We're excited to share our year-long Q&A series featuring exemplary quilt and fabric shops all around the country that sell Shannon Fabrics products. To nominate a shop in your area, please let us know in the comment section below. #shoplocal
What happens when a retired nurse opens a quilt shop? You get a the cutest, most inspiring shop full of everything you can think of and more!
Sew On & Sew North, located in Langdon, North Dakota, is just 15 miles from the Canadian border and is home to over 2,000 bolts of fabric. They're also a Elna sewing machine dealer, and host several in-person sewing classes and retreats throughout the year. Owner Peggy Davis' speciality is helping sewists and quilters find the perfect project (and all the right fabrics and notions that go along with it) to get them inspired to sew and quilt at home!
This summer, our National Educator Teresa Coates (and Hawke, of course) will be stopping by on her Sew Together Tuesday tour to broadcast LIVE from the Sew On & Sew North shop floor (she’ll be teaching a couple workshops, too)! Click here for all the details.
SF: What is the history of your shop?
SO&SN: I have been sewing since I was a child. I used to sew garments, but in the last 15 to 20 years I have switched gears to quilts, runners, bags and other projects. We moved to Langdon in 2012, and the reasons for that are a long story involving hockey, so we won't go into that! I am a nurse, but my expertise in nursing was in obstetrics but the local hospital here doesn't deliver babies. I worked briefly at the local nursing home, and my husband had joked for a year or so before we moved that we should "open a quilt shop". There have been several "fabric" shops in town over the years, but the last had closed about five or six years before we opened. Also, a perfect spot on Main Street was for sale so we opened our shop and I retired from nursing.
We like to pride ourselves on customer service, a large selection and a fun environment. We opened in 2013 and we now have over 2,000 bolts of fabric. I love connecting with my customers through social media, classes and our annual retreat in October. We only have 25 or 26 quilt shops in the state, so we get customers from all over. I feel like we are filling a gap in North Dakota.
SF: How has your shop evolved over the years?
SO&SN: When we first opened I didn't know my taste as well as I do now. We had a little of everything fabric-wise from primitive to modern, but now I lean toward bright, modern, fun and unusual. I discovered that I need to love it to sell it and I needed to be excited about things including the patterns and fabrics. I love helping someone pick out their perfect project.
We wanted to sell machines because there were lots of people who were new to sewing and quilting. We brought in Elna brand machines in early 2015 thanks to a friend in Montana's suggestion. My husband and I attended service training that same year and now we service the machines we sell.
The 2020 year created many challenges, but we already had our website in place and we learned more about using social media for retreats, demos, talks and sales. We survived it and grew our following.
I'm kind of a “one woman show" which can get a bit hectic. I am so thankful to have a few loyal volunteers who love to come in and help choose fabrics, plan projects and hang out.
SF: Tell us one thing people might not know about your shop.
SO&SN: We are only about 15 miles from the Canadian border.
SF: What’s your shop’s motto or tagline?
SO&SN: It's WORTH the drive!
SF: Describe your shop’s aesthetic in five words or less.
SO&SN: Bright, fun, eclectic, colorful!
SF: What’s unique about your shop?
SO&SN: The people!
SF: What is your best-selling Shannon Fabrics product?
SO&SN: Luxe Cuddle® or 90" wide Cuddle® 3
SF: Do you sell online? If so, how long have you been selling online and what have you learned?
SO&SN: We have had a website since 2015 when we switched our POS. I have learned many things, from listing products so they can be found on a Google search to shipping charges to coupon codes to adding good images. I feel like I learn more about this every single day! I have done Facebook videos for a while now and I try to remember to post to Instagram.
I recently incorporated CommentSold to sell LIVE on Facebook, and that's a whole new learning curve. I am learning lighting (still not great), camera angles (with my phone) and using a microphone. I'm nowhere near expert at any of it yet — it's a "work in progress". Now my daughter wants me to do TikTok videos...oh my!
SF: What top projects are on the must-make list right now in your shop?
SO&SN: Well, usually my list includes samples for the shop. I want to get some more Cuddle® projects done like the On The Farm Cuddle® book and a NEW Luxe Cuddle® Throw. I need to get something started with my Tula Pink Curiouser line that just arrived, and I need to get some bags made with patterns by Sallie Tomato and ByAnnie.
As far as customer "must makes”, we have several working on Nebula, some are anxiously awaiting the Sew Together Tuesday and Luxe Cuddle® class, and others are working on t-shirt quilts (you know Graduation just happened).
SF: What do you love most about creating (or seeing customers create) DIY projects with the fabrics you sell?
SO&SN: I love suggesting projects and helping them to choose everything to make it. One of my favorite things to do is show someone a new fabric, book or pattern that I know they will love. Then I help them choose everything else they need and they go home excited about something new!
I do love classes too, especially watching someone who isn't sure they can do it and then...success! I enjoy when they bring in their “show and tell" or show me pictures on their phone of the things they made.
SF: What current quilting, sewing or crafting trends inspires you? Where do you get your inspiration?
SO&SN: Well, I've always loved Kaffe Fasset, and I am a huge fan of Tula Pink. She has been very active on social media and I carve out time to watch her. I also follow quilters and crafters on Facebook, Instagram and now TikTok too. I do read a couple of "professional" magazines like FabShop's magazine and American Quilt Shop Retailer for business stuff. I am also a huge fan of Jaftex president, Scott Fortunoff, and everything he has done for the quilt shops. Last but not least, my sales reps are the "BOMB". They show me and help me make choices every step of the way. I don't have much time to go to trade shows, but I feel my reps bring the show to me!
SF: What’s next for your shop?
SO&SN: Well, apparently TikTok (and I'm looking for a mascot for that long story). I really feel like being back to offering classes again is what I'm most looking forward to as a next step, I am “sew” excited that Teresa and Hawke are coming for Sew Together Tuesday and a class. I have a few other classes planned for summer and into fall.
I thrive on the energy of people and I missed that last year. I am hoping to offer more Cuddle® classes in the future and I'm talking about having our rep, Emilee Masson, come do a class or two as well. We plan to continue with Facebook Lives, Quilt Dakota virtual shop hop (in fall), the ND Valley Shop Hop (mid-September) and our October retreat. We also have a few "clubs" we plan to be offering soon.
Ready to start creating with Cuddle® minky fabric? Use our store locator to find a selection of Cuddle® minky fabric online or near you.