On today’s episode of the Craft Industry Alliance podcast, we’re talking about building a quilting business with my guest Amy Smart.
Amy has loved sewing as long as she can remember. She started quilting in earnest after the birth of her first baby 21 years ago, craving a creative outlet and something that ‘stayed done’ at the end of the day. While enjoying quilting as a hobby, she feels so lucky to have dovetailed this interest into a strong business. She’s experienced multiple aspects of the quilting industry, including: Working in a local quilt shop for 10 years, starting a blog – Diary of a Quilter – in 2008, teaching locally and at large events like the Fat Quarterly retreat, QuiltCon, and Riley Blake’s Garden of Quilts, writing and selling her own quilt patterns, publishing a book, and eventually designing fabric collections for Riley Blake Designs. It has been an exciting ride – full of unexpected opportunities and lots of lessons learned along the way.
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We begin the conversation by talking about how Amy and her family are doing during the pandemic. Next, we talk about Amy’s childhood growing up with a highly creative mom who taught her how to sew and quilt.
Amy talks about returning to sewing after becoming a mother and really learning to quilt by taking classes at her local shop when her children were still babies. While pushing the stroller through the shop one day she overheard the salesperson talking about being short-staffed for the upcoming week and boldly offered to work the Saturday shift. Amy ended up working in her local quilt shop for ten years and credits that experience with teaching her about all facets of the industry.
We also talk about how Amy began her blog and why she feels that blogging is still relevant and important even while Instagram has gained so much popularity. Amy sends an email newsletter out to her subscribers each Saturday and we discuss why this is important, what she puts in her newsletter, and the gains she sees from using this strategy to help grow her business.
I ask Amy to explain how she’s gotten some of the important partnerships she’s secured for her business including her fabric line with Riley Blake and her ambassadorship with Babylock. If you’re interested in reaching out to brands for similar partnerships definitely tune in to hear Amy’s tips.
In this episode, we refer to:
- Design Mom
- Crazy Mom Quilts
- Pinterest Business Hub
- Heather Ross
- Sarah Jane
- Podcast Episode #148 with Sarah Kirsten
- Essentialism: The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown
And, of course, I ask Amy to recommend great stuff she’s loving right now. Amy recommends:
- The Moment of Lift by Melinda Gates on Audible
- Yoga with Adrienne on YouTube
- watching past seasons of The Amazing Race with her kids