Wednesday, September 22, 2010

2 issues you will never have to worry about at Alewives Fabrics

Yes, I am posting twice in one day.

Do you have a little free time on your hands?

I found this post fascinating and ended up following each and every one of the links...

It deals with fabric fakes popping up all over the place (a disturbing issue that has sadly been around for a long time and will most likely be around for as long as creative people are creative and human nature is human nature).

By the way, all our fabrics at Alewives are too legit to quit.

And I was really broken-hearted to read this post the other day, in which one blogger relates her frustration with being treated poorly at her local fabric store... and in the comments, I saw that she was by no means alone with this experience...

Apparently this is a prevalent behavior as well (the behavior being that brick-and-mortar owners are not very nice to younger gals).


I *like* to think that we treat our customers nicely at our shop... hopefully that is the case.

I'm curious... have any of my readers out there encountered either of these two issues?




Plantgeek said...

I have luckily not come across the forged fabrics.
I have however come across a shop I will never return to unless I am absolutely desperate. It isn't a quilt shop, it's a yarn shop that I got snuffed at. I am younger and mostly crochet so I guess I was below them, from the way I was treated.
Luckily I have found a great fabric shop to go to right in Portland.
Someday I will make the trip up to go to Alewives. I love the online shop.

Crafty Maine Mom said...

Of the three local-ish quilt shops I love two(one of them is Alewives) but the other one I will only go to during SHop Hops.

I really try to support new designers and no something about the fabric i am buying.

Tina @ Squirrel Acorns said...

I wouldn't say that our local quilt store is snubby because the customer is young. It's just more of this "selling what we've always sold" sort of attitude. They have a good selection of batiks but the rest is all pretty old-fashioned. Although there are some winners hiding in there, they are just hiding. So, even though it's five minutes away, I rarely go there and pretty much buy everything online. If only they knew how much money I spent on fabric, LOL! It's too bad that Alewives isn't five minutes down the street. Then, I wouldn't have that problem! You might have a problem though because you'd be tired of seeing me in there, LOL.

Jill Dater said...

Honestly, I wouldn't know a forged fabric if I bought one.

I have run into a little issue when I took a class at a local quilt shop. I signed up for a beginning class and specifically said that I had very little experience. When I got in the first night, the teacher was upset that a bunch of us had never paper pieced anything. However, it was a BEGINNING class. It ended up working out and she taught us the skills but I've been reluctant to sign up for any other classes and have mostly self taught myself most everything else. I agree that quilt shops need to court beginners because they will become customers later on.

Chris@Cats On My Quilts said...

I have come across shops where they were less than friendly and guess what-they've now closed! I have also both shopped in your shop and ordered from you online and loved both experiences. We have a cottage in Mid-Coast Maine so I try and stop by when I am there-wonderful experience and your shop is so pretty and warm and welcoming as is your staff. My online shopping was equally as welcoming and fun so keep up the good work. There seems to be a lot of shops closing their doors here in NH so I hope you stay open for a long time.

Our Little Beehive said...

My 3L legal research paper was on counterfeit softgoods, including fabric. It's really a huge problem in more ways that anyone really imagines.

My mom trekked to your shop a few months ago with a friend. I live in DC but think I may have to make the trek next time I'm home...especially now that you have soooo much Amy Butler for me to drool on, ahem, over.

Meg said...

I haven't personally run across any fabric that I knew to be forged. Whether I've done so unwittingly? Anybody's guess.

As for LQS horror stories? I'll copy and paste what I said in reply to Jennifer's post:

"Sadly, I have to raise my hand on this one, too. I've got 3 LQSs within a 45 minute drive of me. Unless I'm desperate, I only go to one. The one I go to doesn't have a lot of selection, but they carry Amy Butler, and they service my sewing machine, which I also bought there.

Of the others, one has a proprietress right out of a Dickens novel: she doesn't say much, she watches every move I make in her tiny shop, and my attempts to chat or ask about certain lines of fabric are met with stony silence. At the other shop, the ladies wrinkled their noses at my selections as they cut, and when I said it wasn't for a single project (though I'm tempted to put the baby pink together with the bright orange just because I can) but to fill a couple of gaping holes in my stash, I was met with looks like I'd just spit on their floor.

It is really, really disheartening to WANT to support the independent brick and mortar shop owners, but I really wish they'd try to support their new, younger customers, too!"

That said, I shop for fabric online about 95% of the time. I mostly buy solids at the one LQS I do frequent, because most of what they have either a) I already own or b) isn't something I'm interested in working in. I am extremely envious of people who have great LQSs like Alewives nearby!

Sue said...

I "started" quilting & sewing 3 years before we ventured to Maine in the summer & I discovered Alewives. It wasn't until I found y'all - fabulous fabrics AND more importantly, fabulous, helpful, welcoming people - that I really dove in and started sewing.

yes... smiles & encouragement & that welcoming feeling (think Norm from cheers) keep people coming back. you rock!

ps- Now that I'm back in my winter home, I started a sewing lounge & while it's not the same, it's still better than nothing!

Iris E. said...

You know that I have been to local unfriendly places that sell fabric and you KNOW that I keep coming back to Alewives!

What is the deal with people who are in a public service business and treat their customers like crap???

Definitely NOT the experience at Alewives where I am greeted by name, assisted when in need, and feel free to browse for as long as I need to! Thank goodness for you gals!


Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness, what a sad story especially in a day where supporting local shops is of utmost importance.

I am so very lucky as to the fact I have 2 LQS within 45 min. of me. They both are very friendly and carry different things, but one in particular absolutely bends over backwards to be friendly and helpful. I have never gone in when I didn't feel like one of the family. I have even had one of the ladies take my fabric to the back and cut it to the exact specifications AND iron it for me! TWICE! I didn't ask her either, she asked me if I would like for her to! Unbelieveable! All I had to do was come home and sew! I have even had the ladies help me for time on end with selecting coordinating fabrics and even getting 4 or 5 in the shop involved in the process. AND if I make a certain selection, it never fails they all oooooo and aaaahhh over my choice! Are they fake? Don't know, don't care! They make me feel like the most special customer of the day every time!

I can not even comprehend owning a shop where you would't want to do everything in your power to be nice and helpful~???????

Emily said...

I'm a little late to this party but wanted to share anyway...

I live in DC and just recently started sewing. Recently as in, I got my machine two weeks ago, but I've been "apprenticing" under my mom since I was barely old enough to read a pattern. I know the craft and am pretty savvy when it comes to fabrics, thanks to being raised with it.

Over the weekend I stopped in the only fabric store--besides a JoAnns and a Hancocks--in the area. I immediately got the feeling that I wasn't welcome, and this wasn't a shop as much as a hobby, like there was only a storefront so they could get a wholesale discount. Not one of the four women sitting around knitting looked up, one being the owner, and as I walked through the narrow hallway, wondering if I was in an employee-only section or still shopping, I kept waiting for someone to offer help that never came. I eventually asked for some fabric to be cut, and as I tried to chat with the cashier I was shut down. I'm 23, she was within five years of my age, and that's being generous. I couldn't wait to get out of there.

Looking back, I probably shouldn't have bought from them, but I like to support local businesses, and that's my only choice. I moved here from Florida--I'm used to Southern hospitality! Being frustrated and so far away from any selection of quality fabrics makes me wish I had the resources to open my own store and show them how it's done :D Oh, if only...