I'm so thankful for this community of crafters. You are the most caring and giving people I have ever met. I'm so proud to be a member of this community of quilters.
I thought I'd introduce myself and my journey in my first ever blog post.
The Beginning: I attended the 2000 World Gathering on Bereavement, which was a week long intense in depth symposium about how to help grieving people. As a funeral director/embalmer I wanted to be able to help people as best I could. I pretty much cried the whole week long. So many things to take away from this experience. One of those being the James Cancer Centers quilts that children had made using their loved ones clothing. Those quilts moved me so much that I wanted to learn how to quilt. Having no sewing abilities whatsoever I sought out advice, took a sewing class and bought a machine.
PART ONE: I learned how to cut strips, piece tops, and quilt on my Pfaff sewing machine. All that pinning and strong arming the quilt was tedious for me. I then took a couple of my tops to a local longarm quilter. Being new to the quilting world, I was curious about how a longarm machine worked. I asked the longarm quilter I had a relationship with if I might be able to see how her machine worked. No intention on actually buying one. She said "No" and gave me what I considered a lame excuse as to why. Had she said yes I would have been very intimidated by what I saw and probably dropped it and continued on as a client. About 3 weeks later I received a postcard about a longarm show near me. Amazingly it was my weekend off and things were slow at the funeral home. Mel (my husband) and I spent the day learning and using an APQS Longarm machine and hearing the sales pitch. Then came the cost...I thought, well isn't that lovely..the price of a car that I cannot afford. At least I know what a longarm is and how it works. We left the building and 1/2 way out to our van Mel (Mr. Thrifty) said "you should do this...you could start your own business". So I did.
PART TWO: The machine is all set up and ready to use. But how do I use it? No training except the basic how to thread it, turn it on and what the buttons do. I was intimidate and not at all confident in quilting for others therefore the machine sat empty (except for some wonderful friends who let me practice) for about 3 years. Then I 'retired' from funeral directing/embalming and knew that I had to make money from my quilting machine. Spent a couple days in Iowa learning how to use my machine. Still the machine sat mostly empty. I bought a groovy board so that I could at least do a baptist fan on other peoples quilts with confidence. Mel was working 2 jobs and I wasn't really making any type of income at all. Then I started reflecting on my quilting journey and thought 'how many others like me want to learn/experience a longarm machine?' Someone told me No, I'm going to tell people Yes and start renting my machine to others. I purchased a few more groovy boards and started renting.
Not Yet The End:
It's taken 15 years to build this business. Trials and adaptations are a continual part of Sharing Stitches. I love my clients and they love being here. I've done very little advertising over the years Word of mouth and referrals are the heart and soul of my advertising methods. I now have 2 machines and the whole upstairs of my home is dedicated to this business. If it weren't for YOU my most awesome clients I would not be doing what I absolutely love.
I am in need of a new building. A no steps kind of building (or very few steps). It's going to take a while to get there. I have no place in mind accept that it be in the country somewhere near my home. I also want a place with parking availability, classrooms, small retail space, maybe room for a 3rd machine and lighting. It's going to take awhile to get there financially. Tada, my new plan, affiliate marketing. Affiliate marketing is where I recommend products I use and love to you, you click on the link and purchase and I make a small commission on said product. I'd be perfectly happy staying upstairs where I am but really want you to be able to walk right in and not have to go upstairs. I love to teach classes and currently don't have the space to do so. I honestly don't want to lease a space where a landlord tells me no (can you tell I don't like to be told no?) and hey I'm raising your rent. I want to be able to hear your feedback and be able to adjust the building accordingly.
Starting today I am participating in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program. An affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to amazon.com and affiliate sites.
Thank you all for making Sharing Stitches a successful business.