Tuesday, April 28, 2020

My Pattern Design Business Experience - Part One!

Starting a quilt pattern design business may sound like a lot of fun and a great way to earn extra income. The reality is that quilt pattern design is a challenging profession that requires and a lot of time and dedication with a lot of hard work. With that in mind, I decided to devote a blog series to my experiences in running a pattern design business from my home. I hope that in sharing the struggles that I have faced and what I have learned will help others decide whether they would want to take the challenge of professionally designing quilt patterns.

First, a little bit about myself and how Quilting Affection Designs came to be. My quilting inspiration comes from my mom and my aunt. I began sewing at an early age on my Holly Hobbie sewing machine. In addition to taking home economics classes, which included sewing.  My love of quilting started while watching my mom make and hand quilt several quilts. After I was married, I took my first quilting class at a local fabric store. Here I discovered my talent and passion for quilting. I even got my first quilting job from my quilt instructor.

For many years while my husband served in the military, I quilted when I could. However, some places we stationed did not make getting quilting supplies easy to understand. So, I would find myself taking long breaks from quilting. We finally ended up in the Washington DC area, and while working, I was again able to take up quilting. Over the next few years, I dedicated myself to learning all could about quilting and all the new tools and technics. 
When I first got the idea of starting a home-based quilting business in 2012. I was focusing on becoming a Longarmer and running a quilt finishing service. My youngest son had just gone to basic training in the Air Force, and my husband and I had the opportunity to go to an APQS demonstration in Fredericksburg Va. I have been looking at different longarms at quilt shows for a while. I fell in love with the APQS Millennium, and the time seemed right,

so we took the plunge and ordered one. As I was getting my feet wet in the longarming business in 2013, I decided to design and enter a quilt in the Charles Maryland County fair for fun. I was surprised and excited to find I won best in a show that year. As time went on, I found myself devoting more and more time to designing quilts while my longarming service never really took off. So, in 2016, I decided to spend my time to pattern design and ended my longarming service and Quilting Affection became Quilting Affection Design.

From 2016 to the present, I have been a full-time quilt pattern designer, and what an enjoyable experience it has been. I genuinely love the challenge of coming up with original designs, choosing colors, and working with beautiful fabrics. Above all, I love that my job is to see my creations come to life.

Now, I also need to leave a word of caution because it is not all fun and games. Running a business is a lot of work and requires a lot of time and dedication. I am not trying to scare people away from doing something they love. I just want to ensure that if you are thinking of taking the plunge, you know what you may be getting into.

For the next several weeks, I am going to post about my journey into the world of quilt pattern design, what I have learned, and what I have experienced. Additionally, I will cover what my average day looks like, the tools I use for designing, working with other quilting companies, and the joys/challenges I run into every day. 

Now I want to make clear that this is not a step by step how to start a business blog. The purpose of this blog is to share my experiences and what I have learned in the hope that you will find the information enjoyable and maybe even useful.