No Easy Solution

Have you been reading the on-going debate about Craftsy and their (possible) decision to release a privately owned fabric and/or yarn line? People are getting a bit heated about this and I am curious what you think.  I am a loyal follower of Abby Glassenberg, blogger at While She Naps. Abby has built a successful blog, has a fantastic weekly newsletter and a lovely Etsy shop where she sells patterns to make childrens’ stuffed toys. She inspires me and I have learned a huge amount from her informative newsletters. (If you haven’t checked out her blog and newsletters, I highly recommend both.)

Last week she blogged about the fact that Craftsy has registered two new trademarks to (possibly) begin manufacturing and selling a line of fabric and a line of yarn. Because Craftsy has such a huge customer base, they sell a great deal of fabric and supplies at below retail pricing. People are in somewhat of an uproar because they are upset about yet another bigbox retailer squashing the smaller retailers.  After Abby’s post, in which Craftsy declined to comment, there was a bit of conversation – most of it on the negative side. However, much of the arguments commented on this post centered around Craftsy’s treatment of pattern designers and teachers. I am not going to go into the specifics because Abby laid it out clearly in her post already.

My opinion is this. We live in a world of huge on-line retailing. Amazon and the like make it nearly impossible for smaller brick and mortar shops to compete. This makes it a big struggle for those shops to be profitable. I am a frequent on-line shopper (Craftsy included) and also a loyal supporter of my local quilt shop. There are benefits to each. With on-line shopping, I don’t have to make the twenty mile round trip to the LQS and can shop whenever I want. With on-line shopping, I usually get a good deal on fabric but there is a price to be paid for shipping.  At my LQS, I can touch the fabric and get a better look at the colorways. I have a really hard time with color – it isn’t my strong suit and I have purchased on-line several times, only to be disappointed that the colors weren’t what I thought they would be. The added benefit of expertise, advice and a social experience offered at the LQS is not to be matched by shopping somewhere like Craftsy. There is a place for both in my fabric budget (and it is entirely possible the budget needs to be reduced!)

As far as pattern designers and paid bloggers, I am of the opinion they should work for a fair wage. If a corporation such as Craftsy or Moda (think Moda Bakeshop) isn’t offering a fair wage, don’t take them up on the opportunities offered. It is the decision of the designer.  Personally, I love the patterns that are individually designed and offered on Craftsy. Many a quilt blogger/designer has their paid and free patterns posted on Craftsy which provides some exposure for the designer and a huge benefit to us, the crafting community, But again, if the designer doesn’t think the pay is commensurate, don’t go there.

In response to all of this hub bub, John Levisay, CEO of Craftsy, wrote an open letter to Abby for our community of makers. You can read it here. Nothing earth shattering is contained in his response. It is what I might write, were I in his position. They are a large, for profit, corporation. They sells on-line classes, patterns and supplies – for PROFIT. Just as Amazon, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Fabric.com aren’t overly concerned about the profitability of the brick and mortar shops, I don’t think Craftsy is terribly worried. Is this the right thing? Who knows. It isn’t really a question of right and wrong to me. It is just the way things are and will continue to be. Overall, I thought the letter was respectful and it made sense to me.  Things are forever changing as the world of technology grows and allows businesses to develop in new ways.

Finally, this is the first time I have written a post without pictures. Kind of strange so I am going to add one here for your viewing enjoyment!!  What a huge mess. I have decided that it is time to clean this place up. My sewing room has become a huge disaster. Like beyond ridiculous.  OK – how about you? Do you take issue with the Craftsy decision to market their own lines? Should they be able to sell below retail? Do I have to clean my room? Is your room messier than mine? Is a blog post without pictures acceptable? Do tell.

IMG_20150914_3829

Have a wonderfully creative day all.  🙂

 

27 thoughts on “No Easy Solution

  1. selina

    Craftsy is a business “for Profit” We have a choice whether or not to use them. For me it depends on the day, the item and my mood.
    Your room is a tad messy but I’m sure mine at the moment is tied or winning. I get to tidying up after 3 of 4 projects of accumulated piles, trash, and open drawers hitting me in the shins.
    I’m partial to pictures but like shopping it depends on the day, the blog and my mood.
    Apparently I was in the mood today and read even without knowing if there was a picture. I generally like what you post so that was my incentive. Have a great day.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi Selina,
      Thanks for your thoughtful response to this post today. I love hearing the thoughts of others – it is great feedback. I worked on cleaning up my space today and oh, it feels so much better! Plus I found a few things that I had been missing for a while. 🙂 So glad you came by.

      Take care,
      B.

      Reply
  2. JanineMarie

    I always like reading your blog, pictures or not, but it was fun to see your studio at the end. I was unaware of the Craftsy controversy. The world is definitely changing, and we all contribute to it, especially when we look for bargains. There are times I go out of my way to pay full price just to support a local business (quilts and otherwise) because I want it to be successful, and I always shop local before going online if I can’t find what I’m looking for. Usually, though, my online purchases are groups of fabrics that I hope will be cohesive in a single project (like a donation quilt) or solids that I’m familiar with. It’s just too hard to match things up on a computer screen. Shipping costs are a big factor for me, and I tend to shop only when shipping is free or geared to what I’m buying instead of a flat rate. I would guess that with more large businesses getting into sales, quality service will also be a big factor. I don;t know enough about designers and paid bloggers to comment on that. My “studio” (ha) is neater than yours only because I had to clean everything up for the past weekend. It’s slowly on it’s way toward chaos again and I just read twice in the last two days that messiness is associated with creativity. So don’t clean up too much. Oops, long winded as always.

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      First of all, Janine, your feedback is never long winded and it is always much appreciated. I agree with you about the hesitation to match colors on-line. The items I buy most on-line are a piece of something that is part of a set or a line. Also precuts – many times the price on line for a set of charm squares or a jelly roll just can’t be beat. But the purchase of separate pieces for a particular project – that is best done in “real life” so I can see things together. I would estimate that I do 80% of my shopping in our local shops.
      As for your last point about creativity being associated with messiness, I think I must be becoming more and more creative by the day. I certainly have less and less interest in the whole housekeeping thing these days. 🙂

      Take care,
      B.

      Reply
  3. Julie Stocker

    I agree with you that we shop in different place with different expectations. There are moments when I need something quickly, and online is the place to do it. FYI, my LQS also has an online venue, and I can choose to buy online and have them ship to me too. As far as Craftsy offering an independent fabric line, more competition encourages innovation and consumer choice. I do believe smaller businesses can still compete, but more likely in a niche market. They can offer hops, Row by Row, sew-in’s, etc. whereas that loyalty of a customer to a large box store/conglomerate isn’t so likely.

    Your room is still cleaner than mine. I spent an hour a day for several days cleaning up before a friend needed to stop by, and she still offered to help me ‘tidy’. She had no idea how much worse it was before. I will say I do run my vacuum to keep the floor clean, but there are stacks of waiting projects on most flat surfaces at the moment. You’ll feel so much better once it clean, and if you don’t, you can come help me finish mine. : )

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hey Julie – great thoughts on the subject, thanks so much! I completely agree and the value offered by my LQS is certainly in the activities, the assistance and advice available. I am very loyal to the shop owner and love her fabric selection.

      I made good progress on cleaning up the mess in my sewing room. Feels much better. Of course it will deteriorate quickly over the next couple of sewing sessions. It isn’t that imporant – it just felt good to get a handle on it and sort through some of the chaos.

      Have a great evening.
      Bernie

      Reply
  4. Deb

    I was also unaware of this issue…but after reading your blog, I agree with you. We are living in a different world with so many options. As an avid online shopper (it serves a purpose – convenience) I love to shop in a brick and mortor shop the most. I rarely buy fabric online because I am afraid it won’t be what I am expecting. We have a farm business selling what we grow directly to our consumers. They can almost always find our products cheaper but we feel we have a “leg up” with our products because we value quality and great customer service and there is something to be said for that.
    It’s all about choice and we have lots of it!

    Deb

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      It is all about customer service, for sure. Living in a rural area, there is some convenience to be had with on-line shopping. More for items that I already am familiar with. When choosing varied fabrics for a project, I feel better doing that in person to be sure of the colors.

      Do you utilize farmer’s markets or CSA programs to sell your product?

      Thanks for your feedback Deb.

      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
  5. Kristi

    I Just found your blog via the block hop! I never shopped much online until I moved to a rural area. Rural areas are huge markets that brick and mortar stores will never be able to fulfill. It’s inevitable that as in the brick and mortar world, the online world will also develop the big-box companies and the smaller niche retailers. Each one of them has it’s positives and negatives. I use both, depending on the need. For fabric, because I like modern styles, I buy from smaller retailers (one of my favorite stores is in another state by my mothers house!), but I also frequent the local craft/fabric store in town!

    Also…I’m in Northern California foothills too, I recognized your pictures of the smoke (and the library books!). There are a few of us modern quilters out here!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hi, I’m glad you came across the blog! Are you very close to the Grass Valley/Nevada City area?
      Which shops do you like best? So nice to have a reprieve from the smoke today and even a little bit of rain.

      I agree with you. There is a place for both types of retailers. I know I certainly give them both a share of my business!

      Hope you’ll be back! Nice to have a local reader. 🙂

      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
      1. Kristi

        I am! I shop at the Ben Franklin too! The gals all recognize me in there now. 🙂 I save my big cuts for the 20% off day (like quilt backs, etc..). I occasionally pop into the Quilt store in Grass Valley. I’ve bought a few fabrics on-line as well. But I think mostly, I save my mad-money for when I travel. My family is in the Seattle, Washington area, so we drive I-5 a couple times a year. There is a wonderful HUGE fabric store in Portland, Oregon that has all the modern fabrics. And close to my mothers is a small quilt shop in Issaquah, Washington that specialized in modern fabrics. Last time I visited my mother I didn’t have a car, so my DAD (thanks DAD) drove me to the fabric store and read on his Kindle while I shopped. I’m saving for my Christmas time visit!

        Reply
        1. Bernie Post author

          That is so cool. Maybe we will meet up in Ben Franklin or Sugar Pine sometime? Let me know if you are going to the bag day (20% off day) at the end of the month. I go just about every month.

          See you around!
          Bernie

          Reply
  6. Deb @ Frugal Little Bungalow

    Here in PA we’d say “REDD UP” Your Room 🙂 I think it’s PA Dutch or something…one of many of the strange expressions we have here.

    I went over to Abby’s blog briefly as I’d not really heard about the Craftsy decision or anything.

    YARN: I don’t knit or anything though on occasion I will tie a quilt versus hand-quilting. The one time that I bought fancy yarn of a silk variety it all came undone in the quilt once washed and I had to redo it with the cheaper regular stuff so it probably wouldn’t affect any yarn shops….we don’t have any little yarn shops or quilt shops in this area. I would have to travel for an hour to get to a quilt shop. Even the local JoAnn Fabrics moved to a different mall a half hour away so most of my shopping is done online.

    Whether onine or IF I had a local shop, I’d still wait for clearance sales at the end of the season for fabrics. One other thing though. I am a hand quilter for the most part and belong to a large group of hand quilters on FB. Many a time I’ve seen ladies comment on there that they go to a local shop and can’t find what they need for handquilting as the shops are more focused on machine quilting supplies, so they are forced to buy some things online anyway! 🙂

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      I swear this blog teaches me something every day and today it is the phrase ‘redd up’. I looked it up and it is PA Dutch and has Scottish roots. Apparently it is particularly popular in the Pittsburgh area. Anyway, I did redd up that room and it feels so much better!

      Interesting about the lack of hand quilting supplies as that seems to be back on trend. I, too, am a sale shoppe. This is an expensive hobby so it pays me well to watch for sales. Our main hobby/craft store (Ben Franklin’s) has a 20% off everything sale on the last Wednesday of the month. I usually keep a running list of supplies that I need and shop that day. Also like you, I don’t live close to anything. joAnn’s is a 90 minute round trip drive for me. I rarely go there. It is too crazy in there. The fabric is a poorly organized and it’s hard for me to find anything. So it is either my LQS, which I love but it doesn’t often have a sale, or Ben Franklins, or sales on line. Craftsy has some amazing sales and their pre cuts are very affordable. So I spread it around fairly!

      Thanks as always for stopping over Deb. Have a great day.
      PS- it rained a bit yesterday! Heavenly!

      Reply
  7. Linda

    I loved the glimpse of your sewing space. It looks pretty clean to me! I just cleaned mine up because we had company over the weekend.
    The Craftsy controversy – I feel pretty much as you do, but honestly I don’t care much either way. I didn’t read all of Abby’s letter and barely two sentences of Craftsy’s response. I tend to buy online because my LQS is way behind the times, and the other one I’d like to visit more often is nearly a 50 mile round trip.
    The way people buy anything is an individual and very personal thing to me.
    Remember I’m old and set in my ways. 😉

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      You’re right in that buying habits are a personal thing (except that good old Google knows pretty much everything we do, what we buy, what we had for dinner last night…?) people get stirred up about stuff like this though and I find that interesting.

      Ummm, my room was not clean at all but thank you for being so polite… It does look much better now that I organized it a bit. And you aren’t old either ? because if you are, than I am as well and I don’t care for that idea.

      Reply
  8. Allison

    So many wise and thoughtful comments drawn from your very interesting post. I do a mix of on-line and bricks and mortar shopping for all of the reasons given above. I’ve been tempted by fabric bargains on Craftsy before but then quickly pressed the cancel button as over here in the UK shipping and taxes just about double the price and make the deal far from a bargain!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Oh my gosh, yess Allison – the shipping would certainly negate any bargain to be found on Craftsy. Thanks so much for chiming in. Love hearing from you. 🙂

      B.

      Reply
  9. Stephanie

    Interesting post. I was not aware of the drama with Craftsy but I’ve never purchased anything from them. There’s only a few online fabric stores I shop from because I know I’m getting speedy service and quilt shop quality fabric. I’m lucky to live in an area where there are 6 LQSs within 15 miles of my home. Sometimes I go to my LQS, but they are more traditional and don’t carry all the designers I love and they never have all the fabrics from one line. With Craftsy’s new line of fabric the first question I ask is “will it be quilt shop quality fabric?” There’s a well know online vendor that has lower prices on their fabric and they claim it is high quality fabric, I was gifted some from a friend one time and I can feel the difference between their fabric and what I know to be quilt shop quality. I also have a LQS that simply doesn’t sell notions and tools. They only sell fabric. When asked why, the owner says you can get that stuff cheaper at Joann and she sends customers there. But she does stock the most AMAZING fabric that no one else is my large city carries. This LQS has been open for several years with that philosophy and it seems to work. I think your sewing room looks great… a messy sewing room is a sign that sewing is happening!!!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thanks for your input Stephanie. Craftsy does carry some really nice stuff. Just bought Aurifil 50 wt for $7.80 per spool. That is a pretty darn good price. They have Kaffe Fassett, some Cotton and Steele, Kona solids etc. It is tough to resist! I think your LQS owner sounds very savvy and she probably does well developing a very loyal customer base.

      So nice to hear from you.
      B.

      Reply
  10. Cassandra

    I just bought some Aurifil from craftsy, too. My first craftsy purchase, and my first Aurifil. DC has NO fabric shops! There are a couple LQS in the suburbs, but it takes me 40-45min minimum to get to any of them, so I buy online, but I buy almost exclusively from small businesses. My favorite is Del Ray Fabrics, run by a member of my Guild so she is local. I can order on Friday and have it delivered Monday–amazing! I did buy my sewing machine from one of the LQS’s, and I try to buy something whenever I go to a shop. That said, I don’t feel strongly about the craftsy controversy–it seems premature? Overblown?–and think I agree with you. I love seeing your sewing room, and getting a little glimpse of your home. Mine is a “sewing area” so I have to keep it fairly clean. Of course, my house is filled with toys and little boy messes. I can at least control my own!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Hey Cassandra, so nice to hear from you! Hope all is well. Of course you have little boy mess. You are in the thick of it right now. However it doesn’t actually change a whole lot. When my boys come home for visits, there is big boy mess everywhere. I love it tho. Great deal on the Aurifil, right? I agree that the Craftsy thing is a bit over the top. But I have really enjoyed hearing about everyone’s opinions.

      Take care,
      Bernie

      Reply
  11. Heather

    I mix up where I shop, depending on what I’m looking for. I don’t use Craftsy much, I’ve downloaded just one pattern. I tried to get “into” it, but frankly I just don’t want to do another online thing. I’m happy enough looking at blogs and online fabric retailers. Much else and I’d never get off the computer, let alone sew.
    And… if you think your sewing room is messy, you’d probably faint dead away if you walked into mine. The horror!

    Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Isn’t that the truth Heather. Sometimes I just get sucked in to the whole on-line thing and than stop to think what a time waste it can be. Hard to strike that balance.
      My room is getting better now and I hope to spend some time in there this afternoon. After I get off the darn computer! 🙂

      Reply
    1. Bernie Post author

      Thank you Val. That room just gets out of hand. I love when I get it organized and in no time the crazies set in again and fabric is scattered everywhere! These posts have been fun to read through.

      Reply
  12. Melanie McNeil

    What great comments you got on this post! I read Abby’s discussion and the follow-up at the time it came out. I don’t have a strong opinion, because like you, I shop in a variety of ways. My preference is LQS, because I prefer to see and touch the fabrics. I like the interaction with the shop owner and employees, and I often run into friends when I’m out. But sometimes I shop at JoAnn’s, and occasionally I buy online. I like having ALL of those available to me.

    As to blog posts with no photos, I frequently do that, so obviously I think it’s okay! Stop by any time and check. I’m participating in Cheryl’s link party, too.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.