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Meet Joan Hawley of Lazy Girl Designs

The Summer issue of The Professional Quilter includes a profile of Joan Hawley, owner of Lazy Girl Designs. I’ve known Joan for years now, first meeting her at Quilt Market. Isn’t that where you make some of the best connections? Anyway, here’s an excerpt of our interview with Joan.

Why did you decide to start Lazy Girl Designs?
I started Lazy Girl on a whim. I was between jobs in my  planning career due to relocating for my husband’s job. Sewing, quilting and writing patterns were something to do while sending out résumés and waiting for interviews. When quilt shops showed interest in my designs, I decided to give it six months and see what happened. That was 1997, and I haven’t looked back.

I think your business name is quite creative and distinct. How did you decide on it?
I was struggling to find a name that fit my style and approach. I searched high and low. I read the dictionary for inspiration. I checked out the thesaurus, too. One day, I picked up a cookbook and started reading. I saw a recipe for Lazy Girl Soup and my search was over. Lazy Girl fit.

How large is your product line?
In addition to 50 patterns, I have three books and one DVD. I also created the Lazy Angle ruler and market a “no math needed” Flying Geese x 4™ ruler. To complete the bag line, I also designed Bag-E-Bottoms, acrylic bases in several sizes to give our most popular bag, purse and tote patterns a sturdy bottom, and Handy Tab™, ready-to-sew fabric strips used to attach accessories, such as handles or D-rings, to the bags.

What has been the biggest challenge in your business?
The single biggest and ongoing challenge is achieving my goal of not having the business force life changes on me. I structured the operation and functioning of the company to fit me, not the other way around. For instance, I don’t want to manage employees. I’ve done that in my previous career. It’s administrative and emotional overhead and takes away from the time I need to run the company. I hire contract labor as needed for specialty tasks. For instance, I pay my acrylic manufacturers to package my items for me rather than create warehouse/assembly space and hire workers on my end.

You can read more of the interview with Joan Hawley in the Summer issue of The Professional Quilter. If your subscription is not current and you need to renew, or you want to start a new subscription, here’s a link to our order page.

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