Store name: HomeGrown HomeSewn
Owners: Tom & Diane Schultz / Caleb & Abbey Matthews
Store location: 5761 Springdale Rd. Suite L, Cincinnati, OH 45247
HomeGrown HomeSewn is located in a small strip mall. Business at HomeGrown HomeSewn in Cincinnati, Ohio is truly a family affair. Everyone’s involved in running the store!
Phone: (513) 401-9747
Region of the country: Midwest
Years in business: Nearly 4
Number of Employees: 9
Social media info:
Types of special services offered: Fabric, patterns, books, classes and long-arm quilting
What is the main philosophy behind your business? We are a family owned and operated business striving to rekindle a love of quilting within the community. The unique arts of quilting, sewing, cross stitch and embroidery are beautiful and deserve to be taught to the next generation. We hope to inspire a movement of younger people to carry these things on.
Your store is truly a family business. How do you divide the duties among the family members involved? How do you balance work and family life? The four of us involved all have our “specialties” if you will. Dad (Tom) does all the accounting and numbers work and provides some muscle when needed. Mom (Diane) creates the space with her unique perspective of color and style, and has the experience and knowledge that is the foundation of the shop. She also does a majority of ordering and work in the shop. Abbey (Tom & Diane’s daughter) helps with ordering, class ideas, scheduling and of course works in the shop when she can. She is also a homeschooling mom of four so hours in the shop are limited right now. Caleb (son-in-law of Tom & Diane) does the majority of our marketing, business vision and of course most the actual heavy lifting when we decide to move the shop around. Moving things in the shop occurs way more frequently with the shop growing the way it has in the past year. The best way for us to balance our work and family life is to have times when we intentionally do not work on shop stuff or talk about it. With Tom and Diane, they both have their own hobbies outside of business owning that they make sure to have time for. With Caleb and Abbey, the four kids keep their lives somewhat separate because trying to discuss business with four kids that are seven and under is difficult, if not impossible at times. We have meetings every few weeks to discuss what items on the to-do list need to be completed. We can help cover each other if one is overwhelmed or just has too many other plates spinning. It is not uncommon for one of us to call another and ask them to handle something to make sure no plates stop spinning.
The opening video on your website tells your story. Whose idea was this? Tom, who has also run a successful CPA firm for the last 30yrs, had a new client that was just starting out on his own with a video marketing company. The idea for the quilt shop video came into play from those initial meetings. Brayton Deal at Iron House Studios did the video work for us. Brayton did a great job of showing our passion of passing on this tradition of quilting down from generation to generation and really bringing our mission statement to life.
How often do you do your Quilt Therapy videos? Our goal is to produce one every three weeks but right now with our current expansion we are producing about one a month. Caleb shoots and edits these videos for us. Right now these videos are more about what’s going on in the shop, but we hope to shift into more demos and tutorials that will create a learning environment for our quilting and sewing community.
There’s new content on your social media every day. Who manages this? That is 95% Caleb. It used to be Abbey but since Caleb come on full time with the shop, he has taken over. Managing our social media is very time consuming and while we are more image/photo heavy right now we hope to get into more article driven content in the future.
What is the American Heritage Girls? How do you take part in this organization? What benefits do you get from participating? AHG is a Christian-based scouting-like organization. We have an alliance with them. Several of the kits we have in the shop (and online) help the girls earn the sewing badge that AHG offers. We will be hosting some demo/classes at their next large event in 2020. We love seeing the next generation of young girls learning how to sew and be inspired to be creative. 5% of any ‘AHG’ labeled purchases in the shop and online goes directly back to the organization.
What area does your store mostly draw customers from? Our biggest clientele comes from the local tri-state area of Cincinnati(southwest Ohio), Northern Kentucky and Southeast Indiana, but we are seeing a larger number of people travel to us from larger cities nearby such as Columbus, Louisville, Lexington and Indianapolis. Also, we are starting to get some road trip/vacation ladies in that make us a stop as they are driving through Cincinnati, and some bus tours have made us a stop as well.
Do you vend at outside functions to gain more customers? When we began, we vended as much as possible to help get our name out there, but we were mainly doing homeschool conventions offering our kids kits. As we eventually evolved into more of an actual quilt shop we began doing the quilt shows and festivals. We have been to larger shows such as QuiltFest in Houston and several AQS shows including Spring Paducah in order to promote our brand. Now, we are more selective when it comes to quilt shows. We try to always do a few local shows like Ohio One Stop Shop Hop in Dayton, OH, and we still do a few bigger shows like Spring and Fall Paducah.
How do you communicate with your customer base to keep them engaged? Social media is the biggest way we communicate with them. We have a good Facebook following that’s probably more locally based and that allows us to keep all of our news and ongoings of the shop up to date with our customers. We are building up our Instagram following which probably consists of a more national following. With hashtags it’s easier to reach more people with great visual images that quilting allows us to have. Quilting is such a visual art and Instagram is perfect for that. We also have accounts on YouTube, Twitter, Pinterest, and Linkedin that we will build on over time. We do send out monthly emails for those not on social media.
How has the store evolved since your first day? How do you measure it’s success? We started with the idea of an online business and mainly selling kits for kids. With Abbey homeschooling it was an opportunity to possibly have something she could do from home, but also tied into something she wanted to teach her kids. We quickly started doing homeschool conventions and partnered with AHG. Not long after we realized that there was a need for an actual quilt shop in our local area and the shop started to take shape. The shop size started in a 250 sq ft space that was part of Tom’s CPA firm. As we continued to grow we just took over more and more of the CPA firm eventually pushing him out completely and moving him down a few doors. Recently, we kicked him out of there and are now remodeling for our new classroom space and will have a total of 3,000 sq ft. We have over 4000 bolts of fabric ranging from bright and colorful modern vintage to a room dedicated to primitives. Our new expansion will also include an entire Christmas room next to our already established kids room. We are also venturing into cross-stitching as well. Our success right now is measured in our returning customer base. When your returning customer numbers are increasing you know you’re moving in the right direction and that your customers are having a positive experience. That’s when we continue to see growth and an increase in sales. When those things happen, we can expand the way we are now and most importantly we can buy in that brand new line of fabric that everyone wants!
What does a customer see first when they come into your store? Bright colors! Our shop has been described as vintage modern. We have a lot of bright colors and a lot of samples displayed. We hope that the samples make it easy to find that next project to work on or sparks those creative juices to put your own twist on something.
Who keeps your store displays fresh? That would be Diane or Mama Bear as we affectionately call her. She has that natural ability to create amazing displays and come up with great samples. The way she puts colors and fabrics together really makes the shop an inviting place and helps us stand out as a quilt shop.
How do you keep your panels neat and organized? Our panel rack! It is new in the shop and completely awesome. Each panel on display has the seams turned in and is hanging with a tag on it so everyone knows the name of the panel. All the panels are pre-cut and labeled in clear bags next to the panel display. The idea came from the similar way rugs hang at major home improvement stores or like poster displays at a shop. You find the panel you want on the rack and grab it from its bin and you’re ready to go.
What is your Black Bin Sale? How often do you run it? We usually have a “deal of the month’ such as 15% off all books or something but we changed things up for July. Caleb had the idea of emptying some shelves since he knew we had just ordered several complete lines of fabric so we decided to do a huge discount. Everything in the six black bins is just $5.50 a yard with a minimum one yard cut. If you finish or “kill” the bolt, you receive an extra 10% off and an entry to win a $35 gift card. (The Kill the Bolt raffle happens every month). This black bin sale is our take on Black Friday and we think it will be back next year around this time. It is also available online however the extra 10% off for killing the bolt (and the entry) does not apply.