Virtual Shop Hop: The Quilted Nest, Collingswood, N.J.
One day Robin Laino came home from a particularly horrible day working in finance and decided she was done with corporate life and would open a quilt shop.
“I said to my husband, ‘You know, I’m done working for crazy, I can do crazy all by myself,’ ” Laino recalled. “And the next day I came in and I was on the phone with a realtor looking at shops on this stretch of avenue and he said, ‘OK, I guess you are really opening a shop.’ ”
Today The Quilted Nest in Collingswood, New Jersey, is coming up on its fifth anniversary and Laino is thriving being surrounded by creativity every day.
“People say, ‘Do you miss your job?’ And I say, ‘Yes, every other Friday. I miss that paycheck,’ Laino said. “But sometimes I go home and night and I say, ‘I don’t know, did I make the right decision?’ And my husband says to me, ‘You come home with a smile on your face every day. Even if the shop is slow, you come home with a smile on your face.’ ”
Since a creative community is what Laino craved when opening the shop, she has worked hard to develop programs that encourage area quilters to come in often. The classroom is open for sewing whenever there isn’t a scheduled class. She offers a loyalty card for fabric purchases and even longarm quilting. For customers who have six quilts longarmed with her, the seventh one (up to a twin size) is free of charge.
Laino also isn’t afraid to host a good sale. She’d rather move the fabric and get new bolts in than have the same fabrics month after month on the shelves.
“We’re more about the social aspect of it, which I think you have to be in this competitive Internet shopping time,” Laino said. “The younger girls, they have been raised, they believe that what they’re order is what they’re going to get and they’re busy. They have families or jobs or both, and they’re happy enough ordering online. So what we have to do is find a reason that they need to come to us and most of that is the sense of community.”
The Quilted Nest carries a little bit of everything, but trends toward the bright, modern prints such as Kaffe Fassett, Tula Pink and Cotton and Steel. Just a short drive from The Little Shop in Haddonfield, N.J., Laino works to make sure there isn’t much overlap between the shops to they’re not competing on the same fabrics.
“I think what makes this store different is we are very, very laid back here,” Laino said. “The quilting police do not come here. They do not know we exist and we’re happy that way.”
The Quilted Nest is located at 807 Haddon Ave., Collingswood, NJ. Click here to learn more and visit its website.