Quilt Sandwich Fabrics is an Etsy-based shop quickly approaching its one-year anniversary. It’s owned and operated by Seattle-area sisters Kris and Becca — they also have another sister into sewing and quilting. (Imagine having not one but two stash enablers in your family!) Quilt Sandwich carries the usual Westminster, FreeSpirit, and Moda suspects, sure, but Kris and Becca have a great eye for fresh, modern, and retro prints from other companies (Studio E, Blank Quilting) that sometimes get overlooked. And ohmygosh, have you seen their buttons?
So everyone, meet Kris and Becca! And stay tuned after the questions for a fabric giveaway …
Where do you live? What is the textile/crafty scene like there?
Our shop is located in Marysville, Washington. Kris lives in Marysville (just north of Seattle) and Becca lives in Seattle. People in Seattle are pretty into crafts and there are some good fabric stores and craft sales around town. We have a lot of friends that are interested in learning new crafts like knitting and sewing, so we think being crafty is starting to become more popular in the area. The Northwest is full of creative, interesting people who love doing all kinds of activities, including crafts.
How and when did you start selling fabric?
We’ve loved shopping for fabric for a long time and we kept talking not-so-seriously about starting a fabric store, but about a year and a half ago we finally realized that selling online could be a good fit for us, so we started selling on Etsy last November.
How did you come up with your name?
Kris, one half of Quilt Sandwich, also caters and loves to cook, so we were talking about opening up a fabric store with a restaurant in it too. People get hungry when they’re fabric shopping! Plus, “quilt sandwich” is a quilting term, so it seemed funny and unique.
What surprised you most about the business?
We’ve been pleasantly surprised by all of the great people we’ve been meeting, from customers to fabric sales reps. There’s a lot of cameraderie among sewers and people who love fabric like we do.
Is this your full time job? If not, what do you moonlight as?
It’s not our full time job yet, but hopefully someday! Kris is a single mom full-time and also does catering and managing our dad’s office. Becca is working part time at fabric manufacturing company In the Beginning Fabrics, helping with orders and invoices and shipping and whatnot, and hopes to use her free time to work on her own fabric designs.
How would you characterize your shop?
Bright and fun! We have a great selection of really colorful and stylish fabrics. We love to work with our fabric!
What are your hot sellers right now?
There has been a lot of Mendocino by Heather Ross selling, which is a little odd+because we’ve had it for awhile.
Are you online only, or do you have a brick & mortar shop? If you don’t have one, are you planning to open one?
We are currently online only. It’s possible that down the road we may want to open a brick and mortar store, but we probably won’t be able to do it any time soon. Also, if people live in the area and would like to stop by, we’re more than happy to have visitors. Just email us to make sure we’ll be here.
Do you run the shop alone or do you have help?
It’s just the two of us!
How do you deal with the challenges of the current economy, and increasing competition in the online fabric retail market?
To help us in this competitive market, we’re trying to do a great job on customer service and communication with our customers. We also keep our prices competitive.+So far (knock on wood!) we haven’t had too much problem with the economy – our business is still fairly new,+so we haven’t seen a dip in sales yet. Our sales have actually been steadily increasing, so we’re happy about that!
What are the (other!) biggest challenges — and biggest rewards — of being a fabric merchant?
Challenges are being a little fish in a huge pond. We’re still a pretty small store, but we’re working hard to keep our inventory fresh and exciting and to make connections with people all over the world so that they’ll come back to us. So far we’ve had a lot of great feedback from our customers, which is a wonderful reward! It’s definitely rewarding to hear that people love our fabric and had a great experience ordering from us.
What’s your personal stash like?
It’s a little out of control! However, having all of our beautiful fabric around us has actually alleviated the need to buy a lot of fabric, since we have the joy of seeing it. We both have pretty good stashes though, since we’ve been collecting for quite a while!
Who are your favorite designers, from the past and/or from the present?
We have loved Kaffe Fassett since his needlepoint days and fondly remember when he first started designing fabric. Every time we see upcoming Kaffe fabrics we freak out a little! We have also been Amy Butler followers since we first saw Gypsy Caravan, and anxiously await anything new from her. We are really looking forward to the newest collection from Denyse Schmidt and admire her quilting style. Other designers we like are Jennifer Paganelli, Anna Maria Horner, Heather Bailey, Jay McCarroll, Joel Dewberry, and Tula Pink.
Thank you so much, Becca and Kris! I love the Quilt Sandwich shop idea … just keep the condiments far away from the bolts …
Quilt Sandwich is giving away a charm pack of Hello Betty by Chloe’s Closet for Moda — that’s 60 cute retro fabrics! — plus a yard of solid teal from the same line, which coordinates nicely with the 5″ x 5″ squares. (Those are jelly rolls in the picture above, but we just wanted to show you Hello Betty — that’s the middle two stacks!) Just leave a comment on this post and I’ll draw a winner next Wednesday morning, October 7. Good luck!