Organization is key in any sewing store, whether brick-and-mortar or online. Clear signage and organization eliminates the frustration of searching for a specific textile, notion or pattern.
However, many customers in a sewing store aren’t sure what they need to get started. Catering to these beginner customers is vital to grow a sewing store’s business and create store loyalty. In addition to clearly organizing materials, sewing stores should add a dedicated beginner’s section to their shop layout.
Why Should Every Sewing Store Designate a Beginner’s Section?
Sewing stores can be incredibly intimidating for the uninitiated. Clear signs that direct experienced sewists to the right section can confuse beginners who don’t recognize the names of different fabric weaves. There are so many options in most fabric stores, the beginner may experience decision paralysis.
Many stores expect that beginners will ask staff for help and suggestions, but this can be a flawed assumption. Beginners are already nervous and may feel out of place. Store staff members are often cutting fabric for a line of other customers who can instantly find what they’re looking for. To cater to beginner sewists, sewing stores should set aside a small section of the shop floor for beginner-friendly fabrics, patterns and basic sewing advice.
How Can You Keep Track of Beginner Materials?
Keeping track of inventory can help guide what goes into the beginner’s section. As fabrics cycle in and out of style, it’s vital to keep a sewing store up-to-date in its stocking. Otherwise, outdated fabrics can take up valuable shelf space without generating sales.
Upgrading to a dedicated sewing store POS system makes it easy to track which fabrics are selling well in any given season. Rather than keeping the beginner section stocked with the exact same fabrics year-round, play up the enthusiasm of the beginner sewist by featuring a few more expensive on-trend light fabrics in summer and heavier fabrics in winter.
What Should Be in a Sewing Store’s Beginner’s Section?
Stores should make sure entry-level sewing machines are visible in the beginner’s section, even though many beginners buy machines from friends or family or online. The sewing machine market is expected to grow substantially worldwide, and beginners may want to upgrade to a more modern or agreeable machine after their first few projects.
The best fabrics for beginners are ones that are easy to measure, easy to mark and cut and don’t slip and slide when feeding them through a machine. Fabrics that don’t require a lining are also great for beginners. Here are a few fabrics stores should always keep in their designated beginner’s section.
Flannel is a durable and comfortable fabric with a name even beginners will recognize. Heavy fleece is also comfortable and easy to sew, but this fabric hews closer to blanket material for many people. Flannel is an alternative that is just as warm and soft but is a strong clothing fabrication.
Linen is not only easy to sew, but also easy to wash and care for. Stores can also advertise the mild antibacterial qualities and eco-friendliness of linen to beginners.
This reliable and lightweight fabric is steady in beginners’ hands. Its sheer qualities appeal to anyone attempting to create fashionable dresses and shirts at home.
Chambray has the steady appeal of cotton voile with a bit more weight and texture. It’s much easier on a sewing machine than heavy denim and can achieve a similar visual effect. Stores should recommend a lighter chambray for beginners to increase the chances of success and continued business.
Cotton shirting is a straightforward fabric that doesn’t slip or shrink. It’s also a relatively inexpensive option for the beginner who may need to recut pieces or start over during the process. Keep multiple types on a shelf to encourage beginners to pick up this simple and effective fabric.
Knits are appealing to the beginner sewist for their stretch and fashion sensibility, but many knits are tricky to sew. A natural ponte knit is the easiest knit option because of its tight weave and minimal stretch. Stores should sell ponte to beginners in winter instead of trickier, looser knits.
Beginner customers are sure to remember sewing stores in their community that made them feel welcome at the start. All sewing stores should feature a beginner’s section.