Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Not Sold in Stores - 5 reasons why I don't wholesale

Hi ya!

Last week I mentioned that I don't wholesale my designs. This week I thought I would share my reasons behind the decision I made last year.

No. 5: I'm a Rule Breaker.

  I've never been one to follow rules, but rather use them as guidelines for a way to get started, or as a basis to make things better. Most designers go into this business to get picked up by a distributor and have their designs in shops all around the world. After attending Quilt Market several times, I quickly learned it was not my cup of tea. All it did was stifle my creativity and put a ridiculous amount of pressure on me to "pump out" another design. I felt like I lost my creative voice and the reason I took the whole "hop of faith" in the first place. Plus, my designs don't follow the rules for wool applique. My style, techniques and materials don't fit into the wool applique status quo. I rather like that. It's kinda fun being a rebel. hee,hee,hee.



No. 4: Brick and Mortar shops are disappearing.

  Now, I know from teaching around the country that there are lots and lots of shops in the Midwestern states and some big ones out West, but here in the East, there really aren't that many and those that are here, don't sell wool. Also, since my designs aren't primitive or traditional, and I use wool blends instead of 100% wool, many stores are not interested in what I have to offer. Thus the reason I spent a fortune to open my own online shop. There is an exception though. I do offer my designs to ONE brick and mortar shop and that is because the shop owner, Lana Dunkerly, is a really dear friend of mine and is also a fellow bunny mama. Lana's shop is It Seams to be Sew. She is in Texas and you should visit her. Just say'in. ;)


No. 3: Some people are just naughty. 

  Well, there is always the ugly side to things isn't there? I tend to see the good in people and believe that they will treat me as good as I treat them, but that doesn't always happen. I have been burned soooooo many times now by shop owners, guilds and individuals. I had one shop owner order three patterns from me and then take them to the copy store where she proceeded to make copies and sell them in her shop. Another shop owner purchased my book and then taught classes out of the book making copies of the pattern pages for all the students. Then don't get me started on the guilds who copy hundreds of patterns for guild members, or the shops in other countries who steal because there is no way to press charges against them. Now I know you might be thinking "well it's not that big of a deal," but for me it is. This is my job. Let me give you an example. Let's say twelve students took a class and didn't buy my $19 book, twelve students didn't pay $12 for my pattern and 125 guild members didn't pay $12 for my pattern. That comes to a whopping $1,872.00 that was stolen from me and the bunnies. Honestly, I don't know of anyone who would want to keep working if their boss said, "I'm taking $1,872.00 from you this month because I don't feel like paying you. You should just continue to work and do a wonderful job making things for me to enjoy for free." Ok, enough on that as it makes me so upset that I cry. I just keep repeating this to myself.  "I deserve to get paid for my work like everyone else, I deserve to get paid for my work like everyone else, I deserve to get paid for my work like everyone else."





Moving on...

No. 2: My patterns contain lots of color photos and details.

  I'm a visual learner. I don't always understand what a person is trying to relay in written form. I know a lot of people are like this and thus, my patterns contain lots of color photos to back up my written instructions. This is especially nice with digital formats as you can zoom in to look at tiny details that don't always show up in a paper format. It also allows me to give you more information because you only have to print out what you need. You can store the patterns on your computer instead of adding clutter to your sewing room. In addition, the cost of printing my designs is ridiculously expensive. Not to mention, I love trees and try not to contribute to the death of them.



No. 1: You're my family.
 
   I will admit it. I'm selfish in the respect that I want you all to myself! LOL!!! I have a certain love and fondness for my customers. You become part of my bunny family. With all the choices out there, you find my designs worthy of spending your pennies on and you enjoy the challenge of making something different. Like me, you enjoy doing the opposite of what everyone else is doing. Also, working alone can be, well, lonely. Receiving emails and notes from you about what you have made makes my entire day! Plus, when I wrap your order and tie it with a ribbon, it's a little love and a hug I send along to you and it can only come from me.

So there you have it. I know a lot of my designer friends think I'm nuts for not wholesaling, but that's okay with me. Sometimes, you just have to follow where your heart leads you.

Hugs and I'll see you right back here next week!
Michelle

23 comments:

Loris said...

It makes sense to me :-) I love your designs! So keep doing what makes your creativity blossom. =^..^=

QUILTING IS BLISSFUL, DI said...

Hi Shell--very well explained and I do agree with you--on all the issues and understand why you believe as you do--good for you.
Here is a 'story' for you--back in 1995 when I opened my ready made craft store, I did lots and lots of my own designs--this first fall I had designed a black fabric cat and put him in orange wicker pumpkins--a couple ladies came into the store and one tried to distract me--while I watched the second one write out how to make them--the next week end at a craft shop about 15 miles away--guess what they were selling???? Today they would just snap a picture with their cell phones!!!
Enjoy the moments, di

Three Sheep Studio said...

You've done a great job, Michelle with a difficult, sometimes scratchy topic.
Glad you shared.
Rose

Janet said...

I know exactly what you mean ...when I had my small craft/designing business..the only place I wholesaled finished one of a kind items or patterns was a friend's shop and my sister's shop.😊

Jeanette said...

You've explained very well & i do understand quite well. Stick with what works well with you. Love your designs & can't wait to see what you design next. Hugs,xx

Jules Woolford said...

This is why we love you! You put this so eloquently and right from the heart. Beautifully said, my dearest sweets.

Vroomans' Quilts said...

I think this is the way specialty designers should be - it would take away from the uniqueness of it if warehoused. You go girl!!

Debbie said...

This was the best explanations of what happens when people don't pay for the pattern directly from the designer! Thanks

Frog Quilter said...

You go girl! My patterns are well documented and cost as they are color. I understand your frustration. I too am a rebel and quite enjoy it.

Keep doing your thing, it is appreciated.

Rabbits' Guy said...

You are a bunny person. You do what you damn well please!!! (Dealing with disapproval comes with the job!)

Createology said...

Shell Dear you have said it all so well. I completely understand and have lots of "backup stories of people stealing my Grandma's ideas and handmade"! It infuriates me beyond words. You keep doing just what makes you and Bunnyville happy. I love your designs and I definitely always feel your loving hugs when I receive my packages from you. Love and Creative Bliss my Sweet Bunny Loving Friend...<3

Raewyn said...

Well said Michelle, we all have to find our own niche and do what is right for us...sounds like a well thought out decision to me :-)

Joyce Mostard said...

Well said and perfectly understandable. Big hug for you and Hannah.

Castles Crowns and Cottages said...

And don't EVEN mess with Miss Hannah-Banana, Bo-Banna! I LOVE HER MUG! teeeheheeee

OK, I so agree with you. First of all, your FIRST reason I can connect with. WE ARE ARTISTS and we do take the rules to use as a "template", if you will, then we run with it. That's what artists do. We must do it or we'll bust. Then there's the audacious person who ordered your work to make COPIES????? That happened once to me, to my knowledge, with one of my doodles. Hey, we're trying to make a living, right?

The demise of the brick and mortar shoppe. This one kills me. I LOVE the small shoppes and I patronize them and I was done with big stores for furniture and home accessories long ago. I get my goodies from local merchants who hunt for the best vintage and antiques. We also hired a local metal artist who is fashioning a gorgeous "fairy-esque" metal handrail for our front entrance. It's fun to give these jobs to local friends.

My dear, our arts are heart and soul. This world is cruel, and I'm constantly learning how to operate in a world that wants quick, cheap results and forgets the person behind the work. My best to you, always. And Miss H., she's your advocate here...that face, BEWARE! teeehehee

Lana said...

I love your work, your heart, your talent and your sharing....I have learned so much from you all these years and am grateful for the friendship more than you'll know. Your greatest talent has always been your heart for people. I love you my friend!

Patricia Lessell said...

I've never seen your things before. You are very talented and I understand why you don't wholesale and respect you for it.

Pieta Laker-Ratcliff said...

Oh Michelle I nearly cried when you said what has happened to you. Some people have no respect for the amount of work that goes into designing or making artworks. I am happy that I can visit your online store and contribute to your work. Your prices are so much value for money. Stay true to your beliefs.

Outback Crafter - Debra said...

Not nuts. Wonderful.

Judy1522 said...

I love being able to buy directly from you and know that I am helping to support your creativity. I am glad you are not wholesaling your art. Your designs caught my eye from the first time I saw them because they were different from anything I had seen. Good for you for sticking to what you believe in and shame on the people that have taken advantage of you, that is so wrong.

tink's mom said...

Love and respect you for this terrific and heartfelt post. Hugs me and the girls.

Sherri said...

Michelle, I don't blame you! I would hate to see your creativity quashed! I commend you for sticking to what you think is right and not cave to doing everything in a "production" mode. You just keep doing what you are doing!!

Jocelyn said...

I think it's great that you are able to market your own patterns. I live in the south, and no shops offer wool. It would not be cost effective for you to offer your patterns. Plus like you mentioned, many MANY of the shops are closing. We don't have many quilt shops where I live, so if I want fabric, I need to travel quite a distance or just go to JoAnn's. It seems the Internet has changed the way we shop and will probably continue to do so. Unfortunately it is not only the quilting industry where designs are being stolen.

almtsbb said...

It is because your designs are NOT standard wool applique that I love them.The very first quilting class I took in 1984 the store owner copied the patterns from a book to give to the class, though I didn't realize it at the time. I make it a point to never take a class unless the book or pattern purchase is part of the fee.