Owning a Quilt Shop – a love story
My love of sewing goes way back to when I was 12 years old. I lived in Cedar Rapids, Iowa and decided that I wanted to learn how to sew . My Mom had a sewing machine and made me some clothes growing up, but her full time job kept her from having much time for sewing. Luckily, there was a sewing store that would let a 12 year old sign up for sewing classes! So I took 2 city buses each day across town and learned to sew (this was Iowa in the 70s where a 12 year old could ride a bus alone). I made clothes for me and other people and loved it – then it kind of became uncool at my school – so I stopped sewing….for 15 years – ack!
In the meantime, my Mom started quilting. I loved what she was making but I saw no reason for me to cut up all that gorgeous fabric and sew it back together. I had a busy corporate career and after all, Mom seemed happy to make quilts for me so there was no reason for me to do it! Then, she was sick from chemotherapy and that is where my journey to owning Wish Upon a Quilt began…
One day Mom asked me to cut the fabric for a quilt for her since she had just had surgery – of course I couldn’t refuse. Well, with one zip of the rotary cutter through the fabric, I was hooked! I loved the sound, the feel of the fabric, the perfectly straight cuts. So much better than my scissors from years before! How could I get more of this? Mom encouraged me to take classes and I took as many as I could. I joined the local guild. I started shopping at every quilt store I came across – but I wasn’t going to have a stash – Ha! I cut out an entire King size Bloomin 9 patch quilt – in hotel rooms across the US – before 9/11 when you could take rotary cutters in a carry on bag.
By that time, I was traveling for my job about 50-60% of the time and used all of my free time on the road to check out the local quilt shops. My job was becoming increasingly stressful, I was exhausted and I was using the quilt shop tours as my only respite from the road warrior lifestyle. I started noticing that the people working in the quilt shops seemed happy and loving what they do. A little voice popped into my head one day and said – “Maybe you should have a quilt shop”…hmmmm.
I didn’t really think much more about it and went about my life…cutting fabric in hotels and sewing it up on the weekends. At the guild meeting, I heard about a new shop that was mostly online but was open to the public a few hours a week including Saturday from 10-2. I tried to make it over there a couple of times, but could never get the timing right until one glorious Fall day in October, 2007. I walked into Wish Upon A Quilt and fell in love! The bright colors, the precuts, the crazy way they had the fabrics organized on the shelves…all of it. I was hooked. Little did I know then, that this would become my store!
I left my corporate job on March 31, 2008 and on April 1, 2008 – that’s right April Fool’s Day – I became the owner of Wish Upon A Quilt! All of my friends said I was crazy to quit a nice corporate job and run a quilt shop! I did it anyway. I was so busy putting together a business plan, negotiating with the owner, meeting my new team and learning how to buy LOTS of fabric, that I wasn’t paying attention to the fact that there was a big recession just around the corner! Oops.
On opening day, I walked into my new store and an air-conditioning malfunction had caused a portion of the ceiling to fall in and made a big mess on the floor. The water didn’t get transferred correctly so the city shut it off. My Mom brought her bee friends to shop and we didn’t have a working bathroom! However, what we did have was what I love about my store – we had laughter, hugs, stories of quilts, and more fun than we could imagine!
It has now been almost 5 years and I have learned so much. I have learned that I absolutely love providing that place of respite that I was so desperately seeking for other women. You see, when you walk in and I see the troubles and worries you carry with you on your face – you spend some time with us and the fabric – and you leave just a little bit happier – it makes my day! That is why I love what I do – I love making your day just a little bit easier and more fun. Life is short and for me, there is nothing better.
Thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve you in this very special place.
Hugs and Stitches,
P.S…here is a picture of my Mom (Jan) and I celebrating her birthday last year in the store! I’m happy to report she is a fully recovered 10 year survivor of breast cancer