November 24, 2015

Quilting Wins...BIG!

I want to tell you an inspirational story, not my story in any way, but a friend's story. I went to BYU-Hawaii with Al Doan and, he much like the rest of us, left graduation with big hopes and worries about the future. In an effort to help his mom with work he (along with a few partners and family members) formed Missouri Star Quilt Co. and since then it has become a booming multi-million dollar business and has been featured on shows like USA Today and won the 2015 Small Business Award.

A few weeks ago I was able to go see Al and meet his family in Hamilton, MO where they live and Missouri Star Quilt Company is headquartered. It was truly amazing. Hamilton, in my humble opinion, is literally in the MIDDLE OF NOWHERE!! And is a small, modest, community. But because of Al and his family it has become a mecca for quilters. What started out as a family business to help mom now employs over 200  people, has restaurants, ten stores, a HUGE online store, a magazine, and a almost cult-like social media following.
Downtown Hamilton, MO where JC Penny was born and opened the first Penny's store

Inside the the big Missouri Star Quilt Company with a large photo featuring the famous YouTube sensation, Jenny! (Al's Mom)

Some of the other quilt shops part of the MSCC empire 

The family bought old run down businesses and restored them back to their glory including taking out drop ceilings and exposing these beautiful designs again. 

My favorite quilt in the shops it is called the "3 Dudes" quilt 
 You can watch Jenny's tutorial on how to make the 3 Dudes quilt here! 

One of the Missouri Star Quilt Co shops is now housed in the original JC Penny store, a block away from where JC Penny grew up. 

Now, some of that success is due to sound business practices like using the internet to reach a larger audience and some of it is due to making huge sacrifices in the beginning to make it work, but I would argue that a large part of the success is because of the fun-loving and energetic feel of Al and his family. If you watch Al's mom, Jenny, on one of her YouTube quilting demonstrations, you feel as if you are part of her family. Likewise when I went to visit, I was treated as if I belonged. I am not a huge quilter, but because of the interaction I had with them I walked away a loyal customer.

Al came and spoke to some students on BYU-Provo campus recently and I was privileged to sit in and listen. I have linked to one of the videos so you can hear him tell the story. He is one of those success stories that he will admit the road was not easy, there were some failures along the way, but in the end  it was all worth it.

They found something they loved and learned how to do it faster and better than anyone and then was able to find ways to teach others how to do it faster and better too!




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