Yesterday, I bought this beautiful pile of fabric from a gorgeous patchwork fabric shop in Melbourne, at a discount of 75%.
I should be happy, right? I mean, look at the gorgeous colours, the dynamic shapes, the fresh patterns.
Well, I am not happy, dear reader, far from it. I am unhappy because this gorgeous fabric shop was offering the 75% discount because they are selling out their fabrics. The owner has decided to turn the store into a homewares store because the business won't survive as a fabric store. This is the second fabric store in my local area to close recently and I have heard a third one is struggling to survive.
Forgive me, dear reader, for a moment while I put my stern schoolmarm face on. There. I am ready to deliver a stern little speech, but I beg you to bear with me for just a couple of paragraphs. There is a little fabric eye candy at the end if you do!
Apparently, the reason some Australian fabric stores are failing is that people are buying their fabric online and not supporting their local quilt shops. This is tempting for Australian sewists and quilters, because we see fabrics at our local shop for $22 a metre selling for $10 online from US stores (noting howstrong the Australian dollar has been in recent years). Each of these fabrics above and below would be around $22-$24 per metre here in Australia, but around $9-$11 per metre online from a US shop.
The problem is, according to some sources, a lot of people go to their local fabric shop, browse, feel the fabrics, colour match, make a choice, and write down the fabric name and then order it online! Now, I buy a lot of my fabric online, too, but I have a rule. My rule is, " if I see it at my local, I buy it at my local."
My local quilt store pays all the overheads required for a bricks and mortar shop to have the space where I can go to browse the fabrics, touch them, see the colours in person in real light, colour-match and get a real sense of the scale and feel of the fabric. This is invaluable for someone working with fabrics. In fact, the ladies at my local quilt shop yesterday told me they had a customer who was actually upset they were going out of the fabric business because where else would she go to feel and colour match her fabrics before ordering them from someone else online?! Oh dear me.
So, dear ladies, let's support our local fabric shops and let's encourage others to do the same. I urge you to adopt my rule - if you see it at your local, buy it at your local (not online). If we don't get behind our local quilt shops, we might find our days of having local quilt shops are soon behind us.
Here is my little tribute to my local quilt shop and local quilts shops everywhere.
Phew. Thanks for sticking with me. Here's some eye candy as a thank you for hanging in there with me - two studies of Heather Ross fabric details, all purchased at my local, of course. I hope you enjoy!