Our guest bloggers this week are Jill and Marny of Modern Quilt Relish. They are a great team of pattern designers who, together, create beautiful modern quilt patterns. Not only are they business partners, but they are good friends! You really get a sense of their relationship reading through this post. If you are interested in seeing more, you can learn about their day-to-day life on their blog, or have a peek in their online shop to see what patterns area available. Either way, you are in for a treat.
Thank you, Marny and Jill, for writing such an inspiring, informative post for us this week!
Marny Buck and Jill Guffy make up Modern Quilt Relish. We are longtime friends, tennis partners and past co-workers at the large, local quilt shop. We have explored modern design elements as they apply to quilting, been inspired by visiting Quilt National Exhibits, and have run a Contemporary Quilting group. Recently we joined our local Des Moines Modern Quilt Guild.
We embrace contemporary design. The look of quilts is constantly changing. It has been a great energizer to see modern elements such as negative space and asymmetry appearing more and more in quilts today. The desire to create quilt patterns featuring these modern design elements that are easy and fun to execute motivates us.
After years of “what if” our partnership took shape. Modern Quilt Relish began simmering in the spring of 2010 with a blog that encourages simply sophisticated design through process and exploration and continues with ten published patterns. Two new patterns are due to be released at the end of October 2011.
Our business success depends on both of us. Our skills and vision complement one another. While our communication style with one another is a constant “flight of ideas” we are very business like in setting deadlines, striving for the best product we can produce, and moving Modern Quilt Relish forward.
We are much braver together than we would be apart. It is so much easier to push that “send” button on a daring email when there are two of you. Having two of us also guarantees that there is always someone available to send patterns or deal with emails, etc.
A steep learning curve has challenged us in the creation of Modern Quilt Relish. Software for pattern writing, blogging, online business details, legal business setup, printing, bookkeeping, etc., all take time away from the design process and the quilt making. Conquering all these details has brought us much satisfaction. It has to be said, though, that the designing and the quilt making remain our first love. We do not hesitate to ask for advice. (Well we might hesitate, but we do it anyway.)
Fortunately, our local university had a seminar on starting your own business. Attending this, and meeting with the instructor individually, ensured the legal start of our business. Over the years of working in the quilt shop and attending quilt events we have made acquaintances with other pattern writers, magazine editors, accomplished quilters and store owners. This network has been very helpful when we seek information or support.
Our online presence is enough for us. An actual storefront would not be compatible with our pattern business. Retail isn’t for sissies! There are long hours and financial investments at stake. There are also great rewards. But for pattern writers, it does not make sense to open a storefront. We have attended, and will continue to attend, International Quilt Market. Our booth was well received. It was a large financial step, but it is where quilt shop owners from around the world saw our pattern company for the first time. Fabric companies, magazine editors, book editors and others took a good look. Opportunities from unexpected sources can be the result.
We offer this. Seek sound advice, be professional and take advantage of friendships in your own network. Be brave, take calculated risks, and above all, have fun and love what you do. You might be surprised by the opportunities out there!
Thank you for letting us join you today.