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Strategize Your Sales

sale

Putting items on sale should be your last resort. Read on to strategize when to discount your inventory.

Incentivize

Make clearing inventory a win-win for you and the customer. When you get to the end of a bolt and have a small piece of fabric leftover, encourage your customers to purchase the remainder of the bolt by offering a 10% discount.

The best part is you can apply this to all of your inventory. For example, you can offer the same discount to a customer who purchases the last two skeins of yarn available.

Once-a-Year Sale

People will come for the sale but likely purchase your full-price inventory at the same time. The best items to put in the sale are items you plan to clear out anyway. Some examples include outdated merchandise or products with limited inventory. Simplify the process by collecting these items throughout the year and storing them in a specific area in your stockroom.

Donate

Some items will be too damaged to sell at a discount, but you can still get a tax write-off. Many volunteer groups don’t mind smudged fabric or sun-exposed yarn. (Think volunteer groups that make blankets for animal shelters.)

All in all, too much in the sale bin indicates you’re buying the wrong inventory. With careful buying and intentional selling, you can get rid of your inventory in a productive way.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Guide to Clearing Out Inventory” by Gwen Bortner published in the February 2023 issue of Creative Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

If you still can’t get enough, register for the Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023 event May 2-4 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for opportunities to learn from peers and network with industry professionals.

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Part Two: Creating a Social Media Strategy

social media strategy

Social media strategy consists of three elements: content, management, and giving. Last week we covered part one, content. This week we’ll tackle the next two elements, management and giving.

Social Media Management

Once your content is live it’s important to check your metrics. But first, you’ll want to set some goals. We recommend three-month, six-month, and annual goals. These can vary including increasing your newsletter subscriptions, to having more sales on particular items, or expanding your audience. Create a spreadsheet to track how past posts are performing.

Content Strategy and Giving

The next step is to keep the conversation going. That’s what we call giving. This means interacting with your posts (responding to comments, following other businesses, and commenting on other people’s content).

If any of these pieces seem too much for one person, remember you can pull in help from your team. You can also save time by grouping all of these into different chunks. One chunk to batch edit photos, another to interact with content, and so on.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Develop a Social Media Strategy” by Anneliese Johnson, account manager for Stitchcraft Marketing, and published in the December 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

If you still can’t get enough, register for the Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023 event May 2-4 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for opportunities to learn from peers and network with industry professionals.

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Creating a Social Media Strategy

social media strategy

Since 2020, quilters are spending 30% more of their time online. Follow these tips to tackle the seemingly daunting task of social media.

Social Media Strategy

Social media consists of three elements: content, management, and giving. Over the next three weeks, we’ll tackle each one; starting with content.

First, you need to plan your content instead of posting on the fly. At the beginning of every month, brainstorm ideas. To get ideas, start with checking last month’s schedule. Then think of what you’ve seen other businesses post.

Did you know you can schedule your social media posts? Once you have the ideas, take the photos (in one session, preferably at the beginning of each week), write the content, and upload into a social media scheduler. Many schedulers show the time your customers are most active so you can plan your posts around the same time.

If this still seems like a lot, check out the free Time Management Outline available at Creative Retailer to help get you started.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Develop a Social Media Strategy” by Anneliese Johnson, account manager for Stitchcraft Marketing, and published in the December 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.

Creative Retailer Roundtable

Join Publisher and shop owner Heidi Kaisand this Thursday, January 26th at 3:30 p.m. CST for a personal, hands-on roundtable.

Each month, retailers will celebrate wins and tackle topics through a presentation and discussion. Each session will conclude with any challenges you’ve experienced to be discussed with the group.

Register here or email info@creativeretailer.com to be added to the group. You can also email info@creativereatiler.com to register for all 12 sessions and pay as you go.

If you’re unsure if this is for you, schedule a consultation with Heidi.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

If you still can’t get enough, register for the Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023 event May 2-4 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for opportunities to learn from peers and network with industry professionals.

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Are subscription services right for you?

subscription model

Learn the do’s and dont’s of a subscription service from Tawnee Kinnebrew, owner of Wyldwood Creative in Renton, Washington.

Membership Benefits

Subscription services aren’t anything new, even for the creative community (think fabric clubs and mystery boxes). Kinnebrew offers a fresh take on the old idea by allowing customers to pay a monthly fee to become “Wyldwooders” and receive member benefits.

Kinnebrew offers two subscription tiers. The first starts at $3.50 monthly, and allows members access to a Discord group (similar to a private chat) where members share tips, projects, ideas, and more. They’re also added to Wyldwood’s close friends group on Instagram. Close friends have access to sneak peaks on inventory orders and first access when new inventory arrives.

The second tier is a $10 monthly fee that includes the previous benefits plus two monthly events (one in person and one virtual). Wyldwood hosts a variety of events including sew-ins, happy hours, or outings in the area. Discounts are also available to to those who buy annually.

And for those community minded, take Kinnebrew’s idea where she donates $1 per month from each membership to the Duwamish Tribe.

Subscription Options

Kinnebrew puts it best when she said, “People buy into me as much as to what I sell.”

Kinnebrew controls her subscription through a site called Patreon. Patreon is a company that hosts your membership site and also manages participants, tracks usage, and collects funds.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Membership Benefits Build Community” by Katherine House published in the December 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

If you still can’t get enough, register for the Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023 event May 2-4 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for opportunities to learn from peers and network with industry professionals.

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Managing Cash Flow

manage cash flow

With 2023 in full swing reach your financial goals by effectively managing cash flow.

Cash Buckets

The first step to managing your cash flow is to open six checking accounts, each named for their purpose: income, inventory, profit, owner’s compensation, taxes, and operating expenses are a great place to start. Opening multiple checking accounts prevents you from overspending in significant areas.

Next, you’ll have to prioritize money for certain expenses. This will help you save money for inventory, emergencies, taxes, etc. To avoid overspending, make purchasing decisions with the funds available in your account for that category. If the account is empty, wait for it to be replenished.

It’s important to stay in a rhythm. This means to avoid spending frenzies when cash is available allowing you to breathe easier when cash is in a pinch.

Reviewing Spend

Every two weeks, transfer the money in your income account to your checking categories based off pre-determined percentages. Every quarter make an extra payment on your debt, profit distribution, and taxes.

Also evaluate your pre-determined allocations quarterly. Some adjustments will likely need to be made. Finally, review the plan with your financial adviser annually to reach your financial goals.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Reach Financial Freedom” by Jacob Curtis published in the December 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

If you still can’t get enough, register for the Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023 event May 2-4 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for opportunities to learn from peers and network with industry professionals.

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2022 Quilters’ Survey Results

Quilters' Survey Results

The results of the 2022 Quilters’ Survey from Premier Needles Arts are in! And all signs point to the industry continuing to grow. Read on for more insights from the survey.

Trends

  • In the United States and Canada 85 million creatives account for $35 billion in sales.
  • The quilting industry anticipates approaching $5 billion by 2026-27, indicating stable and solid growth.
  • The average quilter started her first quilt in her 50s when there was time, space, and income to quilt.
  • The average quilter is still driven by women in their 60s.
  • There are an estimated 30 million active sewists (a slight decrease from the peak of the pandemic).
  • Digital learning is in high demand through both YouTube and other digital media.
  • Quilters utilize social media daily for connecting but still prefer being in-person.

Survey Takeaways

A few industry panelists share their takeaways from the survey results.

Mark Hyland, CEO of Premier Needle Arts encourages collaboration as a community to boost the industry and feed consumers’ passion and enthusiasm.

On the manufacturing side, lack of fabric reorder-ability is a concern for customers and availability of products is key, according to Brittany Gray, president of EE Schenck.

And finally Heidi Kaisand, publisher of Creative Retailer and owner of Hen & Chicks Studio, said video is helping to bring personalities of stores into customer homes in a much bigger way.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Creative Retailer Goes to Market” by Managing Editor Millie Kehrli published in the December 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

If you still can’t get enough, register for the Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023 event May 2-4 in Pawhuska, Oklahoma for opportunities to learn from peers and network with industry professionals.

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Happy Holidays from AQR

Happy holidays

Happy Holidays from your friends at Creative Retailer! We hope the past year had more in store (literally and figuratively) than you hoped. As we look to 2023 we wanted to reflect on the past year.

Reflecting on 2022

  • The biggest change was our rebrand to Creative Retailer, expanding to creative arts beyond the world of quilting.
  • We also had our first live, in-person event that was so successful we had to plan even more. (Speaking of, registration is open for the next LIVE event in Oklahoma this May.)
  • Quilters once again rose to the occasion to support fundraisers sending aid for the War in Ukraine.
  • We continue to provide resources to retailers across the country and globe as the fast-paced world we live in transitions to more digital content.

As always, thank you for your continued support. We’ll see you in 2023 and hope you all have a happy, healthy, and prosperous year ahead.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Upcoming Events

Holiday event

The holidays are busy but there’s always time for holiday spirit. Check out the below event plus something to look forward to in 2023.

Ho-Ho-Holiday Hang Out

Join Santa (Heidi Kaisand) and her elves this Thursday at 10 a.m. CST for a Ho-Ho-Holiday Hang Out. On top of holiday jingles Beth Montpas will motivate you to close 2022 on a high note and look forward to the New Year. Note the event is free but registration is mandatory.

Save The Date

Registration is live for Creative Retailer LIVE Spring 2023! The event takes place Tuesday, May 2 to Thursday, May 4 in Pawhuska, OK at Pioneer Woman Mercantile.

This unique retailer retreat features Heidi Kaisand and Creative Retailer® staff at Ree Drummond’s restaurant, bakery, and store in the heart of Osage County, Oklahoma. Stay tuned for agenda and lodging details but in the meantime, email events@creativeretailer.com with any questions.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Positive Company Culture

company culture

A negative company culture can have a devastating impact on your business. Read on to learn how to create a positive company culture by knowing the employee archetypes and how to manage them.

The Impact of Company Culture

There are a couple ways to manage workplace negativity. The first is to set clear expectations in your company handbook and follow them. The second is to have quarterly performance reviews. This provides both parties with an outlet for constructive criticism on how the other party can improve.

Another factor to consider is yourself. What sort of example do you set? Do you make your employees feel appreciated? After some soul searching, be ready to confront negativity head on. The following tips will be a good place to start managing the negativity.

Employee Categories

  • The Emotional Employee: Emotional employees are easily provoked which can be distracting to business. Set up a weekly sync to be used as a vent session as an outlet.
  • The Social Butterfly: This employee has a poor gauge of time and enjoys chatting. Fortunately this is easy to manage. Put social butterflies in a social role like planning workshops and employee or customer recognition events.
  • The Bully: Workplace bullies use power to manipulate others. For this conversation you’ll want to listen to both sides of the story and have your facts ready.
  • The Complainer: More often than not, this isn’t a bad thing, especially if the employee is bought into the company’s mission. Listen to what they have to say—they may bring up a point you haven’t thought of before.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Positive Culture Produces Satisfied Employees” by HR expert and former quilt shop owner Melisa Morrison published in the October 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Quilt Pattern Copyright Limitations

Quilt pattern copyright limitations

Last week we answered the question “If I write an original pattern, do I automatically own the copyright to that pattern?” This week we expand to cover limitations.

Copyright limitation 1

Most quilts are too common. Creating a pattern using a traditional method doesn’t provide copyright. Think of methods used for quilts in museums or quilts older than the Great Depression.

Copyright limitation 2

Techniques are also not protected. The function you use to create your pattern (i.e. how you bound your quilt) is considered functional, and therefore, not protected under copyright. Since they’re considered a system, things like patents and trade secrets can protect functional techniques.

Copyright limitation 3

The math you used to create your quilt pattern is not protected. As we quilters know, that is a little ridiculous as the math is the most important part. Unfortunately lawyers group things like quilt patterns and recipes into one group. Recipes aren’t protected, but a recipe book (including the selection, arrangement, and coordination of recipes) are.

To protect your math on an original quilt pattern create access controls. An example would be requiring payment for access to the math.

What does copyright get you?

To reiterate, the selection, arrangement, and coordination of your quilt pattern are protected. Your image of the quilt and the directions how you put them together are protectable (also referred to as a compilation in copyright terms). However, the individual images, math, and other parts may not be protected.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Copyrighting Quilt Patterns,” by Elizabeth Townsend Gard, avid quilter and Tulane University Law professor, published in the October 2022 issue of Creative Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to Creative Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.