OK, so this is a video hosted by giant company Google, applauding Youtube – BUT it’s still an amazing turnaround story: economically devastasted couple and village rejuvenated by – quilting classes online: Missouri Star Quilts.
Long before I saw this video back story, I had seen Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt company in action on video, and was struck by how down to earth, warm and welcoming she was onscreen. The quiltmaking taught was simple and yet effective. It needed to be. I haven’t even learnt yet, was just attracted to watching the process and the putting together of various elements into a new form. (ie much like curating a blog, the way that I do it.) I had no idea that the business began from such difficulty.
In 2008, Jenny and her husband found their retirement plans crashed with the American economy. However, her son and daughter (showing their mum’s practical resolve) decided to do something to help: they located a rundown auto shop, and bought a quilting machine. That was the beginning – a simple sewing shop.
Next, her son asked if she’d like to do an online tutorial. Her reply?
After a year, the viewing figures were 1,000. Persisting, the number grew exponentially each year, to – well, rather larger audience figures:
As it heads towards half a million subscribers online, the Missouri Star Quilt Company has grown to employ 200 people – a separate shop outlet was begun by Jenny’s entrepreneurial son, to stock and supply materials used in the online tutorials. This shop now claims to be the world’s largest provider of pre-cut quilting fabrics, shipping 5,000 orders a day.
As the company flourished, so did the town it is based in: there are now 14 sewing shops, a hotel, fast food burger outlet, bakery and a booming tourist industry of 100,000 visitors a year.
As the tutorials are online, they go worldwide, and Jenny was moved to receive a letter from a woman in a war zone, who wrote saying Jenny had brought colour to her world.
Natural and authentic are the buzzwords in culture now – this lady had those qualities, (together with a businesslike attitude) before it was fashionable and, I suspect, will have them long after culture has moved on to new fashions.
Creative Takeaway Idea:
Don’t be put off by humble beginnings – get started.