Saturday, May 12, 2012

Pink Fabric Isn't Necessarily a Rosy Subject

I thought I'd share with you the little story of a gaggle of frustrated quilters.

A year or so ago, a group of quilters went to a quilt shop where they viewed a designer's trunk show. All of them, four or five in number, yearned to reproduce--exactly--one of the quilts they saw. It was a Christmas quilt, with a center made up of simple pinwheels in red, green, and white. The designer, Tracy Souza, specializes in designing patterns primarily for embroidery and wool, so a mostly-pieced quilt was a little bit different. And this one was different in another way.

THIS quilt, although it was a Christmas quilt and was made with red, green, and white fabric, incorporated a bit of pink too. And the entire outer border was a lovely pale pink fabric with embroidered sprays of holly leaves and berries. Would you like to see what the quilt looked like? It isn't yet completed in this photo, but you can see it on the designer's blog, HERE. Click on the photo to enlarge it. Beautiful, isn't it?!

So after the quilting gaggle ohhhhhhh-ed and ahhhhhhhh-ed and made additional favorable comments about the trunk show quilt, they asked the shop owners if the shop stocked the fabric used--in particular, the lovely pink fabric. "No," the shop owners said, "but we will see if we can get it in." So the quilters all lined up at the cash register, Christmas pinwheel quilt patterns in hand, happy as could be with visions of pinwheel pink quilts dancing in their heads.

A few months passed, and the shop owners had not been able to locate the pink fabric. Couldn't the quilters find a different pink fabric that would do just as well? No, of course they couldn't! Further search efforts ensued. Finally, FINALLY, the shop owners located the last two bolts left on the face of the entire Earth, but one bolt was promised to another shop. The last remaining bolt could be theirs; that would have to do.

And this magical and highly rare fabric? Here, observe:


Designed by Verna Mosquera of the Vintage Spool for Free Spirit. Having heard the grumbles and rumbles of the gaggle of quilters for months and months, when three or four fat quarters turned up at the quilt designer's booth (Tracy Souza/Plumcute) at a quilt show, yours truly was finally able to purchase a fat quarter to waive before the eyes of the gaggle like a matador waives a red cape before the bull.

And why, you might wonder, had the gaggle been grumbling so greatly? Because the quilt shop owners had decided to hoard the last remaining bolt of precious pink fabric on the face of the Earth and only offer it for sale to quilters who signed up to take some distant, not-yet-scheduled, Christmas pinwheel quilt class which would one day be taught by the quilt's own designer--if the details could be worked out.


The class has now been scheduled for July, I believe. The class is full, the gaggle have their pretty pink fabric, and the shop owners have maximized their profits.

What do you think? Have you ever paid waaaay too much for a fabric you coveted? I know I've done that on eBay! Do you think the quilt shop owners thought too much about their immediate profit and less about gaining the loyalty of their customers, or do you think they were just doing what they're in business to do? Discuss.

20 comments:

Anonymous said...

The shop owners could have charged anything they wanted for the fabric. Now they are forcing those who want that fabric to pay for a class taught by the designer, which probably is more than they charge for regular classes and the pattern. IMHO, the shop owners are greedy and not thinking of building customer loyalty.
I might have signed up for the class, bought the fabric, then gone back the next day to cancel the class. Thanks for sharing.
cindy

Anonymous said...

I'm with the first Cindy - sounds like greed and taking advantage of a customer. Seems like they'd create more goodwill by selling the fabric at a fair price to the ones who really wanted it. In my mind, that would promote a good reputation for the shop - they have what you want, when you want it and you'll be quick to come back. I think I'd only go there if I absolutely had to.

Cindy in SC

Pat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Pat said...

Sorry, had to correct typos I didn't see at first.

Maybe if you put the name of the fabric here, someone will recognize it and sell it to you for your friends. Then they can go into the shop (hopefully when it's crowded), wave their fabric & state loudly "sometimes it pays to shop on line". I'm all for supporting local businesses, but these folks deserve to be outed. You might also write to the person who created the pattern/did the trunk show, telling them how shabbily the store is treating those who came to it -- oh, and send a copy to the store

Beth said...

I think that was pretty crappy of that store owner, if you ask me.

Vicky said...

The owner needs to be water-boarded for holding your fabric hostage!

JudyBL said...

This is one quilt shop that would no longer get my business - supporting LQS is important but in turn they need to support their customers!!

Synthia said...

To quote my mother: "Them that has, gits". The shop had the fabric and they git to sell it any way they want. BUT, they didn't play very nicely with their customers. I would probably quit shopping there, myself, and they wouldn't git my business anymore.

Marie said...

I'm with you Synthia, the loss of the business from me and my friends, would be far greater than the proft they will see, holding the class.
What they did was just not ethical, in my eyes.
Marie

Tina said...

I think that was pretty crummy of the quilt shop owners and knowing me, I would probably never go to their shop again. I know it could be said that I was "cutting off my nose to spite my face", but I would not want to be a customer of a quilt shop that had such low ethics!! In fact, shame on them!!

Patrica said...

It doesn't leave a very happy taste in your mouth when you think of this shop and that's bad. When I worked in retail we did everything we could to keep customer loyalty including taking a loss sometimes! By the way maybe it's just me but I don't see what's so special about this fabric, sorry. The pattern is super cute.

Anita said...

Yes, I've paid way too much for coveted fabric - which I have yet to use... There is a shop sort of near to me that I could see doing something similar. Some shop owners feel they can get away with this less than nice practice, especially if they are a popular shop. I don't think it is right and I probably wouldn't shop there unless I was desperate.

Lady of the Cloth said...

Ditto, ditto, ditto. I'd hold a grudge too. After all it was the quilters who had asked her to order the fabric in the first place. Not good business practices IMHO.

Anonymous said...

Years ago I went to Joann's Fabric. They had a Viking Dealer in their store. That dealer gave classes. They would pull every book off the shelf to teach a class. In my case it was an E. Burns book. They would not sell that book to anyone until the Viking class was finished. My decisions was easy. I have never entered that business again. There are a lot of other companys that will accept my money. I have owned a business and your customers have to come first. Over profits!

Carol said...

I think it's pretty but I'm pretty sure a pale pink could be obtained that would match very well. Bella Solids has a wide range of colors. I don't think it was right that the quilt shop led them to believe the fabric would be available and them changed their minds, they might very well lose some customers.

Deb said...

Don't think that's good business practice and not good for loyal customers. I've actually had a LQS owner stick back bolts of fabric for a BOM or other purpose but if she has a loyal/good customer looking for a small amount of that fabric, she'll pull it out and sell you what you need, now that's taking care of your customer!

Anna said...

I had to go look at the quilt cause I couldn't envision pink with a christmas red/green quilt...but dang if that pink doesn't make everything else pop! My least favorite position is leaning over a barrel...word of mouth has a dramatic impact, wish more business people realized that, especially in this economic climate.

Penny said...

This is really stinky! I think the shopowners are not only greedy, but truly unethical! I probably wouldn't shop there again!Although I feel that I should support my local quilt shop. If I knew the name of this one I wouldn't shop there ~ word of mouth advertising can go either way = good or bad!

Rabid Quilter from CA said...

Here's another take on this: frankly, I never understood why anyone would want to make an exact copy of a quilt that someone else has already made. I would have picked another fabric.

debbie m said...

It seems to me, at the time you purchased your pattern, the owners said they would try to order the fabric for those who bought the pattern and wanted it. Seems they may not have gone looking for the fabric if it had not been requested. Seems quite rude to me. If I had been told that the fabric would be available to me if I bought the fabric, and then it was held hostage for the ransom price of paying for a class I would be quite unhappy! I'm sure my purcases at that shop would be minimal in the future. Sounds like their word means nothing.
So nice of you to not mention names. And yes, occasionally I pay what I have to to get what I want!