I had several emails recently asking me how I do what I do. How do I run my quilt business, what's it like, how have things changed, do I like it... etc.. etc...
Would you like to know a bit about my background? How I got started my design firm and how it works now? Read on!
I have always wanted my own company. I remember thinking up businesses as a child. And in my first 'real' job, I was planning how to leave and start my own company. I was young, I didn't quite know what kind of company I wanted and I was working in computers and honestly.. it was fun!
When computers were no longer fun, I had learned to quilt and knew my passion for this was deep enough to take the plunge. That was in about 1995.. it took me a few more years to quilt my full time job in computers for 6 months in 1998 and see if I liked writing patterns and trying to market them.
Market them without the internet. EXCITING.. after 6 months I went back to computers to save the world from ugly code so that when it hit midnight on Dec 31, 1999, the world didn't come to an end. I'm happy to report we saved the world and I was then laid off so I could pursue my Design business. A happy ending to that one!
How I started my business then is much different than how I would start one now. The internet was in it's infancy not much use as a business tool. If I wrote an email to a shop owner to introduce myself and my designs (via their website) I often got back an angry note telling me not to spam them.. what?? Thank goodness THAT changed!
My business is a full time SMALL Family Owned business, and our only jobs, since 2000. Myself and my husband are the two owners. We leaped off the nearest tall building at the ripe age of 38 without retiring, and no other jobs. So we hit the ground running. Do you see that sign behind me... i love this photo!
Is having my own business what I expected?
Let's take a look through my rose colored glasses
Running my own company is everything I thought it would be
- I am so happy to work for myself. I am hard-wired to work for myself. There are many entrepreneurs in my family, and I feel very comfortable doing this.
- Making the decisions that have to be made is as exciting as I thought it might be. I enjoy the daily challenges, yes.. daily.
- The design firm Gregg and I created fits so well with my 'Doer & Maker' personality. I have always loved when I worked at companies that made a product (Drake Cakes, Anheuser Bush to name a few)
- Not having employees and a staff is nice, I don't have to worry about other people, we just have the two of us.
- Meeting my industry peers and the people who run many of the companies in Quilting is a thrill and the best part of this job.
Running my own company is nothing like I thought it would be
- It can be very stressful to have to make ALL the decisions ourselves. Should I take that job? Should we do more travel? less? will this be the best software for our store.. what.. my blog is DOWN??
- As a 'Doer & Maker'.. my making is more writing than quilting. SHOCK! Ask any shop owner, any designer who supports themselves fully in the business, and you'll find that we have a hard time fitting in the making.
- The industry changes way more than you think it does. I have to keep up on trends, on meeting all of you who buy my things and allow me to have a business (BIG SMOOCH)! I have to keep up with technology. I had no idea that quilting would change so much and so often.
- Not having staff means I have to do most of it myself. I do hire out some jobs, but i would kill for an assistant some days to do tasks that never seem to get to the top of my massive to do list. I need to sell more fabric and patterns!
- I have a massive and diverse project list. The amount of different things I do for the company is mind boggling. Luckily I enjoy multi-tasking!
Do you run your own company? Thinking of it? Did you enjoy this little behind the scenes look at my work? I have another post HERE on the business of quilt making for those looking to get into it.
And I highly recommend this book for anyone wanting to start a creative business
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