My First Quilt Market — Part 2: Schoolhouse

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Quilt Market begins on Friday with Schoolhouse. I had no idea what this was, but every person I heard in the hallway would ask, “Are you attending schoolhouse?” I knew that I had to go.

School house is an all-day session of lectures. There are 15 lecture slots; most are 30-minutes long and a few are 15-minutes. There is 5 to 10 minutes (depending on the length of the lecture) to change rooms. In each time slot, there are more than 20 choices. Since the lecturer pays a small fee for conducting a schoolhouse, lectures range from very informative to highly promotional, depending on who is giving the presentation. However, since the goal is to learn what’s new on the market, both of these approaches are very satisfying.

Here are some of the subjects covered:

  • How to run a better quilt shop. This includes more efficient buying practices and how to share information with other quilt shop owners.
  • New fabrics. I’d say that most of the fabric companies had trunk shows to show off their new fabric lines.
  • New books. There were lots of sessions with authors.
  • New patterns. I went to one (fabulous) session about how to use easy patterns to make store samples.
  • Social media. There were many sessions on Pinterest and Facebook, and how they fit together to build your business.
  • Modern quilts. The modern quilt movement is new to most people. There were several sessions about new fabric lines, how to appeal to the modern quilter, and how to buy fabric that appeals to the modern quilter.
  • Business systems. Several companies presented about their point of sale systems, as well as other ways they’d discovered to have technology help a business.

You get the idea. I went to sessions in all 15 time slots, which were held from 10 AM until 6 PM. The interesting thing is that the Schoolhouse schedule¬† is not released until 8:00 AM, so everyone is busy trying to figure out what sessions are best for them. I now also understand why so many quilt buyers bring several people with them — there is so much information at Schoolhouse that you want to attend as many sessions as possible.

Eleanor Burns gives a Schoolhouse lecture about block of the month programs.

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