Monday, May 17, 2010

it's a family affair

one of the many things i love about the quilting industry is the number of families that are involved. there are many, many, many quilt stores owned and operated by husband and wife teams. there are even on-line stores such as fat quarter shop run by kimberly jolly and her husband. there are several mother/daughter design teams too. bonnie and camille and lauren and jessi jung come to mind. then there is jean wells, a shop owner for 35 years and her daughter valori who has become a designer of fabric collections and patterns. and i just recently read about jan and brian hill, a mother/son team in west linn, oregon.

being a part of a family business is not new to me. from the time i was a little girl, i worked in my grandparent's hardware store in sidney, new york. i observed the balance of responsibility between the two of them. i also watched their middle son help out each summer, once his duties as a math teacher at the local high school came to an end.

a decade or so later, my husband and i found ourselves in a business situation that required both of our attention. never did we set out to be entrepreneurs. it took a health care crisis with our daughter to set that ball in motion. there were a few times that i thought it was the worst thing that could have happened to us, but hind sight being what it is, i now recognize it as another facet to his mysterious ways.

and that is exactly what is leading our newest venture, divine intervention. the thrill i experienced having my husband and daughter by my side as we introduced jellen's house of fabric to our community, will long be a memory of extreme pleasure. i am guessing that sarah and i are the first mother/daughter with down syndrome, team in the quilt shop owner category. which just gives this project all the more excitement and a unique quest for success.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

move that ...

...display. did you want to yell bus? me too. that's my favorite part of the extreme home makeover show. our time had come to pack it up. i must admit i was a little nervous about this. first, i thought it looked perfect so i wanted to duplicate it exactly once i arrived at landerhaven. and second, i wasn't sure how it was all going to pack up.

i started by taking two close up photos.

one of each side. i then printed them on one piece of paper and slipped it into a page protector.

then i brought in empty copy paper boxes. i put the items i would need first in two of the boxes and marked them 1 and 2. it all fit very nicely into seven boxes. i kept the bolts of fabric in the tub as they were and left the two pieces of grid wall anchored together. the load in for this expo is very quick, so you need to be extra prepared. the pictures proved incredibly helpful so the display went up in an easy thirty minutes.

our location was awesome. we were directly opposite the entry doors with nothing blocking us. we also had the sunshine behind us during the afternoon. i loved how you could see the design of cross-pollination behind our sign during that time. the colors of frolic created such an eye catching display. we had so many comments about that.

once the sun set, the lights around the top of the display were just the perfect touch to make us stand out from the crowd. sarah gets all the credit for spotting those in the store.
this was a business to business show, so sales were strictly prohibited. if not, i guarantee the quarter yard rolls of moda marbles would be gone. and the funny thing is, i really stewed about cutting and rolling them as so many people today want folded fat quarters. but the rolls just fit so nicely into the teal and orange utensil holders, so i went ahead and did them one night. come august they will be in the store, if you're interested.
it was great to see so many friends and meet so many new neighbors. to wendy, it was so good to see you. please tell corky i said hello.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

perched high above the crowd... owlivia. you can click here to read about her arrival. she represents the final item to cross off the to-do list before the big day. i now know what all the furry is about as designers prepare for quilt market. deadlines, stitching all night...until you run out of the perfect thread...and none of the other 742 in your collection will do...rearranging, rethinking, finding a spelling error on your best marketing piece, locating the extension cord that will muster the electrical powers to be...

...yet somehow seeing owlivia sitting up there where she was placed in my original sketch, makes all the stress and worry disappear. to be replaced by the excitement of showing your friends what you've got. for me, this will be a dream come true. presenting our little shop to the world...well my little world on the eastside of cleveland. i will be among friends and colleagues, many who i've known for several years. yet this will be the first time my name tag reads jellen's house of fabric. it will also be the very first time that sarah will be by my side, not as my daughter, rather as my business partner. that in itself is worth all the time invested.

i truly want to thank sandy gervais for designing frolic. at the perfect time for our first viewing. it matches our materials and branding perfectly and sets the exact tone we wish to express in our, fresh, funky and feisty.

if you're in the area, be sure to stop by landerhaven tomorrow may 12 from 3 - 7. owlivia says it is sure to be a hoot of a time:)

Saturday, May 8, 2010

we have lights

we are now just days away from our first showing at the chamber of commerce event. so we moved the display upstairs onto the pool table today. it's almost 8 feet long which is the size of our table at the business expo. we plugged the lights in and they work!! the colors and the shape are a perfect match to frolic, the moda fabric we have featured. sarah spotted them the day we went to target to find kate spain's plates and napkins. she has a great eye for that kind of stuff.

it's coming along. if i could just get the quilt done that is suppose to be in that big hole in the middle, we will be in good shape. oh i still need to bind soul mates and sew on the little bluebird eyes too. and then i wanted to make sandy's owlivia. never enough hours in the day.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

our display is coming along.

we are just one week away from our official launch to the public. it has been a lot of work but also very enjoyable.

this weekend it will get moved upstairs for a trial run of the complete setup. i am excited to see the backdrop which the quilts will be hanging from. we even have some fun lights that will give us some cool illumination.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

introducing mr. jellen

for weeks now i have been trying to get a picture of my sweet hubby in my sewing studio, but he always manages to duck and hide. i simply want to acknowledge his tremendous support for our newest endeavor. each night that i am in my studio working, he comes down to learn more about what i am doing. he has mastered the difference between jelly rolls, layer cakes and charm packs. he has learned to cut a very straight fat quarter and he is starting to match up the names of the moda designers to their fabric collections.

it is very endearing that our shop will be directly below his medical billing business. it is also quite convenient that i have been able to have our deliveries already going to our soon to be address since he is already there. today some signs arrived and i asked him to hold it up so i could take a picture. pretty sneaky of me i know. i bet you will see him in the store more often than he is letting on right now. i think he is sorta diggin' it. thanks honey. i love you.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

speaking of weight...

how much does fabric weigh? in this box they packaged ten bolts. each bolt is approximately fiveteen yards.

according to the shipping label the box weighs 64 pounds. if my calculations are correct, that is a bit over 1/3 pound per yard. so far sarah and i have selected 564 bolts on order. that will be over 2500 pounds of fabric that our faithful ups driver, Pete, will have to lug up to the second floor until the shop opens. then our supervisor of shipping and receiving will have to carry it all back downstairs. at least we have a good area for storage in the same building. thank you honey.