Recently I attended and taught at a large quilting event in the Midwest. I realized while perusing the vendor mall that many vendors showcased practically the same fabrics! There were the usual pre-cut assortments from large fabric companies, duplicating book titles, and even look-alike sample quilts in several booths. I couldn’t help but think that vendors missed the chance to move their older fabrics by not offering pre-cuts they’d made up themselves. I talked to one shop owner who said it was easier to order current pre-cuts than to deal with slicing up old bolts. But, I opined, the old bolts will still be there when you get home…and that’s money already spent! Isn’t it time to get the older fabrics out the door? Time to take them on the road!
Then I remembered something Kizer and Bender had mentioned in their article in the last issue of American Quilt Retailer magazine. (pages 22-26, February 2016, issue #127). The business gurus suggested displaying lines of fabric in color progressions or rainbow-style.
There’s something universally appealing about a rainbow-style display of fabrics. It’s orderly and yet inspires creativity as shoppers run their fingers along the top of the bolts until they reach “their” color. The display invites them to choose and, like kids in a candy store always picking the same sweet, they will haul a bolt to the cutting table for yet another slice of their favorite shade. Why not apply the Rainbow principle to a bundle of pre-cuts?
Most strip bundles (jellyroll) are 2 1/2” wide strips and number from 40-42 strips per bundle. How about offering eight colors (six in the Rainbow progression plus black and white) starting with a solid strip of each color? The progression is red-orange-yellow-green-blue-purple—that’s six—plus some blacks and whites at the “end of the rainbow.” Roll the strips with the black and whites in the middle and then the progression of colors, ending with red. Package the strip bundle with a paper collar printed with your store name and contact info. The Rainbow bundle just became a marketing tool. Rainbows are popular throughout Spring and Summer. Rather than asking the customer to choose from all eight color groups, you’re offering a selection that would have taken most people hours to pick!
The Rainbow idea might be the beginning of an in-store competition. Who can make a quilt with the Rainbow bundle? First person to make something and post a picture of their creation on the store’s Facebook page gets a prize…