10 days later I’m finally feeling back on schedule after attending Spring Quilt Market in Salt Lake City. The weather was beautiful and the city welcoming. The day-to-day routine of running a business can be consuming to the point I don’t even realize it’s devoured me until I get away for a few days. I returned rejuvenated and full of fresh ideas. Goal number 1 achieved!
I’d venture to guess that everyone involved in the industry enjoys sewing and quilting as a personal creative hobby. That includes individuals making goods for re-sale, shop owners, pattern writers, bloggers, and fabric designers. There are unique challenges associated with blending your hobby with the pursuit of a viable business–that obviously needs its own post! Quilt Market provides an opportunity to take business classes, network with other shop owners, and become better informed about market trends that affect my livelihood. Goals 2, 3 and 4, check.
A quick market trend recap from my view of the world:
- Organic cotton has gone mainstream. Quite a few manufacturers presented organics for the first time. One phenomena that I observed that I don’t quite understand is the lowering of the price of organic cottons at the same time conventional cotton has gone through the roof. The price gap matters and this bodes well for greater availability of organic cotton.
- The high price of cotton. The big buzz at Fall Quilt Market was the rise in cotton prices. Last October, many manufacturers announced wholesale prices that for the first time would exceed $5 per yard. This was big because it meant retail prices would push over $10 per yard. $10 was viewed as some sort of sacred number. What a difference 6 months make. Prices went up. No one likes the higher prices but most shop owners and their customers seem to be taking it for the undeniable reality that it is. It helps that there has been extensive news coverage on the world cotton squeeze and the rising price of clothing making for a very educated consumer.
- Solids, solids, and more solids. Very exciting to see so many offerings. I realize that some people may look at all the solids and wonder what all the fuss is about (yes, I did hear that from a few shop owners). As a die hard solids fan I see choice, choice, and more choice. Varying hues, base cloth weights, and levels of saturation. Many collections are being crafted to coordinate with designer collections.
- Colors: Orchid, Coral, Chartreuse, Tangerine, Cherry Red, Aqua
- Styles: lots of cute (maybe too much? time will tell on this trend), retro vintage, sophisticated design (many designers that we LOVE are really coming into their own with their 3rd, 4th, 5th and more collections). OK, if you make me name names I will: Anna Maria Horner, Sandi Henderson, Valori Wells, Lizzy House, Bari J and Paula Prass. Love, Love, Love what’s coming soon from these talented women.
- The modern quilt movement was present and accounted for. Robert Kaufman had a dedicated display of quilts from the Modern Quilt Guild Challenge they sponsored. The Modern Quilt Guild had a meetup the first night of quilt market that was bursting at the seams. Alissa Haight Carlton, a founding member of The Modern Quilt Guild, was there to promote her upcoming book Block Party: The Modern Quilting Bee co-authored with Kristen Lejnieks. It was clear that a good number of fabric manufacturers are producing goods aimed at this market: basics, solids, and contemporary designs. Many of the books coming out appear to be targeted at this segment as well.
I’m excited that the modern quilt movement is crossing age groups. While a lot of market chatter wants to focus on the ‘next gen’ which infers a younger demographic, I think the modern quilt movement is not so much about the ‘next gen’ as it is the ‘next wave’. That wave includes young quilters who see something they can identify with (no doubt the modern quilt movement has many) as well as middle aged women rediscovering/redefining their love of sewing and an older generation of quilters that are excited by the energy the modern quilt movement brings with it. Lots to love about all these things. The internet brings together like minds not limited by age boundaries.
- Lots of fabulous pattern designers. Since this is near and dear to my heart I’ll be doing a dedicated series of posts on the patterns.
- An unbelievable number of choices. When I started my business just 3 short years ago I was constantly searching and patiently waiting for the right fabrics. Goodness. No need to look far now. I had to make a lot of difficult choices about what would fit into my budget. I’m very excited about what you’ll find at Pink Chalk over the next 6 months!
I collected some market swag that I think is pretty amazing. The tote bag from Andover featuring Lizzy House’s upcoming collection 1001 Peeps was in high demand. I have to share the story of how I got not one bag but two! My wonderful rep from Andover had a miscue on scheduling. I’m pretty good at taking care of myself so not an issue for me but he felt really bad about it. He asked what he could do to make it up to me and I said I wanted one of those Lizzy House tote bags to give away on my blog. He rolled is eyes like ‘great, are you kidding me, there are no more totes, how about something else.’ 15 minutes later he produces TWO Lizzy House tote bags. You lucky ducks!
Signed copies of new books from Jennifer Paganelli and Bari J! Score!
You’ll have to thank Kaari Meng of French General for the Moda 2.5″ square packs along with a pattern. I was taking some photos in the Moda booth and had the pleasure of meeting Kaari (what a nice and lovely person!). She asked what collections I had ordered and as we talked she kept giving me these little paper bags that had a sticker showing the collection name on the outside. When I said I would give them away on the blog she doubled them up! Too funny. I didn’t even realize the amazing contents until I opened one up back in the hotel room.
Whipped cream, sprinkles and a cherry on top: Kona cotton color card, Sandi Henderson notepads and an apron from Moda!
So… leave a comment telling me what you think the most exciting market trend is right now. What images have you seen from quilt market that make you swoon? I’ll draw winners next Tuesday.
Winners from two weeks ago (yes, I missed a week!):
Congratulations and look for an e-mail on Thursday.
How Fat Quarter Tuesday works:
- Every Tuesday two items from the Pink Chalk Fabrics online store will be featured and given away the following week in a random drawing.
- The first winner is selected from those who opened their Pink Chalk Fabrics e-mail newsletter during the week.
- The second winner is selected from all comments left on the blog for the week (comments from all posts, not just the giveaway post).
You can sign up for the Pink Chalk Fabrics Newsletter here.