Life After the Latest Quilt Show

It’s Monday afternoon after the West Virginia Quilt Festival and we’ve been home about a day. Laundry is done, suitcases unpacked. Still have to move the booth stuff in, once the road-weariness has had a chance to abate. (And if my language is a little stuffy or odd, that’s a side effect of fatigue.)
Recently, I’ve been getting emails from Alyson Stanfield of www.ArtBizCoach.com. In her video series, 6 Tips for Improving Your Art Business, she speaks about creating ‘ecstatic encounters’ between people and your art. I’ve seen two such encounters at shows this year – customers who were visibly moved by a piece of my fabric. That’s really gratifying and awe-inspiring. And it’s the kind of feedback that makes me keep going back to shows.
That said, all the ego-enhancing experiences I’ve had at shows over the years don’t impact the bottom line. But, lest you think I’m planning on throwing in the towel (which is often how I feel when I get home), I’m considering how to get more buck for my bang. Another vendor who was at the show selling hand-dyed fabrics also sold commercial fabric, which accounted for 85% of her sales. And she did four times what I did in sales. What do you think: would adding select bolts of commercial fabric dilute my brand? Or enhance it?

Finally, I was thrilled to see the Dare to Dance Art Quilt Challenge hanging at the show. Here’s a picture of me with the book and some of the quilts, including mine, of course!

4 thoughts on “Life After the Latest Quilt Show”

  1. I think it's a great idea to add select fabrics. I know that hand dyed fabrics are expensive, so mixing them would likely be what the customer will do anyway. I really like buying my fabric all at once so that I know it will go together. I think Andrea's idea of creating bundles is really good. Basically it comes down to serving your customers — if you think that additional fabrics would benefit them, I'd go for it!

  2. I supplement my dyed fabric with finished items, such as scarves. While there is some overlap in the customers for each, many of my scarf buyers don't sew or quilt. I have finished items in the gift shop at the local art museum, for example, where just fabric wouldn't work.
    Congrats on Dare to Dance. I have 2 quilts in the book, but they are not traveling in the show.

  3. You might consider adding some fabrics that coordinate with your dyed fabrics. You might make packets of coordinating fabrics – a few of yours and then some commercial ones. Many quilters like to quilt, but they don't have an artistic feel. They like to be told what looks good together. It' makes them more willing to purchase fabric. Perhaps your potential customers can't figure out by themselves how to make your fabrics work with other fabrics.


  4. I too feel a genuine emotional connection to your fabrics and believe that by bundling, you are not only assisting the consumer in their color choices but also bolstering their design confidence. I think this would be decidedly better for you than simply incorporating commercial yardage and in fact potentially diluting the direct sale of your own……. and four quilts to your left, on the opposite end of our bar, you'll find me in the exhibit, isn't this the best adventure?????????

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