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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Fabric School -- Things to Know: How Fabric is Ordered.

We recently had a conversation at a staff meeting where the staff came onto a topic of having informed customers. We roundly agreed that, to fairly help our customers as well as contribute to a happy quilting consumer culture in our area, it was imperative to keep our customers informed and knowledgable. The conversation quickly expanded to include ideas to keep you abreast of all sorts of valuable information that not only keeps you an educated quilt/fabric shopper but also a well-informed and skilled quilter/sewer.

This portion of our staff meeting resulted in us creating Fabric School! We've come to see the value we would be contributing to the quilting/sewing community here in Northern Utah as well as online all over the world. Not only will this help us better meet your needs and expectations, but will create a more relaxed and enjoyable fabric shopping experience for both of us!

For the first installment of Fabric School, we want you to be informed of how fabric is ordered and stocked. Many times a week, we have customers who comes in to our store with a sample of fabric they had previously bought weeks, months, sometimes even years ago and had miscalculated how much they needed or had made a mistake cutting and were in desperate need for more. I'm sure we've all been there and can empathize. 

While we do our best to help our customers find the exact print when this occurs, it's important to understand that...
  1. we usually don't keep back stock of the majority of our products and 
  2. we can't alway reorder fabric we sell in our store if it is sold out.
A lot of the time we do not have the foresight to know what will be popular with our customers and what will sit on our shelves a long time. If we were to backorder all that we offered, this would result in enormous expenses that would increase our prices. We absolutely do not want to do that; remember our motto is "Service, Selection, Savings".

As for the second point, the life of fabric is very much like high fashion; it operates around the seasons. Fabric manufacturers have fabrics designed usually a year ahead of when they plan on providing them in stores. We and all other fabric shops order fabric about a season ahead of when it will be available to sell. This means that, seeing as how Christmas prints usually become available for sale in the middle of the summer, designers were creating the patterns for this Christmas last summer. Sales representatives from the various fabric manufacturers visited our store and we ordered these prints in the fall of last year, a whole season before they will be available on our shelves. 

These are very springy prints, but we got them in our store back in November!  See, a whole season ahead to give you time to make your spring projects.
The reason for this is that fabric manufacturers require a set number of yardage they need to print in order to supply the demand that was created when fabric stores ordered. This cuts down on their costs (which allows their fabrics to be priced lower for you, yay!) as well as the possibility for vast amounts of unsold fabric left on their hands that did not meet as much public acceptance (a nice way to say the fabric was ugly). For us and for our customers, that means there usually aren't any extra bolts to order once we run out of a certain print or fabric line. Additionally, fabric manufacturers want to be on the cusp of what is popular and to creatively expand what they offer to consumers. Because of this they rarely reprint old fabric lines. 

What we would like you to take away from this information is that, while we will thoroughly search through our cabinets and shelves for the print you are short on, there comes a time when a fabric is simply done and gone. As an informed consumer, this will help you to recognize our limitations, keep your expectations reasonable and understand that sometimes miracles just are meant to happen.

This fun comic was found on and explains why the fabric you are looking for is sold out: it's because Mrs. Bobbin takes it all! 
Should the possibility arise that you need more of a certain print and we are sold out, there are a few manufacturers who make it a little easier to reorder from; they will sometimes print a little extra for cases just like this. These manufacturers include Riley Blake, Springs and occasionally Moda. If what you are looking for falls within these manufacturers, we are happy to take your information and do some investigating to see if it is still available to order. Have patience with us as this usually includes  finding the fabric, determining if it is available or not, ordering it and having it shipped to our store. It may take awhile but we will be in touch with you about what we find.

We hope you are as excited as we are about Fabric School and the wonderful opportunities it can provide. Do you have something you'd like to know about and which you'd like to see featured on Fabric School? Leave us a comment or send us a message!

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