Everything changes, and sometimes it’s difficult to figure out how good that change will prove over the long term. We all know that everything changes, and we all know that we fight the changes as they come along, because there is comfort in things staying the same.
A few years back Quilts, Inc tightened up the Credentialing process as this is a trade show, not open to the public. It is for people who work in industry related fields: textile companies, notions companies, pattern designers, fabric line designers, shop owners, and quilters who are in business making or quilting quilts. The immediate effect: the number of attendees went down by a lot.
Things in any industry change: quilt shops open, quilt shops close, textile companies add divisions, close divisions, companies shutter, magazines begin and sometimes end or are gobbled up by bigger companies, pattern designers come and go. There are other websites, and writers/industry professionals writing about the business part, and some questioning the need for, and viability of Quilt Market.
I’m going to offer a slightly different perspective on Quilt Market and it’s on-going necessity:
I see potential.
A lot of potential being grown and developed by people being there and making connections. While the “numbers” might be down – a trend we’ve seen since Quilts Inc tightened the guidelines for who attends – companies I talked to shops were buying. One indie company sold out of a run of fabric before the end of the first day. Aurifil created their booth with an overall spa or elegant lounge feel to be a welcoming place to connect with their customer, and do business stating that the nurturing relationships is essential.
While many have stated that Market has “lost its relevance” it is still the place where we know as people in this industry that we can find the components of our industry and make it complete. It is a proving ground, a place of contact, and the opportunity to grow and shape our businesses. Quilt Market is the place for us to figure out how to work together, with and for one another.
I had a lot of conversations that indicated that this season of change includes a change in leadership. The leadership change is happening, slowly and certainly. While I’m reticent to see some of the leaders step out, move on, or retire it’s exciting to see new leaders step up and do the work. Now, let’s be clear, the quilting industry has leaders but not in the traditional sense of elected or appointed, our leaders come forward, over time, by doing the work, with overall kindness and a willingness to be there for other quilters giving them a hand up. They establish good working relationships with many other.
At lunch with one shop owner who said she changes 10% of her business every year, allowing her to stay fresh, current, and in business. When she shared this I blurted out, “I want you to mentor me!” This idea of changing 10% gives rise to questions: what needs to change, what are the steps to change it, what will this look like, and can we be patient through this. The questions give us information on what’s working and what’s not. This examining means that we’re actively engaged in our business. And further being patient and riding through gives strength for moving forward.
Quilting community, let’s stay hopeful as we continue to move through this ebb in our work. The potential is there. We need this shift, and the growing pains that come with it. While some of the losses are painful (I speak personally here) there is much potential.
Some hot stuff Jeanie Sumrall-Ajero‘s Dream Big panels in the different sizes, including 108” giving this a lot of potential as backing and curtains. These are HOT! SewBatik’s batik knits (images coming). Cottage Joy (images coming soon) by Shannon Christensen from Windham, one of my favorite lines this season as it has the perfect yellows.
Expect more on market over the next few weeks as images come.