I am no longer checking my beesquarefabrics email address, apologies to those who have reached out and I didn't get back to.
Below are some snippets of advice I had previously emailed to varying inquirers looking for advice on opening running an online fabric shop. Enjoy!
If you have all your business papers in order, look into American Quilt Retailer magazine, and the book they put out called The Answer Book by Jim Salinas. He has a formula for what you should be making per square foot of shop space.
There is a reason that Sew Mama Sew and Purl Patchwork sell their fabrics for what they do - they know that to actually pay people, you need to charge the full markup - which is wholesale cost + what it cost to ship to you x 2.
I don't think you need the best looking website, you just need one that shows up in Google searches.
The only thing I can say about what your offerings are is this - it takes the same amount of time to fill 1 yard as .25 yard. Once in a while I would get an order with 25 different prints all at .25 yard cuts. It would take me an hour to fill - and half of those cuts would be on sale. I just didn't have the capacity to fill those kinds of
orders for such little money. Fat quarters are great, but they take time to cut and fold and bundle up and photograph.
I don't mean to discourage you at all, but I just want to be honest about what it is really like. You have to market yourself all the
time, and when you're not doing that you are filling orders which is physically and mentally exhausting. And when you're done with that there is the bookkeeping, and getting ready for new orders, then getting that new product on your website.... It is a job that never ends.
I think the biggest difference between a fabric shop and a yarn shop is the additional labor. It's one thing to take an item off the shelf and pack it up and another thing to take the item off the shelf, measure, cut, fold, package, put the remainder back on the shelf. It is joyful labor, but still much more physical work. I was also astonished at how much I needed to spend each month on advertising because once you have a fabric for more than 4 months (assuming it is a 'trendy' or designer fabric) it's already old.