The Quilter: Quilting with Malke

Posts Tagged ‘business

The date for our next car trip will be June 22.  We will meet at Sew Materialistic at 9:00 am. 

We are sure to have a great time visiting Mouse Creek Quilts, Stitch n’ Sew Center, and A.C. Moore Crafts!

Yummy lunch is included, please call for the menu. The cost of the trip is $25, which includes lunch, a drink and snacks.

Limited space available, so call soon!
Take care,
Malke

I was asked a while ago if I would be willing to be interviewed for an article on Jewish Women in Business and here are excerpts of some of my answers:

What inspired you to create your business? I had just moved into a new house in a new neighborhood and was in between having babies; and a friend of mine who also sewed a lot approached me and asked if I would like to open a sewing store in my basement, foolishly, I agreed.

Were there any areas where you discovered tricks to cut costs? If so, where and how? I started giving classes so that I could save on the cost of a teacher, even though teaching is not my favorite thing to do.  We also are more careful in our ordering pattern. We order to restock sold notions but order new fabrics not more than once a month.  We also moved from a store front bck to my house so tha I could cut down in the rent and other commercial obligations.

Have you encountered any challenges specifically relating to your being an Orthodox Jewish women business owner? Not so much challenges as venues that I cannot participate in because I choose to be orthodox.

If so, how did/do you deal with the challenge? I do not participate in the many shabbos venues for quilters.

What advice can you offer other Orthodox Jewish Women entrepreneurs? Realize that being a woman today is not what will make or break a business.  Being orthodox puts many restrictions on you but you can compensate by working harder and manuvering around the system.  Know your business inside and out, network, and most importantly, take some business courses.

How do you maintain a work-life balance, juggling the roles of a business owner and mother?  Although any job outside of the home is stressful, if your goal is to work for pleasure because you love what youre doing, you can manage.  I love to run my business most of the time.  I have also been given the golden opportunity to work with my children.  They were always with me when they were small and when they got old enough, the girls work for me, either full or part time, and the boys help with stock when they could leave yeshiva.

We’ll be going Thursday, May 26 to the American Folk Art Museum at 45 West 53rd Street in Manhattan. There is an admission fee and we’re planning to be there for the 1:00 tour. We’ll be meeting at the Avenue J train station (Q train) to be able to visit B & J fabrics before the museum. You must call to register.

Another thing on our agenda will be a UFO Day. No, you don’t actually have to finish an object, but you do have to bring in UNUSED FABRIC OBJECTS. You can bring in as  many fabrics as you want to trade- you know… the ones you have no idea why you bought in the first place! Or just leftovers from other projects you don’t want to use again (or eve think about again!).  Fat quarters is the minimum size & 1 yard pieces is the maximum, but you can bring in as many first quality pieces as you wish.  If you are interested, please email me! sewmaterialistic@yahoo.com

Take care,

Malke

Our challenge quilts are due soon and I am pretty excited about it because quite a lot of people bought the challenge fabric.  Remember: they are due the begining of March.

Thanks to all who brought in their UFOs for the contest. But…WE WANT MORE!
Why so shy? All you have to gain is finished projects and cleaner sewing room, and nothing to lose!
Thanks to Susan who sent in  lot of of UFOs:

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Good Luck to all quilters!

For those of you who live nearby or are coming to NY to visit- don’t miss out on our STORE-WIDE sale! We are putting every item in stock at a 35% discount!!! (when paying with cash, 30% when with a credit card… not including already discounted items)

Come in and stock up on notions and browse through our fabrics for great finds! This sale is really not to be missed and I’m not just saying that because it is my store 🙂

Congratulations to the winner Sew Materialistic’s First Monthly Raffle, Christine Hansen!

Please check back soon for our October Raffle!

Hi all.

Everyone tells me that they think owning a quilt shop is the ideal job for a quilter, and it is (not to make any of you jealous).  I love most of my customers.  The give and take, and the friendships I hold very dear.  I love shopping for new notions (even though I’m not a gadget person), and being the first to hear about the new stuff available.

I love shopping for new fabrics (duhhh), but deciding what to get can really be a hard job.  Good thing I’m not allowed to shop by myself (I’d buy everything), Blima, my daughter, is always around to slap a hand over my ordering mouth.

I love when I go places, I always bump into customers and they are happy to see me (I have a raging inferiority complex).  There is another side to this article, but that’s another story.  Today, as I write this on Mother’s Day, I’m being upbeat (and I haven’t taken my happy pills yet!).  Every day is Mother’s Day …so have a happy one!

Malke

I’m having <CENSORED> [complaining] burn-out.  It’s again the time of year for me to start thinking about another newsletter.  I came up with the great idea of not sending out a whole newsletter but instead only a postcard with a burning match on it.  The idea was nixed by one and all, too bad.

I love my quilting store and I love most of my customers, (I’m sure you are one of them), and thank G-d we are doing pretty good in this economy but I still feel burned-out.  In particular, registration for sewing and quilting classes was way down this quarter.  Now I’m cheap and don’t go in for spending my hard earned dollars on anything but quilting fabrics for my stash but I’m always curious about new techniques and patterns and therefore try to take classes that interest me and allow me to grow as a quilter.

There are a few diehards that do take all the classes that we offer and it gives me great pleasure to see them growing and enjoying the sheer joy in learning something new.  Are we not offering enough new and innovative classes?  Should we be offering more detailed work?  More fast and easy?  I dont know where to go so I dont feel like going anywhere.   So there, I’ve said my piece and I feel better [now i have to see if this goes thru my censors](One Word Censored).

At the store, we started a Dear Jane class.  Although we had only six people register, we all became dedicated Janiacs, and we are enjoying every minute of it.  I, in particular, took off with those little cute blocks and I am making, or trying to make, two of each in different colorways to make them the same but to look different.

I’ve made quite a few but not nearly all of them.  Anywho, we dicided that it would be fun for all of us to go to the Shelburne Museum to see Dear Jane up close and personal.  A two day trip to Vermont in the Fall would be fun anyway.

Tell you all a bout it when I get back!

To all my friends and customers I would like to wish a healthy, happy, and productive new year.

I feel I could pat myself on the back.  A customer just came in to my store and asked where the Holocaust Quilt was.  She came in especially to take a picture of it because she said it so much touched a cord in her heart.  How’d that make me feel?  Great!  Only problem is, I gained too much weight to reach my back!

Somebody, who will remain anonymous, sent me this wonderful letter.

“This may not quite qualify as ‘quiltresting’ or as material you would want to share with your readership, but I MUST share it with you!

I just heard about you, ironically, (or perphaps not) from my work colleague. He just called me and we were talking about the fact that my youngest daughter will be leaving for seminary soon and we will be “empty-nesters”. I told him I have taken an interest in quilting and hope that this will help keep me busy while I’m missing my baby!! Who would have guessed that he would be a source for quilting information!! He told me his brother-in-law’s mother (ME!) has a quilt shop in Brooklyn, a website, etc., and he told me about the Holocaust Quilt!! Before I hung up the phone I found the website, the blogs, etc. and I was THRILLED!!

I am the daughter of a Holocaust Survivor (I created a website that you may like to have a look at: http://www.jewsoflatvia.com) and was very interested in seeing the quilt for so many reasons. My mother is an avid quilter who is ALWAYS quilting or crocheting blankets for the Linus Project. I, on the other hand, am a complete novice but have discovered crazy quilts and really want to get started with a sampler.  I finally found the pictures of your Holocaust Quilt by scrolling down in your blog and I was totally blown away. It is the most moving and soul-stirring quilt I have ever seen. Absolutely amazing.

So funny and amazingly wonderful how by mentioning a little something to him (which, by the way, while I was saying it I was thinking – now why would he be at all interested in hearing about my foray into quilting!) could lead me to this treasure trove!

As an aside, my older daughter lives in Washington Heights and I already told her about your store. She said she has a cousin (a wonderful artist) and aunt (from her husband’s side) who were interested in learning quilting, so I will definitely send them to your store! I think they live in Queens, but I will definitely pass on the info.

You are a real inspiration and your work is incredible!! Thank you for sharing it with the world!! Absolutely beautiful!”

I know it’s been a while since I posted.  I’ve been crazy busy but we just finished loading on a whole new batch of quilting fabrics on our site.  Enjoy and tell a friend!

We’ve been very busy with alot of happy occasions in the past month. my daughter-in-law had a boy, her third. my daughter had her first baby, a boy.  For us that meant 2 circumcisions. one was in Lakewood NJ and one in Cleveland Ohio. we also had Passover which is always a well attended affair in my house.  My son in highland park made a bar mitzvah for his second son and that was a weekend affair.  My daughter came in from Argentina and we are happily busy with her.  Tomorrow night we are having an affair for redeeming the first born. on may 13 my daughter is getting married. Oh what fun!!!!  But exhausting.

A few people contacted me and asked how I got the photo on the fabric for the Exposed Breast Cancer Quilt.  Since I do a lot of photo transfers, I use special fabric bubble jet ink and treat the fabric myself.  The actual xrays is fabric that I carried at the time.  I now have another similar one but not the exact same.  As an aside, I now also sell prepared photo transfer fabric from June Tailor by the piece at $3 each.

We (Sew Materialistic that is) have just added many quilting fabrics.  We have over 700 different types of quilting fabrics online.   Come visit and bring a friend!

A question often asked at Sew Materialistic is: “Do you only sell craft fabrics?” Obviously, you can make whatever you want with cotton fabrics.

My daughter made this crib set as a gift because she doesnt like quilting but likes personalized gifts.

I thought this was cute.  My store name, “Sew Materialistic”, was cited in About.com as a store name pun.

http://grammar.about.com/od/words/a/punnamestores.htm?r=94

Raising kids at work was loads of fun, too. I couldn’t afford sitters so the kids usually were with me. From carriage to stroller to stroller to walker to grabbing anything off the shelves to finally sitters.

I’ve always had my kids at work too. When a daughter had time off school they worked in the store, all 6 of them. The boys on the other hand had to be bribed with food to get them to redo stock.

Now I sometimes have some of the grandchildren that live in brooklyn work for me on sundays when they are bored. My granddaughter from Argentina came in for a week and thought it was just the best vacation to just stay and work with me in the store and, of course, work the cash register and answer the phone. she is 10 yrs old.

I count my time in the business by what pregnancy I was in.  I started in my basement with a partner when i was pregnant with my 24 yr old son.  He’s now a father.

I moved into my third location on the day i gave birth to my youngest, he is now 18.  I remember my husband telling me that he would take me to the new store to see how it was shaping up.  I kept on telling him that I just had my 13th kid and I needed some time away from work.  He said “just for 2 minutes.”  Did I mention that he doesn’t wear a watch, ever?  And his sense of time is screwy?

Of course, I stayed and put away stock.  If that’s not dumb and dumber, I don’t know what is.

Being in the fabric business for 24 years has had its ups and downs.
I’m happier with myself now that we are almost exclusively a quilt shop. A long standing argument between me and my daughter about what extras to carry. I say that if I have the customers that are looking for more crafty stuff, i should be able to offer it to them, afterall, a sale is a sale. she is more of the purist mind and would like to do only quilting. what you think?


Hi, I’m Malke

I've been a quilter for a couple of decades and I decided to share my quilts, methods, joys and thoughts on quilting with the rest of the blogsphere. Please bookmark my blog by clicking the cute "Add This" button below. Read more on the "About Me" page.

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