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Sean Roylance Returns With Q&A About Like Sew

by | Apr 12, 2024

Episode Summary

Spencer Wright and Sean Roylance answer Like Sew point of sale users’ questions and give some insight into the software.

They look at some of the questions about how to run or start a quilting business. They also look forward to what is on the roadmap for Like Sew.

Key Insights

  • Cater to your core demographic, but add your personality to your shop.
  • Instability will create disruption.
  • If you gain insight into your business it will create opportunities.
  • When switching from a legacy point of sale it is important to understand the feature gap and the ability to transfer data.
  • Don’t be afraid to start a business, but educate yourself.

Episode Highlights

  • The people who are successful are the ones who make their shop a little bit of a reflection of themselves. If you can be passionate about it and you have a certain aesthetic and a certain kind of, you know, feel for what can really work then people a lot of times I think are going to kind of follow your lead.
  • If you’re looking at the online only, you know, stores out there, you know, when the economy gets upset like this a little bit, there is a chance for you to get in and find a niche that you can fill that can then carry on through the more steady times. For the brick and mortar, there’s just such a need for things like classes
  • We have this one report where, We have it in beta right now. It’s nearing the point where we’re gonna launch it to everybody, that by applying different filters and things, you can really get it to fill a whole lot of needs and play a whole bunch of different roles. So we’re really excited about that report.
  • There’s really kind of two areas that are important for us to focus in on. One of those is the features. What are features that were important to someone in the system that they’re coming from? And, you know, do they exist and how do they function, in the Like Sew system. The other one is the data and getting as much of that data from the old system into the new system as possible.
  • I think that most people that start a quilting and sewing business first in so many cases it’s a passion and so, you know, I come in talking about numbers and so there’s a balance between the passion and the numbers and the business side of things.

Guest Bio

Sean Roylance founded Like Sew with the idea of helping quilters to create new quilt designs. However as new problems for quilters and quilt shop owners presented themselves he grew the software company to be the full-service point-of-sale system it is today.

Transcript

[00:00:00] Spencer Wright: Hello and welcome back to another episode of The Quilt Shop podcast. I have our very special guest, second segment with him, Sean Roylance, the CEO and founder of Like Sew. 

[00:00:34] Sean Roylance: Thank you.

[00:00:34] Spencer: How are you doing today, Sean? 

[00:00:36] Sean: Doing good. 

[00:00:37] Spencer: Good. Same day, actually recording the same day. So it’s the same day as the last episode.

[00:00:41] Sean: Still doing good. 

[00:00:41] Spencer: Yes, he’s still good. Just a little bit better than he was last time because he got to share, you know, so much of the history. If you didn’t get a chance to listen to our last episode, go ahead and do that. I think it really provides some context and insight into, you know, where Like Sew came from.

So, all right, well as we get in here we did send out an email to a lot of our subscribers and listeners asking if you had any questions for Sean and so I’m gonna go ahead and ask some of those today. We got like 50 different questions so, if your question doesn’t get addressed here it’s just cuz we didn’t have enough time. But thank you so much for everyone who participated in that. 

Alright Sean, well some of these are just gonna be rapid fire. You know, probably not like too long of responses. But, you know, one question we got was, do you have an in-house programming and support team? 

[00:01:30] Sean: So we do. It’s a little bit of a complex answer. So on, on the support side, first of all, it is all in house and so they’re all here local. They all work here in the building with us, and that has been the case since day one. 

On the development side of things, there’s really, kind of, two main pieces of a development team. There’s what we call the product team, and the product team is gonna be the people who really design the product and who really go and look at feedback and look at needs and that kind of stuff. And comes up with, like, the product roadmap and how it needs to actually function, that type of stuff. Then you have the developers who code it. So our product team is all in house. And then we have a group of some of our most senior developers that are also in house. 

Then on top of that, we have developers that are out of the country as well. And so actually we have a group of developers that are fantastic that are in Ukraine and so, In 2019, I think it was, I actually had a chance to go over to Ukraine and spend like a week with them and tour some of the cities where they’re at and stuff and it was actually a really cool experience.

And then of course this last year with, you know, Russia invading Ukraine and we’ve been very concerned about our developers over there. We’ve been able to help out in some small, you know, ways for them specifically. And then aside from that, we just, you know, pray for their wellbeing. But they’ve been incredibly resilient, incredibly positive attitudes through all this, and continue to be, make a huge difference for us as well. 

[00:03:00] Spencer: No, that’s awesome. Yeah, I mean, I think it’s really been fun to be able to interact with, obviously, you know, our support team here, local but then our developers who are, you know, abroad and also the ones here local. It’s fun to have our team in, you know, a lot of different places, so I totally agree. 

Okay. Well let’s just keep going here. So I’m just gonna read this, you know, kind of verbatim. So the question is, and pardon, I didn’t like ask anyone’s names, these were all anonymous, so I’m not gonna say who asked this question, but this person says, I’m taking over a quilt store from a lady retiring and would love advice on finding the balance between the aesthetics of older clientele with my more modern tendencies. What advice would you give to this person, Sean? 

[00:03:41] Sean: My first advice would be, go to Quilt Market. Ask people who you know, run quilt stores cuz they’re gonna way better than me. Secondly, you know, from what I feel like I’ve picked up on through the years and working with so many quilt store owners and such, I do think it’s probably important to try to plate a little bit to both. You know, there’s so many clients in the quilt industry that you know, they’re a little bit older at this point and for some reason, I feel like I’ve just seen this over and over. So many people pick up quilting a lot of times when they’re a little bit older. And so it’s important, I think to cater a certain amount to that demographic. 

At the same time, one of the other things I felt like I’ve seen is that in so many cases, the people who are successful are the ones who make their shop a little bit of a reflection of themselves. If you can be passionate about it and you have a certain aesthetic and a certain kind of, you know, feel for what can really work then people a lot of times I think are going to kind of follow your lead. And also it’s gonna kind of more naturally come together when you have like a certain sense for how to go about shopping for fabric and what kind of kits to put together and all that type of stuff. So it’s a fine line. Good luck and hopefully can find someone better than me to give you good advice on that.

[00:04:55] Spencer: No I thought that was really awesome advice and one thing I would add to that, you know, a lot of the stores that we’ve had on the podcast so far have really made me think about what it takes to have a really successful quilt shop. And something I’ve noticed, like a trend if you listen to all of the podcasts, would be that so many of them have identified a niche, right? And they’ll have their store, which, you know, for the most part, caters to a very general quilter right, of any age they, you know, carry you know, just general products. But then you get stores like, like Smile Spinners, for example. And they kind of infuse math and science into quilting, right? And that’s kind of their niche. And you know, whether, you know, the older generation or the younger generation relates more with that, I’m not sure. But that’s kind of their spin on it and so that would be like, maybe my piece of advice would just be find your niche, you know, still allow your store to cater to you know, the general population.

But you know, as you find your niche, I think people really like that identity that comes with it. 

[00:05:54] Sean: Yeah. And just kind of from, like a mathematical perspective, since you brought up math. 

[00:05:59] Spencer: Yeah. This is… 

[00:05:59] Sean: I love math. 

[00:06:00] Spencer: Yeah. This is Sean. This is how Sean answers every question I ever ask him, by the way. 

[00:06:03] Sean: Spreadsheets and math.

[00:06:04] Spencer: Yeah, let’s look at the math. So, yeah, go ahead, Sean. 

[00:06:07] Sean: So the larger the population in the area where you’re at, I think the more you can specialize because you’re gonna draw from a larger population and you might get people coming from you know, what might naturally go to a different cost store for your specialty.

But if you have a smaller population that you cater to, then it’s probably more important to appeal to a broader audience because you only have a certain number of people that can potentially come into your store. So, I think that probably plays into it a little bit, though again, someone who’s a real expert can probably, like shoot that down and tell me, you know, tell me where I’m wrong.

[00:06:40] Spencer: No, I think that’s perfect. Okay, next question. Alright. Is Like Sew planning on developing a live selling feature similar to Comment Sold? 

[00:06:48] Sean: So we have looked at that extensively over the last year and even before that, for that matter. So last fall we actually did an integration with Comment Sold.

And so we do now have that ability to support live selling through Comment Sold. At that point in time, we were looking at developing our own feature as well to offer as an alternative, probably more of like an introductory or beginner type of live selling feature. The challenge we ran into, those as we got into the winter was we discovered that there was a lot more of a challenge working with Facebook than we had initially understood. And so once we realized that, it literally, like, tripled the size of the project. And so as of right now, we do not have that on our near term roadmap. Could it, you know, come up again at some point in the future? Possible. For 2023, I’d say almost for sure. We’re not going to, you know, reassess that opportunity.

[00:07:45] Spencer: All right Sean, so let’s go ahead and move on to our next question, and this is more of a high level question. So someone asked, with the economy being a little unstable kind of as it is, how do you see the future of online retail? 

[00:07:59] Sean: Man, that’s a tricky question. So how does the economy, you know, impact online retail and in particular the instability? So I would say, you know, first of all, whenever there’s instability, that’s going to create a little bit of disruption. You know, of course during Covid we saw that a lot. Really back in 2008, 2010, that timeframe, you know, was another similar time period and a lot of times what I feel like what drives is, that drives some innovation that drives entrepreneurship, and so, with that said though, I also feel like that, that we’ve really seen some trends develop overtime. So if I look at it from, like a brick and mortar standpoint, I feel like what we’ve really seen is that while Covid, for example, of course, has a big disruption for a period of time, that we settled back down into a phase where it’s somewhat predictable, somewhat steady. 

And also one of the things that, that I feel like that, that we’ve seen is that for the last decade or so, there’s a lot of concern about Amazon and there was a lot of concern once upon a time about fabric.com and things like that and as that kind of, like, put smaller retailers out of business, both brick and mortar as well as online. And I think what we’ve really been able to see at this point is that it would take some really serious further change for that to really be threatened. 

If you’re looking at the online only, you know, stores out there, you know, when the economy gets upset like this a little bit, there is a chance for you to get in and find a niche that you can fill that can then carry on through the more steady times.

For the brick and mortar, there’s just such a need for things like classes, things like, you know, if you’re a store that does repairs of sewing machines, the expertise that you bring, the ability to come in and actually see like the kits beforehand or ask questions, the relationships you build, all that kind of stuff. That’s something that an online store can never replicate very effectively, if at all, so even through turmoil, I think brick and mortar is here to stay and especially with an industry like, quilting and sewing. Anyway, that’s my best opinion on it. 

[00:10:04] Spencer: I thought that was an excellent answer. You know, really insightful on, kind of, when is the time that you could potentially get in while the economy is a little disrupted, right? I mean, I think that’s an interesting thought pattern.

You know, we had a number of questions about you know, Like Sew features. And so I think I’ll kind of lump a couple of them into one question. 

[00:11:18] Sean: Sure.

[00:11:18] Spencer: Do you, and I mean, they, the question is you, but I think, you know, does Like Sew, plan to make the reporting and email marketing functions more robust?

[00:11:30] Sean: Yeah. So, you know, those are things that we’ve tried to work on at different times, you know, through the years. just maybe backing up for just a quick second, at a high level. So much of what we do really is driven by what we’re hearing from our clients. And so I’m sure there were some people that heard that sentence right there, and they’re like, wait, I’ve been asking for this for a long time.

But at the same time that that’s being asked for, we have other clients asking for other features and so we try to take that into account as best as we can while at the same time also kind of balancing out what we see coming. And so, there’s always, you know, these couple different factors that we’re taking into account.

Reporting is one that, bit by bit we’ve, you know, made some progress on over time. And actually, in fact in the last year we’ve been working on a report we call the sales details report, like a complete overhaul of this report that really, if you compare it to other point of sales systems and website and inventory management systems that a lot of times they’ll break that out into a whole bunch of different reports. We have this one report where, We have it in beta right now. It’s nearing the point where we’re gonna launch it to everybody, that by applying different filters and things, you can really get it to, fill a whole lot of needs and play a whole bunch of different roles. So we’re really excited about that report.

The email marketing, that’s another thing that we are working on right now. And it’s going to provide a bunch of enhancements. It’s not gonna do everything we want to, you know, yet. But some of the things like doing a better job of managing bounced emails, for example and providing better statistics over a longer period of time are some of the enhancements that are coming.

With that said, you know, one of the things like, like that one for example, It was actually really great to have Quilt Market again because, you know, with Covid, of course from spring of 2020 through spring of 2022, we had no Quilt Markets at all. And so this last fall at Quilt Market was the first one that we’ve had, we had the chance to connect with a whole lot of clients. Sometimes those conversations, it just creates an opportunity for us to engage in a little bit of a different way than say, like, through phones or through online forms and that type of thing. And it really brought that email marketing piece back into focus for us and as a result you know, we’re in completion of some enhancements on that module. 

[00:13:49] Spencer: Perfect. Yeah and I’d like to add to that. So if you get my newsletter, which I imagine probably a lot of the listeners here do, I think in my January newsletter… I’ll have to check and see if that’s really the right one, but you can email me if you don’t find it. I put a guide into how to access the sales details report in beta, so anyone who wants to see that, you know, you can go to that newsletter or shoot me an email. You know, spencerwright@likesew.com as always. 

So, all right, well, let’s continue on. So I think most people know at this point that about a year ago, a little bit less than a year ago, there was an acquisition made from the parent company of Like Sew for Posim and so we have seen, I would say, a number of stores that are migrating from the legacy system of Posim to the cloud system of Like Sew, which we’re super excited about and not gonna dig in really heavy on. But there were some questions about maybe the collaboration that’s happening on the backend between the Posim and the Like Sew team and how that transition will potentially look for a lot of Posim users. Maybe you could help us understand a little bit more about that. 

[00:15:00] Sean: Yeah, so anytime we look at someone who’s migrating from whatever system, you know, it could be QuickBooks point of sale, it could be, you know, anything else out there, and including Posim, there’s really kind of two areas that are important for us to focus in on. One of those is the features. What are features that were important to someone in the system that they’re coming from? And, you know, do they exist and how do they function, in the Like Sew system. The other one is the data and getting as much of that data from the old system into the new system as possible.

So on the feature side of things, because we’ve been working with people that have previously used Posim for many years, then for the most part, we really kinda have developed a whole lot of the things already that Posim has had. With that said, you know, of course when that happened, we took another detailed look and we sat down with Wolfgang, some people who you know, have come from Posim are gonna recognize that name and some others on the Posim team, and we’ve gone through on a, like a very, very detailed basis to see where are the differences, you know, what are the good ideas still that had been developed in Posim that, you know, we want to still build out in Like Sew and so, so we have, you know, those features and for us, you know, the good news was that we found that, you know, that those features and that difference was pretty small to be honest, at this point. But we’re still working on those.

And then on the data side of things, having people who actually have access to the actual data and know exactly what it’s supposed to mean. When we work on building, like a tool to translate that data from that system to the Like Sew system, it makes it much, much more effective. You know, we don’t have to have questions. We’re not making assumptions, that type of thing, and we can go back and forth saying, okay, here’s what this data means. We build a translation tool for it and then we have people who really know it can look at it and say, okay, yeah, that’s coming over. Correct. Or there’s actually some more changes we need to make and so that’s actually made a huge difference for us. And at this point you know, you’re never gonna get from one system to another, every last bit of data exactly perfect. But it is significantly improved and we can bring over the vast majority of data you know, and have it mean precisely the same thing from Posim into Like Sew system.

[00:17:20] Spencer: That was way more succinct in detail than I possibly could have imagined, Sean. So thank you for that. 

[00:17:25] Sean: Sorry, I’m bringing out the spreadsheet side of me in my answers. 

[00:17:26] Spencer: No, it’s, yeah, you can see Sean’s like running, you know, algorithms at the same time that he’s answering these questions. So kudos to him for that. 

Alright, so I wanna kind of wind down with, you know, a couple last questions and one of ’em is, so I’m just, you know, gonna make an assumption about the person who asked this question, but someone is asking for advice as they’re looking to open up a quilt shop for the first time. What advice would you give to someone in, I mean, I’ll just interject here, that’s potentially timid about opening up a quilt shop or they’re fearful about, you know, what that could entail. What would you tell them? 

[00:18:03] Sean: Wow. Man, that’s another big question. 

[00:18:06] Spencer: It is, yeah. 

[00:18:06] Sean: So, I’ll give a couple of thoughts and then there’ll be so many more things to take into consideration. So one of the first things that I would recommend is learning about the numbers of how to run a business.

I feel like so many of the store owners that we’ve worked with who have really succeeded, they’ve taken the time to get in and figure out, like, what does it mean, you know, Things like inventory return, for example. What is that? What does it mean and how does it impact me?

What are other kinds of KPIs and metrics that are important for a retail store? You know, another thing that can be tricky sometimes is managing cash flow and understanding the difference, you know, between, you know, sales and invoices and that type of thing, but then actually like cash in the bank and how that’s gonna flow.

And I don’t mean to like, scare anybody off. And it’s not like that these are just these huge insurmountable topics. But at the same time, I do think that they’re, you know, they’re very important to just at least get a basic understanding of what these are and how they apply to your business.

The second thing I would say is there are so many quilt store owners out there who have just really crushed it. And so go and find some that can be friendly to you. Sometimes it could be the quilt shop, you know, that’s closest to you, but sometimes that could be a little bit awkward because they’re competing with you.

So maybe you need to go, you know, a city or state away, or somehow develop a little bit of a network and ask them, you know, what is it they do and what kind of like, tips and guidance could they give you? Cuz honestly they’re gonna be able to answer that question, you know, a lot more effectively than I can.

The other thing is, I would say, develop, you know, good relationships with the vendors in the space. You know, so, like if you’re doing sewing machines as an example, you know, what are kinda like the financing options they give you. What can they do to help you get started and to support you with your business?

Anyway, so, a couple of quick ideas that come to mind, you know, at first for me. 

[00:20:01] Spencer: Yeah. No, I mean, I think that’s excellent advice, is like, you know, know and understand the numbers behind your business and find someone who can, you know, potentially be you know, a mentor for you, right. Those are kind of the two main points there and I think, you know, honestly, that probably applies to, you know, Anyone wanting to start a business even outside of, you know, the quilt and sewing space, right? 

[00:20:23] Sean: Yeah. Yeah. And it’s, you know, it’s a balance, right? Because I think that most people that start a quilting and sewing business first in so many cases it’s a passion and so, you know, I come in talking about numbers and so there’s a balance between the passion and the numbers and the business side of things. I would say though that sometimes I’ve seen people who kind of only bring the passion and then the numbers kind of get away from a little bit and they can get into a little bit of trouble. So that’s why I kind of talk about that side of it cuz I’m kind of assuming already there’s probably some passion there, you know, from the, for the fabric and sewing industry. 

[00:20:57] Spencer: Yeah, no doubt. I mean, I think if you’re listening to the Quilt Shop podcast, you probably have some passion in the quilting and sewing realm, right? I mean, if you’re listening to my voice at this point, then you’ve gotta have some passion for sure. 

Okay. Well I think you know, I just want to say a huge thanks to Sean. You know, as we kind of wrap up the second segment with him. You know, obviously I have, tried to make some steps to, you know, be kind of the front facing individual for Like Sew, but recognize that’s been Sean and Milo and Brian for so many years and in so many ways they’re still you know, really involved and you know, a lot of the reasons that we’ve been able to create things like the podcast and continue to develop new features is because of the groundwork that they’ve done. So, you know, big thanks to them and, you know, I will continue to make sure that, you know, I’m at shows and you’ll recognize me you know, Sean will probably pop up here and there. I won’t like, lead into, that at all. But you know, I just wanna say, you know, huge thanks to Sean and to, you know, the rest of the Like Sew team that have gotten us here. 

[00:21:59] Sean: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I appreciate that, but at the same time, I have to say, you know, huge thanks to so many people in the fabric and sewing industry.

You know, so many store owners, so many like key vendor partners and stuff, the people at Quilt Market, and there’s just a lot of really wonderful people that I’ve enjoyed getting to know that I, so many people that I count as just true friends and so many people that, that supported us along the way, that you know, there’s no way in the world we could have been here without, you know, the wonderful people in the industry that, kind of helped us along and, you know, supported us as we saw this opportunity where we wanted to explore it in the industry. 

[00:22:38] Spencer: Perfect. Well, thanks so much for joining us on another episode, and hope you have a great month.