for example would say I want it made like this and so it’s Susie or Laura who’s making it not the tester
I’ve done both I’ve I’ve had Susie okay I’ve had Susie or Laura make it I’ve also had pattern testers make it either
way I’m giving them the that bundle right yeah because it’s mutually beneficial right they’ll end up with
lots of examples of potential for what this pattern can do and I end up with beautiful pictures of
a finished product which always is more productive for me to post than just a
picture of a fabric bundle I love this because this is marketing at its finest
and and I’ve talked to this before if you want to collaborate with someone think of how it’s a win-win how can you
serve them right because they’re going to be serving you so there’s always a way to find and people like I don’t have
many followers I’m like take work off someone’s plate you know do something for them there’s always something you
can opt for sure and it will be a benefit and I haven’t forgotten what that’s like I mean I now have it’s still
very modest following compared to what you would have or what Susie would have but it’s an Engaged group that is that
is purchasing from me which is wonderful and I know I have more than maybe other people who are starting out and I have
worked with other pattern designers who are just getting started and I love it it’s been wonderful to work with them
and to I’ll offer the same thing for them I give them the the bundle and
and I get wonderful pictures in return you know what’s kind of cool too is
because of all the fabric that you have I feel like you’re in a position where
you could take on someone who is a brand new pattern designer and has 10 followers absolutely
because what are you out you know like that fabric you can sell elsewhere if it doesn’t sell to Their audience you know
so that’s really attractive for a brand new pattern designer to reach out to someone who has a lot of fabric and who
does collaborate with designers because you aren’t hurt any by having it not
sell well you’re still getting great pictures and you’re you know it’s still a win-win absolutely and it’s fun that’s
the fun part right yeah yeah have you seen different
um designers obviously not names but some have much more selling power than others
I mean there’s definitely a correlation between um the celebrity pseudo celebrity
Quilters out there um if they are posting something that that you’ve collaborated with it sells more it’s
reaching a lot of larger audience but I’ve also um I’ve also done bundles for people who
uh don’t have as large of number of followers or they’re just getting
started that’s done very very well it’s sometimes hard to tell what what will be
the hit sometimes I just know too really how so well I know and you have an
instinct I guess I I I I saw when I saw the pattern this would be not this past
year but the year before I think Susie did a pattern called holiday party and as soon as I saw it I’m like oh that’s
going to be really popular it was just really sweet it’s accessible um it was nice for beginner Quilters
which I think even more experienced Quilters like those easier patterns I do because I like the instant gratification
right I mean we look at those complicated ones and it’s like oh I’d love to have that but we need a quick
finish you just need it right beautiful you need it to keep your your your mojo going for sewing right or SoJO yes
because if every quilt takes a year like nah you can’t do that right well and I
am thinking too I remember I had a pattern come out that I thought would be really popular and it wasn’t I’m not
even gonna say the title because some people have bought it and I’m like oh thank you for buying that one but um and I don’t want to subtract anyone from
buying it but I reached out to a fabric shop who I love who I feel like is fairly successful and I asked for them
if they’d be interested in putting together a bundle and they did and I know it didn’t sell well I just know it and it was very humiliating on my end
and so sometimes you may want to reach out to someone who has a bigger audience
but it might it doesn’t always mean that it’s going to sell well you know that’s very true and sometimes the patterns
that I think like my better together I talk about that a lot it’s so simple it’s our best seller like those bundles
people who put together bundles for that it’s like boom boom boom it sells and you just there is a bit of a gamble of
what’s going to work and what’s not have you ever put together something where you’re like oh this will for sure be a hit and it wasn’t yeah that’s definitely
happened so it’s starting out I went really I started off with solids only because
solids I know there’s always going to be a market for solids and then I started to dip into the patterns well when you
start I think the first uh the first person or the first uh a
company I got a wholesale uh group with was checker so if you go into Checkers website and
start looking at patterns your brain will explode like I don’t even know where to start with
how to narrow this down I can only have so much space and I’m not trying to conquer
I’m not trying to conquer of a sewing World in that regard I can’t hold everything obviously
so so I I did work fairly closely with my rep
and told her what I like what I personally like and she was invaluable
to saying okay I think you should start off with with these three look look at what they’re doing look at these three
manufacturers and what they’re doing and see if there’s something from there that you would draw from um and eventually I ended up getting a
contract too with with art gallery and the Art Gallery is I like everything
practically that they come out with so it’s hard because I can’t carry everything but I do love so much of what
they have and I found that when I do that when I stick with what I personally like
I don’t have a hard time selling it anytime that I’ve made that I’ve been
tempted to make the decision of well it’s not what I would quilt with but I bet you that will be popular
I have learned um the hard way that I have a harder time selling it and I don’t know if it’s
because I don’t think that it’s my I don’t think it’s personal to my aesthetic it could
just be because I love it I have a more genuine ability to to be to show my excitement
for it and I can say like I think twice I’ve made those like oh I don’t know if I should have chosen that but so for the
most part if I’m if I’m putting it out into the world I believe in I believe in it and I also wonder too because you’re
attracting an audience who’s attracted to the things that you’re attracted to and so then if you put something out
that’s not true to that you know it’s a little different they’re they’re probably like
oh you know because they like what you’ve been putting out I am curious how did it differ those things that you
thought well let’s try that was it the color was it the prince the mixture that didn’t sell so well yeah or how how is
it different from your your go-to look you know um okay so I’ll be honest and
that I for the first time this year I carried a Halloween print um I probably won’t do that again I
probably won’t care how because it’s a very I got it because I thought
it was really really cute and they glow in the dark and I thought oh it’d be such a cute little trick-or-treat bags and
um now the reality is if I’d had the time to make trick-or-treat bags and and show that I’m sure it would have done
better but I don’t I don’t have the time right now right and I need I need to do
that so um it didn’t sell as great as I would have liked for it too but it’s also really specific I mean when I think
about quilting I personally don’t make a Halloween specific quilt true so
um other holiday like a Christmas school I think there’s probably more people who are making Christmas quilts but
so I just got um I got taken by the adorableness of these prints yeah they did a good job marketing
and that’s okay it it did sell and it has sold and I’m it’s fine but um
yeah so a lesson learned and and you know I yep I have to say
I’ve been pretty lucky I’m like looking around there’s really there’s really nothing in this space that I don’t personally genuinely love
um it’s a wonderful moment to come downstairs in the morning and walk into this room I do smile like I get to do
this this is pretty awesome well and I do want to ask too because I
know a lot of people who opened up shops during covid fabric shops are now closing and they’re I heard this talk of
like sales are down have you seen this how are you doing with that I can appreciate why that might be the case
for a lot of people and I have to say one of the reasons I think I’m I’m still here this is literally my full-time job
it is all I do and it’s not that if you’re doing this as a side hustle that
you can’t be successful but I think it is extremely time consuming and
the scale of what you’re putting out into the world if you’re also you know have
another full-time job it it has to be on a smaller scale so that might not feel as worth it for someone perhaps I
haven’t seen a dip in sales um one of the one of the biggest things that I’ve done was these Advent calendar
boxes it’s a fat quarter like you have a little packet with a fat quarter in it so you open a different packet each day
um I did them this was my second holiday second Christmas doing them and I do them not just for Christmas you
can have them for I do have one that’s a 31 day box so you can open one all through December and countdown for the
new year they’re extremely time consuming I have to say to put together
uh so I did really well with that the first year and I wasn’t sure how that would go
this year because they are expensive it’s and it’s a purchase that you’re
probably purchasing for yourself versus fabric that you’re making for a quilt that you might gift to someone
and I wasn’t sure what that would look like um with the holidays this year and it was fine I it was a slight increase from
the year before and I said if it’s stable I’ll confile that as a win so it was a slight increase that’s cool I
actually not heard of I’ve heard Advent whatever but I didn’t know what that looked like so I think that’s a really
fun idea yeah and we love to we love that adrenaline of a surprise and if you
can you know find something that I know I love fabric but I want that element of a surprise you know thrill so treat
yourself and I like that I know there’s there’s you know I know I’m not the only one out there doing it there’s other there’s other people doing it I do have
to look next year at how how to manage that piece because they do come together at the busiest time of the year and they
are very time consuming to put together so yeah so yeah evaluating that one so
yeah business has been steady for you you haven’t seen a decline with I haven’t so I feel really again really fortunate
with that too and it’s a lot of return customers well that says a lot too now
you mentioned you have one you’re going to go get your child from school 15 year old son how many kids do you have how old are they because that plays into you
know how you can work but you know it absolutely does I’m glad you actually mentioned that because I think for me
this was it was the right moment for me personally to do this um for variety to give different reasons
and the stage I am in my life definitely is part of it my kids are my daughter just turned 14 and my son’s 15. yeah so
I like very much still picking them up at school and being here when they’re
home from school um but they’re also you know I’m not I’m
not making after school snacks yeah and I’m not certainly not in the diaper stage and all of that they’re not you
know teenagers have their own jobs for sure my kids are about the same age so yes I feel this deeply yeah
but that hand on Hands-On mommy thing is um it’s not as relevant to me right now so
well like I started my business when my youngest went into kindergarten and so I can’t speak to someone starting
a business with young children at home I just know for me it I don’t know that that would have worked you know so I
don’t want to discourage anyone I just don’t know what that would look like I just know that the timing worked out really well for me in my situation
um so it does you know those are things to take into consideration is yeah I have I had a career change
um when my daughter went to kindergarten that’s when I switched to International Education
um and I partially did that because for the most part starting off I was working
while they were also at school and that was wonderful but in terms of what I’m doing now I I don’t think I would have
been able to manage that with kids running around um right I personally couldn’t have right because some people can some
people can things different but with yeah well this this space that I’m in right now was at one point filled
with their toys too so there’s that right bit of nostalgia
I don’t know where I would have put fabric um I didn’t have any space to put fabric because this wasn’t their space
right um yeah I I looked around when covet hit
and I was already thinking you know what it’s my turn to have this room
so yeah for our listeners who want to check out your shop and take a look where can they find you
so the Etsy Shop is global fiber shop the website is also
and my Instagram is global underscore fiber awesome well yay okay everyone go check
it out check out the fabric bundles that you do and thank you so much for being here this was super fun I enjoyed
chatting very insightful thank you yeah it was wonderful thank you for having me
Laura thank you so much for being on the podcast it was such a pleasure chatting it’s really neat to hear how you have
had success and how you’re very Savvy with your marketing I love it and
I know our listeners loved hearing from you and learning from you just such a pleasure
if you have not already please leave a review for The Crafty career podcast let me know what you think of the podcast if
you’re liking the show how it’s helping you with your business and next Friday I’ll be back with a brand new episode I
have Stacy tushel she is actually a mentor I’m in her Mastermind this year
she is amazing she runs two a one brick and mortar and one online shop both are
seven figures uh very successful and she helps business owners it’s called
well-oiled operations she helps business owners run their business like a well-oiled operation and so I can’t wait
to introduce you to Stacy next week and to let you learn what you can from from her from my mentor and my Mastermind
Guru so join me next Friday when meeting Stacy tischel until then have a
wonderful week foreign


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