Thursday, December 10, 2015

Online fabric shopping survey results - updated!

As the holiday season is now in full swing, I am reviewing the best ideas for fabric lovers and sewists I have stumbled upon in the garment district and beyond.  Since many of you are not local, I am sharing what is most helpful here, with updated information where appropriate.

Updated From 11/30/12:

Boy, did you guys ever participate in the Online fabric shopping survey!  Here is a summary of the results, for your reading pleasure... I have only mentioned the most common responses here, but have shared detailed information with the vendors who have specifically  expressed to me that they are very interested in maximizing customer satisfaction.

There were 88 participants in the survey today.

93% of you who took the survey actually shop online.

What are your favorite online fabric stores?

The first three vendors (below) were mentioned by the most, by far!  Among the others mentioned, those with brick and mortar locations in NYC are clickable to link to their websites below:

Mood (Mood has implemented third party shipping!  See details here)

A special mention goes out from one of the survey participants to Metro Textiles, who does not have a website, but will personally send swatches and handle requests by email with a high level of personal attention and customer service.

There were quite a few more mentioned who are scattered across the USA (and a few beyond our nation's borders, actually), which are VERY useful as study aids for the vendors with whom I have shared the survey results, but giving the full list here would be information overload. It has been shared with those vendors who want to research the detailed info.

What are your concerns about shopping online?

Color, quality, drape and texture.  It seems that product-related issues were significantly riskier bets for many of you than shipping concerns, which was the next in line.

Now, describe the store of your dreams!

Free or low cost swatches, reasonable shipping, great photography, Pantone colors, better fabric descriptions, suggested uses and weight information. Great customer service, clear return policy, ability to speak with a live person during business hours, a search feature on a user-friendly site.  You also want fair return policies when items are not as described/pictured.  Much more detail was offered, and was shared with the vendors who asked for it!

Thank you to all who participated.  The stores are listening!

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At December 1, 2012 at 7:00 AM , Blogger Meg @ Mood Fabrics said...

Hi Mimi! Thanks for posting the topline summary here. Would you mind sending the survey data to me? You have my email address. Thanks!

At December 1, 2012 at 7:02 AM , Blogger a little sewing said...

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At December 1, 2012 at 7:04 AM , Blogger a little sewing said...

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At December 1, 2012 at 9:24 AM , Blogger Janee said...

Mimi, did anyone mention Sawyer Brook fabrics? Not in NYC, but they (we, actually - my part-time job) have a far-reaching mail order/web shopping clientele. Very curious as to any feedback you may have received.

At December 1, 2012 at 11:19 AM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

Absolutely, Meg. Coming your way now...

At December 1, 2012 at 11:21 AM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

Yes, Swayer Brooks was among the favorites, too!

At December 1, 2012 at 11:27 AM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

That is a great approach for the right type of client. For me, I go by my mood, my whims, other artistic inspiration... and I am not really color-loyal. Some things just speak to me, and I'm totally tactile. I am probably an awful candidate for online fabric shopping. I see it online, then go to the store to visit it before buying!

At December 1, 2012 at 7:39 PM , Blogger a little sewing said...

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At December 2, 2012 at 12:33 AM , Blogger BeccaA said...

I'm surprised that isn't on the short list above.

At December 2, 2012 at 2:40 AM , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I would love to buy from Fabric Mart but they don't ship internationally. In fact I did buy once and sent the package through an intermediary service and it was so not worth it for the price I had to pay for that. Fabric mules step up...

At December 2, 2012 at 12:24 PM , Anonymous QuiltB said...

City Quilter just went out of their way to help expedite my order, on a Sunday. Yea CQ - there are people there who understand about needing things yesterday!

I haven't mentioned this before, but if anyone is looking for something sewing-related with a NYC theme, be it fabric, notions, or buttons, that's the place to find it. They also sell some NYC things made in-house, like potholders and PJ pants. They carry iconic NYC fabrics that they design. They also have NYC charm bracelets & tea towels. They are more than just a quilt store. Their service has always been supreme, at least in my experiences with them. Today was no exception!

At December 3, 2012 at 10:16 AM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

It was also mentioned, but I listed the most popular favorites above.

At December 4, 2012 at 2:36 PM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

That is fabulous customer service!

At December 4, 2012 at 2:37 PM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

Haha! I kinda wonder if you placed a web order with no shipping instructions, and then ordered your own USPS pickup to get it from them, if they would do that?

At January 17, 2013 at 2:41 PM , Blogger --linnie said...

Hi Mimi,

As a small, just-starting-out online fabric retailer,, I would *love* to get the results of your survey.

I think I'm hitting most of the top concerns but it always helps to hear what the customer has to say!


At January 17, 2013 at 10:21 PM , Blogger mimi jackson said...

Sure Linnie. The big points were (1) customer service/ reasonable shipping/ clear return policy, (2) Pantone, swatching, or reliable color reference, and (3) better descriptions and weight info (ex: pant weight). Feel free to email me if you have any more general questions.


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