Okay, I'm a pretty emotional shopper. I see something I love, and if I can afford it and/or it doesn't cause hardship...I buy it! But I'm fairly smart about it too, and in the case of a sewing machine, I have decades of experience as a textile artist buying them, using them up, upgrading, trading them in, and moving up to the next greatest thing. In fact, I have three set up at work stations in my studio right now, with three other specialty machines standing by for use. But this time, somehow, I got talked into buying before I should have. In short order I found myself limited and disappointed by my very expensive mid-arm quilting system, and after three different repairmen and my very clever husband were stumped by my electronics problem, I knew I had to upgrade. And I knew I wouldn't make the same mistakes again.
1. Customer service and support!! (NOT the kind where they're awesome until you leave the store, and then don't help you with issues or education, don't have a website, don't have a repairman, and pass the buck to second tier suppliers for any problems you might have, don't have a forum of other users, and when you finally get someone on the phone, IF they speak English, they make promises they don't keep, don't forward messages, won't transfer you to support or repair and leave you spinning that you spent as much as you would on a car for a device that only works 1/3 of the time.)
**upside, it made me a really good quilter on a limited use machine!**
2. Education!! Online access to videos, forums, email help, phone help, tech support, and follow through. And even classes available to use YOUR SPECIFIC KIND OF MACHINE for all kinds of other techniques.
3. Testamonials!! Evidence that other users are happy, supported, and encouraged in their use of the equipment, and that they even upgrade to newer models or add on computers to the machines they have BECAUSE THEY LOVE THEM!
4. And AFTER those first three, the physical improvements and upgrades I was looking for to make my quilting experience easier and to take me to the professional level I thought I bought into before.
Few purchases in my life have been as researched and thought out as my new quilter!! I've spent months now scouring the internet, talking to other long arm quilters, communicating with others selling and buying new and used systems. I've traveled hundreds of miles to 'test drive' the finalists on my short list. I've made priorities, eliminated contenders, set a budget. I've explored selling my old machine, re-arranging my studio for a larger system, watched every YouTube video available by manufacturers and by celebrity quilters. I've looked into buying new, buying used, I've even emailed and FaceBooked folks using long arms for business and for pleasure to see what they love, hate and want. I decided on APQS and spent another round online shopping used models. Then watched for sales, promotions, and options for purchasing my dream machine.
Finally, a demo sale was too good to pass up with a lifetime warranty and all the bells and whistles I had dreamed of. And today, the boxes are in my hall waiting for the installer tomorrow to "have me quilting by evening!"
Read what they print on the box! These guys are awesome!! And they love to make quilters happy.
Seriously? They even put a red bow around the sewing machine inside the box. More like Christmas every step I get to powering up!!
And Dave Binnquist who is the APQS dealer for California arrives tomorrow to put it all together and give me my first lesson. I'm so excited, and so encouraged, and so glad to be back to work!!