True Up: How did you start selling fabric?
Jamie Christina: About 4 years ago I took a quilting class at the local rec center and a whole new world opened up to me. I had known how to sew since I was a little girl, but it wasn’t until I took the quilting class that the sewing fire was lit! When the quilting course was over, I found myself wanting more; more quilts to make, more sewing techniques to learn, more projects to start, and MORE fabric! I would buy fabric with absolutely no project in mind. I just wanted to look at it, feel it, be one with it … OK, maybe that last part was a little exaggerated =) Basically, I LOVE fabric and I enjoy the people in the fabric world. I always feel an instant connection to anyone who sews and/or creates. It felt only natural to start an online fabric store because it was the world I felt I belonged to. Plus, I needed a reason to explain to my husband why I had to own a lot of fabric, so I started Phatfabric.com.
TU: What’s your personal stash like? Who are your absolute favorite designers?
JC: My personal stash is an eclectic assortment of just about any type of fabric; however, I tend to lean towards Japanese import fabrics like Echino and Lecien. Japanese textile designers bring such a unique visual feast to the fabric world with their use of color, motifs, and negative space. I will usually keep one yard of every Japanese fabric I carry for my personal stash.
TU: Is this your full time job?
JC: Yes, as well as my other full time job which I like to call Domestic Engineer =)
TU:: How would you characterize your shop?
JC: My husband and I like to have fun with each other by using slang words to describe something that inspires us, or that we find unique. “Phat” is usually used to describe a moment or thing that is exceptional. Therefore, it doesn’t matter if it’s cotton, linen, dobby, light weight, heavyweight, corduroy, or Japanese fabric, just as long as it’s Phat fabric. Our inventory also includes sewing patterns and embroidery. It’s important to us to constantly be evolving and to stay current with the fabric trends.
TU:: What are the biggest challenges and biggest rewards of being a fabric merchant?
JC: One of my biggest challenges for Phat Fabric is to break down any barrier that the Internet may cause due to the lack of “face to face” interaction. The customers can’t see me smile at them through the computer, so it’s important to me to find other ways to connect with my fellow crafters such as my blog and newly created Phat Fabric Flickr group. I also ship extremely fast! I’m talking 24 hours fast. One of the most frustrating things I find when shopping online is how long it will take a store to ship a product. I never want one of my buyers to feel the same when shopping at Phat Fabric.
As for the rewards in being a fabric merchant, without hesitation, it’s the creative people in the fabric world. From the buyers and designers, to even the other fabric merchants, they are all talented and inspiring people. Another reward is the FABRIC! Fabric is like chocolate to me, I can never have enough of it.