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Episode #108: The State of the Quilting Industry 2017

November 6th, 2017

On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast I recorded my time at Quilt Market in Houston last week. We had a discussion about the state of the quilting industry with three quilt shop owners: Janet Lutz, Karen Montgomery, and Kris Thurgood.

Janet Lutz is the owner of Calico Gals, a quilt shop located in Syracuse, NY. Janet is also the founder of Row by Row Experience, a program which reaches over 3,000 quilt shops worldwide.

Karen Montgomery has owned The Quilt Company, a full service, brick and mortar quilt shop just outside Pittsburgh, PA, for 25 years.  Industry insiders might know Karen from her Savvy Buying column published in FabShop News.  Most recently Karen has joined with Janet to create Sewposium a popular creative business retreat for shop owners.

Kris Thurgood is the owner of My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe located in Logan, Utah. Two years ago she organized My Girlfriend's Quilt Shoppe as a franchise and is now opening a 2nd location in Midway, Utah. Kris, along with her identical twin sister Kim, have been featured on national television shows including The Rachael Ray Show and The Nate Berkus Show. They co-hosted a weekly craft and sewing webshow called, The DIY Dish for several years as well.

Together we discussed a wide range of topics including:

  • What makes some quilt shops succeed while others fail
  • The ups and downs of relationships with fabric manufacturers
  • Competition from Massdrop, Craftsy, and, plus Etsy shops and Facebook groups that sell fabric
  • Quilt Market and how it's changed over time (Karen has been to over 50 Quilt Markets), how much it costs a shop to attend and whether it's worthwhile
  • Ecommerce
  • Digital fabric printing and how it might affect the industry in the future
  • What would happen if fabric companies began selling direct to consumer
  • Adding yarn to the mix
  • The complexities and rewards of selling sewing machines

I learned a tremendous amount from talking with these three women and I'm really hoping you'll find the conversation equally interesting. Running a brick-and-mortar quilt shop requires a lot of hard work and they are doing it and succeeding.


Today's episode is sponsored by Handmade Rebellion. Handmade Rebellion offers a wide variety of creative shirts, hoodies, pins, and other swag for fiber artists of all shapes, ages, and sizes. Let the world know that you are part of the maker movement with style! Remember to use coupon code WHILESHENAPS on to save 15% off your next order, with free domestic shipping over $35. Join the rebellion!


Please note that this show used to be called the While She Naps podcast. The name has changed, but the content and host have stayed the same.

To get the full show notes for this episode, visit Craft Industry Alliance where you can learn more about becoming a member of our supportive trade association. Strengthen your creative business, stay up to date on industry news, and build connections with forward-thinking craft professionals. Meet with show host, Abby Glassenberg, each month for our Craft Business Roundtable, get access to courses and webinars taught by industry leaders, and much more.

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