Thank you to all who took a few minutes to give me some feedback on your experiences with on-line shopping. Having my own shop is like a dream come true. I am hoping to tailor it to the needs of my customers. With your input, it will be a bit easier to do so.
Above you will note an extremely accurate graph, based on my findings.
Other than the scientifically precise data graphed in my chart, here are a few key things I found out:
- There are only a very few of us who do not shop on-line at some time or other.
- Of the on-line shoppers, some of us don’t feel comfortable, or didn’t know it was ok to, engage the shop owner in conversation. Let’s take a quick minute here. Chatting with my customers is one of my favorite parts of having an Etsy shop. I encourage shoppers to send questions to the shop owner. There is ALWAYS a contact me link on any Etsy shop. If that shop owner doesn’t respond soon (within a day at maximum) it is a red flag. You might choose to shop elsewhere. With smart phones and tablets, it is very easy for me to respond within minutes. Even if I tell them I cannot help them at the moment and will get back in touch in a few hours. That is what we would do if there was a long line in a brick and mortar shop, right? Ask for the customer’s patience and try to serve them at the next available opportunity.
- Designers: Oh my gosh. There are so many and we makers are definitely fond of certain artists. Thank you for listing those that you really love. Many are designers I am familiar with (and have stocked their fabric in my shop) and others are new to me. It will be fun to look them up and see what else is out there!
- As for types of fabrics, you are a very eclectic group. Nearly half are loving modern fabrics, no surprise there. Nearly half are enjoying traditional and/or repro fabrics. That is more than I would have guessed. Batiks are clearly a fabric someone loves or doesn’t like. Not a whole lot in between. I like them quite a bit. One of my favorite quilts I have made so far was with batiks. (It is shown at the top of this post.) I also think they are great in art quilts. Simulating nature with batiks works quite well.
- Novelty prints have their place. Those of us making baby quilts and children’s clothing seem to like them. Holiday fabrics are fun for some makers. But of my readers, there are only a few who seem to really get a kick out of them.
- Precuts? Again, this depends on the situation. My take on it was people enjoy winning them or using them for projects where they really want to incorporate the entire line. I had some definite ‘No, I don’t use them’ answers. I get that. Precuts can be limiting as the fabric is already cut to smaller pieces and there is no going back from there. As for me, I do like them. At this point, I don’t plan to carry them. I have cut some fat quarter bundles of the fabrics I have and listed those but with a limited start-up budget, I will not be stocking a lot of precuts, Down the road, maybe so. Not just yet though. I did hear from many readers that it would be fun to be able to curate a custom bundle or to buy curated fat quarter bundles. This is something I have in the works. You will hear more on that soon.
- Many readers left suggestions or hints as to what they might like to see when on-line shopping. Ideas such as the following were presented:
- Work on the cost of shipping. Shipping gets expensive and makes on-line shopping less appealing. I have taken a lot of time to weigh fabric and adjust my shipping schedule on Etsy to be economical. I find I can ship 1/2 yard of fabric for about $3.00. If shipping large pieces of yardage, it makes sense to use a flat rate envelope for about $6.75. Quite a bit of fabric fits in a flat rate envelope. Either way, I do try to make the shipping as economical as I can. Also, shipping overages of $1.00 or more are automatically refunded to you. This rarely happens.
- Novelty flannels for making quilts and pajamas was a request. I love making my kids pj’s. Even though they are adults, it is a fun thing to do. I hope to have some choices for you this summer so you might be able to work on them before the holidays.
- Describe the scale of the print. I am doing this! Currently, if there is a larger item in the print, I have included the measurements of it in the description on the listing. I am hoping this will give the shopper an idea of how the scale works. I know many shops include a ruler in the photo or put a quarter on the fabric to indicate the scale. I will continue to include this information for you.
- Another reader mentioned she would like to have a description of the drape or the feel of the fabric. This is very subjective. I will try to include it in the description though. Certain manufacturers, Art Gallery Fabric comes to mind, are known for producing fabric with a lovely hand (or feel) to it. Their fabric has a wonderful silky feeling which makes it great for both quilting and garment sewing, I do have a number of bolts from Art Gallery.
- A number of readers mentioned that they don’t really like fabrics with large scale prints. Or, they do like the fabric, purchase it and then don’t know what to do with it. Here are my thoughts. There are many stunning lines that have a few large scale prints (designers such as Maureen Cracknell, Bari J, Alison Glass and Katarina Roccella come to mind). I find these fabrics are wonderful for garments, tote bags, purses, pouches, and pillows. Think gorgeous throw pillows to add a pop of color to your living space. For quilting, I think a design which allows you to fussy cut the larger focal point works well. I get they are a challenge sometimes but don’t automatically write them off. The manufacturer often (almost always) has several items made from a line of fabric for the shopper to see the fabric in use. If you can’t find it, email me and I will send you the link. Art Gallery and Andover Fabric are great about providing this.
OK – if you are still with me, thank you! Let’s get to the winner. Patricia, your name was pulled by my very talented name-pulling daughter. I will contact you via email with a code to use for $25.00 off your purchase at my shop. Again, thank you for all of your comments, ideas and support. It means everything to me. Remember, if you are wanting to shop, my readers will receive 15% off their order of $5.00 or more using code NANDFREADERS15. The code doesn’t expire until February 12, 2017. Hop on over and take a look!