Confession…quilting doesn’t pay the bills yet, but I am still hoping! In the meantime, I have a part time job at a local shop. 3 days a week, I am the friendly face you see behind the cutting table, ready to help in the stash acquisition phase of your project! Here are some funny things that I see while working at a fabric store.
Do you make any money?
The number one question that people ask is how I can take a paycheck home when I am surrounded by fabric. Doesn’t it get spent right away? Probably the same answer that the ice cream store clerks might give you, “I’ve built up immunity.” Just kidding! My trick is that I only work while my daughter is in school, so I am usually rushing out the door for carpool duty at the end of my shift. No time for shopping!
Is it boring?
No, rather than getting bored, I’d have to admit it can be OVER-stimulating to see all the wonderful new lines of fabric and start dreaming of new projects. All I have to do is grab half a dozen bolts of fabric, planning to cut fat quarters, and that will guarantee a line forms at my cutting table. But truly, I prefer to cut a multitude of eighth yard pieces for a customer than try to occupy myself tidying bolts for the seventy-third time.
Biggest Surprise Working at a Fabric Store?
Shoplifters! Really, who does that? I want to believe that quilters are the best of humanity, but I suppose there are all kinds of people, honest and dishonest, in any group. I was shocked the first time I found an empty bolt shoved behind other fabric, in a totally different area, and my co-workers told me that someone must have taken whatever was left. Granted, this is a large store and the shelves are set up sort of like cubicles so we don’t have line-of-sight over all the merchandise. But still, I wish people would just do the right thing, even when no one is looking!
Do you get paid to sew if you are working in a fabric store?
This may be true in some shops, but in my case, I am just a clerk. I stock and re-stock fabric, provide basic customer assistance and cut fabric for customers. There is an employee who quilts on location in the shop – she gives lessons on the longarm and quilts samples in-store sometimes. As employees, we can make samples for display but that is done on our own time at home. And truthfully, I have a huge UFO list so I don’t volunteer for that task!
Best part of working in a fabric store
The best part of working in a fabric store is FABRIC!!! Even though I don’t take much home with me at the moment, I am inspired every day. I love helping customers find just the right fabric for their project, especially if they are trying to match something and I can suggest a fabric that makes their eyes light up.
Hopefully, you have a local quilt store in your area that has friendly, helpful staff and provides inspiration and education on your quilting journey.