Hi to all! I am excited to be here on Designing Minds! I am Linda, owner of a new on line fabric shop, AllegroFabrics. I live in Woodinville, a small city right outside Seattle, Washington. I live with my husband. We have 4 grown children; the oldest graduated from college and has a real job. Our three daughters are all in colleges in places with warm weather. We find many excuses to visit them.
I am the designer of LilyandEbony girls boutique clothing and a member of WisteriaLane Design Group.
How did AllegroFabrics come to be & What types of Fabric do you carry?
My love of designer fabrics and a desire to have collections readily available led me to atttend a regional fabric expo last Fall. I met with local representatives from the major fabric manufacturing companies. They provide sample swatches and let me spread them out so I can see the total palate. It is so difficult to make choices. By late December the first orders from the Expo came in. The selections were from Michael Miller, Alexander Henry, Robert Kaufman, Free Spirit designers like Heather Ross, Joel Dewberry, Dena Fishbein, Heather Bailey, Tina Givens, Jennifer Paganelli, and from Amy Butler, and MODA. It was like a second Christmas at my house!
I still didn't have a real website. In January I commissioned Timi Carl of Cinnamon Girl Studio to create my AllegroFabrics website. Timi designed all of the graphics in addition to setting up everything. It's a work of art; so beautiful and easy to navigate. A unique feature of the website is the inclusion of pictures of models wearing boutique handmade clothing by well known Etsy and Ebay designers. So many fabric shoppers have told me that these examples give them ideas and inspire creativity.
How do you order fabrics and how long does it take for fabrics to arrive after they are ordered?
I order well in advance of seasons. I placed orders for fall of 2008 in February. I make certain all new collections are shipped out just as soon as they are available, so customers can purchase them right away. I list them in AllegroFabrics and on Ebay under my ID *Allegro*, the same day the bolts arrive on my doorstep. I ship to my customers within 24 hours of their purchase.
What types of fabrics do you carry? Do you have any favorites and How do you learn about new lines coming in?
Most of the fabrics I carry are perfect for boutique fashion seamstresses. They are all cotton and of the highest quality. Since I buy so many different collections, it is really hard to say which are my favorites! It really changes all the time. I am drawn to the artistry and creativity of fabric designers from Free Spirit. They have new designers coming on board with fresh ideas. Sandi Henderson is one example. I spend quite a bit of time reading the websites and blogs of designers to learn about their new lines. It is so exciting to watch the trends and read about what inspires them.
Do you attend quilt market?
I drove from Seattle to Portland, Oregon for quilt market in May. Meeting the designers in person and seeing their new lines, booth displays and talking to them drew me closer to understanding their art.
Do you carry other items such as patterns and notions?
My main goal at quilt market last month was to find patterns to add to AllegroFabrics. I was successful! Next month I will have 4 or 5 fabulous pattern collections available. Look for the Apron Lady, Portabello Pixie, Oliver and S, Tina Givens Patterns, and Bananafana as well as a few others. I am busy sewing LilyandEbony examples of them to photograph. I think it will be a wonderful presentation of exciting styles with beautiful fabrics, expert sewing and amazing photography. I will be adding a new pattern collection every week in July.
Do you have any new products in you'd like to tell readers about?
I have new things added every 3 or 4 days. Last week I got Chloe's Imagination from Tina Givens, Clowning Around and Over the Rainbow from Robert Kaufman, and several Christmas items from Michael Miller. This week I have more Christmas items arriving, as well as Annabella (cute love birds!) from Tina Givens, and right after that is Sandi Henderson's new line, Farmer's Market. I ordered over 20 bolts of that one! In July a wonderful collection from Heather Ross called Mendocino (mermaids!) will arrive.
Do you have any sales or coupons or special offers currently available?
My customers receive email newsletters when new fabric collections and other items arrive. I have a Guest Book on AllegroFabrics web site. Anyone who signs it will receive the newsletter. New members who sign the guest book will get a personal email message with a special discount voucher for the next purchase. For your protection, I don't share email addresses with anyone...
Many thanks to all of my customers who continue to support AllegroFabrics and to Designing Minds for this interview opportunity.