A big part of my job as a shop owner is to research new products. Sounds like a fun part of the job – right? It is, and I love doing it. That being said, there’s a lot that goes into researching new products that I might want to carry in the shop.
Even though many of the products I feature in the shop are affiliate links to the product I’m offering – I need to be every bit as picky as I would be if I were stocking that product on a physical shelf.
Perhaps – even more so because I’m trusting another company to take good care of you.
So … what are the things I look for when I’m researching a new quilting product?
- Functionality – does it solve a real problem and does it work as intended?
- Quality – is it well made and can it be expected to have a reasonably useful life?
- Value – is the price reasonable for the type of product it is?
- Shipping – where is the product shipped from, and who does the shipping?
- Ergonomics – does it feel good in my hand – and when I’m using it?
- Design – is the design pleasing (we quilters are visual people), and it’s a bonus if it comes in purple (just sayin’ ; )
- The Gotta Have It Factor – would I spend my own money on it?
As you can see – that’s a lot of things to consider, so it takes me a bit to do that research before I’m comfortable putting a product on my “virtual” shelves. One of the most efficient ways for me or any other shop owner to do that research is to attend Quilt Market in Houston. This is a show specifically created for Shop owners to visit with vendors and try out new products. Not going to lie – it was a whole lot of fun!
What kind of products was I looking for at Quilt Market (and that you can expect to see on my virtual shelves soon)? Here was my shopping list:
- Rotary Cutters – I want to add a new more ergonomic rotary cutter to the shop. My hands have been struggling with the rotary cutter I’ve been using all these years. I found one I love – and it’s on its way to me now. By the time you read this – I’ll be using it to cut out a new quilt. You’ll be seeing it soon.
- Needle Threaders – I’ve tried a few and you may remember that I asked you about your favorites a few weeks ago. I’ve bought up a bunch of different ones to test. Once I narrow it down to the ones that I think work the best – I’ll share them with you.
- Ideas for using panels – I love panels – but found I wasn’t doing much with them. That’s all changed – I got some great ideas and will be sharing where I got my inspiration soon.
- Quilting frames for use in a small space – I want to be able to do the quilting on some of my projects, but my space is pretty small. I found just what I was looking for. Once I get it in place and can test it – I’ll be sharing that too.
- English Paper Piecing Supplies – I found something new to me that I am testing out now. So excited about this product!
- Irons – my iron needs an upgrade and I’m switching to the Oliso iron. They have come out with a new smaller project iron that was introduced at Quilt Market – and it completely sold out. It’s going to take a few weeks before mine arrives. Once it does – you’ll see it on my “virtual” shelves.
There are some other things I was looking for as well but those will take longer to get them in so that I can test them. I love my job!!