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Thursday, November 20, 2008


I have a quilting business. But one would hardly know.

I used to have a website, and an email connected to it. I'm currently having a disagreement with my web service provider, so they disabled the site. Fair enough. Once we get settled, I'll go to a new service provider and I'll be, as they say, "back in business."

Well... maybe.

The problem with web sites is, one has to develop it and maintain it. This means content.

Sigh. Content.

That means, for example, I have to list, and possibly show pictures of, what I sell. Everything I sell.

Well, I sell anything that Quilt Source Canada sells, since they sell wholesale to me and I sell retail!

But they don't do something called "drop-shipping", which means you have to come to me to buy what I sell.

Which kind of defeats the purpose of having my own web site! I mean, whoever you are, reading this, you might live in Botswana for all I know! You're not going to fly here to pick up ten needles! And I'm not flying over to you anytime soon!

Sure, I can place your order. Then they ship it to me, and then I'd ship it to you. And of course, if I'm going to make any money at all doing this, I have to charge you shipping, on top of the suggested retail price. And tax.

Making your order twice as expensive. It's easier and cheaper for you to go to a quilt store. Which defeats the whole purpose of me having a web site! So there I've gone and done all that work for nothing!

You see the problem.

Now, companies that sell directly to customers, like Amazon, have some kind of deal with their suppliers. Their suppliers ship the stuff to you, but send their bill to Amazon. Amazon bills you, over the internet. Amazon charges you the shipping costs and the taxes and exchange, if stuff is coming from the States. You get to pay all this first. Amazon gets to sit on your money. They pay their supplier for the article and for the shipping. They don't pay the same price you pay. That's how they make money.

But QuiltSource doesn't drop-ship. So there we are.

I live in the Montreal area. I'll sell you anything you want, and I can even deliver it to you if you're not too far from me. But I don't have thousands of dollars, nay, tens-of-thousands - to buy a huge stock of stuff and pay shipping and tax and have sitting around waiting for people to buy from me!

It's really hard to bring the quilting hobby into the 21st century! I don't know enough about business to know how to fix this problem... but I suspect there is a solution!

Any suggestions?

Sunday, November 9, 2008

A Challenge!

What a great term, eh? "Challenge." If we were in high school, it'd be called homework, or assignment, or something equally uninteresting.

I was yakking on the phone today with a quilting pal, and just before we had to hang up, she mentioned her guild had issued a challenge.

It was to be any size, in black and white, and had to incorporate the sample piece of material handed out at the meeting, which was white fabric with black on it.

The challenge could have one other color.

Immediately she said those words, my neurons went into overdrive. Hyperspace. Warp Nine.

"Oh! Oh! Oh!" I said. "Make your top all in black and white, and quilt heavily in the third color, like, yellow!" I said excitedly.

"Oh," she said. "That's a good idea."

"Wait!" I cried. "Does it have to be only black and only white, or are shades of grey allowed?"

"I don't know," she began, "I could ask..."

But I was already in mid sentence.

"... because I have this variegated thread, black to white, and it has shades of grey in it. You could use your third color and quilt in this thread!"

"Huh," she said. "I didn't know they had..."

"Rail Fence," I said. "I've always wanted to do Rail Fence in three different tones of black."

"I though I might do stars" she slipped in edgewise. "With maybe a black star in the center."

"Oh, cool!" I replied. "I wonder, could you do it like stained glass?"

"Wow," she said, considering the idea. "Stained glass stars. Hmm..."

"Or how about Attic Windows, only this time, the windows are black, with white quilting, almost like redwork, in them, and the windowframes are in the white fabric!"


"Of course, black and white is always suitable for crazy quilting. You can use the third color as well, and quilt in black on the white fabric, and in white on the colored fabric, and in the third color on the black fabric..."


"Now, I've seen people doing a mosaic of real photos, been trying one out myself. That would work beautifully in black and white..."

"Uh ..."

"Candles would be a great theme! Black background, white candles, brilliant yellow flame - the flames could be done as thread paintings..."


"Oh! What about taking something we always see in color, like a flower, and doing that in black and white? You know, there are a lot of ads on tv and in print where they use a black and white picture and just put one item in in color? Well, this would be unusual because the color simply isn't there. You'd need several shades of black and several shades of white...."


"Ooh! A Landscape! Or Seascape - yeah, a seascape! Picture this: the land is black, with black quilting on it. The water is white, with white quilting! And the edge of the sun coming up, or the whole round disk, is brilliant yellow, with brilliant yellow quilting!"


"Can you put sequins on it? Black sequins? White sequins? Oh! Did you know they have a black metallic thread?"

On and on, for as long as she'd let me.

No sir, no shortage of ideas here. Just not enough lifetime to get them all done!