I've hinted a little this past year about how changes are coming to The Hackney Quilter and, although it feels a little vulnerable both in a business sense as well as personally, I think I'm finally ready to let you know some more about what they may look like.
I've been chasing a feeling of lightness in life as in my business for some time. And my recent holiday really crystallised the fact that I need it. Just looking at the pictures of the beach there makes me breathe easier and more deeply!
What I want to do is to work more on designing quilt patterns and growing a quilting community which means reducing my time spent with the shop. That has been my goal for some time but a lot of life happened this year and I only found time to release one pattern (the New Moon pattern pictured above - one of my favs). There have been some big changes in my family life - nothing bad, just different - which mean that my family needs more of my attention.
There are a few reasons why more patterns and less shop work is the way forward for me and The Hackney Quilter. Although both writing quilt patterns and running the shop bring me joy, I think that designing, teaching and creating community is really where I can bring something of myself and of value to you. But being totally transparent about my business, selling fabrics is where I make the majority of my income, so it feels dumb to give it up completely. Which means I need to find a new way of doing things with the shop.
You might know that the earliest part of my working life was as a bookseller. I started out on the shop floor and worked my way up to book-buyer and shop manager. I eventually became a book-buyer for Puffin Book Club and I'm sure the mention of it brings warm and fuzzy memories to many of you. I loved being a bookseller. It is the biggest buzz to match the right book (or fabric) to your customer for their needs. And an even bigger buzz to have them come back to you and tell you how much they enjoyed their book (or fabric pull) and know that your help made a difference to them. And I want to keep doing that.
So I won't be stocking more and more yardage that eventually ends up in the sale. This has been giving me the ick for a while. Shops need to order up to nine whole months in advance sometimes to secure delivery of some fabric ranges which are hyped up and oversold. As individuals we can buy more wisely and use our stash but I place the responsibility for this situation squarely with the fabric companies who have this scarcity mentality built into their business model.
Instead of yardage, my the focus with the shop will be to stock less and to bring you offers where I think I can add unique value for you. Namely curated kits and bundles - because I like to think I'm good with colour! - as well as special discounts and offers some of which will be exclusive to my newsletter friends.
I hope to be able introduce you to some fabrics and brands that I love which you may not already be familiar with and if you're not in the market to to shop fabric I hope I will be providing you with some inspiration for your quilts and sewing projects.
I will be working mainly on a pre-order and product drop basis which should mean no excess stock. I see the hypocrisy in also offering time-limited offers but I encourage you to buy from me wisely. As quilters I know that you value your fabric as an artist's tool that benefits your wellbeing in many ways and that you do not squander it - even the tiny scraps!. Yes, I encourage you to shop with me but I encourage you to do it thoughtfully. If you want to support my business you can also do that by engaging with my on social media, telling friends who might be interested about me and generally being part of this lovely THQ community that we have built together.
The thought process behind switching to pre-orders and limited drops is that this model will enable me to boundary my time since there's a HUGE amount of admin involved in online shop-keeping. It will increase the space in my work room and, most importantly, as someone who always feels time pressured, in my head. It's going to promote that feeling of lightness that I need in order to be able to focus on my family, on designing quilt patterns and getting out there to teach, both IRL and online, and connect with you. In short, I believe this will be better for me and better for the planet and better for you too. A win for everyone I hope!
I'll let you know about new bundles, kits and offers in the newsletter. I'm not going to promise there will be a certain number a month or year as I'll need to find my balance to work out what is sustainable for me. You'll always be able to check out the Pre-orders section of the website if you miss a newsletter.
Lastly, don't worry, I will still be stocking my best selling AGF Pure Solids so you'll always be able to get hold of, for instance, some White Linen for some background fabric, and some essential Aurifil threads, notions and toolkits to go with your projects.
What these changes will do is open up space for more creativity for me, more inspiration and value for you, and more connection for us. I hope you'll stay around.
If you are in the E.U. and want to take advantage of the offer please email me.