Skip to comments.Entrepreneur Stitches Together a Quilting Business
Posted on 02/01/2014 3:48:32 AM PST by afraidfortherepublic
HAMILTON, Mo.This tiny farm town used to be known as the home of James Cash Penney Jr., founder of the namesake department store chain. These days, it is better known in some circles as the home of Jenny Doan.
Those would be quilting circles. Over the past few years, Mrs. Doan, 57 years old, has become a veritable superstar of the craft. Her YouTube tutorials on how to make quilts have drawn as many as a million viewers, some from as far away as South Africa.
Her family's Missouri Star Quilt Co. gets as many as 30,000 orders a month for pre-cut patches and other quilting supplies. The 5-year-old company has become the second-largest employer in this town of 1,800, its operations covering a patchwork of formerly vacant downtown buildings that include a "sleep and sew" retreat hotel. Fans stop Mrs. Doan for autographs. "I can barely go to Wal-Mart without someone recognizing me," she says.
The key to Mrs. Doan's popularity: she appeals to "instant gratification" quilters. "I don't teach people how to be the best quilter," she says. "I teach them how to do it the easiest."
Instead of the weeks or months often required to complete a quilt, Mrs. Doan's method teaches how to make one in as little as a dayby using a variety of pre-cut fabric patches a quilter otherwise would have to painstakingly snip out and stitch together. She also supplies the materials to do so.
"I'll show you something that makes it look like you worked really hard," she says.
That simpler process was the appeal for Carmen Leticia Attie, a psychotherapist from Mexico City, who learned to quilt in 2010 by watching Mrs. Doan's videos. She also found Mrs. Doan's breezy style less intimidating than that of other quilting tutors.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
Love this article, and I’m a happy customer of Missouri Star.
This quote: we really need to find something for the men to do,” he said of the husbands who sometimes come in tow with their quilting spouses. “Maybe we’ll put in a gun shop.”
LOL Sounds like this town will soon be a nice get-away destination for Mr. P and Me!
And that is a very good idea — something to keep the me entertained while the women shop.
Wonderful children to help out their parents!
Into the Ping list so I can show it to my wife when she returns from her weekend quilting retreat in NE OK.
My observation comment as a quilt husband since the mid-80s: There have been other quilters that promoted this approach of a quickly produced quilt but they were not about providing pre-cut kits, instead teaching techniques.
21 Million quilt??? Who knew? All I know about quilts is that when it's cold out side, you pull them up over your head in bed.
But I'd estimate that 99% of those 21 million are conservative..so the're probably a market for political themed fabrics..pictures of the Gipper..the Framers..Ted Cruz..untapped market for you..Mrs. P
I was quilting back in the 70’s, learned hand piecing in a class along with my mother. I made a couple quilts, hand quilted, then sort of had other things to do for a couple decades.
Fast forward to a couple years ago, I looked into making a quilt as a gift. Discovered a whole new language and tons of very expensive gadgets and goodies marketed exclusively to “quilters” - that new breed of consumer. Youtube was a great help, and I found Jenny Doan right away because I searched Youtube for “layer cakes” and “jelly rolls”. She shows things made out of the pre cut stuff available. Some may put down the precut stuff but it does fill a need and sometimes it’s fun to do a quick baby quilt or other type of gift.
Conservative themed fabric... oh yeah. It is possible to print photos onto fabric at home.
I wonder if Freepers would buy raffle tickets for a quilt - proceeds to keep the lights on here?
3 cheers for Ms Doan. America’s business is business.
The bigger picture is less promising. I recall a reference, several years back, to England as a “nation of shopkeepers”. English industry had been so pummeled by leftist politicos and public demands on the treasury that they really didn’t make much of anything anymore. Without big-business and large industries, the major employment engine was self-employment in small shop and con-fab concerns.
How many talented, highly-skilled people do you know who are under-employed? CNC master tech doing oil-changes, Navy certified welder working as a landscaper, HVAC techs with ammonia experience driving tow trucks?
Get Gub-mint out of the way and let the wheels of industry roll!
Raffle has a possibility with a well-executed quilt, IMO.
Here's a quilt I made from my old uniforms. It's heavier than I expected, but it certainly keeps me warm in the winter.
Like! Especially how you used the insignia. What did you use for batting?
the ultimate answer for the long term unemployed who can’t find a job
invent your own
I do need to make the other one out of my desert uniforms.
Gotta remember that this was made by a single guy. I'm a cook, not a seamstress. ;)
Nothing new about *quilters* as a niche market.
I sell to quilters and notion distributors. 30 years ago, I was told there are 10M quilters and new ones every day.
Although this is in Missouri, which thankfully isn't as unfriendly as our neighbors to the east.
That quilt you made is awesome, and thank you for your service.
I don’t know how to post photos here, see if this works:
I actually can use a sewing machine, but it's not high on my list of things to do on a Friday night.
I figured you weren’t Navy, but didn’t have any pics of Air Force guys sewing. Sorry! LOL
Last night I was reading something about guys on ships during WWII getting extra pay for being tailors while on duty. They had hand crank sewing machines like this one, which are popular now with some quilters.
It was just amazing to me, while I wasn’t paying attention, quilting became so popular.
What do you sell?
The great thing about ordering is that sometimes there is a handwritten note about how the items that were ordered were cradled in someones arms and then placed on a satin pillow before they were wrapped and loaded into the box for shipment......they use such stimulating language...for a quilter....that it makes you want to order again.
They have a daily deal with a little story. It's refreshing. Yes, my fabric stash is overflowing.....
My grandmother was a quilter, all by hand and all out of anything she could find. I sat many nights helping her but my main job was tacking. Haven’t made a quilt since and have never felt the urge. lol I do still have 2 utility quilts that she made. When she passed my mom told me to go pick out 2 quilts and I picked the ugliest ones in the closet. They just reminded me of what a hard working no nonsense woman she was.
Here is one my daughter gave me. I had to get the book for it and go through the timing to get it to work right, but it's a nice little portable.
Serial number says it was built in 1955.
I love your quilt. That is just awesome!
Those of us that have a needle arts wife are used to being part of the adventure. We become “enablers.” While we might have an iPod or book in our pocket or vest, we also have the Quilters Guide to locate the next shop, the list of Bernina Feet she already has, the ability to find the various new tools that seem to pop up with little fanfare and the gift of small talk.
I find that the women that are in this shop will be terribly helpful to me with advice of area restaurants and sights. They get very jealous that they don’t have an Enabler to carry packages and provide encouragement.
Nicely done...years ago when my children were babes I sewed alot. A sewer always has scraps left over. Made two quilts from said scraps one for each child’s bed. Was fun at bedtime to talk about the scraps/garments. Little thing. Making memories.
I love my enabler! He recently stood by and watched as I brought home my fifth machine, an old Singer like I learned to sew on. I have three Berninas, all older ones, plus my father in law’s Gramma’s treadle. All good working machines!
Featherweights are very popular with quilters, they go for a lot if the parts are all there, and the case. They are cute, but I think the 99 and 99K are cuter! All good machines and you can’t buy anything near that quality today.
i’m in the market for a new sewing machine. Mine is very old and I think it was a lemon almost from the beginning.
Do you have one that is a treadle? Do you sell them?