My job as a freelance graphic designer involves a lot of alone time — alone on the computer creating projects, often late at night after the kiddo is in bed. Most of my clients don’t live in my hometown and I work remotely with them to design and illustrate their quilting and sewing patterns, develop logos and branding, build websites and more.

So when I considered whether or not to go to Quilt Market, the sewing and quilting industry trade show, this fall it was an easy decision. Eight of my clients would be there and it would be an amazing chance to meet them in person (a few for the second or third time) and get to know them better. The trip ended up being worth it for that reason alone, but it also gave me so much more than I expected. Not only was I able to discuss new projects with my existing clients in further detail than wouldn’t have been as easily accomplished remotely, I was also able to refine my business strategy and meet lots of new people who may become clients in the future.

A sneak peek view of the show floor the night before it opened. It was a lot bigger than I expected!
I started the weekend off with a trip to Sample Spree, an evening event where attendees can purchase precuts of new fabrics, purposely avoiding the mad rush I had heard would happen at the beginning. It was a smart move since things were calmed down enough when I got there that I could walk through the vendor booths and get a sense of who’s who and which ones I might want to find the next day. I met up with Stephanie Palmer and Annie Unrein and got to chat about the latest projects I worked on with the two of them, and find out how their Schoolhouses (workshops for shop owners) went.

I peeked through the big round windows on the second floor and was taken aback at the size of the show floor. Hundreds of beautifully styled booths with well-designed signage, decor, and product. It was a bit overwhelming. So was the next day; well, the next three days, actually. I tried walking the whole thing, starting in one corner, but it was too much to do in one day. I took my time, taking note of the booths and the brands and forming some ideas for how to approach the whole thing.

Me with my clients Annie Unrein and Stephanie Palmer, showing off Stephanie’s Quilter’s Planner and Annie’s The Write Stuff pattern that fits the planner.
Me with Liesl Gibson, designer of Oliver + S and Liesl + Co clothing patterns.
I was glad to see my clients Christa Watson, Angela Pingel and Kenna Ogg in their element, chatting with customers and showing their skills/product. It was also great to run into Deborah Boschert at the Modern Quilt Guild mixer one evening, have breakfast with Karis Hess, and meet up with Leslie Rutland for lunch. One of the highlights was meeting up with Liesl Gibson, who graciously walked a good part of the floor with me, introducing me to a bunch of gals I probably would never have had to courage to approach otherwise.
There’s just something about seeing your work in the wild, blow up to larger-than-life size. What a pleasure it was to design Liesl’s Building Block Dress book.
At the end of each night, I spent some time taking notes about who I met and what follow up I needed to do at home. I also made a list of booths I wanted to visit the next day. I learned by mistake that first day how essential it was to bring a comfortable bag or tote to carry all of the swag and items people gave out. I also brought more business cards each day than I did the first, when I ran out in the afternoon. Lauren’s tips were helpful too, in preparing for and surviving the event.

I soon became confident saying who I was and what I did. “Hi! I’m Lindsie. I am a graphic designer for quilters.” Easy enough. I also was able to think more about who my target audience is: a company or designer that needs a graphic designer. Also easy to figure out, but I soon realized that I actually have two different types of clients. The first is someone who’s business is small enough but growing that they can’t do all of it on their own anymore. They need help so that they have more time to do what they do best, be it quilting, sewing, product development, running a store, etc. And (more importantly) they had to realize themselves that they need a designer. Some of the potential clients I met weren’t there yet. The timing has to be right.

This smaller-scale client has comprised the majority of my business so far. But I realized at Market that there was a second type of client that I wanted to approach and that’s the companies that are on the cusp of new growth, that already have a team developed but need additional help. Once I understood that as a potential client type, my perspective changed and I had more confidence to approach the bigger brands to ask if they needed more help. They already have a beautiful, developed branding, and are used to working with freelancers. Maybe they need more help. I figured it was worth asking and giving them my business card so I did.

A month later, after following up with the people I met at Market, I’ve signed on a few new clients, made contact with a few others to discuss ideas and options, and made plans with existing clients on new projects. A few others I’m still waiting for response on and I may not hear back. But that’s okay. I know there will be more possibilities and people to meet in the future. Attending Market, and the networking I was able do there, has made it possible for me to schedule consistent work for myself, and reduce the risk of “feast or famine” workloads that haunt every freelance designer. It made my business better, my focus clearer and my client relationships stronger. It was the single biggest thing I could have done for my business this year.

Lindsie Bergevin

Lindsie Bergevin


Lindsie is a freelance graphic designer for craft industry professionals. She strives to communicate messages effectively, marry design to content, and bring order and beauty to an otherwise chaotic world. Until recently when she went full-time with her freelance business, she was Senior Designer at the Idaho Statesman, where she worked as a visual journalist and magazine designer for 12 years. Lindsie received her Bachelors degree in Communication with an emphasis in Journalism and a minor in Graphic Design from Brigham Young University-Idaho. She currently resides in Boise, Idaho.

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