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Heidi Kaisand: Good morning and welcome to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, owner of Hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa, and lover of all things creative. Each week here on create with Heidi, we like to cover topics that educate and inspire you about how people are being creative, whether it's quilting, scrapbooking food will, or just hanging out with others who seem to have their creative Mojo grooving in all the right directions. We are excited to share these things with you. Each week, I love to start with a quote that is appropriate for our show today. And this one, I had fun reading all sorts of different quotes. And here's where I landed. I always say shopping is cheaper than a psychiatrist. And that's Tammy Faye Baker, which I was I was of course humored by the person saying that as well. But we have for a long time said that quilting is cheaper than therapy. And, and in Iowa, we have just started a two month long shop hop, which is every quilters dream. So our guest today is Koleene Herlocker. And she is I guess I'm gonna say the director of all of the all Iowa Shop Hop. So good morning, Koleene. How are you doing?

Koleene Herlocker: I am great. Thanks for having me. Heidi.

Heidi Kaisand: Well, good. And I did is it director I guess I don't know. I didn't use there maybe use the correct term.

Koleene Herlocker: You know, I, Why don't you can call me anything just not late for dinner.

Heidi Okay, here you go.

I always tell people on the coordinator and we and I and my business partner dead, just make the shop hop happen. So that's awesome.

And the all I was shot pop started yesterday, June 1, and goes through July 31. So we're just at the beginning of this great event. So why don't you tell us a little bit about what the all I was shot pop is and it's history.

Koleene Herlocker: Well, so the all Iowa Shop Hop has actually been in existence. This is our 10th year we just kicked off our 10th official year. So it's a great anniversary for us this year. That's it. It's it's a shop hop. And the unique thing about the all Iowa shop is that it encompasses the entire state. And this year, we have 84 stores on the tour, if you will, we call it the great sewing adventure across Iowa. And we have 84 stores for our shoppers to visit. And they basically drive around the state visiting stores, shopping, of course, getting to know the stores and what they offer and the employees and being inspired and excited.
And at the end of the shop, they have chances and opportunities to win a ton of great prizes.

Heidi Kaisand: In and now you were not with us the first few years. You've been here with us the last couple of years. And did was the original 10 years ago. Was that encompassing the whole take, as you see our anniversaries coincide. So like I opened probably about the time that they started this but I wasn't I wasn't involved in the first year. I know that, you know, just obviously probably not even aware of it at that point.

Koleene Herlocker:Yeah. But well, Happy Anniversary to you too. Yes. But and so yeah. So it started 10 years ago on with one as a store owner actually started it. And it was very simple and basic. But it did include. I think that first year they had over 100 stores, in fact, oh wow. And it started. It was not the scale that it is today. There are some things that that are shop hop apart besides being a statewide shop hop. And I'll talk about those in a little bit. But Yep, it started with one store owner just coming up with a great idea to market quilting to shop hoppers all over. And it has grown since then I I got involved in 2019, I started learning about the shop hop and getting to know it. And then I took it over in 2020 was the first year that we ran it. And that's really the difference between, you know, when I took it over and before was it was always been ran by store owners and store owners are very, you know, very busy. We're busy. And so the the there were three owners that were running it and they had just gotten to the point where they just said it's beyond our bandwidth, like we want to do a really good job and there's so many opportunities and we think that it's time for somebody who can focus their whole Their whole time on running the shop up. And that's where I came in.m

Heidi Kaisand: Wonderful. One of the things that, of course, all the years that I've been quilting, and have gone on many shop whether they were coordinated or uncoordinated is and I think people ask this, like, if you go to a major department store, um, isn't it I'm trying to think of I don't want to, you know, but if you go to a major department store, a brand name that we know, you go into every store, and they all fairly look similar. They have similar fixtures, they have similar clothing collections, or you don't I mean, they have things, but not in the quote world.

Koleene Herlocker: Oh, my goodness.

Heidi Kaisand: And I think that's what makes a quilt shop hop. So exciting is that, how many shops? Did you say are participating? 84

Koleene Herlocker:  84 this year? Yeah.

Heidi Kaisand: So you have 84 chances of seen completely different shops, completely different shops.

Koleene Herlocker: Yeah, Heidi, I'd love to tell the story. Like my first I've only been quilting for maybe three or four years. And the first few years, I just always shopped and went to the store where I bought my machine because it was familiar and close and handy. And in the back of my mind, I'm like I don't, I don't know why I would need to drive a couple of hours to go to a different quote store. I have everything I need here. And then I do were

Heidi Kaisand: so naive, so young.

Koleene Herlocker:That I was like, oh, my goodness, it is and that is one of the main goals of our shop hop is to expose shoppers and quilters to all that there is out there. And every single one of these stores whether we have 100 on the tour, or 50 on the tour is that every one of them has a unique and different personality. They sell they all sell sewing and quilting stuff and machines and fabric, but the personalities and the the inspiration that you get from each one of them is so different. Oh, it is never, it's never the same. And that is the coolest part about a shop is that. I hear it all the time from shop hoppers who are absolutely on there. Yeah, their first two are they're like, I can't believe how different they all are. And how cool is this?

Heidi Kaisand: We're gonna take a quick commercial break. And when we come back, we're going to talk more about the strategy of our tour. Welcome back to create with Heidi. I'm Heidi Kaisand, dat hen and chicks studio in Conrad, Iowa. And I'm here with Colleen her locker. And she is the coordinator of the all Iowa shop hop. And we're talking about all of these fabulous shops to go on. And is there a strategy? You know, do do quilters? And I know the answer in some ways to this, you know, quilters? You know, did they just pick a shop and go on the shop? Or is there a strategy? What do you what do you see?

Koleene Herlocker: There's a there's a couple of different ways. So what are the things that we do is we divide the state up into region tidy, and that allows quilters or shop hoppers to sort of bite off little pieces. So Well, I think what we see is that shop hoppers with their friends, they decided this year, we're going to do the southwest region and the Northwest region, because last year, we did the Northeast. And so it allows them to sort of pick and choose or they may just say, I don't have a lot of time this year. So I'm gonna go visit the stores that I haven't seen or that I really like, you know, that I've been to before. So your strategy and how you approach it can be very different based on, you know, where you're at what your goals are, how much time do you have? And we have those overachievers who say, Oh, my gosh, I can't wait, I'm going to hit every single store that there is yes, one of the one of the things that we do is that we the prizes that I talked about earlier, so you can earn prize entries, to earn some of the prizes that we give away at the end of the shop hop by finishing a region or by finishing the entire state. So every region you finished, you get a prize entry. If you do the whole state, you get seven prize entries because you get one for each region plus one for the grand prize. So there's lots of ways and lots of strategies to approach it.

Heidi Kaisand: And if you go to one shop, you still get a prize.

Koleene Herlocker:You have to go to for a minimum of five to get a prize, but

Heidi Kaisand: squares but I guess I mean, it's not it's not a prize prize, but you technically get a gift maybe I should phrase it that way. You get a gift. If you have a shop, hop passport and And, and you get the passport in the magazine that we can talk about that too. But if you have a passport and you come into like canon check studio, you're going to get an adorable little fabric square. And maybe you have maybe you have more terms for it that has our name on it. And a phrase and it's a there's a theme, correct?

Koleene Herlocker: Yeah, yep, they're collect we call them collectible for into quilt squares. And people are shop hoppers. We love them. They're a lot of them are quilt theme. This year, our theme is Iowa winter coming home. And so they're fun little quotes and sayings with graphics. And then our shoppers collect those from all the stores that they'd go to. And then they can use them to make a commemorative quilt or project that helps them remember the great time that they had on the shop. And yes, you're right, Heidi, they pick up a magazine. And inside the magazine is passports that they take around to each store. And when they go into store, they have their passport stamped. And that's how they that's sort of their ticket for their prize entries. And then they pick up their free quote, square from each of our stores.

Heidi Kaisand: And the magazine cost $9.99 I believe? And yes, and I have said this over and over, it is the best investment you can make this year. Because if you're if you're a quilter, and you are going to be out and about at all, because it lists all 84 shops, their addresses, phone numbers, websites, store hours. So all of the information that you can create your strategy, or when whether it's during the shop hop or all your round. Yeah, and we even have, we sell the magazine, two out of staters, because they know that they're going to come to Iowa at some point, and they want all that information, or they just simply want it all in one place. It's you got to have one got to have one of those as a great resource.

Koleene Herlocker: Yeah, you hit on a couple of topics there, I think the really fascinating part for me is that I will become a destination with our shop, we, we will typically average about 20 to 25 visitors from 20 to 25 different states across the United States that come to Iowa just complete the shop, which I think is awesome. That means we're bringing outside people into our state to see and experience our hospitality and our island nights. And of course, our phenomenal quotes, stores. And a lot of our shoppers tell us that they will actually this is funny, they buy two versions of the magazine, one to keep in their sewing room because it has lots of articles and free patterns that they can use the other one in their store as a store directory for the year.

Heidi Kaisand: Yeah, it's it's invaluable. It really is because again, beyond all of that data, then there are projects that they can make and, and, and ideas and stuff. So it's a great, it's a great resource. And of course, the sales of it as support, support what we're doing. And so that is Yep, that is important as well. So I greatly appreciate that, you know, all of that. Now, back to the strategy again, and thinking about some of the groups that we've seen over the years. So we have husbands and wives that come and i've you know, I've seen them plan their their weekend getaways based on this. There are the the friends sisters with the orange, and the I think they call them the orange. It excuse me, sisters, I think Yeah, and they always have bright orange shirts on I love they come with a strategy of what they're going to buy. And, and I think one of the things as a shop owner, and I'll say this, you know, of course our goal is to expose our store and our products that we sell to quilters over and over. But realistically we know this, you can't you can't go in and spend hundreds of dollars at every shop if you're going to all 84 and we love the fact that it simply opens the door that if they like what they see in our store, that they'll come back and that's exciting to us is to because we get some people who've never been to hen and chick studio and and we love that we take that as a great opportunity. But I also love that ladies who who want to spend at every store, but at the same time have to be realistic. Okay. I mean, yeah, it's you know, we got so like, I think the orange sisters is we're gonna call them since I can't think of what else they call But they've picked out a pattern. And then they are looking for specific fat quarters. So if they can pick up a fat quarter, which is a, which is a certain size piece of fabric, for those of you who might not be cultures that are listening, it's a 18 by 21 inch piece of fabric. But it's it's like candy. They're like candy in every shop has usually hazmat quarters. And so it's an easy item for them, you know to buy and they may range anywhere from three to $4 depending on the shop, depending on the fabric that is the fat quarter of and I love that I love that they they have a whole agenda for for the entire trip. That's that's a great way to look at it.

Koleene Herlocker:I've heard of lots of those little programs where adults, they'll pick a friend, and they shot they kick the cat close to the friend and then the friend has to make a quilt out of it. So I've heard lots of, you know, kind of fun and games and projects like that, that people use to sort of inspire themselves and to find things to buy and search for.

Heidi Kaisand: Absolutely. Well we're gonna take a quick commercial break and we'll be back right after this. Welcome back to create with Heidi This is Heidi Kaisand of hidden check studio and I'm having a great conversation with Coleen her locker who is the coordinator for the all I was shop hop. So let's let's go over the the details. Again here for people the dates are

Koleene Herlocker: June 1 and June 31. I'm sorry, June 1 or June, July 31. There you go.

Heidi Kaisand: We'll get it's two months long. And so basically, every day of each of those of our of these months, you have a chance to go to quilt shops that are and there are 84 shops, you get a you need to get a passport, you can I would say pretty much every shop should still have the magazine and get be able to get a passport.

Koleene Herlocker: Yep. Okay. And then you just you pick your strategy, as we've been talking about. And you pick which maybe a region or a group of stores that you want to go visit. And you visit that bring passport in, get the stamp, pick up your free quote, square, at the end of the shop up, you want to make sure that you are sending in your passport, it has to be postmarked by August 3. And then on August 15, we will be drawing for all the hundreds of prizes that we give out that are donated by our stores, by our industry sponsors. And by the shop hot. That's the that's the end, the fun that you have when you're out shopping around. But at the end, you have even more fun because you get the chance to win lots of great prizes.

Heidi Kaisand: Yes. Now who can participate? Men and women kids? I say everybody we we have them on?

Koleene Herlocker: Yeah, that's a really good point. Heidi, we haven't talked about that yet. But this year for the first time, we have a US passport. So we want to encourage the next generation to be selling and we know from history during our shop that we have lots of kids in youth that come around teenagers who sell it's so this year, we have a youth passport for our soldiers who are from eight to I think it's 14 or 15 for the youth passport. So they have a special group of prizes that are targeted just for the user and our prizes and code, sewing machines and lots of fabric and notions. That product is just awesome.

Heidi Kaisand: That's wonderful. And so any age of kid can do that. Every every person who does participate has to have their own passport. So it's not like a two people on one passport kind of thing. Everybody that participates if they want a chance at the prizes or the free squares, that kind of thing. They all have to have their own passport.

Koleene Herlocker: Yes,

Heidi Kaisand: yeah, yes. Awesome. And what what kinds of prizes again, tell me again, rattle off you said hundreds of prizes like give me a winner. What

Koleene Herlocker:are my chances of getting something one of our one of our grand prizes is a Bernina sewing machine packets were 30 $300. And the other of our grand prizes is a retreat say for you and nine of your friends for like I think it's a three or four day retreat stay in Pella. We have another retreat, say at your location Heidi, which is very generous. We're super excited about that. We've got selling chairs, lots and lots of fabric. You can imagine the fabrics that we give away and the materials we have planning we have beaten bonds have fled. There's just so bloody literally hundreds of prizes all most all related to sewing and quilting.

Heidi Kaisand: And that is that is so it's so exciting. Another part of the shop that I always love to encourage is that as you're going to these small, a lot of small communities by all means there are some in the bigger cities in in Iowa but Conrad, you're going to spend a lot of shops like in places like Conrad, where you're no you're you're just out in the you know, out in these small communities take in what else is in these communities because that's exciting to, to open your eyes to different places that you had no idea or stopping by and seeing all the freedom rocks or you know, there's, there's more than even you can really make a trip of it.

Koleene Herlocker: I love that. And I hear that from all of our shoppers that one of the things that they love the most is that it gets them out experiencing this beautiful state. There's lots of places to stop for lunch or if you're if you don't want to eat lunch because you want to get to more stores make sure at the end of the day when the stores are closed we can take time to enjoy a nice dinner at one of those home style you know unique diners and

Heidi Kaisand: Oh yeah, we've got we've got the great Steakhouse of That Place in Conrad. So and you know, they start serving like at five, so on most evenings so you know, that's a great way to end the day is to go get some prime rib or some you know, good sandwich out there. So that's certainly the guide. Well, it has been so much fun talking with you. And of course, we would love everybody to visit hen and chicks studio in Conrad or online at hen and chicks you'll find everything you need to know about quilting and all things creative. Our staff will be so excited to know that you are part of the all I was shot pop this year. We've got a lot of exciting things coming up as well. So we're open Monday through Friday. 10 to five and Saturday tend to three unintel next week. Be creative.