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 job since 2000 with myself and my husband as 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.
As I see things, think of things, I'm sharing my Every Day Life, my WHOLE life in my "Live with Pat" articles.
Recently on instagram and Facebook I've seen a lot of people with a heavy use of hashtags. You know.... where at the end of what they share it says..... #quilt #patchwork #iamsobusy #summer #blahblahblah
What is the purpose of them?
They allow you to search that keyword. The theory is that I want to see 'quilts' on Instagram so I search by #quilt. And anyone who used that has the post show up.
They are to be funny. #iAmADork when you sew something wrong. Kind of tongue in cheek.. these are my favorite. Although I don't actually search them, I just love the humor of them.
And to follow an event. #QuiltMarket or #NestedChurnDash. When I did the Nested Churn Dash sew along everyone who made the quilt used it and i was able to see loads of versions with one search at Instagram (try putting those in!)
I don't use hash tags much. I don't normally add them to the end of my writing and I don't use them very much to search. What I've noticed is that if someone loads up the end of their writing with a ton of hashtags, they lose my attention.... as in TOTALLY. When I see 5 hashtags I glaze over, I do not read what they said and and then I just move on. One is about all I can take and not on everything. Just when it's useful... and the occasional funny.
How do you feel about them?
Do you use them? like them?
Search with them? I'd love to hear your take on it!
Had to share this video.. it's SO Funny.. and kind of how I feel about the hashtags.. only when it's really useful or you lose me entirely
You have been so amazing with my new Series 'Life with Pat'.. these are some of what you shared with me...
I'm on the road several times during the year.. ok.. it's more like a LOT of times during the year. This July and Sept I'll be traveling to visit quilters and I thought you might like to know a little bit about what it's like and what I share.
I'm on my way to Texas as you read this (see the end).
All these photos are from a trip this past March that I shared on Instagram and Facebook. I will also be posting them here for this trip!
What happens on a road trip? I might be
Visiting and teaching a guild with workshops and my talk
I might be at a quilt shop or a quilt show
And there could be some vacation involved... like this past March!
As we drive I share photos from where we are and of what we are doing.
Gregg and I travel together ... he is the driver.
We eat a lot at this place... i have the lowest calories things memorized. I may not SELECT them, but I know what they are.
I always.. I mean ALWAYS take a project to work on
I might take snacks
I may not work on the project, but I do eat the snacks.
I LOVE road trip stops.
Florida citrus, shells and amazing signage
When I teach I take photos of the work in progress
Many of my workshops are technique based, so you are doing a lot of learning.
The tools you bring to class fascinate me, containers, pincushions.. I love it!
Gregg and I have worked together for 14 years and we love it. He runs the travel and shipping portion of the business. He is the guy all the guilds talk to when booking our events and he makes the whole trip run smooth as glass.
I'll be teaching in Texas, Maine and Ohio over the next 5 weeks.. and I putting together a new road trip project to stitch for a class sample. What do YOU stitch on the road? AND more important... am I going to see you? Links at the end of this ---> July 14 - TX - Abiline Abilene Quilt Guild July 15 to 18 - Happiness is Quilting and McKinney Quilt Guild, July 25 to 27 - ME Maine State Guild - Pine Tree Quilters, Aug 3 to 4 - Ohio Valley Quilt Guild Sept 10 - 11, Waukesha - Quilt Guilds - LINKS In my newsletter
The FTC requires us to tell you (just in case you haven't figured it out) that Pat Sloan is paid by Meredith Corporation to host the APQ Radio show. Pat is also paid or provided products by other companies in the course of her business. This is how she makes a living and pays her bills. The FTC requires us to advise you to take this information into consideration when evaluating what Pat says and writes.