April 2020 issue (Digital Subscription)


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A year ago I was putting the final touches on my “Disrupt the Mountain” presentation for Spring Quilt Market in Kansas City (see here). Whether you were ready or not, our path up that mountain has been altered.Whether those alterations are for better or for worse is yet to be seen, as COVID-19 and its repercussions are not over.

But I can tell you that being nimble and open to change has given me the opportunity to address problems within my business and to see areas of growth I wouldn’t have even imagined six weeks ago.

Coach Beth Montpas said to me in mid-March that the pandemic wasn’t necessarily creating new problems, but rather putting a spotlight on problems we already had. She couldn’t have been more right. Two problems that jumped right out for me were cash flow and incomplete and inaccurate inventory in our POS. In the past four weeks I have spent myriad hours conducting financial calculations, conversing with my Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses program adviser and team, and digging deep into the processes and procedures for managing store inventory, SEO and critical data to facilitate online orders. I’m well on the way to getting these problems solved once and for all, but it’s not an easy x, nor one that is done in just a few days or weeks.

On the other side, if you’d told me that I would be playing quilter’s Bingo with my Hen & Chicks Studio customers in our Facebook Group or hosting two-hour Facebook Live shopping events as part of #ShoppingNightInAmerica, I would have chuckled and said, “Yeah, right!” But guess what, I am, and we’re having an awesome time and building relationships with both regular customers and new ones from around the world. This entertainment/new business strategy is not going away anytime soon, and it could be a game changer for many of us surviving this storm.

Turn your mind to these things:

  • You are not alone in this. This is the time to call upon your business advisers and your mastermind groups.
  • You are in control of your attitude toward change and disruption in your business.
  • When this is over, what are you not going to go back to doing?
  • When this is over, what are you going to do going forward?

As a subscriber you can join our Facebook group (facebook.com/groups/AmericanQuiltRetailer). I have been posting daily with thoughts and inspiration for moving your business forward.

In Every Issue

  • From the Editor, Connect with AQR Online
  • On the Cover
  • Book Nook: Learn about three books
  • Free-to-Use Pattern: Fabric and quilt designer Monique
    Jacobs takes the math out of quilting and puts the fun into mitering corners. Put her suggestions to work in this issue’s Free-to-Use Pattern, Amour Quilt.
  • Online Resources: See what’s new on our website

Business Savvy

  • Why Your Brand Matters More than Ever: Do the work today to ensure your brand takes you into the future.
  • Digital Marketing in Troubled Times: Take action today to increase your online presence with tips from Sommer Leigh.
  • Made Just for You: Create content that speaks to your customer.
  • 3 Keys to Employee Success: Gwen Bortner outlines considerations for hiring.
  • Repurposing FB Live Videos: Use your content wisely to get the most bang for your time.

Check It Out

  • Inspired to Design: Meet Mandy Murray and smile!
  • Anatomy of a Well-Merchandised Quilt Shop: Create displays that sell products.
  • Color & Fabric Selection: Help your customers select fabrics.
  • Hot Picks: New products to love!
  • Materials Matter: Shop for fabrics that will make a splash in your store.
  • Avoiding Overload: Learn 8 strategies to solve this situation.
  • Who’s in Your “Who-ville”: Understand who you are selling to, not just what you are selling


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