Keeping up with sample making is an on-going struggle for quilt shop owners. In our visual industry, samples sell! Trunk shows are a solution that benefit both the shop owner and the designer. With shop hops or retreats, samples from designers through a trunk show make your shop look vibrant and interesting.
In a shop-owner survey by Martingale Publishing, they commented “86% of respondents said trunk shows boost book sales, and 95% said they would host another one. Shows also promote sales of fabric, thread, and notions. Shop owners tell us that trunk shows build excitement and bring customers in.”
A trunk show is arranged between the shop and a designer. You agree on a time frame to host the show, and then the designer sends you samples and patterns. (Martingale Publishing would send you books instead of patterns.) You hang the projects for an agreed period of time, then ship it back to the designer. This offers an opportunity to try new things in your store. It gives you insight for future sample making, as well as classes you may want to teach. If you pick designers outside of your comfort zone, it’ll help you see how their things can fit in your store.
Most trunk shows require a minimum purchase which is usually a ‘safe’ number of patterns. Some designers will provide additional patterns on consignment or quick shipping on re-orders.
Advertise your trunk show in your monthly newsletter, through social media, posters in the store, and announcements at your clubs and classes. Designers want the trunk show to be successful so ask them to advertise for you as well.
Remember trunk show etiquette – take care of the quilts and patterns if they’re on consignment (no price stickers on them). Ship promptly back to the designer or the next shop because others are waiting their turn. And don’t forget to send payment promptly.
Don’t be satisfied with hanging the samples. Engage your staff by explaining the merits of each project, tools they can sell, or techniques they can demo. Make up kits, too. Take advantage of any tips the designer offers so that you both can benefit from the extra revenue.