American Quilt Retailer: June 2020 Issue

Communication is key, but today it seems to be more essential than ever. Coach Beth Montpas recently said to me, “Nothing changes without communication.” As I started to apply that to various situations, it was like big light bulbs going off in my head.

For example, when one of my staff at Hen & Chicks Studio chose to not work in our shop because of COVID-19, I could have said, fine, see you when this is over. But she is a valuable staff member and she has awesome phone skills from a previous sales job. We kept talking and started with our first goal to simply check in with our customers, making sure they were adjusting to staying at home. After three months of phone calls, we’re finding it to be a very useful marketing tool. Some days it might be lots of messages left for customers to hear when they get home, but I can pinpoint numerous cases when the phone call turned into direct sales. We have no plans of stopping this form of communication with our customers anytime soon.

When our store closed to walk-in traffic in late March, finding ways to stay in front of customers was key.What tools did I have that could help us? Our Facebook group, which had been rather blah up until that moment, took on an entirely new life. Having doubled in membership, our customers are doing mystery quilts, playing Bingo, and creating a community interested in inspiring each other. I also jumped on to the #shoppingnightinAmerica platform, hosting Facebook LIVE selling events on a weekly basis (that’s me and my daughter Virginia, above, taping one of those events).

Communication is a two-way street. It’s important for us to get our message to our customers, but there is also the important task of listening to what they need. Stress, uncertainty, and overwhelm are all words that we’ve heard during the pandemic. I devoted one of my store’s radio shows to the topic of Managing our Minds with life coach Beth Montpas. Whether you’re working with your staff, your customers or your peers, nothing will change until you start communicating your ideas and goals to them.P.S. You’ll notice in this issue that we’ve left an area at the end of articles where you can answer questions and make notes about things that rise to the top when reading the story. Let us know how you like this new feature.

As a subscriber you can join our Facebook group ( I have been posting daily with thoughts and inspiration for moving your business forward.

In This Issue

  • From the Editor
  • Social Media’s Changing WorldDon’t get left behind when social media tools are key to your business.
  • The Problem SpotlightDrastic change shines a light on the true problems of your business.
  • Become the Go-To Quilt Shop: Hone your staff, products and customer experiences to create a shop that is top choice with customers.
  • Back to Business: What areas of your business need attention in the next six months?
  • Materials Matter: Shop for fabrics that will make a splash in your store.
  • Hot Picks: A comprehensive guide to products debuting in the absence of Spring Quilt Market.
  • Book Nook: Learn more about three new books via interviews with the authors.
  • Don’t Be a Hypocrite!: Find time for your hobby, too, to build rapport with customers.
  • Managing Through the Coronavirus Pandemic: Six steps for moving your business forward.
  • Free-to-Use-Pattern: With a strong online presence, Pat Sloan has much to o er quilt shop owners, including this issue’s Free- to-Use Pattern, Friendship Abounds.
  • Online Resources: See what’s new on our website.

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