Want to know how other industry professionals responded to the chaos of a global pandemic? American Quilt Retailer picked the brain of Gudrun Erla of GE Quilt Designs to learn how she was able to transition from a hectic travel schedule to creating a community online.
Quarantine Quilt Along
Thanks to a well established email newsletter list, and already hosting two Facebook live shows a week, Erla had the foundations laid pre-quarantine to share information fast.
In late March of this year, Erla hosted her first Quarantine Quilt Along (QQAL). The event included a new quilt pattern she designed titled “Elvira.” The event was free, and included a quarantine playlist on Spotify for participants to listen to while they quilted.
The response was incredible, with over 16,000 quilters from 37 countries participating. From that initial QQAL, Erla has seen her mailing list, Facebook group, and online sales explode. GE Quilt Designs is still hosting QQAL’s, with proceeds from the pattern going to charity.
How Erla Creates Community
With the cancellation of quilt markets, Erla has been inviting guests onto her QQAL’s. Consumers love being able to still hear from representatives and designers.
Above all, Erla also remains true to herself, sharing what’s important to her and letting her personality shine. Erla’s significant other is African American and grew up in South Minneapolis, blocks away from where George Floyd was killed. On her first Facebook live after the murder, Erla urged viewers to stand up for what is right. The response from the quilt community was amazing, confirming what we already know—being candid always pays off.
To read the full interview, check out “Connecting Through Quarantine,” by Millie Kehrli published in the October 2020 issue of American Quilt Retailer.
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