I would love to see more brick & mortar shops doing things the way Quilted Treasures does: catering to all tastes with a wide and well-thought-out inventory, and maintaining a strong online presence. Quilted Treasures also stands out in my mind for being a rare alliance between a mother-in-law and daughter-in-law! Kristina Wilberg (the daughter-in-law) works in the brick & mortar shop and is solely in charge of the shop’s Etsy branch. Everyone, meet Kristina as she tells us more about their corner of the fabric world! And stay tuned after the Q&A for a Quilted Treasures gift certificate giveaway.
I live NW of the Twin Cities-Mpls/St.Paul. This area is plentiful with traditional quilt shops. The focus of Quilted Treasures shop is to offer a good collection of trend lines in addition to the traditional quilt fabrics.
How and when did you start selling fabric?
We have been on Etsy since May 2009 and our experience thus far has been wonderful! Our website focuses more on books, patterns, quilt kits and notions, whereas our Etsy shop is all about fabric! It’s a nice way to highlight new lines and unique bundles we have created.
What surprised you most about the business?
I have been most surprised by the amount of International orders we have been receiving! It’s so fun to know that people are enjoying these fabrics all over the world!
Is this your full-time job? If not, what do you moonlight as?
I am a full-time wife and mother to my 2½ year old. I work part-time at my mother-in-law’s quilt shop (planning samples, doing displays, working on events) and spend the remaining hours of the day sewing at home and processing orders! One of my main responsibilities is maintaining our Etsy shop with new and exciting products, corresponding with customers, and shipping orders.
How would you characterize your shop?
We definitely do a lot of Custom FQ Bundles. Right now, we’re focusing mostly on trend lines by younger designers. We carry a lot of Free Spirit, Michael Miller and Baby/Youth/Tween Fabrics. However, there are some new Moda designers releasing this fall that will definitely be on there … Authentic by Sweetwater and Rouenneries by French General. A lot of times, lines are combined to create a unique look. We have been getting a lot of requests for additional yardage of certain pieces or an entire collection. I am more than willing to work with people to get them the EXACT combination they are looking for.
What are your hot sellers right now?
Hot sellers this summer were Wildwood by Erin McMorris, Good Folks by Anna Maria Horner, and Kiwi from Timeless Treasures. Coming into Fall, people are really loving Animal Party by Amy Schimler and the Michael Miller Bold and Brights.
Are you online only or do you have a brick and mortar shop?
Our Etsy shop an extension of the Brick and Mortar quilt shop, Quilted Treasures of Rogers, located in Rogers, Minnesota. It has been owned and operated by my mother-in-law, Mary Wilberg since 2000. We are 30 minutes Northwest of the Twin Cities-Minneapolis/St. Paul. We always have a little something for everyone! You are guaranteed to see something new each time you visit! We have a wonderful selection of Batiks, Reproduction fabrics, Asian Prints, Baby & Youth Collections and Funky/Retro fabrics. Our shop specializes in Unique Displays, Inspiring Samples and Custom Quilt Kits.
Do you run the shop alone or do you have help?
At this point, the Etsy shop is solely my responsibility.
How do you deal with the challenges of the current economy, and increasing competition on the online fabric retail market?
There are definitely many people out there selling the same products. What sets us apart is the feel of our shop and the experience people will have when they visit. We have a smaller inventory, but it’s ALL good. It’s easy to look through and decide on a bundle that inspires you. My favorite part of the process is communicating back and forth with customers to get them what they want. You will be impressed with our service, fast shipping and the lovely package you receive a couple of days later … it’s like Christmas! There is always something new. I keep up with it all by highlighting projects and fabrics on my blog Sew Domestic. Our shop also sends out a bi-weekly eNewsletter, which you can subscribe to on our homepage.
What are the (other!) biggest challenges and biggest rewards of being a fabric merchant?
We are having a lot of fun selling fabrics on Etsy. Our customers have been wonderful so far. The unique thing about our shop is that we do have a brick and mortar store. Because of our additional overhead, we are unable to sell designer fabric for $6-7 per yard like many of the “gray market” merchants. To make up for this, we offer a large variety of Fat Quarter bundles, which many shops are unable to do. We have the benefit of having an entire quilt store to choose from, so a lot of our bundles are custom, not something you can find anywhere. We also tend to have a lot more yardage available if people want more of a certain product, which is nice.
What’s your personal stash like?
I like to think my stash isn’t too big, but I tend to forget that I have a lot of WIP bins that contain many of my fabrics! I have a lot of bright and funky fabrics. They are sorted by designer and by color.
Who are your favorite designers, from the past and/or from the present?
Anna Maria Horner, hands down! I went a little nuts on Garden Party and Good Folks, just can’t get enough. I have also been really impressed with David Walker (Robots), Amy Schimler (Animal Party) and of course Joanna Figueroa (Fig Tree & Co.).
Thanks SO much Kim!
No, thank YOU, Kristina!
Giveaway Time! Kristina is offering a $30 gift certificate to spend in the Quilted Treasures Etsy shop. Just pay them a visit and come back here to comment on the item that catches your eye the most. This giveaway is open worldwide. Comments will close next Wednesday, September 30, around 9am Central U.S. time. Good luck!