Saturday, May 29, 2010

CRAVE Minneapolis

One of the challenges of owning my own business has been getting the word out that Sewtropolis exist.  It's an ongoing process.... lucky me I found CRAVE.  I can go into the great things that CRAVE does for women business owners, but I'll probably loose you someplace in the second paragraph - because in the back of your mind you'll be thinking "Why is she telling me this?"  So I'll just cut to the chase; CRAVE has published a "Manifesto" which is the go-to resource for urban-minded women when it comes to all things business and pleasure.   

CRAVE Minneapolis is a unique and stylish guidebook for Minneapolis living. It is a celebration of women entreprenesses that showcases some of the most creative, interesting, and gutsy proprietors throughout our city.  I was lucky enough to meet a few of them this past Tuesday during the 'book launching party'.  There were so many creative women there offering great services and products that you won't find anywhere else - especially in a big box store.

I encourage you all to:

 1.  purchase the CRAVE guide -you can do that from any of the businesses featured in the book -

2.  Support the women owned businesses featured in the book (don't forget to use the coupon in the back of the book) and

3.  Continue to support your local economy by shopping local.

Being a part of the CRAVEguide has been a wonderful experience... my hope is that it will be so successful that it will inspire more women to follow their dream of owning their own business and that CRAVE will publish another guide next year filled with these new businesses!  It CAN happen.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

My First Quilt Market Experience - Wow!

As you know over the weekend I had the pleasure of attending Spring Market 2010 here in our own city and if I had to describe it in one word it would be: WOW. I was super excited leading up to the Market, I had talked to people who had attended in the past and one piece of advice they all had was: Bring a big bag. They weren’t kidding. In fact, I brought the biggest bag I had and it still wasn’t enough to hold all the samples, pamphlets and other gadgets I managed to collect by the end of the day.

Day one the objective was to just look – but as soon as Jennifer, Emily and I walked in it was apparent that Quilt Market was so large that if we saved all the ordering for the second day we would never have enough time. So we mapped out the vendors we knew we wanted to see and set off. First stop the Kokka booth. I have been listening to my customers and I think they will be pleased with the selection of beautiful fabrics I purchased. (for a sneak preview check out Sewtropolis’ Facebook photos)  We then visited the Michael Miller, Westminster fabrics/FreeSpirit, Cloud 9 Fabrics and finally Riley Blake booths. We placed our last order of the day with about an hour to closing. I think that maybe that's a good thing; there are so many beautiful fabrics out there I could have easily kept going! But instead I grabbed brochures and will try to bring some of the other vendors in at a later time.

Day two my main objective was to place orders for notions, patterns, books etc. Having walked the floor the day before I was able to take notes of those vendors I wanted to revisit. When it came time to order buttons I stopped in at the vendor who had the largest selection (they had over 3000) thinking how hard can it be to order a few buttons? I was quickly reminded of why I prefer the independent businesses. As soon as I walked in I was handed a clipboard and told I could choose so many 'cards' to fill the largest rack they had or a few less to fill the next rack down, etc. etc. With over 3000 to choose from how was I to know where to start? I then asked the sales person if they sold to JoAnn Fabric’s. she indicated they did, but that JoAnn's only carried 3/4 of their selection and that I could order something different for my store – but she didn’t say which ones JoAnn's didn't carry!  I handed the clipboard back to her and said I needed to think about it. I then found my way to a smaller vendor who was incredibly helpful, had a great selection of buttons, and told me I could order a ‘pre-loaded’ rack with a sampling of all the buttons they carried.  I even got to ‘modify’ my order with buttons I thought my customers would want. After placing my order I walked away thinking “This is why I shop Independent” By the way, the buttons are hand dyed and incredibly cute – and you won’t find them at JoAnn’s.

Over the course of the two days I thought it might be kind of fun to get my picture taken with as many designers as I could. It was such a pleasure to be able to meet Alex Anderson, Ricky Tims (who I have been a big fan of for years), Valori Wells, Kay Whitt, Sandi Henderson etc. The highlight of the show for me though were the 10 minutes I spent with Anna Maria Horner. I stopped by her booth at a time when she was at lunch, but was told she would be signing books in about 20 minutes at a distributors booth. I had more to see so I slowly made my way over to the booth she was at and then kept walking after seeing the long line of people waiting to get their books signed. After placing a few more orders and looking around a bit, I was ready to go…. But first I wanted to see if I could catch Anna Maria.  So I made my way back over to her booth and as I walked up she must have read my name tag because she greeted me with “Pos Eisai” which is Greek for “How are you?” I was so stunned it took me a few seconds to answer “Boli kala, k eses?” which means “Very good and you?” We then spent the next 10 minutes talking about our Greek Heritage, where in Greece our ancestors lived, how much Greek we knew (which for both of us was not very much). It was definitely the cherry on top of the my first Quilt Market dessert! 

I hope you all enjoy the selections I chose. I have a few patterns already in the store, some fat quarters from Riely Blake and ½ yard cuts from Kokka. The rest should start arriving any day – I’ll post on Facebook first so be sure to ‘like’ Sewtropolis! You will also find the fabrics for sale on