#84 Shoot for the Moon: Home from Houston!


Our fifth market and our third time in Houston came to a close on November 2, 2011. We returned tired but happy with the business we did in Houston. We are moving ahead with taking on additional distributors. We were  approached by 3 additional US distributors and representation in Australia, Japan and Canada. While even as recent as 1 year ago we felt it was too much to take on – now we are ready.

So for those of you starting your own pattern business you may think that getting home is the time to exhale and to regather. Well, not so much! I spent the better part of Wednesday and Thursday placing fabric printed paper pattern orders. This coming week will be TONS of cutting and stuffing work.

This time we had a double booth and it was EXCELLENT! With a few minor layout changes it will be ideal. We are certain that we wrote more business as a result of having a larger space. With the exception of Monday afternoon we were packed the entire weekend. This time we eliminated the cash box, a computer and a printer and made all our transactions with order forms and we checked out with our iphones and an app called “square”. Our location was great. We were one booth in from the food court. You could see our whole booth from the main aisle. Next show we will go paperless with ipads. I LOVE technology!!!!!


Our new products were VERY well received! Everyone thought the Quilt Police Doll was a hoot and they had to have them! Having all 50 states in panel form also was a hit. To our surprise several shops ordered several sets of all 50 states. We ran a show special on the mini panels. That really helped them move. We decided to come home and reduce the mini panel price on the website and also for the wholesaler year round. It cut into our margin a bit but we felt there was space to work up a better price.


I spent a good amount of time walking the floor. I was pleased to see I was featured in the FABSHOP NEWS as one of six “Rebels and Pioneers” in quilting today. A big thanks goes to Janet Lutz of Calico Gals in Syracuse for her praises to them.

The second thing I did was focused quite a bit on the industry of fabric design. I have been approached by several fabric companies. About a year ago I thought that Northcott would end up being the home of my first line with my stamps. That did not work out but I did learn a lot about the process. I made it my business to talk to other experienced designers like Jinney Beyer, Patrick Lose, Karen Montgomery and few others just to name a few. I was surprised to learn it is a very competitive rough segment of the fiber world. I learned there is lots of hopping around by designers. I walked away by going back to my basic philosophy…do the work and the rest will follow. I went home from Texas without committing to any particular company. The best part is I went home with an AMAZING idea for a fabric line in conjunction with a new BOM that will be stunning and simple! I know i usually share all my concepts – but not this time. I just need to work! I promise a sneak peak later.

The Holiday Houses were introduced and met with great fanfare. Looks like many shops want to start in January! UGH! I have three houses done. So much for pacing myself and taking it slow and steady! Remember I am finishing my third book for C&T on the baby animals.

I now have a page on Facebook! Please tell your friends, guilds and shops locally to “like” the Zebra Patterns page and friend me at Debra Gabel!

I just linked this blog to Facebook and twitter – not sure if it will work – but I hear it is a good business thing to do! lol!


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. Donna Beattie, 2300 Birchmont Drive NE, Bemidji, Mn. 56601
    Jan 04, 2012 @ 21:23:00

    We are interested in ordering the 50 panel states fabric. Please contact
    donna at the e-mail shown. Thank you


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