Today, as part of the Meet the Sponsors series, allow me to introduce the lovely Jody Rowan, owner of the Fabric Shoppe on Etsy. What stands out most about the Fabric Shoppe to me is Jody’s eye for design, as evidenced by her cute owl logo, and the wonderful and fabric combinations she creates by picking and choosing amongst different designers, collections, and companies. Just take a look at the creative themes she sells as whole yard, half yard, and fat quarter bundles. This is especially great for those who are stash-building, or for those who are challenged with the task of combining fabrics for a project yet don’t necessarily want to go all matchy-matchy by sticking with a single collection.
As icing on the cake, every week there’s a different designer fat quarter on sale for only $1.
Check out Jody’s blog, Everyday Beautiful, where she keeps an awesome list of tutorials and ideas from around the crafty blog world. She also maintains a Flickr pool so that customers can share their creations. And does she Twitter, you ask? Why of course! Keep an eye over there for shop updates, new sales, and giveaway announcements.
Speaking of giveaways, Jody is giving away an Amy Butler Kimberly Bag Pattern as well as a yard of Joel Dewberry’s Spade Damask Home Dec Fabric. Just click here and leave a comment on her post (not here on True Up!). Through April 6, 2009, she is also offering a 10% discount on fat quarter bundles exclusively to True Up readers — just use the code TRUEUP in the comments to seller and the amount will be refunded upon shipment.
And now, the interview …
Where do you live? What is the textile/crafty scene like there?
I live in Duluth, Minnesota. A very chilly city on the banks of Lake superior. There is not much of a urban craft scene here that I have found. I travel down to Minneapolis for that! But I feel so a part of the worldwide crafty/fabric scene because of my business and also though inspiring blogs, crafty sites, flickr groups and of course Etsy! It is so cool that no matter where you live you can be inspired by creative people everywhere! When I first stumbled upon Etsy and a few blogs of really creative people I felt like I had come “home.”
How and when did you start selling fabric?
I have always loved creating and fabrics but this business was kind of a surprise for me. I began a small business about a year and a half ago selling baby burp cloths on Etsy. But I was having to travel three hours away to get modern, trendy fabrics. I didn’t understand why the four quilt shops in my area didn’t carry Amy Butler! I thought there must be more people in my predicament who would love to get their hands on yummy fabrics. So I decided to open the Fabric Shoppe a little over a year ago. I opened up shoppe a few months before having my first baby girl. Then after my maternity leave was over I decided that I would quit my job as a Retail Sales Supervisor to stay at home with the baby and cut fabrics. I feel very blessed that I get to do something that I really love and be with my little girl every day. Amazing!!
What surprised you most about the business?
It is a lot of work!! But extremely rewarding! I really adore the crafty/fabric scene! Crafters are a warm and welcoming group of people! I feel like I have made so many friends with customers that visit my Shoppe and follow my blog!
Is this your full time job? If not, what do you moonlight as?
This is definitely my full time job. I love it! I do still fill in at my old job occasionally when needed. My husband is in training to begin helping me with the fabric as needed!
How would you characterize your shop?
Modern. colorful. simple.
By modern I mean I try to stay on top of all the market trends from clothing to home decor so I make sure that I have those types of fabrics for my customers. It’s funny … I look at a J.Crew or Anthropologie catalog differently now than I did one year ago! And by simple I mean I try to make it easy for my customers to come and be inspired. There are so many great and not so great fabrics available. I try to only buy fabrics that I would use in a project, or that i feel are really fab. I bundle them up into some fun combos and make it simple for customers to fall in love with the fabrics and create some really great stuff.
What are some of your big sellers right now?
Anna Maria’s Good Folks is doing well. She has such an eye for colors! Anything Alexander Henry that comes in my doors flies right on out. Michael Miller’s Pet Deer and Bot Camp lines are also very cute and I can’t keep enough of them on the shelf!
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 online only right now. We are on Etsy and are very excited to also be opening up a regular .com site very soon!! On the new site it will be easier for us to offer discounts and sales and reward our loyal customers. My wish is that it will be a place that will inspire creativity! The designers and web developers are hard at work and I can hardly wait!! It should be up in a few weeks!!
Do you run the shop alone or do you have help?
I run the shoppe alone but do have a lot of help from my hubby. He helps more around the house on days that I am really busy. I am a lucky girl to have a man who works hard all day (he is a youth pastor with inner city youth) and then doesn’t complain when he had to come home and do a load of laundry or cook dinner because I have to finish up the day’s orders. Thanks babe!
How do you deal with the challenges of the current economy, and increasing competition on the online fabric retail market?
I think that this economy has actually made people more interested in crafting or making things at home. People are staying home cooking dinners instead of eating out and making stuff instead of buying it.
As far as competition, I just focus on keeping my shoppe stocked with great products and keep my eyes out for trends in crafting, decor, anything that will benefit my customers and readers!
What’s your personal stash like?
Do I have to answer that? I don’t want my Fabrics Anonymous group to know the real truth!
Who are your favorite designers, from the past and/or from the present?
Amy Butler of course! And I just love Anna Maria’s eye for colors and patterns!
:: Thanks so much, Jody! ::