We are still celebrating the launching of the new AGF website we made with so much love for you... Yay!
Want to know one of the debut features on Art Gallery Fabrics consumers site? Star Store of the Month! We’ll be showcasing and sharing with you some the best stores in the world carrying Art Gallery Fabrics. We thought that you'll love to know the great people that love this industry as much as we do, making their stores a warm and inspiring place for you!<3
This feature will include brick and mortar shops as well as on-line. So if you think your store is the best, let us know! We would love to have you, so send pics and tell us how your store is an AGF fan!
For me is a special pleasure to introduce to you as our first Star Store of the Month one of the most loving couples: Lindsay and Charlie Prezzano, the wonderful husband-and-wife team who run one of the most successful online stores: Hawthorne Threads!
I got to know Charlie & Lindsay 4 years ago and since then I feel a deep admiration and friendship towards them. They worked tiredesly providing great fabric collections and a remarkable customer service, making their store a success in that short period of time! Their website is what I call "state of the art"... amazing! They fell in love with our fabrics from the begining and have made their business one of the best destinations for ALL of Art Gallery Fabrics collections. I hope this post will get you more aquainted with this exceptional couple....
1. Hi guys and thank you for sharing with our readers a little more intimate portrait of your life… Tell us a little bit about your personal history; how you started and how you ended up being one of the most successful on-line fabric shops.
Having studied Geology in college, you might say I've gone from plate tectonics to textiles - from rocks to frocks, if you will. No one is more surprised by the shop's existence and subsequent growth more than I. In fact, my husband Charlie and I often marvel at the very different path we find ourselves on, and how much our lives have changed since we began selling fabric just 4 short years ago. Hawthorne Threads was born out of the handmade shop I had on Etsy. After struggling to find a one-stop shop for the contemporary fabrics I used in my home decor pieces, I decided to take the plunge and order fabrics by the bolt. I enjoyed moderate success on Etsy but not quite enough to warrant the use of full bolts; so I began selling the rest of the yardage in a separate fabric supply shop on Etsy. With the next generation of sewers, makers, and bloggers out there, we quickly realized how many people shared my passion for boldly vibrant designs, and our selection quickly grew to the point where we needed a stand alone site. Rather fortuitously, Charlie is a software developer and in July of 2009 he left his day job to join me full time to focus exclusively on Hawthorne Threads. This past summer we moved the business out of our basement and into a beautiful space in a renovated 19th century chocolate factory in Red Hook, NY and life couldn't be sweeter. I'm reminded of a quote I read while studying geology in college - Faith Baldwin writes that "time is a dressmaker specializing in alterations." I love that it marries two very different life paths for me, and at the same time, embodies the very idea of change over time.
2. Lindsay how was the crafting scene in your childhood? Was somebody in your family passionate about sewing or quilting?
As one of four girls, I grew up in a house with a distinct sense of decor and femininity. There my sisters and I developed an unconscious awareness of color and pattern, learning through osmosis as we soaked up our mother’s every design choice . My mom had more creative ideas than she had rooms in the house. Whether it was new curtains, or fresh fabric for my great grandmothers grand wing-back chair we affectionately referred to as “the throne”, some corner of the house was always getting a face lift. I have an early memory of waking up to find my bed moved to the center of the room, my mom busily re-wallpapering the walls around me as my sisters slept on. After all, when else would you squeeze in time to re-decorate in a house with four little girls that only sometimes got along? Yes, I think I may have gotten my energy from her as well...
3. You started the business yourself being at-home in the beginning. Having two little sweethearts, how do you manage your time between your husband, kids and a full time job?
HawthorneThreads.com only came to be because the nature of an on-line shop has allowed us to expand both carefully and gradually. Another advantage is that it has allowed us to work from home while our children were small. (A home that sits on Hawthorne Avenue, if you’re wondering where the name came from!) Now 6 and 5, it has been a great privilege to be home with Aidan and Annie, watching our children and business grow together under one roof. We are also very lucky that moving the shop from our house to a commercial spaced happened concurrently with the kids both attending school full time. So it's such a treat for us now that work is work and home is home, and we can base our business hours around school time, and of course those quiet hours after the kids go to sleep.
4. How much free time do you have to enjoy? How do you spend your spare time with your family?
Like any working girl with young children, not much of my time is “free”, but I’m okay with that. When the odd moment does arise, I’m a voracious reader, a happy sewer, and an avid window shopper. Pinterest just melts away the time doesn’t it?!
5. Do you quilt? Tell us (show us) what’s in your stash.
I am not a quilter, though when I do have more time I can see myself taking on larger sewing projects like quilts. I often go for the instant gratification projects like a skirt, or top for Annie, or pj pants for Aidan. And one can never have too many throw pillow covers when the mood for a quick room re-do strikes. I essentially consider our shop my stash. I had a problem getting too sentimentally attached to various designs and began squirreling away my favorites once they went out of print. Since my list of favorites was becoming endless, and far exceeding the capacity of my closet, I decided I had to relinquish my stash else I might wind up on a reality show about hoarders.
While I find it about as interesting as watching paint dry, Charlie is endlessly entertained by sporting statistics and can weave them into almost any conversation. Truly. It’s quite a talent folks. I don’t mind watching a Yankee game with him, but Charlie is someone who can just as happily listen to a ballgame on the radio, as if it really were just a game of numbers, with each play almost pre-determined by a long list of probabilities. Charlie’s right-brained inclinations also make him ideally suited for marathon running, which he’s done three times to date. Being able to make a mental map of his route down to the minute, while weighing in all variables affecting his pace, provides him with a calm satisfaction I’ll never understand, and always envy. I think he attacks programming the same way he does running, which is why he’s been able to write us such a great site for our shop.
7. The list of fabrics you sell is endless! Describe the theme of your shop and what kind of fabrics customers can find (you can also talk about some emerging brands you bring that some other stores don’t specialize)
Our selection leans heavily toward contemporary designs, colored in bold, sophisticated palettes. I think I must have one of the prettiest offices in the world!
8. How many bolts do you actually carry and what are the major brands?
Honestly I wasn’t sure until I just tallied them up, but we have just over 5,000 designs in house right now! The top five spots belong to Westminster/Free Spirit, Riley Blake, Michael Miller, Robert Kaufman, and Art Gallery Fabrics.
When selecting fabric to carry in the shop I honestly look for something I like, and we're lucky that so many sewers and crafters agree with me! I shudder to think about what might happen if in fifteen years from now my taste has gone by the wayside. I couldn't buy and advertise something that I didn't like, and I think that genuine excitement comes through in our newsletters and blog posts. I love pattern and design am thrilled to support the beautiful efforts of all the talented ladies and gents in the contemporary textile scene. From the fabric designers, to the shop owners, to the community of sewers, there's such a remarkable positive feedback loop of creativity and design, each one continuing to sow the seeds of inspiration for the next.
10. With all the new social media and technology out there what are some of the features your website boasts?
While social media should not be trivialized, and Facebook and Twitter do provide quick and easy ways to reach out to customers, Charlie and I know that any success we’ve found is largely attributed to our selection, customer service, the fluidity of our site, and word of mouth championing. In fact, we didn't begin using social media to reach out to our customers until after we had been in business for two years. With respect to our blog, I really do love to write. Blogging is such a great outlet for offering context and insight into various collections and trends. And as a maker myself, it's nice to share and receive feedback for any project I'm working on as well.
11. Many consumers don’t know the process the fabrics take from the moment they order them at your shop to the moment the fabric reaches the consumer’s homes. Can you explain it more in detail? How long does it take? Do you ship internationally?
In a word, we are fast! We typically send out orders same day or next, shipping worldwide. All that time processing orders in the basement of our Hawthorne Avenue home gave us plenty of time to daydream about ways we could become more efficient once we could spread out in a commercial space. Our manager Laura likens the process of retrieving fabric bolts on our wheeled carts to the game-show supermarket sweep, and I think that’s a pretty accurate analogy! Now set that image to the tune of our ever eclectic Internet radio selection, playing anything from The Beatles to Gaga, from The Shins to Michael Jackson, from Florence and the Machine to the Dixie Chicks, and you’ll have a pretty good idea of what its like to work at Hawthorne Threads!
12. You carry ALL Art Gallery Fabrics products, from fabrics to patterns to kits. Can you tell our readers what do you like about our products? What are your hot sellers from AGF right now?
Art Gallery Fabrics can be counted on to have the best hand in the market, consistently beautiful, fashion forward designs, and well thought out color palettes. Patricia, you are a bit of a design sponge yourself and can easily delve into different cultural influences, while remaining true to your own style and aesthetic. The measure of a true artist, I think, is being able to know the designer just by looking at their work, and all of your collections unequivocally look like a “Pat Bravo” collection. Our best sellers right now would be the ever popular Bazaar Style, the pretty Poetica, and the carefree Summerlove line.
Hands down, my favorite line to date is Summerlove. Yet, the upcoming Indie Collection speaks so clearly to my taste right now, and I can’t think of another collection that marries African, Asian, and European styles so seamlessly. I cannot wait to have that one in the shop!
14. What kind of feedback do you get from consumers that buy AGF?
I think some of our happiest customers have been those who have purchased Art Gallery Fabrics, and I can’t think of a single return in fact. Patricia’s enthusiasm for color and design are so infectious, and I think its her passion that helps spark the creativity for the pieces made from her beautiful fabrics.
Ladies & gents you can visit Lindsay and Charlie over at www.HawthorneThreads.com and let them know AGF sent you! :)
<3 Pat Bravo & AGF Team.