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Quilt Market Trends

Quilt Market Trends

Fall Quilt Market 2019 has come and gone and if you haven’t heard, American Quilt Retailer’s digital issue covering all-things quilt market is now available! And did we mention it’s free? Head to our website to download your copy, after reading this shortened version of the trends we noticed at this year’s market.

Textured Fabrics

One of the trends at quilt market was textured fabrics. Textured fabrics were added to the edges of pieces or used on summer blankets. Some of the patterns matched the different textures making the projects double cool. Consider things like wool, fabrics with ribbing, and ultra-soft fabric for the warmer months, too.

Travel

Quilt market had the travel bug this year with travel themes present at multiple vendors. Whether it be place-specific (with images like the Eiffel Tower or Big Ben) or how you get to different places (planes, trains, and cars) travel is definitely a craze. Consider adding a hometown pride project or display in your store to capitalize on the fad.

Gifts

Tis the season of giving, and quilt market knows it. Vendors had a variety of gift options for a variety of clientele. Gifts included useful items like shear sets, or cute gifts like themed tea towels. Organizers, craft sets, and colorful kitchen utensils were all a part of the gift sets too. Consider getting gifts that aren’t Christmas-themed so they can be used all year long.

Kids

Want to gift the young ones in your life something special? Make their gift! Quilt market had loads of options; patterns include cloth books from quilt blocks that tell a story, embroidery pieces that together make a beautiful doll house, and another embroidery piece of a handmade mat that an imaginary town could be built on.

These are just a few ideas of fads to add to your store. Quilt market doesn’t tell all though, what have your customers been asking for lately? Any trends you’re noticing? Leave your comments so the quilt retail community can stay up to date.


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Habits of Successful People

Successful people

Do you ever see someone and think to yourself, wow; how do they do it? Successful people are everywhere, all you have to do is turn on the news and you can hear about someone accomplishing what seems like an unattainable feat. Check out this post to find out the habits successful people share.

Purpose

The first step to becoming successful is defining what that word means to you. This can be done through goal setting. Successful people take this habit even further by 1) knowing the why behind their goal and 2) beginning with the end in mind. To become successful, they start their planning with where they want to end and work their way backwards.

Discipline

Successful people often have incredible self-discipline. This is also a two part answer, how often do you spend time scrolling through social media on your phone? To help manage your time better, set timers on these applications to become more diligent. Time is money and successful people use their time wisely.

Another way successful people are disciplined is through perseverance during set-backs. They take responsibility for these set-backs, and frame each obstacle as a learning experience that can only help them grow.

Growth

Speaking of growth, one of the biggest ways successful people become successful is through self-development. The majority of their growth comes through reading; successful people like to read and they read a lot.

Risk taking is another habit successful people share. One way successful people take risks is by being prepared. Through reading, successful people first seek to understand, then seek to be understood. When they understand something it’s easier to take risks to ultimately become understood.

What habits have you had to learn to help you accomplish your goals? What habits do you have that take you further from your goals? Share your tips in the comments below.


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Holiday Window Displays

Holiday Window

It’s officially November, and whether you believe the holidays don’t start until Thanksgiving or not, how you decorate your store should already be on your mind.

To find inspiration we turned to the Big Apple to see their best window displays from last year’s holiday season.

Barney’s New York

In first place, due to it’s charitable aspect, is Barney’s New York. Simple yet moving, they used 2 million pennies to spell the work “Change” for their Make Change campaign with plans to donate the funds to charity after the New Year.

Tiffany & Co.

In second place is the one and only Tiffany and Co. Staying true to brand, their window was less dazzling than nearby window fronts, but cute nonetheless. Using their iconic blue boxes, they created a robot with chrome mice running around to spark the magic gifts can provide on Christmas morning.

Bloomingdale’s

A nod to the Christmas classic, Bloomingdale’s celebrated the third release of the Grinch with a Grinch-themed display. What stood out was the interactive aspect, with tunes and photo opportunities no child (or even adult) could resist taking apart of.

Copyright MommyPoppins.com.

Bergdorf Goodman

Coming in a close fourth is Bergdorf Goodman’s window display who, like Tiffany & Co., remained true to form. This loud, vibrant display demanded attention and caught everyone’s eye, just like the brand.

Saks Fifth Ave

Last but not least is Saks Fifth Avenue with their window themed “Theatre of Dreams.” The whimsical display plays tribute to nearby Broadway; what tradition does your community have you could incorporate in your display? What makes your town unique? If you’re struggling with ideas start with that question and brainstorm from there.

The holidays are a magical time many people look forward to. Get in the spirit early by beginning to plan your window display.


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Customer service for disgruntled customers

Customer service

Every retail employee has dealt with a disgruntled customer. When service sells, follow these steps to ensure you (and your employees) lead with your best foot forward.

Listen

Listen to your customer even if you think you know what they’re going to say. Listening to your customer’s complaint is therapeutic for them and shows empathy in you. When replying, don’t raise your voice and practice what’s known as the Socratic method. Simply put, the Socratic method asking more questions to clarify your customer’s needs. In the long run, this can save you time and effort when addressing the complaint.

Don’t take it personal

Remember, what the customer is upset about is the business, not you. This will help you remain calm since getting angry never helps any situation. Assuming all your customers are watching will help hold you to these standards. By not taking the complaint personal, you’ll also know when it’s fair to give in. If the customer had been on the receiving end of a disservice, practicing empathy will help you decide when a compromise is justified.

Follow through

If you say you’re going to give the customer a call back, call them back. Telling them the next steps sets the expectation so your service doesn’t fall short for them again.

It’s just a matter of time before one of your employees will have to help a disgruntled customer. Training them for this situation will ensure they provide top notch service when your business needs it most.


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How to manage your anxiety

Anxiety

Anxiety can happen anytime and anywhere. It’s something that can creep up from behind or happen all at once. Since anxiety it something we all suffer from, check out these tips to help manage your stress levels in ten minutes or less.

Meditation and mindfulness

There are a variety of meditation techniques and apps that can help you find which technique you like the most. Some are free and some aren’t free, but they can be found in your app store with a simple “meditation” search.

One of the most common meditation techniques include a body scan, where you imagine scanning your body from head to toe then back again to notice how your body is feeling. It’s a good time to see where you’re holding stress, and to release those areas.

Another technique is a mindfulness exercise. Start each day with an affirmation and watch as your mindset changes for the better. Chose simple verbs such as, “I respect,” “I love,” or “I honor” and finish the sentence. At first it may be difficult but after some repetition the statements will become easier to finish.

These, along with simple breathing exercises, are quick and easy ways to center yourself back to reality.

Anxiety tools

Journaling is one simple practice you can start to manage your stress. The best part about journaling is that it can be as unstructured as you want it to be. You can write every day, or whenever you think about it, and both ways can be incredibly therapeutic.

Adding yoga into your exercise routine can help your anxiety levels too. Yoga classes are in abundance everywhere these days and instructors even have their practices on YouTube. If you’re not familiar with yoga, each practice ends with something called shavasana, which is a time meant to sit alone with your thoughts. The practice of stretching beforehand is to prepare your mind for the moment when it can sit alone and focus. Whether you carve out ten minutes or an hour, yoga is a tradition that has lasted centuries (probably for a reason).

Studies have shown that anxiety techniques increases productivity in the work force. Has your business considered offering tools to it’s employees? Managing your anxiety can help you keep your business on track.


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Disaster Planning

Disaster planning

Disaster planning: what a bleak topic to address, right? Despite it’s lack of appeal, it is important for your business to prepare for whatever this winter may throw your way.

Communicate

Do you have an easy way to contact your employees to let them know if the store will close during inclement weather? What if their checks are delivered by mail? Some changes your business could make (like switching to direct deposit) will make your life easier in the long run too.

After letting your employees know they can stay at home, send an email blast to your customers letting them know too. Don’t forget to post on social media as well (and the best part is you can do all of this while still in your pajamas).

Review

You likely already have systems in place to help with the aftermath of a disaster. Review your insurance policy to make sure things your business may be susceptible to (flooding for instance) is covered. Knowing what your insurance covers before you use it can help alleviate the stress that comes from disasters; coverages can even include things such as shrubs, business continuation, and much more. Speak with your insurance agent to find out more.

Plan

It goes without saying, but a big part of disaster planning is the planning part. Is your business ready in case the power goes out? Keep extra blankets and flashlights handy in case this happens.

Regularly checking smoke and carbon monoxide detectors is always a good idea. If you don’t already have escape routes planned for fires, then add that to your list too (and post the routes in each room). Your employees will only be ready during a disaster if tools are provided before, so for everyone’s safety, educate your employees on how to handle themselves and customers during a worst-case scenario.


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How to make (and use) a QR code

QR Code

Has your business ever used a QR code? QR codes are found everywhere today; brochures, billboards, social media, you name it. Not only will this post outline how to make your own QR codes, but how your business can use them as well.

First, what is a QR code? A QR code contains an array of machine-readable black and white squares that includes information about a product—typically a URL—and is accessed by the camera on a smartphone (fun fact, QR stands for quick response and was invented for the automotive industry in Japan).

How to make a QR code

Start with a simple Google search. Like all trends in technology, the software to make QR codes changes as much as the weather.  One good thing is that you can still make these codes for free.

Some older QR coding websites include RCode Monkey, QR Stuff, and Scanova. A more recent Google search shows QR Code Generator as the search engine’s best option. The more you use and play around with QR code generators, the quicker you’ll develop a preference.

Going back to the example, QR Code Generator provides extensive options, in both files to include in the code (MP3, email, SMS to name a few) as well as display options for your code (Want a border? They have it! Want your company’s logo? No problem!).

Where to use QR codes

QR code generator outlines the best design and printing options for you code on brochures, business cards, banners, labels, food packaging, tickets, and more. Depending how much you want to pay, the site also allows you to track your campaign, update your QR code via the website so you don’t have to reprint your materials, and allows multiple people access to the same account.

QR codes are a great way to measure how many people are viewing your advertisements or are interested in your events. Remember to include them in your next marketing campaign to see just how far your reach really goes.


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Crafts for Fall

Halloween is just around the corner, and with how quickly this summer went by, it’s not a bad idea to start on your fall crafts (if you haven’t already). Here are some ideas to get your store ready.

Craft Ideas

  1. Pumpkin pin cushions. Turn this into an event or make some during your down time to throw around the store (you can even sell some of what you make). Check out this tutorial from YouTube to get a free step-by-step guide.
  2. Costume area. Take some of the tulle from the fabric area and move it to a special area just for making costumes. Also include a lot of orange, black, and seasonal fabrics. Throwing in some costume patterns wouldn’t hurt either.
  3. Window display. Freshen up your window display with easy projects. Paint pumpkins, pine cones, and include baskets of apples for easy options.
  4. Wreaths. Wreaths are becoming decorating options year round, but take full force in the Fall. Practice for the holiday season with leaf, scarecrow, or acorn-themed wreaths. This could also be part of your crafting event, or just something else to add to your window display.
  5. Flower arrangement. Order a Fall-themed flower arrangement from your local flower store to keep at the checkout counter. Not only will your customers enjoy the personal touch, but you will too.

People just can’t seem to get enough of Fall—the flavors, the activities, and the colors. Make sure your store capitalizes on this season with these quick and easy ideas.

Does your store have any fall traditions? Comment below what your team does to make the most of America’s favorite season.


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Fall Trends

Fall Trends

New York Fashion Week may have ended, but Fall trends are just beginning. Stock up on these items in your store to stay ahead of the supply and demand game.

Fall Trends

  1. Brush strokes. Step aside tie-dye, this print is adding pops of color in new ways.
  2. Monochrome. Forget about black, wearing all of one color (either in one shade or multiple) is one of this Fall’s trends.
  3. Colors. Speaking of color, orange, pink, and yellow were seen time and again during NYFW. Even though orange could be found everywhere, pink was another standout. Don’t think of the soft, subtle shade known as millennial pink but instead get bright, bold, almost fuchsia-like shades. Speaking of generations, Generation Z seems to have opted for a pastel and muted yellow to define it’s generational mood.
  4. Half and half. Color may be coming back, but with this new trend you don’t have to pick just one. The half-and-half trend manifests in both horizontal and vertical folds.
  5. Over the top. The more glitter, rhinestone, or shine a material provides the better. This season is all about being in-your-face so don’t shy away from loud fabrics.
  6. Leather. Faux and real leather has always been around, but leather pieces could be found from head to toe.

As the weather transitions to shorter days and cooler temperatures, you may also be transitioning your store and inventory. What trends have you noticed from suppliers or competitors? How often does your store make seasonal changes? If you’re business is in the process of getting rid of summer inventory and restocking for winter, keep the above trends in mind.


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Why You Should Try Superior PIMA™

Superior PIMA

Anytime Superior Threads introduces a new product, we get pretty excited. And this is no exception.

This month, Superior Threads is releasing Superior PIMA™, a 50 wt. 2ply cotton thread ideal for piecing, quilting and even general sewing. It’s made from American-grown Pima cotton and is sold in 50 solid color options in 1,200-yard spools.

PIMAWhat Makes Superior PIMA Different?

Besides the fact that Superior PIMA™ is vibrant and smooth, it’s significant for several other reasons too, including that it is:

  • The first Pima product sold by Superior Threads

Superior Threads is expanding to offer Pima, a specific type of high-quality cotton grown in the United States. Your customers will love it.

  • Exclusively available to businesses and is not sold online by Superior Threads

As part of Superior Threads ongoing support of brick and mortar stores, Superior PIMA™ is only sold to businesses. What does this mean for you? Healthier margins and a competitive advantage. Contact your favorite distributor for additional information or call Superior Threads.

  • A high-quality product for a competitive price

Superior PIMA™ is a strong 2ply cotton thread and is a perfect go-to for piecing, quilting and sewing. The combination of a competitive price and a high-quality product will make this thread the perfect addition to your shop.

Ready to Try Superior PIMA?

You can purchase Superior PIMA™ from your preferred distributor or by calling Superior Threads directly (registered business accounts only). Want to see all the beautiful colors before you buy? Check out the website www. superiorthreads.com/pima.

Lucky you! Superior Threads is offering an exclusive giveaway for American Quilt Retailer blog readers. Go here to enter and win a complete 50 spool collection set of Superior PIMA™ – a $600 value! We hope you win. Giveaway contest ends on October 1, 2019 and winner will be contacted by Superior Threads. Good luck!


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.