Saturday, January 27, 2018

Never Stop Learning!

Whew! I just got back from a 5 day stay in Charlotte, North Carolina. I am invigorated, inspired, and my brain is pretty much overloaded. I went to a gathering of quilt shop owners for the purpose of learning more about the industry I am in and how to be a better shop owner, both online and in my 'bricks and mortar' shop.

Barn quilt at the rest area between North Carolina and Virginia.

I can't share a bunch, but I can tell you that if you are lucky enough to have your favorite local quilt shop owner attend, you can be assured that they are working hard to give you the best experience possible. There were 70 shops represented and I was the store owning newbie. To say I was a bit overwhelmed is an understatement. Quite a few had been in the business a good long time, including one who had been open for 36 years! Yet, they came to learn even more to help their shops and to help them better serve their customers.

Do you like the Row by Row Experience? I certainly do and I got to meet Janet Lutz from Calico Gals in Syracuse NY who is the creator of this national event.

I met a ton of shop owners, but one of my favorites from afar is the lovely Jan from The Pickle Dish in Ontario, Canada. Her shop is in the most charming, possibly haunted, Victorian building.

We got to see some of the newest products and notions, and received quite a few goodies. I took a huge embroidery trolley to carry my machine and all the fabric I never got around to sewing with (because I was busy listening and learning) as well as all the typical stuff you might take to a quilt retreat.
Yes, that is a Janome 15000 buried under a ton of stuff!

I did sew a quick baby quilt using Shannon Cuddle from one of their super easy kits. I loved how well my machine powered right through putting the shaggy binding on it.

Love that Janome Acufeed Flex foot!

My two big take-aways? First, make sure to provide plenty of inspiration along with excellent customer service and fun. Second, all work and no play makes for a burnt out shop owner.

Something else I am trying to do is pull together the two halves of my business, one online, the other our shop in Lynchburg. Our family business is what's known as a "bricks & clicks" operation. Sometimes it leaves me feeling pulled in several directions but I love all the various pieces. Each side of the business has its own Facebook page, blog, and now Instagram account! To create a space that hopefully bridges the gap between both worlds, I set up a Facebook group called Amy's Sew Simple Adventures. My ego wouldn't let me name it (or the shop) Amy's Sew Simple, since it has a totally different meaning if you read the possessive Amy's as a contraction of "Amy is" hee hee!

I'd love to have you join me and several of my quilting friends and customers there. I see it as a place to foster creativity, quilting, and general stitching goodness. You have to ask to join and posts are only visible to members, but it's not meant to be a secret society. Just want to keep the creepers, spammers, and hucksters at bay. It's a safe space where we can all share what creative projects we are working on and ask questions about sewing, quilting, and the like. (It's not a place for others to sell stuff.)

Now, back to the unpacking and going over my notes so I don't forget all the great info I heard this week. Never stop learning!


  1. YAY!! This sounds like such great stuff Amy. It's a great pleasure to see you grow and develop your business.


    1. Thanks Teri. It's been a blast and thanks for your recent help.

  2. Congratulations on developing your business. Visiting quilt shops is my favorite way to shop since I love to "finger the merchandise." I wish you well.

  3. I'm glad you got to go. I'll look forward to joining the facebook group.

  4. I'm so happy for you that you went. As a business owner myself - I truly wish much success. There's just nothing like doing a job you love, making people happy and then spending the profit. Even if that means putting it back in the business. :-) I would love to join your group - thanks for telling us. I'll go sign up now.

    1. Thanks Linda! Finding that balance of loving the business and working on the business is hard, but worth it.

  5. I so impressed with your enthusiasm for learning new ideas and constantly improving your skills and shop. Congratulations and best wishes.

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