One door shuts and another door opens!

Yesterday was the last day of the 2014 Row by Row Experience – Sew a Season. What an event! Looking back it is hard to imagine what transpired from July 1 through September 2, 2014.  I have NEVER worked so hard in my entire adult life! FabricPlates™ took on a life of their own. It is incredible how a shop owner in NY and a designer in Baltimore made such a HUGE impact on 1250+ quilt shops in North America with a simple idea and a silly replica of a common license plate. Both Janet Lutz and I have gotten emails, texts, calls and notes  from shops coast to coast how the program boosted their sales to record levels. They expressed how they had customers from all over and how locals who have not been in their shop for years returned. That is amazing! How did this all happen? It was done with a simple pure intention and the power of social media.

The intention was simple. Janet’s original intention three years ago was to get customers back in the brick and mortar shops. My intention of the Fabric Plates™ was to provide a FUN affordable novelty item. How did the word get out? Facebook. The power of social media is daunting. As the 2014 Row by Row closes I have to say WOW!

Janet and I have the theme for 2015 firmly in place. It is top secret and will be announced at Houston Market at the end of October. I just finished up the fabric line for 2015 RxR. I have to say I am very excited about the fabric. Last year’s fabric was good but it was a take off of the logo at the very last minute. This year the fabric is really my creative voice! Very exciting! Also the Fabric Plates™ for next year have a new twist! All fun things to look forward too!

Boy has Zebra Patterns grown and learned this summer! Most shops are totally fabulous but like with any group there were always a few that made our lives miserable! Most shops knew this whole FabricPlate™ craze was an enigma. Who knew? If shops knew they would have ordered more plates from the get go. No one knew. As I said most shops were amazing! Do you know we produced over 1,000 CUSTOM pieces of art, had them custom printed, hand cut and packaged in 4-5 months? My husband has worked in the custom packaging industry for over 30 years and said that his huge shopping bag company could not have put out that amount of CUSTOM orders with a huge staff! Imagine 34 states and Ontario with different plates. Each of the plates has a unique phrase. It was nuts! We have systems in place for orders – but we did not have the sophisticated systems in place for that volume and for reorders and reorders and more reorders! Some of the unforeseen hazards were shop names and customer errors. Do you know how many shops have similar names? Let me tell you there are a lot of Front Porch Quilts and The Quilted Crow across the country! Also not only were many shop names repeated – the phrases were duplicated across state lines and were similar within the state.  Here is examples of just the letter “S” – SEW SIMPLE. SEW EZ, SEW FUN, SEW FABULOUS, SEW WHAT, SEW AND SEW, and SEW ON! LOL. Put the names of shops and the plate phrases together and you get SEW CRAZY!  We also did not anticipate the 5-10% of people who have NO IDEA how to place orders on line! We spent a lot of time hand holding through that process. We were shocked. We thought the check writing, phone orders and manual entry ship had sailed a few years ago! Apparently there are still a few shops out there that are just not computerized. That took and incredible amount of time and ate into our production time. That became the source of several errors. Some shops once they entered their order changed their minds! Or worse yet swore they did not submit the order as written! REALLY? So all that taken into consideration we are responding at Zebra Patterns to be even better in 2015.

What will be different? First we hired more people! Zebra Patterns is a BIG GIRL company! LOL! Secondly we have invested in a sophisticated ordering program. Third we have the experience of this year to better set start and cut off dates. As mentioned earlier – we had hundreds of positive responses. Most shops fully understood as they were dealing with the same situation in their own store! Yesterday we had a call that a shop in MD has estimated she has handed out and kitted over 1,500 rows!  YES! That means over the summer she had OVER 1500 people in her shop in 10 weeks! DANG! So next year the turn around times for plates to shops will still be 28 days. That will never change with a custom product. Each one is 100% different, and hand packaged. However with better tracking through our in-house order entry we can better track and order that may come through. We will have a division of labor. Once we have more people the jobs necessary can be divided and be more efficient. Overall – I know Zebra had a huge amount of happy customers. I also know that many of our customers had and overwhelming amount of happy endusers. Our intentions were met. The Row by Row program brought in lots of business to quilt shops in North America and we all had to do a lot of hard work but it paid off in record breaking shop profits and record breaking amounts of happy endusers!

Just when you thought it was safe to come out of the water – WHAM – Post Card Party is here! Wha hoo! More fun! Another door opens!  This is a real chance for quilters to go to some of the great shops they visited over the summer and take mini workshops and then SWAP their postcards with quilters across America! Shops sign up for Post Card Party on September 21, 2014. Ask your shop if they are in?

Oh and I am sure you are hoping for a hint about next years theme…… you really want to know right?…… just a hint….. a small nugget….. something to ponder….

Well…. okay…. – Ugh – can’t do it! LOL! October 2014 at Houston – the theme will be announced! Now go start quilting something!

 

Clarification to Post Card Party Event…..

My posting of August 25, 2014 was a sneak peek of the Fall/Winter Row by Row Event. This was the flyer that was handed out at the Checker Open house. I have been telling loyal Zebra Blog followers about an upcoming event in past posts and on Facebook. I promised to post the event to followers about the event shortly after the Checker Open House. Below the flyer in the posting the copy reads: Keep an eye out on the Row by Row site for details and ask your local shop if they are participating.

Let me clarify that when I stated “keep an eye out” I was indicating  that the official announcement was coming - to watch for it.  This is a blog posting. That is a common marketing teaser to build excitement for the event. And the official posted announcement is coming and will be posted in the next 2-3 weeks.

The September 21st date is the very first date that shops can sign up for the event. Again it was a heads up – a sneak peek. The intention was start getting the buzz out for the event.

I am sorry if this caused any confusion.

NEW Row by Row Event Announced at Checker Open House!

What is the NEW ROW by ROW EVENT for Fall / Winter???? It is a North American Post Card Exchange!

What is it called?  Post Card Party! Registration opens for Quilt Shops September 21, 2014.

What is a Post Card Party? …….

 

Post Card Party Description

 

Haven’t you always to try a certain technique or play with a new tool or try a new sewing machine? Here is your chance to make a mini project then swap it with quilters all over North America! Learn something new and then have the fun of swapping!

Keep an eye on rowbyrowexperience.com for the details! Ask your shop if they will be having Post Card Parties! Ask your shops if they will come to your guild and throw Post Card Parties!

FabricPlates™ progress …and a hint of inspiration!

Busy Busy Busy! Never ever been soooooo busy! The Summer of 2014 has proven to be a blockbuster hit for Row by Row and for FabricPlates™. Who knew it would be soooo crazy! Everywhere I look, every phone call, email, package in the mail has FabricPlates™! It has been so amazing receiving so many positive comments and emails about the program! We are still getting tons of reorders and even NEW ORDERS! Shops are adding phrases and ordering new plates! We are so grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such a shot in the arm to the quilting industry.

We are crazy busy with  FabricPlates™ – AND we are getting ready for Checker’s Open house! Yes next week we go to Ohio for the Annual Showcase in Checker’s warehouse. It is a big undertaking getting ready for that event. Janet Lutz and I will be presenting about the Row by Row Experience and we will be announcing the NEW and EXCITING Fall Winter Row by Row Event! It is something totally different from Row by Row! I will post the pitch on my blog after we make our announcement! It is FUN, it is NATIONAL – all 50 states and it is affordable!

So why not throw in getting ready for a 9 day cruise to New England/Canada with the plates and the open house and the NEW Fall Row by Row event! Yes – I am making 65 custom kits for our at sea project! …OH and don’t forget about Houston – Fall Market!

I am quite humbled to look at the growth of Zebra Patterns in the past 12-18 months. If you have read my blog since the first posting you have been watching the journey. Tonight when I walked from the studio to my house – I walked through a sea of packages waiting to mailed out. Today we shipped over 70 packages and tomorrow we will do the same. We have over 20 people that are cutting packing and stuffing Zebra Patterns! CRAZY!  It is really amazing. I must tell you I have worked very hard for ten years and this is what I have been working for. I have NEVER worked harder in the past 4 months. The exciting thing is that the best is yet to come! Zebra is building a team – and we are having fun! — working like dogs! But fun!

I hope that everyone reading this blog sticks with their passion. With time and patience and planning you can realize your dreams. Some may say it is luck – and maybe it is – but the harder we work the luckier we get! It is all about going for it – and preparing for opportunity!  I DO NOT believe in coincidences so if you are reading this posting and think – hmmmm – “I feel inspired and maybe I can do it too” – it is NOT an accident you are reading this right now – you can do it! GO FOR IT! Work hard, get prepared and start getting REALLY LUCKY!

 

FabricPlate™ RUMORS! Ugh!

We are all having such a fun and great event – Please stop the rumors. Here is the published statement about FabricPlate™ Reorders.

RUMORS are not true – We are turning all reorders in the 4 week window.

That said – reorders placed after Aug 2 – will be in the Sept 2 window for delivery.
Here is the standard note we are sending out regarding reorders:

REORDER TIMING: 

Due to the wonderful “viral” response to the FabricPlates™ we (Zebra Patterns) have extended the wholesale price guarantee for the plates to Dec 31, 2014 for SHOP OWNERS ONLY.  We are so grateful and amazed that the plates have enhanced the Row by Row experience. Right now we are aiming for 2-1/2 weeks on re-orders to shops but must stand by the up-to 4 weeks. We want to get them to shops ASAP. Due to the huge response and plethora of reorders we cannot promise anything other than we will do our best. We are hoping the date extension and price guarantee will ease the minds of shop owners that they will have plenty of time to fill back orders that have collected from customers. We recommend that shops put 6×9 standard mailing envelopes next to their check out area and have customers self address and even apply stamp if they have one in their purse on to the envelope.  Postage for that is 49 cents.
Hope this helps! Here are the re-order instructions for SHOP OWNERS ONLY:
  1. Please return to zebrapatterns.com
  2. Click the license plate in upper right hand side of home page for the same order form used the first time.
  3. In the section to order plates, enter a quantity. Remember that “1” = a lot of 48 plates.
  4. In the vanity phrase section type in REORDER.
  5. Also please complete the shop name/city box as you did the first time and Add to cart”.
  6. When checking out, look at the screen carefully to be sure that your web browser has not cached (saved) first order and added that quantity to your new order.
  7. NOTE: if you have ordered more than one phrase please put REORDER/ and the phrase you want reprinted
Best regards. Gary & Debra Gabel.
 
PS: Checker is carrying a special FabricPlate™ Quilt Hanger! Click here: http://www.checkerdist.com/products/31082
________________________________________

 

 

FabricPlate™ Jalopy Quilt Hangers are available now!

Just after spring market I worked with Peggy and Skip Ackfeld and we came up with these for the fabric plates!Checker is carrying this special FabricPlate™ Quilt Hanger designed by Debra Gabel of Zebra Patterns! Click here: http://www.checkerdist.com/products/31082Quilt Jelopy AD with plates

Quilt Jelopy only Quilt Jalopy2

 

 

Row designed for Quilt-ish in Cape Cod

I have been asked by a few shop owners if I had designed any rows for this year’s Row by Row: Sew a Season. I did design one for a good friend – June Herold – owner of a new type of quilt shop with finished goods as well as unique merchandise and supplies. I have a pix of the pattern and of the finished quilted row. June’s shop is in Brewster on Cape Cod and it is named “Quilt-ish” June’s shop and gallery is in her New England home. It is a REAL TREAT!

Quiltish row by Debra

 

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