In this month’s spotlight, we’re focusing on Kimberly and The Fat Quarter Shop! If you’re a quilter, you’ve most likely heard about the Fat Quarter Shop for their variety of fabric bundles, sew-along streams, quilt patterns, and more. Dive into the Fat Quarter Shop journey with us as we discuss how Kimberly, with the help of her husband Kevin and team, started the business right from home and how it grew into the shop it is today.
Starting in 2003, Kimberly would return home after working as an accountant during the day and begin buying and cutting fabric, preparing fat quarter bundles for her new sales. Fat quarter bundles weren’t common to find 20 years ago. They were one of the few precut bundles you could purchase, so with only a desk, a computer, and a shelf full of fabric, she began creating and selling her own fat quarter bundles directly to customers. It was a niche many had missed, and Kimberly took it upon herself to remedy this issue.
“I wanted more access to more bundles for myself, and if opening a store would let me have that, then that’s what I was going to do!”
Kimberly loved the idea of packaging a collection of precut fabrics and started seeing an increase in shoppers. So, as the business began to grow, Kimberly’s husband, Kevin, jumped on board and joined the team! After only a few months of getting married, Kevin and Kimberly were also business partners! With Kevin handling IT and operations, and Kimberly running the creative side, they could go full-time and upgrade their shop to a warehouse.
Upgrading to a warehouse came with more than just extra space, but the opportunities to grow their inventory and build a team! As they began hiring and expanding their product range, the Fat Quarter Shop became known for having everything a quilter may need. With over 35,000 products, they’ve been able to offer over 18,000 different fabrics plus notions, precuts, kits, thread, floss, patterns, books, and charts. As a one-stop shop, beginners and advanced quilters can enjoy their different clubs and promotions.
With so many clubs to choose from, the Fat Quarter Shop offers a multitude of monthly subscriptions for fabric bundles, quilt block pattern kits, and more. Currently, their most popular club is Designer Mystery Box of the Month! Now going for 15 years, the Designer Mystery BOM includes months 1-12 with designer mystery quilt block patterns, perfect for trying something new. They also offer clubs where you can receive a bundle of your favorite kind each month and quarterly Fat Quarter sets. One of their favorite ventures, the Fat Quarter Shop, will always try to go above and beyond in their kits, a unique program they have had fun creating.
With the help of their team, they’ve been able to expand their shop and keep a focus on customer service. Elva, their customer service team leader, started many years ago filling orders in their warehouse. In addition, Jocelyn was the first person they ever hired to do marketing, becoming the leader for most of their marketing team. With so many others joining, they attest their growth to a team effort all around!
With Jocelyn and Elva on the team, they’ve expanded their reach on social media and created a customer service experience that quilters and cross-stitch creators can depend on. Going above assistance with sales, you can reach out to their team and receive guidance on fabric choices, notions, and more. With a wealth of knowledge on their team, they help customers find what they need.
A great way the Fat Quarter Shop team has shared their knowledge over the years is through their social media platforms. By connecting with quilters, stitchers, and other crafters on channels like YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest, and more, they’ve been able to provide live-stream lessons and answer questions directly from customers. You can find tips and lessons on quilting techniques, machine tips, and more on these socials.
Kimberly’s favorite social media aspect is their weekly live streams on Fridays! Allowing her to chat with customers live while creating and enjoying her hobby, she’s been able to connect with the community and build her shop product list based on their requests and recommendations. Through marketing like this, she’s been able to create programs like their free Christmas and Halloween mystery quilt that customers love and come back for.
“- I get to hear firsthand what they want to see in the store. If something doesn’t exist, we try to create it.”
Don’t worry if you miss a Livestream! You can always visit the Fat Quarter Shop’s YouTube page and find videos on Quilt Alongs, tips and tricks, and other projects. In addition, their quilting video page offers tutorials that all skill sets can enjoy. From beginner to advanced techniques, Kimberly and her team have provided their audience with what they want! For example, if you’re interested in learning how to quilt, they offer an outstanding Ultimate Beginner Series. But, if you’re an advanced quilter, you can learn and try your hand at classic & vintage quilts.
Aside from their fabric, quilter’s kits, and notions, you can also find pattern books! Starting 10 years ago, Kimberly, and her husband Kevin, opened up the publishing side of the business, ‘It’s Sew Emma.’ Named after their oldest daughter, Emma, the publishing aspect of their business has published hundreds of quilt and cross stitch patterns, books, and notions. While their most popular designer is Lori Holt of Bee in my Bonnet Co., they also offer Fat Quarter and Half Yard books, perfect for those bundles you love to buy!
With everything the Fat Quarter Shop has been able to accomplish in 20 years, we asked Kimberly what the experience was like seeing the rise in popularity. “It’s hard to describe. I never expected it to grow as it has. It’s been difficult, stressful, and a lot of fun all at the same time.” Focusing on doing their best daily, they attribute their success to the team’s continuous hard work, never giving up, and offering customers the best quality service and products. They, of course, also attest to their success to their loyal customers, who keep coming back for their new products, videos, and inspiration.
Kimberly and the teams’ advice for those starting their own business is this, find your niches! When you can create an image and branding that you’re proud of and shows off your style, you’ll be one step closer to seeing success. Be passionate about your hobby and shop, engage your audience, and you’ll begin seeing the trademarks of something starting.
While Kimberly and Kevin admit there are things they could’ve done differently, they recognize all these decisions led them to where they are today. Constantly giving a hundred percent to the shop, they focus on looking forward to opportunities that allow them to be creative and have fun in the future.
“I try to only look forward, and I still have more goals to reach. I don’t see limits to what we can do, so I’m ready for anything.”
We’re so excited to share more about the Fat Quarter Shop and its team with you! So whether you’re starting your quilting journey or an advanced quilter looking for something new, check out the Fat Quarter Shop today and meet Kimberly and the team!
To follow along on the Fat Quarter Teams Journey, and learn more about their shop, visit their links below!
Pinterest: Fat Quarter Shop