Picking Daisies Interview | June 2012

Last fall I was able to sit down and get the scoop from two lovely ladies – Kay and Dede. They’re sisters who own the darling shoppe Picking Daisies downtown San Luis Obispo in The Creamery. What used to be a handmade cloth napkin and table linen store {with the occasional lavender saché lying around for purchase} is quickly transforming its self into a darling and modern fabric shoppe.

I had the pleasure of being able to sit down with them again to discuss the big transformation and find out if their fabric influences have changed in the past nine months…

When you first opened Picking Daisies, how did you build your clientele? Did you advertise or promote at all?

Kay: We never really formally advertised

Dede: We sort of did a s0ft opening and then Art After Dark

Kay: And with Art After Dark, which was our Grand Opening, we just invited a bunch of a friends and I think we just grew by word of mouth

Dede: And then the New Times did an article about us just before Christmas and that brought a ton of people in as well as The Journal and The Tribune – that was all within six months. That helped bring people in and get to know us

So from being so successful in growing quickly without any formal advertising are you hoping for the same in transforming into a fabric shoppe or are you going about it differently?

Kay: We placed an ad in the Tribune this time and we have been sort of hinting at it in our newsletter

Was it successful?

Kay: One of our friends said she saw the ad and tried to think of what shop it might be thats in The Creamery so when she came here she said she had heard of Picking Daisies as the napkin store, but never thought of coming in because she is a sewer and sewed her own napkins. So theres a lot of fabricy people out there who haven’t previously been on our radar because we sold what they already knew how to make. Its brought in people who have known we have been here for the past 3 1/2 years, customers or not, who just didn’t know we sell fabric now. I’m also thinking about having the Downtown Business Association forward our newsletter to their whole mailing list, which will reach a lot of people. We really just need to make it crystal clear. 

Do you plan on having a re-opening to promote the fabric side of your shoppe?

Kay: No, we don’t. In fact, I hadn’t even thought about that. But there are a few things we would like to take care of before we do something like that.

{This is where I offered my services to help out if they do choose to launch a re-opening, haha}

Dede: We should do something like that – that would be fun

It would be fun and great because San Luis does not have a decent, modern fabric store. It’s all curtailed, in my opinion, to quilters specifically who may not be ‘hip’ to what us modern sewers are in to.

When you introduced the small amount of fabric before, your selections were based mainly off of ‘will this make a good napkin?’; have you selections for fabric and what you bring in now – and are planning on carrying in the future – changed as far as what you think it will be good as? Do you select it by personal taste and what will sell as fabric or what will make a good napkin?

Kay: When we made our first fabric collection purchase we still had it in the back of our minds whether or not it would make a good napkin, but we also feel like we may never turn these into napkins because we love it so much.

Which collection would that be?

Dede: It’s the new Lotta Jansdotter collection

KaySo it’s the first fabric that we bought that we will probably never turn into napkins or table linens

DedeKay is really into buying collections now instead of just buying one fabric from a collection {for napkins}. Shes buying four or five in a collection.

{At this point in the interview the phone rang and it just so happened to be the guy who was making the new signs for the shop. While Kay was on the phone with him, Dede showed me some of the new placemats they had made out of some of the fabric they’re now carrying in the shoppe. They look fabulous!}

I think its fantastic that you have table linens and fabric and that you can sell the fabric for custom table linens. Not a lot of fabric stores offer that. In working at Birch, we would have customers come in to purchase fabric and would ask if we could make them a tablecloth or a bag – Birch doesn’t offer that service within. Because you do that, I think it’s a huge sell.

Dede: Mmmhmm, I agree, it is good and we want to continue doing that for our customers. I even had a customer come in and ask if we could make a bikini for them! Umm, no. Haha. But I don’t know of any place in the county that makes table linens other than us and I think that makes us unique.

Now the last time I was here gettin’ the scoop, I had asked if you ladies planned on expanding the store and offering more goods than table linens and the occasional lavender saché and you said very minimally, but no; not really.

Dede: When was the last interview? Last summer?

It was in August, so just at the end of summer.

Dede: I wonder when we discovered that a friend of ours was a really great sewer. Kay, when did we discover Barb was a great sewer?

Kay: Last November, so just after the interview.

Dede: That may be it. When we started working with her on our table linens, extending from just napkins to table cloths, we were finding that tablecloths take up a whole lot of one bolt. Needing to purchase and carry more fabric than what we were needing before just kind of grew into just wanting more fabric in general.

Kay: We were being introduced to so many more designers and manufacturers and they were contacting us trying to sell their fabric, we just couldn’t say no. So yeah; forget everything I said last summer.

How do you want to set yourself apart from other fabric stores in this area? 

Kay: We really want to try and target sewers who are either new to the art or are always trying to find new ideas in the art. We want to be available to the modern sewers that are coming out of the woodworks. We’re not looking to carry an entire collection and become crowded and overwhelming; we want to be able to look at a collection, pick out four or five that we like {and feel everyone else will} and just carry that. You go into a lot of fabric stores and theres just too much too look at; we don’t want that.

So you don’t really want to outgrow this space?

Both ladies: No, not at all. Its a great space and a perfect location. 

Dede: There are a lot of changes happening in The Creamery with the existing business already that we feel we can really benefit from being in this location. 

Kay: I think the changes are going to bring a lot of new faces. I think all of these changes are going to be really great.

_______

It was a lot of fun hanging out with the ladies and pretty hilarious to listen to the playback of the interview. There was a lot of customer background bustle; Kay’s son Richard talking about HTML or CSS or whatever it was he was using/doing to change the look of Picking Daisies website to accommodate for their new addition of fabric; Oliver cooing, crying, pooping, grinning, and just being plain ol’ cute; and mexican food ordering going on the whole time.

Thank you ladies for letting me drill you, change baby’s diaper on your table in the back, and feeding me. I am so excited about this new part of your shoppe and am going to be coming in as much as I can to build my fabric collection/obsession. It’s great to finally have a modern fabric store south side of ‘the grade’ with fabulous options, handmade goodies and perks. I hope you gals grow so big that you need to hire me! Haha.

Swing by their blogfacebook, and twitter, and flickr! to see what they’re up to and visit their website to purchase some goodies and fabric! You won’t be disappointed!

{Photos courtesy of Picking Daisies}

Picking Daisies

Picking Daisies Newsletter


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One thought on “Picking Daisies Interview | June 2012

  1. We loved being interviewed and spending the afternoon with you at the store Ashley. And now it’s fun to read all about us! We sound like a pretty awesome store… which we are. 😀

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