Happy Monday Quilting Peeps! I do hope you are well and enjoying your quilting. I’ve got a guest blogger today, Gina Perkes! I’ve had the privilege of meeting Gina and sharing breakfast with her, and her delightful mom on more than one occasion. As a long time admirer of her work, I consider Gina to be one person who has influenced my free motion quilting.
Beginning a new scary, yet exciting adventure…shop ownership/longarm dealership – The Copper Needle. So the bottom line is this: I love quilting and have a lifelong commitment to the art of quilt making. I love all things and people associated with and related to this amazing craft. I feel completely blessed to have
the ability to do what I love as a means to support myself and my family. What began as a hobby almost eighteen years ago, has evolved into so much more. In fact, my quilting business was actually requiring not only eighty hours per week from me but also a good fifty percent of my living space. Though I am certainly not complaining, I came to the realization that I needed a separate space away from home. My dog and kids were walking around with threads attached to them everywhere they went and folks in my small town were starting to talk…lol !
Here is what I have learned about running a successful quilting business:
You must become an expert in designing, creating, adapting, reinventing yourself, marketing, photographing, writing, accounting, and staying relevant…no pressure. I guess I am a sucker for a challenge.
Living in a town full of quilters with no quilt store means that I have a great market here but I do hope that my reach will be much larger than just my small Arizona town. My goal is that quilters will want to visit from all over the country to learn, shop, become inspired, etc. My space is beginning small with 1,500 square feet but as the business grows, so will the facility. I will be carrying fabrics, patterns, threads, batting, notions, and a huge selection of machine quilting tools designed by me and other machine quilters. It is my goal to not just promote my own designs and tools but to highlight other teachers, designers, and quilters who have great classes, products, and tools that they’ve developed as well! This is one of the great things about our industry: networking and sharing ideas!
Longarm quilting: My business began with longarm quilting and thrives with this as the center. I provide both computerized edge to edge and custom hand guided longarm quilting services out of my shop. My turn around time is three weeks for edge to edge designs…custom quilting takes up to two months depending on my schedule.
I am now an Innova dealer and my shop will serve as a training center for those wanting to learn about longarm quilting. I am quite busy with my rental services as well. There are many people who do not have the space or budget to purchase a longarm machine but still want to complete their quilts on their own. They complete a training day so that they can receive a “driver’s license” then they come to my studio to complete their projects.
Luckily, I have a wonderful support system and sta who help me to manage all of these ideas that I want to implement. This support allows me to continue to travel all over the country teaching my techniques and writing books for quilters. I have three new books this year! Tips for Longarm quilting was just released in February and was published by American Quilter’s Society. It is a wonderful resource for longarm quilters and a wealth of information about helpful tips and tricks to make our lives easier. I also have an iQuilt class that will be launching this month. It is called Quilting on the Grid and explores techniques for both longarm and domestic quilting, ruler work, free motion quilting, and more. My other two books will be released in the Fall /2016. You can follow me for more information on my crazy, quilty life by subscribing to my blog through my website: The Copper Needle and I hope that you will connect with me through social media. I do instagram (@ginaperkesdesigns), facebook (gina perkes & the copper needle/business page, and coming soon Twitter. I enjoy sharing ideas with other quilters through these social outlets and regularly post photos of quilting eye candy and ideas for inspiration!
Teaching – On the road you can and me at HMQS, OSQE, MQS, Quilt week Grand Rapids, and more…check my website calendar if you’d like to say hi at an upcoming show or sign up for a class:)!
Congratulations Gina! I look forward to seeing you at HMQS!