Every so often questions and comments come from readers that I think others would like to hear my response to. That’s when I feature them on the blog. This is one of those days…
I’m only tackling one question today. Here goes…
Kathy Regan commented:
“As the owner of a quilt shop in the area, I’m very saddened that you choose to send people to Amazon to purchase books. Is there a reason that you need to do that?”
There is a reason I need to do that. I’ve addressed a very similar group of questions before in an “Ask Jo” segment. You can find that blog post HERE. If you want to know a little more about the ins and outs of blogging, that is a great post to read.
This question is slightly different so I’ll explain a little more specifically related to quilt shops.
First off let me again explain this…as I said in the other blog post, I am a small business just like quilt shops are small businesses. I need to support myself. I need that more than ever now since Kramer passed away and I’m on my own. Every bit that comes in helps me get by and make a living. I get a commission from Amazon if you buy something from them if you go there through the links on the blog.
I’ve been working with Amazon since 2007 and they have always been great to me. Let’s get into this a little deeper. When you buy something from Amazon, if you use a link from my blog, I get a small tiny commission. So for example when I did the post about things I loved from Amazon, if you bought the popcorn popper, ( Find it HERE)
Amazon paid me something like 4% (I’m not sure of the current percentage) of the cost of the popper. You didn’t pay any extra for the popper. Amazon gives that commission to me more or less as an advertising fee because you likely wouldn’t have bought the popper had you not heard how much I love mine. Some of you, like me before I bought mine, didn’t know the microwave popcorn popper existed.
Now when it comes to quilting books…I recently showed you Carver’s quilt.
I explained that I used Lori Holt’s book Spelling Bee. I added this Find it HERE with a link to Amazon. Anyone who saw that link was welcome to do whatever they wanted with the link.
Many of you already have the book and like me, haven’t made a single thing from it and after seeing my quilt finish, might pull it out and make one. Some of you are going to go to your local quilt and see if they have it. Some of you might go right to Amazon and purchase it. Some of you don’t like the quilt and have no reason to make it or purchase the book.
For those of you who did buy the book from Amazon…the small commission money I get from Amazon is so appreciated. When I use the commission money to buy things with it, I often tell you about it.
This year I bought new scooters for the childcare kiddos with the Amazon commission money.
Then when I saw that the younger kids needed scooters their size, I used some of the money for them.
Everyone has their own free will to purchase quilt books or anything else from whomever they please. I am not forcing anyone to buy from Amazon. It is always there as an option though.
I also put those links in as I didn’t previously do that and I would be bombarded with people who wanted to know where to get the book as their local quilt shop didn’t have it. For me, it’s easier all around to put the information out there and let people do with it whatever they please.
I have been complimented by many blog readers that I give more information and more links than other bloggers and they really appreciate that.
I don’t want people to think… that I don’t support quilt shops. I do…but I support them in non-traditional ways. I buy very-very little fabric from quilt shops. I buy no books or patterns from them. Most quilt shops don’t handle the things that I like. I like super scrappy. I like reproduction quilts and those are fading out. That doesn’t mean that I don’t do good things for the shops…and the things I do are far better than what any one person likely does for the shops.
When we have a quilt published in American Patchwork and Quilting we are given the option of offering a kit to be sold. Kelli and I don’t want to buy the fabric and sell kits. We love that we can offer to a shop the work of putting together and selling the kits. So in the past, we have worked with Forest Mills Quilt Shop several times and we’ve worked with Pine Needles Quilt and Sew. The shops got all of the money from the kits they sold…and they sold lots of kits. They sold more dollars in kits than I would ever personally spend in a quilt shop.
Many emails go back and forth to set this up. We get zero money from that. We do it as a way to support the shops. We could easily tell American Patchwork and Quilting that we don’t have a shop that would offer the kit and no kits would be sold. But, we don’t do that. We support the shops and send the business their way.
We have hosted quilt retreats at the shop in Oelwein, Iowa bringing in lots of people and business for their shop.
Beyond that, when I do go to quilt shops (rarely anymore-but often did in the past) I have blogged about the quilt shops. I did free advertising for them. I got zero money from that (the majority, not even a thank you). I know that some of you went on and contacted the shops and bought things you saw that were in the pictures. Those sales and recognition of the shops came because of my blog. Again, we got zero money for that. It was free advertising for them.
I was curious as to which shop Kathy owned so I looked it up. I was pretty sure that I had featured Kathy’s shop here on the blog in the past so I checked the archives and I have. You can find that HERE.
I have said in the past and it bears repeating. If a quilt shop or designer would offer a commission as Amazon does, I would happily work with a quilt shop or designer. Until they can have the inventory needed and provide us with a commission…I’ll work with Amazon. The commission keeps my kids in scooters and pays for rulers and quilting goodies when I want them. I know that it is totally possible for shops or designers to do that as this is what I do with SewPad. Quilt shops and designers to this point, have not. I loved Sewpad’s chair cushions and contacted them to see if they do an affiliate program. They do and I signed up to be an affiliate. So, if you purchase a chair pad from them by using the link on my blog, a small percentage of the sale goes to me. Again, it’s not a lot…but every bit helps.
I love supporting small businesses and do, but I am a small business and the small business needs to support me in return. It’s just good business. Right now, SewPad and Amazon are the only businesses that are offering support back so those are the businesses I am working with.
I hope that Kathy and others who had similar questions understand how it all works. I think so many do not see a blogger as a small business…but many of us are. If you see advertising on our blogs or Youtube channels, we are a small business.
I hope I gave you enough information so you can decide how you want to spend your money the next time you see a link to a quilt book on my blog or links to anything else you see as you surf the internet…or visit a quilt shop.