The Winter issue of The Professional Quilter includes a profile with Matt Sparrow by Mindy Caspersen. Mindy originally met Matt on Facebook and when her attempts to connect at MQX (Machine Quilters Exposition) didn’t work out, she took the opportunity to learn more about Matt. Here’s an excerpt from the profile.
How did you get involved with longarm quilting?
Shortly after I basted and quilted my first quilt on a domestic sewing machine (DSM), I realized that it wasn’t something I wanted to be doing over and over again. I loved piecing but hated the quilting part of the process. After researching the price of longarms, the only way to justify the purchase was to take in customer quilts to recoup the investment. I had no idea it would explode into a full-time career in a short few months.
What is ManQuilter and how is it separate from the rest of your quilting business?
ManQuilter is the essence of my quilting business. I created Manquilter.com to market myself as a longarm quilter. It is my “brand” that I continue to grow every day. I am very committed to building my brand to a point that it is familiar with a large portion of the quilting world. Read the rest of the article nd share your thoughts here.
Tell us about your studio and machine.
I converted my front living room into my studio and run my longarm quilting business out of my home. I am the proud owner of a 2009 APQS Millennium and am one of the newest sales reps for APQS. I have had my hands on every major brand of longarm quilting machine and can tell you without blinking an eye that nothing comes close to the feeling I get when I start stitching on my Millennium Falcon (my pet name for my machine). The horizontal wheels and electronic stitch regulator allow me the joy of precision quilting that my customers demand.
How did you get started teaching quilting in general and also longarm quilting?
I went to MQX in April to take several of Karen McTavish’s classes and was fascinated by her teaching style and the energy she brought to the class. I became certified to teach her quilting technique and came home and approached a local shop about teaching a class. Several months, seven classes and two open house presentations later, I am now officially a competent and confident teacher.
Do you have any business tips you can share with us?
The most important tip I can give is that the sooner you realize that this is your business you are running the better. You are not only a longarm quilter but a business owner as well. Quilting often requires loads of emotion. You need to remove that emotion from the business side of it and make decisions based on a profit model not an emotional response to how you (de)value yourself.
You can read more about Matt and how he and his wife, Bradie, support thier family of ten from quilting in the Winter 2010 issue of The Professional Quilter. The Professional Quilter is one of the benefits of membership in the International Association of Professional Quilters. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership here