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Pinterest for Business: Part 2

Pinterest

In part two of Pinterest for Business, we start pinning! Read on for best practices and everything you need to know to start creating boards.

Pinterest Best Practices

Remember that Pinterest isn’t social media, but it does operate similarly. Pinterest also utilizes algorithms, and like social media, it changes all the time. While this post isn’t evergreen, it will provide a good foundation.

When you log into your business account of Pinterest, the user interface will take you to the business hub. To see your boards and pins, click on your logo in the right-hand corner. This will take you to your profile page.

To see your boards, click on Saved.

Creating Boards

Now that you’re in your boards, we can start building them (remember, boards are ways to store and organize individual pins).

To help you think of board ideas, think of your shop and the products you carry. When you’re ready, click on the + sign and select “Board”.

You’ll have two options. The first is “Name.” Although it’s tempting to come up with something cute, stick to three or four descriptive words so customers can have a clear search.

Second, is a “Keep this board secret” option. We recommend keeping the board secret until you have enough pins in the board to go live. Then click “Done”. (Note, if you want to go live, click “Create” before “Done”.)

Now, we can get to Editing. To access this, click on the three dots next to the board name.

  • Name: is already completed.
  • Description: Explain your board in a conversational structure. Pinterest uses this to help with search criteria also.
  • Collaborators: This is an option if you’re doing an event, class, or project with another company.
  • Settings: Here you can make the board public or keep it secret. Personal boards should always be kept secret. We also recommend boards that don’t have anything to do with your business (ie recipes) should be kept secret. Remember, the goal is for visitors to shop your product.
  • Personalization: This is more for Pinterest; it doesn’t help with searches so it’s fine if you want to skip it.
  • Action: Enables you to delete your board. This action can’t be undone.

There are three other dots while in your board, but we won’t get into the nitty gritty of those in this post.

Other Tips

If you need to the edit the details of the board, click on the pencil in the lower right-hand corner of the board in the “Saved” page we went through at the beginning.

You can also organize boards on your page so customers can find certain products easier.

Finally, you have an option to separate boards. For example, if you have a board on precuts, you can have a section for jelly rolls, and a section for precuts. Once these sections get too hefty however, consider creating separate boards.

Stay tuned next week for our final installment of Pinterest for Business.

Inspiration for this post came from “Are you Pinterested in Increased Sales?” by Kate Colleran, Joanne Hillestad, and Kris Poor.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Pinterest for Business

Pinterest logos

2021 was the year of social media, and we know keeping up with all of your options isn’t easy. Read on for everything you need to know to about Pinterest and if it’s a fit for your shop.

Pinterest lingo

The first thing to know about Pinterest is that it isn’t social media (just like Google isn’t social meda). But unlike Google, a quilter will search on Google when she knows what she wants, and alternatively, she will search on Pinterest when she’s searching for inspiration.

Pinterest is largely visual. Pinners can choose a topic they’re interested in, and Pinterest determines what appears in their feed. Below is Pinterest-specific jargon:

  • Feed: Collection of images based on user’s searches, pins collected, or term entered.
  • Search: Displays images on specific subjects based on terms entered in the search box.
  • Boards: Collections of pins arranged by subject matter and found on the user’s profile page.
  • Pins: Individual images saved on boards.
  • Pinners: Users who save pins.

Pinners create accounts to search for content that interests them and save pins to boards they create. Boards are typically arranged by subject (ie knitting, quilting, cooking, etc). Think of it as a virtual bulletin board.

Pinners can also save images from websites, so be sure to add a save button to your site so users can pin it.

Content, views, and benefits

A great time to make a pin is when you have something new in your store. The goal is for users to be inspired by your pins, click on them, and then shop your store in-person or online.

The more that people view your pins and save them, the more Pinterest will show those pins to even more users. Many factors go into this including the quality of the pin, the interests of the pinner, and how relevant your pin is to the search.

Last but not least, what is the benefit? Pins are essentially evergreen content that works for you around the clock.

Stay tuned; next week we’ll cover Pinterest best practices and how to create a boards.

Inspiration for this post came from “Are you Pinterested in Increased Sales?” by Kate Colleran, Joanne Hillestad, and Kris Poor published in the December 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Happy Holidays and New Year from AQR!

Happy New Year 2022

A year ago, everyone was eager to put a close to 2020 and move on to 2021. As many of the business changes we made in 2020 still remain today, it’s clear that our idea of “normal” has changed. Yet, you all remained resilient!

Thank You From AQR

As we reflect on the past year, we would like to take the time to thank everyone for being with us every step of the way. You are all strong, successful business owners and we hope we can continue adding value as things seem to change by the day.

We were all eager to get back to in-person quilting events, including Quilt Market, but Covid had other plans. That being said, we’ve enjoyed hosting and learning alongside each and every one of you during our AQR Academy events, and look forward to continuing them in 2022.

What a Year It’s Been

Speaking of 2022, nobody knows what’s in store! What sort of business practices are you prioritizing (that you haven’t previously)? Your website? Social media? Are you using some of the holiday time to familiarize yourself with video? Whatever it may be, we have full confidence you’ll become an expert in no time.

Happy Holidays from AQR and we wish you all a happy, healthy, safe, and prosperous year to come.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Profit First Cash Management

profit first cash management

At the end of the day, profit is how we’re able to run a business. If at the end of the year, year after year, you’re unhappy with the profit you’re seeing, something has to change.

Enter profit first cash management. What does this mean? Essentially, Profit = Sales — Expenses. Simple right? What if we switched this equation around to account for human behavior. In other words, what if it looked like this:

Sales — Profit = Expenses.

Game changing, right?

What is Profit First?

What do we mean by profit first? Profit first teaches you to take the profit first then use the remainder to run the business. Essentially what we’re putting into practice the time-tested adage “pay yourself first.” The first step to get started is to complete the profit assessment, which you can find here.

If you’re beating yourself up for the numbers you see after completing the assessment, you’re not alone. Thankfully, this is just the starting point.

Open Your Accounts

Now that you know where your finances stand, it’s time to set up your bank accounts. The five foundational accounts include:

  • Income
  • Profit
  • Owner’s compensation
  • Tax
  • Operating expenses

And it’s recommended quilt shops should open an inventory purchases account also.

Another way to do this is to open a profit account, then transfer 1% of each sale into that account. If your business runs on $1000 / month, it can survive on $990 / month. Although this feels like nothing, you’ve started a habit that will grow month over month and change your business habits forever.

Inspiration for this post came from “Overcome Financial Stress” by Jacob Curtis published in the October 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Using an Avatar for Customer Service

avatar and customer service

Creating an avatar can be a huge time-savings piece for your business. Not only does it allow more flexibility in who responds, but customers can do the self-service they’re looking for. Below are tips and tricks to get an avatar started on your website.

Your Avatar’s Personality

An avatar is a digital representative or persona. When creating this persona, there are a couple things to keep in mind. Will you avatar be a male or female? What is your avatar’s name? What sort of personality will they have? (Note, you don’t have to create an entire character design). Below are a few examples:

  • Suzy Q is the avatar for Suzi Q Quilting. She is polite and friendly. Suzi will validate a customer’s feelings, but hold firm to a store’s policies. She is cheerful and ends every interaction with “Best wishes on your quilting adventures!”
  • Todd is the avatar for another quilt shop. He is firm, but happy, and interacts with humor (often communicating with jokes and emojis). He doesn’t apologize for not bending policies but he does seek solutions to make the customer happy within company protocols.

Avatar Logisitics

Now that you know what sort of avatar you want for your business, there are a few other pieces to work out.

First, determine what employees you’ll dedicate to responding to customer service requests.

Next, create a standardized email that the decided-upon employees can have access to.

Finally, to streamline even further, track responses in a document and create email templates of common responses to frequently asked questions.

Inspiration for this post came from “Consistent Customer Service” by Gwen Bortner published in the October 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.

Wait, There’s More!

Interested in a FREE AQR Meetup? Well you’re in luck!

Next Thursday, December 16 at noon CST you can find out what’s on the radar for AQR and AQR Academy in 2022. You’ll also get tips on how to finish 2021 off strong.

Register for the Zoom event here prior to attending. All are welcome (and we’re interested in hearing what you want next year as well)!


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Online Marketing Tips (Just in Time for the Holidays)

Online Marketing

With the Holidays in full swing, it’s important to cater to your customer more than ever. Check out these online marketing tips to increase your online sales.

Marketing Ads

When creating ads online make sure to know what buzz or keywords your audience searches for. Then tailor your messaging around those words. This audience-specific messaging is more likely to cross their path.

If you’re trying to get your products featured on a Google search, head over Google Merchant Center’s Promotions feature for help with that. If potential customers are searching for a product you sell online, you can get it in front of them (bonus tip; offering a discount or free shipping helps also).

Other ideas

Other ideas include putting a pop-up ad on your website with a discount option when the customer signs up for your newsletter.

Another way to help is through creating gift guides. This way you can promote the products you love, while helping with gift ideas for mom, dad, or a distant cousin.

Speaking of gift guides, there’s nothing easier than a gift card option. Be sure to make them available both in-store and online.

Lastly, don’t forget to offer curbside pickup. That’s one COVID trend that’s definitely not going away.

Speaking of online marketing, we want to let you know The Buzz is still available for just $12.95. You’ll receive 15 30-minute informative videos on the latest products, techniques, and information to launch you into 2022 (as well as how to display those products in your store). Plus, you’ll also receive an awesome swag “bag” box while supplies last.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Personality Styles

personality types

Knowing your personality will help you play to your strengths (and recognize your weaknesses). Take the quiz to find out what style you are, and how you can apply that knowledge at work.

Personality quiz:

  1. Are you outgoing (quick to take action) or reserved (cautious)?
  2. Are you task-oriented (live and die by to-do lists) or people-oriented (tasks can wait for how someone is feeling)?

If you answered outgoing and task-oriented, you’re a driver.

If you answered outgoing and people-oriented, you’re a promoter.

If you answered reserved and task-oriented, you’re an analyzer.

If you answered reserved and people-oriented, you’re a supporter.

Traits and Downfalls

So what does this all mean?

  • Drivers are strong, aggressive, results-oriented, natural leaders. They’re powerful, impatient, determined, competitive and very-independent. They can also be stubborn, bossy, arrogant, cold, and willing to sacrifice relationships for money.
  • Promoters are creative, charismatic, risk-taking, fun, spontaneous cheerleaders. They can also be irresponsible, superficial, cocky, and bad with deadlines.
  • Analyzers are disciplined, precise, rigorous, loyal, responsible, and precise. They can also come across as emotionally disconnected, robotic, hold themselves back, and get stuck in analysis paralysis.
  • Supporters are committed, sweet, flexible, sensitive, empathetic, open, and loving. However, they also come across as sacrificial, dormant, insecure, invisible, or sad.

Knowing this can help you play to your strengths and recognize areas you can improve. Also note your employees personality types, and be sure to cater your meetings to how they work best.

Inspiration for this post came from “Know Yourself” by Beth Montpas published in the October 2021 issue of American Quilt Retailer.

One last thing before we go! The latest products, techniques, and information to launch you into 2022, The Buzz, is still available for just $12.95. You’ll receive 15 30-minute informative videos on the latest products and how to showcase it in your store. You’ll also receive an awesome swag “bag” box (while supplies last).


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Customer Complaints

Complaints and customer service

We all know that with having customers inevitably complaints will come. Brush up on your customer service skills to turn customer dissatisfaction into a positive experience.

Statistics about Complaints

Did you know that a customer who has a positive experience after a complaint will outspend a the average customer? That’s because this customer now has higher confidence with your business.

Another thing to note is 93 percent of customers are more likely to return and shop with a business if the business offers excellent customer service.

With that in mind, check out this 8-Step process of addressing customer concerns.

8-Step Process

  1. Thank them. Recognize the customer is spending time to inform you of their dissatisfaction instead of taking to social media or telling their friends.
  2. Do you have the authority to help with their request? If not, get someone who can. Nobody likes repeating their story twice. (Note to owners, give your employees more power to help customers so you can focus on the larger aspects of running a business.)
  3. Listen to the complaint. The average complaint takes just 45 seconds to tell.
  4. Take notes. Don’t hesitate to be silent; just inform them you’re making notes so you can come to the best solution.
  5. Ask more questions to clarify. This will help to calm your customer further.
  6. Ask what would they like to make them happy. It’s bold, but you’ll be surprised by the answers you receive. Some customers won’t be expecting much at all.
  7. Act on it. Don’t tell your customer that what you’re doing is an exception, that will hurt more than it will help.
  8. Thank your customers again.

Inspiration for this post comes from “Thanks for Your Complaint,” by Tom Shay published in the October 2021 Issue of American Quilt Retailer.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.

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Gift Ideas to Display in Your Store

gift boxes

Recently I received a hand-knitted blanket as a gift and it reminded me just how special handmade presents really are. With gift season just around the corner, here are some quick and easy ideas you can whip out to display in your store (and get your customer’s ideas flowing).

Needlepoint gift ideas

Between embroidery and knitting, the opportunities for handmade needlepoint gifts are limitless. Outside of your typical scarves and blankets, think about personalized home decor. Find patterns to create embroidery circles for your loved ones favorite pet, or interests (some cute ideas I’ve seen include cacti and flower bouquets).

Fabric ideas

Continuing with the theme of decor, consider creating your own pillow design. This can be as simple as blocks of colors that appeal to you, or cut outs from famous artists (like Henri Matisse).

For something wearable, check out this adorable jacket from Megan Nielsen with a patchwork design. (I can’t wait to make this one myself!)

And finally, don’t count stuffed animals out. I’ve seen some of the most adorable stuffed animal patterns that would work great for both children, or as home decor for someone older. Be creative when it comes to stuffed options, mushrooms and felt flower bouquets are cute and popular right now.

And of course, if you’re gifting for an especially picky person, we all know masks never went anywhere. Look for fabrics with cute designs or in trendy colors.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you. And don’t forget, you can always purchase single issues if you prefer that instead.