Houston International Quilt Market is arguably the largest industry vendor show in the country. On the last weekend of October, you can find just about every one of your favorite quilt shop owners there. Representatives of major fabric, pattern, sewing machine, thread, and notions manufacturers are in their booths for three days, showing off the next year's products to shop owners, professional long-armers, and each other. There are hundreds of booths with people from as far away as Australia and Japan and as near as Duluth, MN with embroidery kits, quilt patterns, and specialty fabrics.
This was our second quilt market. We went in 2022 to prepare for the opening for Seams Like Quilting. Quilt fabric is often 'pre-sold' to help control manufacturing and make sure they don't get stuck with thousands of bolts of unsold fabric. This means we, as shop owners, make decisions about fabrics months in advance. In October, we choose what we will have in the shop in April and May of the next year.
The challenge of this is obvious, especially for a new shop: How do we know what you will want in the upcoming year? We have our favorites, but you have yours. And some great fabrics are made by companies that are challenging for shop owners to work with administratively. Price point is a huge factor, especially now. Some manufacturers enforce set pricing - they set the price and the product cannot be sold for less, even on sale. And quality is also a huge factor. While the fabric itself is consistently high quality, some manufacturers bolts come in wrapped crookedly or in sub-standard boxes, impacting your shopping experience and increasing the likelihood of damage.
One of the things we recognized this year was that we wanted to identify projects for just about everything we get in the store. Keeping all that in mind, we would sit down with a representative and look at collection cards - high quality printed depictions of coming fabric collections. Then we would debate. Is collection A too much like another one? How many florals are too many? Do we have enough red? Purple? Orange? When will it arrive? What pattern do we have that will work with this fabric? Is the color combination something that we think people will like? Do we have blenders and supporting fabrics that will work with the fabric?
Here are three options from Felicity, a fantastic smaller fabric manufacturer with excellent service for shop owners and a great price point for our customers. What do you think?
Which one would you pick? One of these will arrive in the shop November of 2023. We chose it because we didn't have much of the colors already in the store and the collection was a nice combination of floral and geometric prints with opportunity to fussy cut motifs from the main fabric.
We're so excited about everything we picked at Houston Quilt Market this year and hope you enjoy the projects we're planning. Watch our email list, Facebook page, and website for the latest and greatest. NEW fabric will be arriving every single month between now and July and we have a ton of new patterns hitting the shop floor this week. Stop by Seams Like Quilting or shop online for the newest....everything!