Craft Focus - February/March 2022 (Issue 89)

91 RETAILER INTERVIEW haberdashery including fabrics for quilting, dressmaking and furnishing fabrics. All of my staff play a part in choosing new fabrics, which means we cover a range of styles to suit most tastes and budgets. What kits are you currently excited about? We continue to love the lampshade making kits by Dannells and our customers are always delighted with the results. On the quilting side of things, we’re loving the new kits by June Tailor Inc, specifically the ‘Zippity-Do-Done’ range which features pre-sewn zippers making the projects easy and quick to complete even with limited sewing skills. Projects include quilted cosmetic pouches and lunch bags. Do you visit any trade shows? The one trade show we always make sure to visit is the CHSI Stitches at Birmingham. Not only is it a good chance for us to catch up with our existing suppliers but we always view it as an opportunity to search out new and exciting products to stock. How has your product offering changed over the years? Have you seen trends come and go? Over 30 years our product offering has increased both in quantity and also in terms of the types of products available. Quilting has gone from being viewed by many as somewhat ‘old fashioned’ to the most amazing modern art quilts, which helps to inspire new generations. More recently, we’ve seen a real up-turn in the number of people making their own clothes, largely due to people trying to be more sustainably minded, but also due to things such as The Great British Sewing Bee programme making thing more accessible to people. Are you active on social media? How is this useful for the business? We’ve increased our activity on social media, more over the course of the pandemic, to maintain contact with our customers and to be able to show products as they arrive in store. We’ve had a really positive response to this and have even posted videos following each episode of The Great British Sewing Bee, in order to help our customers who’ve been inspired by the products. We show them suitable fabrics and patterns to achieve their chosen project and discuss specific techniques that may be required. Do you have any tips for people looking to start their own retail venture? I think it’s important to research what you’re looking to do and whether those services and products are already provided in your area. People will travel a long way for specialist products and good service, for example. I also think it’s important to understand that things can take a while to build speed and not to be disheartened if things are slow to start. And Sew On Fabrics Unit 12 Blake House Craft Centre, Blake End Rayne, Essex, CM77 6SH.