In the Winter 2011 issue of The Professional Quilter, Mindy Caspersen interviewed fellow longarm quilter Barbara Dann about her business. Barbara began her longarm business 10 years ago and specializes in hand-guided quilting. She also represents Alto QuiltCut2. Here’s an excerpt from the profile:
I know that you were working from home and then moved your business to a store. How long did you have your business at home?
My business was in my home for the first nine years, and I moved to a store downtown about a year and a half ago.
What prompted you to move to a storefront?
I wanted to get out of the house. I have teenage boys and wanted to use that space for a family room for them. I also wanted more separation of my business and personal life. It’s too easy to let the business take more of your time when you’re working from home. And I wanted a more professional business appearance. I felt that a store would give me more presence in the community and people would view me as more professional.
How has this changed your quilting business?
My attitude about work has changed. I’m more focused at the store than I was at home. My business has also grown because I get more walk-in clientele, and I do have more presence in the community as a business.
Has this affected your family life in a positive way?
Absolutely! My time at home is more focused on the family now, and I am not pulled away by the business. My boys are now learning to help out more at home and be more self-sufficient. They’re even learning to cook!
Has this affected your business hours? Do you find yourself working more or less?
My business hours are much more defined now. It feels like I work less hours but much more efficiently. I’m not also trying to squeeze in the laundry and household chores at the same time, so I’m much more focused when I’m at work.
Do your family, friends and customers treat you more like a business now that you’re in a store?
Yes, except my mother. She still likes to call during the day to chat! My customers do see me more as a professional now, and they treat me more like a professional now. When you’re working from home, your customers don’t always see a distinction between work hours and family time, but now they do. I used to get calls and drop-ins during the evenings and on weekends. That issue has completely resolved itself because I’m not in the store at those times, so my personal time is not disrupted.
The International Association of Professional Quilters offers resources and networking opportunities for you to create a success from your quilting business. This article was excerpted from The Professional Quilter, the IAPQ membership journal. Learn about all the benefits of IAPQ membership and join here.