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Exclusive Products


One of the best parts about being a quilt retailer is providing exclusive products consumers won’t find at big box stores. Read on for display ideas to show customers the difference.

Exclusive for a reason

It’s hard to keep up with Amazon and other big box retailers. But displaying the difference is not only motivation for you but a good reminder for customers as well. Below are some ideas to get you started.

  • Display product after multiple washings
  • Benefits of using your store’s tear-away for decorative stitches compared to the competitor

Your display should show the customers the difference, which goes much further than telling them. Every crafter has created a project that didn’t meet their standards due to product defect. As the product expert, help establish trust with your customers by helping them to avoid the same pitfall.

Inspiration for this post came from “Stable Foundations” by Kay Brooks published in the August 2022 issue of American Quilt Retailer.

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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. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Industry Changes

Industry Changes

The quilting industry, like anything, is constantly changing. These changes vary from learning how to promote your business on social media or building a website, but there are still trends that affect your brick-and-mortar store.

A Sustainable Industry

Consumers are becoming more aware of where their products come from and how they are made. Nobody feels happy about giving money to a company who makes goods out of sweat shops, or a company with blatant disregard on their waste. How much do you know about the products you carry? How could you go about finding out more about their carbon footprint?


Consider how many customers wrote you checks this month, compared to 10 years ago. I would guess the amount of electronic transactions your business receives (and let’s be honest, gives) has drastically declined. Look into different payment options; does your store have an iPad that could benefit from Square? Has anyone asked you recently if you accept Apple pay? Does setting up direct deposit to pay your employees make more sense?

Customer Data

Online customers and in-store customers are equally important. How much do you know about the purchasing history of people who walk into your store? What customers prefer shopping online? Who does both? With multiple ways to get to your product, it’s important to keep tabs on this information so you can tailor an amplified experience when a customer comes in your door.

People who say retail is dying is missing the point; what is retail but an experience? Those who can maximize the experience for the customer while maintaining their brand are the retail stores that will continue to thrive.

Of course, there are many trends that effect the way customers shop, and how stores can meet their needs. Leave a comment if you’ve noticed any changes or have any suggestions.

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.

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Meet Apron Strings Quilt Shop

Apron Strings Quilt Shop
Located in historic downtown Maysville, Kentucky, Apron Strings Quilt Shop is a 2017 Better Homes & Gardens Quilt Sampler Featured Shop. In 2013, Apron Strings relocated their shop to Maysville, a traditional small town “river town” with a charming historic downtown area.
Continue reading Meet Apron Strings Quilt Shop

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The Retail Grind

Working retail is the source of dread for many.

And rightfully so, with sales like Black Friday that everyone and their mom takes advantage of, it’s easy to see why so many former-retail employees cringe at the thought.

We’ve all been there, rummaging through piles of picked-through jeans to find our size, just to discover that it’s been sold out for hours from the all-too-blunt employee. Nobody is happy they woke up so early to get to work or take advantage of a deal, but nobody needs the attitude either.

That’s why it’s so important to eliminate that aspect from your business. No matter what you do, make sure that entering your store becomes a source of joy for every shopper.


Find ways to motivate your employees. Post encouraging notes around your shop; in the break room, in the bathroom, by the register.

Bring up the importance of being well mannered and thoughtful in every huddle you have with your team. The employees who make being cheerful with customers their priority will get it, and you’ll likely know who those employees are.

But the employees who sometimes let their guard down will need the reminder! Another plug never hurts.

And if you have an employee who still doesn’t “get it,” keep them off the floor. One of the most important things you can do is ensure that a negative experience with a customer is avoided at all costs.

Think about this the next time you have a negative retail experience; what went wrong? What could have made the situation better? As a manager what would you have done? Asking these questions can help you prepare for any scenario you may encounter in your store.

At the end of the day, remember that the customer is always right and if you don’t have anything nice to say then don’t say anything at all. If you follow these two rules, you’re off to a great customer service start.

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.