Meet the Sponsors: Pam Denesyk of Mad About Patchwork

Mad About Patchwork is a longtime sponsor of True Up, and I was happy to get to know owner Pamela better via my Meet the Sponsors series. MAP is one of the few online shops based in Canada. BUT WAIT! Don’t tune out if you live outside of Canada — Pamela carries lots of stuff you won’t find elsewhere, like her awesome kits for some of the most popular modern quilt patterns. And she offers free shipping in North America on orders $100+.

Giveaway time! Pamela is offering a copy of City Quilts by Cherri House to one reader today — just visit the site, have a look around, then come back here and leave a comment about your favorite item(s) you saw there. I’ll draw a winner randomly next Thursday, August 11, around noon Central U.S. time.

Where do you live? What is the textile/crafty scene like there?

I live just outside Ottawa, Ontario in Canada. I moved here 16 years ago and it’s where I first became interested in quilting. Quilting is very popular in the Ottawa Valley, with a number of local quilt shops to choose from. There are also numerous guilds in the region. There are a lot of traditional quilters, although there are definitely some less-traditional types out there too.

How and when did you start selling fabric?

I started thinking about selling fabric online about 4 years ago. Finding Canadian online retailers was difficult, and shipping from the US was sometimes expensive. The shop has been up and running for just over three years, and the response from Canadians has been great.

What surprised you most about the business?

Everything!! I had no background whatsoever in retail, so everything has been a big learning curve for me. And I’m still learning.

Is this your full time job? If not, what else do you do to pay the bills?

It was part-time until last September, when I resigned from a part-time job in a medical office to concentrate on the shop.

How would you characterize your shop?

I have always brought in fabric that appeals to me. Modern, fresh, fun is my tagline and I am always looking for something that people won’t necessarily find in their local quilt shops.

What are your hot sellers right now?

Kona solids are always my best sellers, along with the kits I’ve put together for various Cherry House patterns.

Are you online only, or do you have a brick & mortar shop? If you don’t have one, are you planning to open one?

I am online only, although I do travel to shows two or three times a year. I like meeting customers at the shows, and although I sometimes dream of opening a brick and mortar shop, I like the flexibility I have from working at home.  Of course, local customers are always able to stop by with an appointment to shop!

 

Do you run the shop alone or do you have help?

I run it alone. It’s manageable for now, although my mom is always there to help me out at the shows.

How do you deal with the challenges of the current economy, and increasing competition in the retail fabric business?

There have definitely been some challenges to operating online from Canada with so much competition from US fabric retailers. I try hard to stay as competitive as possible with prices, even if it means not carrying certain manufacturers because the wholesale price in Canada is so much higher. Because I am small, I can offer personalized and prompt customer service. And many of my customers have been thrilled to find a Canadian online source for fabric.

What are the other biggest challenges — and biggest rewards — of being a fabric merchant?

A big challenge for me, particularly since I work from home is keeping everything in balance. I handle everything myself – from buying to marketing to accounting to blogging – and that can be a lot of juggling. I have three awesome teenagers at home, and they definitely help keep me grounded in reality!

The biggest reward is getting to play with all kinds of fun fabric … I try to sew at least a little bit every day, and you can follow my adventures on my blog.

What’s your personal stash like?

True confession – I don’t have much of a stash. I like to pick fabric for the project I’m working on at the moment, and it’s usually something that I’ve got in the shop. Although I did just indulge in some Denyse Schmidt fabric that was only available at Joann’s. I do have overflowing buckets of scraps, with good intentions of using them up, but somehow that never seems to happen.

Who are your favorite designers, from the past and/or from the present?

Valori Wells, Denyse Schmidt, Heather Bailey, Anna Marie Horner, Dena Fishbein, Holly Holderman are just a few. Moda has some terrific designers, and I love some of the young designers for Riley Blake. We are lucky to have so many choices for fabric!

Thank you so much, Pamela!

35 Comments

  1. My favorite item in the Mad About Patchwork shop is the Discontinuity Twin Kit! What a beauty.

  2. Hello! I like the kits and the bundles. I notice there are a lot of City Quilts kits! I really like the fabric by color feature — looking forward to seeing more color options there. Have you tried citron & grey? :) Thanks for the giveaway!

  3. Judy R. says:

    I like the Cherry Fizz Twin Kit – modern, great colors.

  4. Barb Colvin says:

    Pre-cut tumblers!!! Available in Amy Butler Soul Blossoms :D

  5. Laura D. says:

    I do really like the kits! I might have to try one out!

  6. Trudi Gibert says:

    I love the Beach Glass Bundle. I have eyed that quilt on “Quilts Made Modern” many times. I love that they make it so convenient for me to get the fabrics I want (need!).

  7. Lisa P. says:

    I really love some of Anna Maria Horner’s Innocent Crush. There are lots of cool designs on the site!

  8. Jennyroo says:

    It only seems fair that a fellow Canadian wins this awesome giveaway! Hello from Saskatchewan. I am itching for the Innocent Crush swept away bundle right now!

  9. Ellen says:

    I’m totally diggin the Shot Cotton Cool Bundle. I’m hoping to pick up some lovely shot cottons at the Festival of Quilts (UK) next week!

  10. Lori says:

    Love the Quilt Soup holiday fabrics!

  11. Annemarie says:

    The City Harbor kit is my favorite thing on her website

  12. Michelle says:

    My favorites are the Robert Kauffman Kona Sunshine bundle, and the Tonga Treats taffy roll. Also, I never knew what tumblers were before!

  13. Vicky says:

    It’s great that you can get pre cut tumblers from them especially the Happier ones

  14. Jen B says:

    The shot cottons look so yummy, so do the Timeless Treasure organics!

  15. Heather says:

    I go gaga for all those shot cottons! I’ve never seen them in real life but I can just tell that I’d love them.

  16. April says:

    Love the city shop kit and the precut tumblers!

  17. monique says:

    As a Canadian I’m so pleased to learn of this shop!! I really love modern fabrics and am also looking forward to Mad about Patchwork getting AMH new line of fabrics. I love the city scapes kit with the colours they’ve chosen!

  18. Mary says:

    Wow what a lovely site, I am so taken by the precut tumblers what a smart idea I could definitely be persuaded by those especially in the Michael Miller aqua/red range – my favourite.
    Looks like a great book. Thanks for the giveaway

  19. Jane says:

    Love the shot cotton bundles…I’ve always wanted to buy smaller amounts in several colors, but have never seen them packaged this way. Also, the beach glass kona bundle…yum.

  20. Linda says:

    LOVE THE CHERRY FIZZ!
    THANKS FOR SHARING!

  21. Elizabeth says:

    I just found her site last week! I love the cuts she offers – great to see fat quarters…sometimes that’s all you need! (And it’s a user-friendly site. thanks!)

    lwghosts(at)yahoo(dot)com

  22. Kathryn says:

    What a fabulous website. I was first drawn to her FQ bundle of red and aqua by Michael Miller. That combination intrigues me. Then I saw under Featured products two patterns that I have been admiring for sime time, Sprout and Motley. I’m now going to follow her blog. Thank you for sharing this great site!

  23. Allison C says:

    LOVE the metro circles in black designated as ring dot black on the mad about patchwork web site.

  24. Anita T. says:

    Definitely the pre-cuts.

  25. Claudia Tang says:

    I’ve never seen pre-cut tumblers! They are definitely NOW my favorite!

  26. Jeanell says:

    Nice shop the Anna Maria Horner prints are my favorite.

  27. ruth says:

    I enjoy looking at all the fabrics and bundles and dreaming what they would look made into something.

  28. Lindsay says:

    I love the City Lights quilt kit!

  29. Jocelyn says:

    Love the pre-cuts.

  30. Sarah says:

    Thanks for hosting the giveaway and interview. I love that the shop is Canadian. My local shops are great but don’t carry much of the modern stuff that I drool over online. I especially like the red and aqua bundle.

    Sarah

  31. Barb B says:

    I love the Sea Glass bundle!! Which I have purchased and will make into a quilt.

  32. MarciaW says:

    I subscribe to the MAP e-newsletters. I like her selection of RK Kona solids and also the shot cottons. This is why would like to win this book – to try my hand at some of C.House’s quilt patterns.
    p.s. Do you post winner names on your blog anymore?

  33. Cyn says:

    Thanks for letting us know more about Pam and MAP. I love her site as well as her blog which I visit regularly. My favorite at the moment is Kumari Garden by Dena Designs. Thanks for a chance to win your great giveaway.

  34. maget says:

    I love the shot cotton bundles, except I can’t chose between the warm and cool version. I’ve bought fabric from Pam before and everything was wonderful, I’m so glad to have found a Canadian source for supplies!

  35. robin says:

    My favorites are the Gypsy Bandana fabrics – I love that line! Thanks for the giveaway chance!