Saturday, February 25, 2012

Business Means Effort

This week I spent most of my time on the phone drumming up sales. Economy woes are strong as ever. Still, with a product of quality, our distribution and quality continues to grow as does the print run costs! The true source of our funding is advertising/branding, the part of life that goes hand in hand with the human psyche.

Like that, increasing creativity is a must with advertising / branding, no longer as traditional as we know it. Social internet continues to shape the path to the consumer and client. In fact, cold calls, well they don't have to be cold--my first port of call is the internet where I click, view and read all about the business or person I'm ringing.

We all know how hard times are. As individuals and in families, we feel the pinch of scarce jobs, high costs and tightened belts. The business owner feels it a both ends. For many of our clients, they have put a lot on the line and risk a lot to bring quilters the best products, quality and experiences. So when I see or hear of a new business, I am wow'd and I certainly applaud those attempting to break out of this of economy paralysis. (That's a grim description, but I feel it often captures our efforts as small businesses.)

This week I chatted with two trail blazers in quilting. As soon as I clicked on one website, my mind was taken to a soverign place. Mesmerise yourself at the Quilt Retreat. I am so moved by new ventures! There is a sense of excitement, bravery and hope. I loved chatting with the owner Chris, who offers quilter and writer retreats.

Then I spoke with David, the father of Naomi who is currently preparing to relocate her shop, Green Hill Patchwork and Quilting to larger premises. We have spoken with them numerous times, and on this day it was great to sit back and hear the uplifting progress this shop owner has achieved.

Knowing it takes extraordinary measures to achieve success in this ordinary world, I always offer my congratulations. Yet, for every oooh and ahhh of my own, there exists the doubt and fears naturally found in recessionary times. My admiration of these entrepreneurs is immense.

Even the best laid business plans are still a big risk. As customers and partners, we owe it to these risk takers to give them and their businesses a chance.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Greetings for Heart Day

We love to decorate for holidays. Show your love for Valentine's Day with a greeting banner.

All you need is:

Scraps 4" or larger; (try orphan blocks, we did!)
Contrast scraps for letters
fusible web
pinking shears
1. Simply cut the larger scraps into bunting flags. You can do this by cutting 4" wide strips. Cut strips vertically, at an angle to create flags. (In my home, we have 7 and 8 year olds helping, so in fairness, our cuts are very organic. You could be scientific and measure the correct angle of degrees of each cut for exact and consistent sizing.

We advise using pinking sheers, if at all possible. The pinking edge eliminates frayed edges. (With straight blades, the raw edges will ravel. To avoid raveling, the bunting flags should be topstitched or twosided with seams--both increases workload.) I love pinking sheers for this reason. In fact, we have a rotary pinking blade and it is brillant!

Align your banner's flags according to fabric contrast. Light, dark, light order will be the best contrast.
2. Create letters for HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, one letter for each flag.

Draw fat letters, reverse direction, on the glue side of fusible web. Again, our designwork here is very organic. For perfect typeset, consider drawing or using letter templates using mirrored type by tracing in reverse using a light box, or copier if available.

3. Follow manufacturer's directions for fusible web, and apply each letter to the center of flag.

4. Connect flags by sewing buttons.

5. Hang and celebrate!

Don't forget to bring in your own creativity. I made my own Valentines to give to my friends.