File this under "For what it's worth," but I thought it might be a good time to confess that last Monday night, as soon as Ollie got home from work, I asked him to turn around and march himself right back out the door so that we could drive to the nearest JoAnn Fabrics together (it's 40 minutes away) and buy some of the new Denyse Schmidt fabrics.
Now, I know some of you out there might not even know that Denyse has a new line of fabric out that is only available at JoAnn stores (she does).
But I know there are quite a few of you out there who DO know about the new fabrics (it has been all over the internet this past week) and may be a bit confused as to why I would do such a thing as to drive straight out and buy from a chain store when I, myself, own a local fabric store.
And because I feel that everyone is entitled to my opinion (whether they want it or not), I thought I would share my thoughts on the whole situation.
I've seen a few comments on the internet and had a few discussions in the shop where people are concerned that designers like Denyse Schmidt and Liesl Gibson (both of whom are selling their fabrics and patterns at JoAnn stores) may ultimately hurt the smaller local fabric stores.
If you've read my post about "To Mardens or not to Mardens" then you know my feeling on the subject...
In my own weird, warped way, I do NOT believe that this turn of events will harm my business, but in fact, in the long run, it may be a good thing for my business. No need to rehash old posts.
And let us not forget that deep, down, underneath it all, the Alewivesgirl is just someone who loves fabric. If Denyse Schmidt has a new line available anywhere you bet your sweet bippy I'm running straight out to see it and feel it (and in this case, buy it) for myself.
Denyse would never put her stamp upon something that wasn't completely fabulous and the collection at JoAnn's is no exception. I have to point out, the quality of the fabric is lovely and the price was comparable to prices at my own shop.
In fact, I had a great time jumping in the car with Ollie, driving to the big(ish) city, grabbing my shopping cart and piling it up with the bolts from Denyse's new line. It was fun and good for me to be a shopper and not a retailer for a change and bring home some new fabric for the stash.
And okay, yeah, I did feel a little "smirky" when the lady behind the counter admitted she liked the fabrics but had never heard of Denyse Schmidt. My inner fabric snob was all "Mwa ha ha... of COURSE you haven't, you work at JoAnn's!" as I rubbed my hands together.
But I unfortunately have to admit that a lot of my customers and contemporaries have also never heard of Denyse Schmidt. The issue is by no means exclusive to JoAnn fabrics.
And am I super-jealous that I can't carry these fabrics in my shop? Yes! I would have bought this entire collection in a heartbeat (even the pink and yellow colorway that you can only get in Australia!), but them's the breaks and there are puh-lenty of other fish (and fabrics) in the sea.
But, I repeat, I do not think that this cross-marketing with chain stores will have a negative effect on my business. We will always provide different experiences for the customer and just like any other shops in my area, JoAnn's will always keep me on my toes and that is DEFINITELY good for my business.
And speaking of things that are good for my business, Denyse personally has done so much for independently-owned local fabric stores like Alewives Fabrics (remember when she came to visit us and teach her Improvisational Patchwork workshop?).
And I think she had an awful lot to do with a piece of happy news I wanted to share with you all:
I saw just the other day that Free Spirit will be doing a reprint of Flea Market Fancy this Spring.
Exciting, is it not? (I'm super-jazzed: take that, JoAnn's!)
But in all seriousness, chain-stores are not the devil. My goal is not for JoAnn's to fail; my goal is for my business to succeed and to be the best local fabric store it can be. If a new Denyse collection brought me to a JoAnn's store, whose to say it wouldn't bring a JoAnn's shopper to my store in the future?
So if you see me in the shop and you want to jibber-jabber about how cool the new Denyse Schmidt collection is, there's no need to be ashamed (yes, Tammy, I mean you!).
And if you want to call me later and ask me which section of JoAnn's has the Lisette patterns (yes, you again, Tammy) I will happily share that information with you.
Not only am I a rather open-minded and optimistic local fabric shop-owner (if I do say so myself), I am also an equal-opportunity shopper.
Moral of the story:
Denyse Schmidt is a very smart, very talented lady and if she would like to design a line for JoAnn Fabrics, then she absolutely has my support...
AND my 40% off coupon.