Cathy Queitzsch and Jessica Bacon built their quilting business on a background in healthcare and the fashion industry. They wanted a space where quilters could come together and share with one another and find the newest fabrics available in central Pennsylvania.
They talk with Spencer about how they have overcome the challenges of everything from window shoppers to introducing new segments of the sewing and fashion industry. Cathy and Jessica have taken a fun and analytical approach to how they run their business. They’ll share insights into how they have differentiated their shop and reach new customers.
Smile spinners have experience helping their community of quilters to explore their motivations for creating.
- Choose a business that makes it hard to tell where work and play start and stop.
- Find a partner that complements each other’s strengths and skills. You’ll each be able to connect with customers in your own ways.
- Apply an analytical approach to your business and eliminate the fiddle factor.
- Invest in your retail in-store and online experience. If you build it, people will come.
- So I think one of the biggest challenges that we are facing right now is finding a way to reach our customers who are largely shopping online…because we have created such a cool brick and mortar business that really revolves around, like the experience of Cathy and Jess…we’re kind of competing with … the newest, brightest thing…And so I think that’s our biggest challenge is connecting with our customer who’s online.
- We have worked so hard and we have used all of the tools that have been provided to us to create this online experience that is very similar to the experience that you would get in the shop.
- We have so many ways that you can search fabrics on our website. We have, you know, colorful videos and content and, you know, we’ve built up our social media so that it really feels like us.
- Okay, we are going to invest into this. If we build it, they will come. And sure enough, they did, and people are so excited to be able to have access to really incredible fabrics.
Cathy Queitzsch left medicine to pursue therapy in a whole new form. Sewing since she could hold a needle and making her own garments since the fourth grade, sewing and quilting were always more than just a creative hobby for Cathy. Fifteen years after launching Smile Spinners, Jessica Bacon (Cathy’s daughter) joined the team after spending 10 years developing textiles and designing for the garment industry in NYC. Jessica’s Fashion Design degree from the Fashion Institute of Technology and industry experience adds an extra layer of expertise and creativity to Cathy’s already extensive creative offerings.
[00:00:22] Spencer: Okay, and welcome. We’ve got Jessica and Cathy from Smile Spinners in Pennsylvania. How are you guys doing today?
[00:00:29] Cathy: We’re great. How is everybody?
[00:00:31] Jessica: Doing well, Spencer, thank you.
[00:00:34] Spencer: Good. Well, thanks so much for being here on this fine Tuesday afternoon with me. I guess first of all, just give us a little bit of context. Where are you guys at in Pennsylvania? And tell us a little bit about your quilt shop. Just give us some context.
[00:00:48] Jessica: So we have a fabric boutique and sewing studio in Harrisburg, Pennsylvania. Technically we’re in Marysville, but Harrisburg is a cooler landmark for us. It’s the capital.
[00:01:02] Spencer: Okay.
[00:01:03] Jessica: And we are… we’re eight miles from the capital. So I’m gonna claim Harrisburg.
[00:01:10] Spencer: Okay. Awesome. Good. Well just to kind of get things started and get things open up and why don’t we go to you Cathy first. Tell us when did you feel like you wanted to open up a quilt shop? Like, when did you first think, “Yeah, I think opening up a quilt shop is the right thing for me.”
[00:01:26] Cathy: Well, that’s a very long story and so I’m gonna try to give you the abbreviated story. I had a career, a medical career for about 25 years, and at the end of that career, my husband and our family were over in the Middle East, working in a hospital there and when we came back to the United States, we planned on opening our own business. We didn’t, like a quilt shop really wasn’t on my radar. And so when the medical end of it kind of didn’t work out, we were like, What else can we do? So I decided I would open the shop and just do therapy in a different way. So we’ve always looked at the shop as a place where people can come and really gather and have a great time and learn a lot in, you know, while they’re here. So that opening a quilt shop really wasn’t one of those things like, I just like, dreamed about forever and ever. But now that I’ve done it, it’s one of those things I can’t tell where my work starts and my fun, you know, where work and play start and stop.
[00:02:39] Spencer: Yeah, sure. No, that, I mean, I think that totally makes sense and I think that it’s so fun to look at kind of unique journeys. Jessica, I’m curious, so just so everyone knows, we’ve got a mother daughter team here, which is so fun for us to kind of explore, you know, the operations of a quilt shop from a mother daughter team. But Jessica, from your perspective, how long did you grow up in the quilt shop, kind of tell us about that in like, adolescence or what that looked like as far as your childhood.
[00:03:06] Jessica: Sure. So I was 15 when my mom opened Smile Spinners. And I was definitely in the shop a lot and at 15 I was at a very unique stage in being a teenager. Yeah. And I was very punk rock and like, blue mascara and spiky hair and a lot of our typical customers were like, “Ooh, we don’t know that we want this, like, punky kid to help us pick fabric.” But I kind of carved a niche for myself because I just had this love for color and I actually then went to New York City and studied fashion design. I worked in the garment industry developing textiles and working with designers and things like that. And it was actually at the end of my relationship with the fashion industry that I was kind of like at a career crossroads. And I was like, “Mom, what do I do?” And she was like, “You know, I really need somebody to help in the shop. And like, I wish that they knew the shop as well as you.” And I was like, “Well, what if it is me?” And at that point, my career pivoted and I came home and we started to run the business together.
[00:04:19] Spencer: Wow. That is actually like the neatest thing I’ve ever heard. That is so cool. It’s so cool that like, it came…
[00:04:27] Jessica: It’s a very unique story.
[00:04:29] Spencer: It is so unique and that it came through the fashion industry, which has a lot of, I think, reliability in textiles. And then for you to, you know, kind of come and be able to work with your mom how neat.
[00:04:41] Okay. So let’s explore that a little bit more. How do you guys, like, how do you find… you know, is this still a mother-daughter relationship at work or has it become teammates and, how do you find a way to work through that?
[00:04:58] Cathy: You know, it’s like any working relationship. Like sometimes it’s really good and there’s other days that you’re like, Ugh, I’m over this person. Right? And I think it’s the same thing with a mother and daughter relationship where you work together, is that, you know, we’re both very creative people and we’re both very strong personalities and so sometimes we don’t always agree on what we’re gonna do but somebody goes in one direction, somebody goes in another direction, and it works okay because we have customers who relate to me and customers who relate to Jessica. So, you know, we have such a variety of styles with it. I think it works very well.
[00:05:41] Spencer: I love that. Jessica, do you have anything to add on that?
[00:05:45] Jessica: I do. I think that, you know, we’ve always creatively collaborated really well together and there are definitely times where we are, you know, we’re still parallel, but we don’t intersect. And there… it’s almost like waves, you know, Like there are these points where we intersect in the things that we wanna do with, you know, our creative visions or the direction that we wanna take the business. So there’s always. A lot of collaboration and I think we’re really good at ping ponging ideas back and forth and you know, if Cathy has an idea, I’m able to be like, Okay, expand that a little bit, you know, tell me more about that. Or, you know, I’ll have an idea. And she’s like, Okay tell me about this. And I think we actually bring that really beautifully to our customers and that’s what kind of makes us unique
[00:06:42] Spencer: I love that. I mean, how fun to be able to have kind of the two different creative ideas and opinions and then kind of mesh them into one and that’s how you get probably a lot of what comes out of Smile Spinners.
[00:06:54] So in that same vein tell us a little bit about what, I guess from your perspective, sets Smile Spinners apart from, you know, the other competition in your area?
[00:07:04] Cathy: I’ll answer that, then Jessica can join in. I think because of my medical background and my science background, and same with Jessica. Jessica, you know, has a heavy science background and knows lots about fabrics. Like she blows most people’s minds when she starts to talk about like, Oh, you know, all about different fibers. And so, I think what we bring is like that science to the shop. I always talk about sewing as the sewing story. In stories, some of it is factual, some of it is not. So oftentimes sewing stories are kind of handed down and people are like, Well, I’m doing this, but I’m really not sure why I’m doing it. We kind of break through that and we’re like, You know, we don’t care that everybody else is doing it like this. Does this really make any good sense?
[00:07:58] So oftentimes we do things a little bit differently and sometimes people are like, “Oh, what do you mean I’m not gonna do it the way grandma did it?” And then what we say is, “But are you getting better results?” Most times they’re like, “Yeah, we are.” And so it’s like, okay, it’s time to like, like move outta some of those things, but we follow the science.
[00:08:23] It’s not a guesswork here. And I think that really does set us apart from everybody because people come in all the time and they’re like, I learned it like this. And we’re like we wouldn’t do it like that because… and I always say to people, ask us why. Because we have the why. It’s not because my mom taught me that. It’s because we follow the science. So that’s very different.
[00:08:48] Jessica: Yeah, a hundred percent. And mom, you usually say too, you’re like a sewing engineer, right? You know, you’re constantly at the sewing machine and you’re experimenting. And I would say that, you know, what really sets us apart is that we are so curious and we wanna discover new ways to do things. We want to uncover something that, you know, a method that is gonna make things easier. It’s gonna make things faster. It’s gonna make things better.
[00:09:24] And you know, our motto is empowering creativity, right? Or we say, empowering creative people. And the way that we do that is we believe that in order to empower you, we have to teach you. We need to give you education and we need to share knowledge. And that sharing of knowledge really comes from doing a lot of research and a lot of trial and error and I think that’s what our customers really love about us. They know that they’re not gonna get some textbook answer. They’re gonna, ask us a question and we’re gonna say, “Well, we tried this and this is what we found,” or, “we have done this and we didn’t get good results over here, so now we’re doing it like this.” And our customers really love that.
[00:10:15] Cathy also said, about like, you know, ask us why. We really encourage people to say like, “Okay, well, why do you use that needle for this? Why do you set up your machine in this way? Why?” We want you to ask us why. Cuz we really wanna tell you.
[00:10:32] Cathy: I think a lot of times too that I look at things, people will be like, Well, I can make that half square triangle. And my response to that is like, But what’s the fiddle factor? We want the fiddle factor to be really low and your outcome to be really high, not in reverse and then a lot of times that causes people to kind of pause and they’re like, well, yeah, I did really fiddle a whole lot with that and it was hard to make it look good. So that, you know, we’re trying to just show a different way of doing something and we hope that people then start to like, follow what we’re saying because we have made it easier and they keep seeing easier and easier ways to do things.
[00:11:20] Spencer: Wow. No, I mean that was probably one of the most interesting answers that I’ve ever gotten to that question of what sets you guys apart and let me tell you why I see it that way. I think I’ve always looked…. right, like if I were just to say I view quilting as an art and I guess maybe this is something I need to dispel, but I’ve always viewed art and science as opposites in so many ways, right? Like you can get a degree in art or you can get a degree in science. And what you guys are saying is that it is both, right? And that the art is enhanced by the science and that the science is enhanced by the art, right? And that’s… I’m thinking about this and I’m like, Wow. That’s actually the coolest thing. And what a cool way to set your store. Right. I mean, I don’t know… I’ve never heard anyone talk about the science of quilting and boy. I mean, I think we could probably do a whole podcast just talking about that and I would probably need to do more research into the science.
[00:12:16] Jessica: Let’s do it.
[00:12:17] Spencer: But you know, I think that you guys are probably there as the experts on that. So I just wanna say that was so interesting.
[00:12:24] Cathy: So now the other thing that comes in there too is the neurophysiology. That’s our other thing. We’re always like, you older adults who are worried about that, you are starting to get forgetful. You know, our medical backgrounds once again kick in and it’s like, What can we do to create more neuro pathways? So we talk about that in sewing and people sometimes laugh. I’ve got the studies now to show what that does for people. So all of those little things put together that science and the art and the doing and all those things keep our brains young.
[00:13:03] Spencer: Wow. Wow. I’m just… I’m grappling right now with this. No, I think that, that’s so cool. And I think that like…
[00:13:09] Jessica: Spencer’s planning, like a whole other podcast.
[00:13:11] Cathy: You want us to teach you how to sew Spencer?
[00:13:13] Spencer: I’m making a trip to Pennsylvania.
[00:13:15] Cathy: Spencer’s like, “What? Me behind a sewing machine?”
[00:13:21] Jessica: We can teach you via Zoom. We’re so good.
[00:13:24] Spencer: I love that so much. And okay, so. Yeah, I’m just really kind of thinking about that. But let’s talk more on, on like a relatable, you know, for our listeners who I would say the majority are gonna be. You know, quilt and sewing shop owners, from your guys’ perspective, and I’ll go to Jessica first here.
[00:13:41] What would you say, you know, are kind of the biggest challenges that you guys are facing in running your shop right now? And that could be anything from marketing, sales, you know, distribution, inventory or something completely different. You know, tell me, what kind of challenges are you guys facing right now?
[00:13:57] Jessica: So I think one of the biggest challenges that we are facing right now is finding a way to reach our customers who are largely shopping online. I think because we have created such a cool brick and mortar business that really revolves around, like the experience of Cathy and Jess and you know, all of the knowledge that we have to share with customers. I think finding that niche online has been our greatest challenge because, you know, we’re kind of competing with these… you know, okay, this is the newest, brightest thing and you know, sell it until it’s gone. And it’s a trend and it’s very fast. And I would say that’s not really how we run our business inside. You know, in the brick and mortar store, we have a fabric collection. You know we, hardly go on sale. We don’t do closeouts. So to compete in that market where it’s like, Okay, this is new, this is fast, this is trending. We’re like, Yeah no, no, no. We just want you to… we wanna teach you to love this. And so I think that’s our biggest challenge is connecting with our customer who’s online.
[00:15:19] Spencer: Really interesting. Cathy, did you have anything to add there?
[00:15:24] Cathy: No, I would really agree with that. I think that that is a huge challenge with how when you have everything that people can come in and touch and handle, they can look at all the books, they can try out the sewing machines, and then, what do you have to offer that gets the person to shop with you in your shop instead of saying, You know what? I could find a 50 cents less online, so I’m gonna go with that. And that’s really hard to juggle. And I do think that sometimes it’s really sad. Like it makes my heart heavy sometimes when people will come in and they ask you lots and lots and lots of questions and they pick your brains because they know we love to talk about sewing and then they go and buy it online and when you see that they bring their quilt in, then to be machine quilted, it kinda is painful because you know, we get to know the majority of our customers really well. I’ve had the shop for 22 years. People have watched Jessica grow up. So some of that then is really, it’s like, oh, like, what can we do different so that we get that sale instead of losing out by, you know, a couple of cents online.
[00:16:46] Jessica: I just wanted to add that, you know, because this is a podcast with Like Sew, we have worked so hard and we have used all of the tools that have been provided to us to create this online experience that is very similar to the experience that you would get in the shop. We have so many ways that you can search fabrics on our website. We have, you know, colorful videos and content and, you know, we’ve built up our social media so that it really feels like us. And so to still kind of feel like we’re not making that connection is really frustrating.
[00:17:26] Exactly. We have a design wall, so you can have that experience that you would have in the physical shop, you know, of like auditioning fabrics and stuff. So we really have used all the tools of our website, I think to the best of our abilities and then to still feel like, ah, we’re not like getting the face time with our customers that either our competitors or, you know, big box stores would get is so frustrating.
[00:17:53] Spencer: Yeah. I think that is such a relatable problem with the people who are gonna listen to this podcast, right? You know, by and large, they’re gonna be small brick and mortars, you know, 1, 2, 3 locations max. You know, and I’m sure that they’re facing a lot of the same problems as you guys are. And I, you know, first of all, huge kudos to you guys for what you’ve done on your website. You know, I’ve kind of poked around it, and now that you’ve said that, I think I need to do some even more in depth looking. You know, even down to, like, your favicon is like the color wheel, right? The favicon, I guess probably most people don’t know. Favicon is like the small icon that when you have a tab open, it sits there. And even your favicon is customized, right? Which, like, you’re not gonna see that with a lot of like small shops, but you guys are, you’re in the details in your store. That’s the kind of feel like if you were to go to a big box store , you know, website, obviously they’re gonna have their favicon, right? They’re gonna be in the details. And I think that you guys are trying to be there and be in the details with them.
[00:18:50] And I think the other thing, as I’m thinking about this, I was at American Quilt Retailer. It was, you know, kind of a live event. I was in Des Moines a couple of weeks ago and someone mentioned to me something I kind of, as you guys are talking about, people come in store and they talk to you about sewing, and then they go and they buy their fabric somewhere else, maybe at a discount and someone said something like, anecdotally was like, Yeah, a common sewer will drive an hour to save 50 cents on, you know, a piece of fabric. Right. And how frustrating that can be, you know, which like logically sometimes doesn’t make sense. You know? Why would you do that? Like me as a consumer, I’m not that way. No, it doesn’t make sense, but it happens, I think. And from what you guys are describing, it seems like your experience in that as well.
[00:19:33] Jessica: For sure. And you know, we always think that we add a lot of value to a sale. You know, like we think that because we’re knowledgeable and we’re so giving with our knowledge, we’re like, Okay people are gonna be like, You know what, that saving 50 cents it’s not worth it because I know I’m gonna go to Cathy and Jess’s Smile Spinners, and I’m gonna get, you know, hundreds of dollars worth of education, right? But sometimes that’s a miss for customers and I feel like that’s probably a really relatable thing too.
[00:20:05] Spencer: Yeah. Cathy, do you have anything to add there?
[00:20:09] Cathy: We really enjoy that interaction with all of our customers. We really have gotten to know people over the years so that, you know, when they’re here we’re hoping that they’ll shop with us and we do everything that we can to give them knowledge and maybe if it’s not this time, maybe it’s the next time that they’ll think, you know, like, I should go up there and just find out what those guys have to offer. A lot of our customers are like, “Oh, don’t ever try to go to Smile Spinners and like, whip in and get something and get out again because they’re there to talk to you and entertain you and teach you.”
[00:20:47] So we do a lot of that here and I think that’s where I, when I think about the shop, even though the shop was not something that was in my mind, you know, all my life that I wanted to open a shop, that social interaction with everybody and being able to watch people do a better job with their sewing because we’ve taken the time with them, is just so rewarding.
[00:21:15] Spencer: Yeah.
[00:22:14] Spencer: Oh man. I can feel the passion you know, that you guys put into every single customer, and I think. It’s endearing, you know, to a degree, right? And it’s hard to like, say it’s endearing over a podcast, right? I’m sure it’s much more endearing when I’m at Smile Spinners, hopefully, right?
[00:22:28] I’m gonna make the trip out there. But, you know, I think you can feel that passion for the art and the science coming through and I think that your customers do, right? And certainly you know, when you miss those sales. that’s probably, you know, uncomfortable and sad maybe even sometimes. But at, you know, those who are gleaning their knowledge from you guys, I think I’m sure are, you know, super grateful and that’s the feeling I’m kind of getting.
[00:22:55] So let’s talk more about, you know, kind of customer behavior. You know, as we’re doing a podcast about quilt shops, so I think it’s only natural, right? We’re kind of in, you know, the changing of times, you know, per se. As we look at that, how do you guys think that customer behavior, you know, specifically your customer behavior or behaviors have changed in the last couple of years, whether that be, you know, and I’m not saying we need to dig in on covid changes, but just in the last couple of years, obviously Covid was a part of that. You know, people moving online. We’re talking about that. So let’s explore that a little bit more. Cathy, do you want to take that?
[00:23:30] Cathy: Sure. So how our customer has changed and really it’s how we’ve changed and Covid was a huge driving force of that, was that for years, cuz we really believe in education and we have a very nice big classroom here, but that’s how we taught in our classroom face to face, and for years, people were after us. Please, you know, do something online because we don’t live close and we wanna be able to take your classes. So Covid really forced us to change things around to get more comfortable. Our first time that we were live, it was just like, it was like, Oh my gosh, this is horrible. But then, you know, we start to get more and more comfortable. And so now we know that, you know, our customers are demanding lots of different things and are expecting us to be able to come through and to be able to do as good a job teaching all via online as we would face to face.
[00:24:34] So you’ll find that because we have customers who join us from all over the world now for some of our online classes that I think they’ve changed a lot because they’re willing to do some face to face. They’re willing to do some online things, and so I think they’ve changed a lot that way.
[00:24:53] The other thing that we’ve found is, you know, for 22 years, the majority of my customers were quilters. Prior to covid, so many people… yeah, we want to do garments, but we don’t know where to start. Like, can we use those quilting cottons? Which I won’t even get on that cuz Jessica will go wild.
[00:25:20] Jessica: Quilting cotton isn’t a real thing.
[00:25:21] Cathy: It isn’t a real thing…. and you know our background, both of us, if you really were to press us, while we love to make anything out of fabric, it doesn’t matter what it is, but we love to do garments and so when our customers, right prior to Covid, started to ask for garment classes, we were like, Yes, we can finally justify bringing in fabrics that are not just for us, that other people will want them.
[00:25:51] So I think our customer has changed a lot in that they’re just not wanting to do a quilt. They wanna do it all, which is just awesome. I’ve been saying for 22 years, If you make it out of fabric, I love it I wanna do it. So that you don’t see people, and we still see some of them, but a lot of people want to do that whole gamut of things and we’re here to help with that.
[00:26:17] Jessica: Yes. I wanna add to that because…
[00:26:21] Spencer: Yeah, go ahead.
[00:26:23] Jessica: Coming from a, you know, fashion background and leaving the industry, the reason I left was because I was part of like the fast fashion wheel and it’s a pretty toxic wheel. We now are, you know, so conscious of our environment and of workplace ethics and consumers are really, You know, they’re really aware of the people behind the products that they’re purchasing, and I think the motivation for people to sew is evolving as a result of that movement.
[00:27:00] So we’re seeing a lot of people who are tired of the experience that they get in big box stores, which is not a positive experience. They don’t get that one on one interaction. They know that they are not getting good quality that is made in good working environments and they don’t want to be buying all of their stuff. They want to know that they’re making something that is exactly to their specifications. It’s exactly what they want. Whether it’s a garment or something for their home, a quilt for a gift, the motivations behind people sewing, I think, has changed drastically and that’s the difference we’re seeing in the consumer.
[00:27:45] We’re seeing people of all different ages. It’s not just a movement for like Gen Z who wants to thrift and upcycle everything. Yeah, it is people. We have one customer that comes to mind who was a Home Ec. Instructor for a long time, and she’s now taking every single class that we have to offer because she’s like, you know, I really wanna learn a different way of sewing. I always did things really fast. I was trying to get things done, and I didn’t really enjoy the process. Now I wanna enjoy it. I’m retired now. I wanna love this and I wanna love that journey of making something. So, you know, even those mindsets I think are really changing and we’re seeing that across the board for our customers.
[00:28:29] So, yeah, the motivations are changing. Like people wanna sew because it feels good and it doesn’t just feel good to make something that you’ve like, made with your hands. The impact that you’re making in your community, globally, even if it’s a, on a small scale, I think is something that’s really attractive to people who are sewing now.
[00:28:50] Spencer: Yeah, I mean, I think that that’s so interesting to kind of explore the more kind of conscious side of quilting and kind of, by extension, garment making, right? You know, in, in fact, I was in a shop about a month ago. And the shop owner, he’s giving us a tour of a shop and he like, points to this one kind of shelf. And he says, This is dedicated to garment making, Right? And he’s like, I’m kind of allowing people, you know, I’m waiting for someone to prove to me that it’s worth it to stock more garments, kind of driven items, patterns, fabrics that are specific to garment making and things like that.
[00:29:25] And it seems like maybe to a degree your customers have convinced you of that, or you convinced your customers of that vice versa, Right? Maybe some of both.
[00:29:33] Cathy: I think we’ve convinced them.
[00:29:35] Jessica: We did. We definitely… mom, do you remember? We like had this approach where it was like the field of dreams, right? Like, you know, Kevin Costner, Field of Dreams, baseball, “if you build it, they will come.” Yeah. Right? And we were like, Okay, we love garments. People love what we love. And mom, you’ve probably heard this so many times in business. I’m sure everybody who’s listening has, you know, like, you will be told don’t buy stuff for yourself. buy for, you know, and think about your customer. But at the end of the day, like, we are our customer, and we were like, Okay, we are going to invest into this. If we build it, they will come. And sure enough, they did. and people are so excited to be able to have access to really incredible fabrics. And because we’re such fabric nerds, we’re like, Okay, this is from France and this is from Spain, and this is from this. And let me talk to you about all these different, you know, fiber types and what you would make out of this. And you can just see that with each explanation, you’re planting a seed of creativity for somebody. Yeah. And I think that’s the most joyous part of what we get to do in the shop is you know, create that for people.
[00:30:51] And then when they come in with stuff, we’re like, Whoa, you made that? That’s like, we didn’t even think of that. We never even thought about doing that with… like, this is amazing. So like, to see people’s creativity really shine through it’s worth. So, so worth it.
[00:31:07] Spencer: Yeah. I mean, I think that this is a notice to a lot of shops that are like maybe questioning, should I expand my garment section? Right. You know, I think that this could push you over the edge, right? If you’re wondering.
[00:31:17] Cathy: Here’s the thing, we love garments. We know how to sew garments. If you aren’t into it and you just have the stuff on a shelf hoping that somebody will come and pick it up, and you have no way of like being excited about yourself, like, I’m making this top. I just cut it out yesterday. It’s out of this gold knit that we bring in from France, it’s been beautiful to sew with. Like, I’m excited about that. But if it’s just standing there and you’re like, I hope somebody will come in and buy this, they’re not.
[00:31:51] Jessica: You know, if you’re somebody who’s just like, I’m gonna just jump onto this bandwagon. It’s probably not gonna work for you because a lot of times, mom, how many times do people say like, Well, what would you do with this? Right? And we’re like, Okay, you can make this and you can make this and you can try this all the time.
[00:32:09] Cathy: Yeah, I always say, I’m like Forest Gump on the shrimp boat. And they say like, What would you do with shrimp? And he like shrimp gumbo and shrimp scampi and shrimp… and that’s how we are. We’re like, Oh, this is what we would do. And then people like oftentimes, people will say to us you know, we love that you guys are so passionate about this and we really are. You know, we’re not just doing it for show to try to get people to buy things. We really love it and think everybody should be sewing because it is supposed to be fun and relaxing, and that’s what we per promote. And at the end, if you have a quilter or garment, that’s fabulous.
[00:32:51] Jessica: I would say too, with respect to, you know, a shop owner who’s out there listening and is like, “well, I don’t really know that much about garments. I don’t really know that much about, you know, garment fabrics.” You have a whole shop full of garment fabrics. Guys, quilting cotton is a marketing term. You heard it on this podcast. Quilting Cotton is just so that in the seventies, people looking to make quilts knew where to go in the store. Okay? You can go to any mill where they’re making fabric and if you say, make me a quilting cotton, they will be like, What? Right. It’s not a thing. It’s a marketing term. You have cotton poplin in your shop and cotton poplin makes dresses and shirts and pants and shorts and like it makes a plethora of things that you wear on your body. And the indie designers who are out there making patterns, are making patterns for cotton poplin.
[00:33:51] So you don’t have to go and invest all this money in rayons and knits and cotton sateens and you know, flannels or whatever you know, if you are trying to offer this for your customer, you already have the stuff. Put a shirt pattern next to it. Start with the Grainline Studio Scout Tee. You know, something easy.
[00:34:12] Spencer: Wow. I didn’t even ask the question, but like the question that you answered was, if I’m a shop owner, considering putting more into my garment section, that was the answer, right? And so I absolutely loved that and love the passion that I’m, you know, that you kind of exude, both of you guys, you know, Cathy and Jessica.
[00:34:30] So, you know, as we kind of wrap up here, Reminder guys, we’ve got smile spinners here from Marysville, Pennsylvania. Right. Which I think you said that’s not like your most landmark but we’ll say where it is.
[00:34:42] Jessica: Harrisburg. We’re in the capitol of Pennsylvania.
[00:34:45] Spencer: Harrisburg, capital of Pennsylvania. I’m, I’m a Steelers fan. Spent a lot of time in, Pittsburgh. Right. So we’re a bit away, but you know, that’s about as Pennsylvania as I get. But anyways let’s go to Cathy first and then Jessica, you know, any kind of final thoughts. You know, anything about where people can contact you or hear from you, you know, consume your content, stuff like that.
[00:35:04] Cathy: Well, people can find us online. We have a great website thanks to Like Sew, and you know, I think Jessica has probably spent hours on the phone with all of you guys. Me, not so much, but sometimes we’re like, Oh my gosh, like, They’ll probably see it’s Jessica. They’re like, We’re not gonna pick up the phone. We don’t wanna talk to her. Cause what will she want now? So we have a fabulous website, I think, because of that. And so like when Covid came you know, we were ready to pivot right to online because we had put time and effort into developing that. So you can easily find us there.
[00:35:48] We have a YouTube channel, so that we endeavor to do more videos that can be on YouTube, but there’s a lot of variety on there now. or take a trip to Harrisburg and come in and see us in person. It’s much more fun.
[00:36:05] Jessica: Love it. Okay. Jessica, any parting thoughts?
[00:36:09] It’s true. We’re great local ambassadors. Sure. I just wanna remind people too that you can find us on a lot of social media channels. So we’re on Facebook at Smile Spinners. We are on Instagram at Smile Spinners and that’s our handles really across the board. Our website is smile spinners.com. Nice and easy there. You can see the color wheel on the little corner of your tab when you find us.
[00:36:33] But yeah, I wanted to just say, We’re great local ambassadors to Harrisburg. So, one of the fun things that you can actually find on the Visit us part of our website is a map of, you know, the local area and our favorite places to go. So, we have favorite restaurants, places to stay, other places to shop that are not quilt shops. They’re our favorite places. So again, you’re really getting The feeling of Smile Spinners and of us.
[00:37:02] But I think my parting thoughts would be like, since this is a business podcast, there are so many creative people who are looking for you and your business, and we need creativity. Cathy talked at the beginning about, you know, keeping your mind sharp. There’s these movements about sewing for self care and I think what we do as quilt shop owners is we are giving people a beautiful creative outlet. So just like, keep on going and you’re making a huge impact just by existing. That’s certainly how we feel, anyway.
[00:37:45] I think that was beautiful. Such great and just articulate final thoughts from both of you guys. I just want to say again, huge thank you for being on the podcast. And I think we’ll go ahead and end there so thank you so much.