Growing A Successful Quilting Career

March 17, 2023

Join me as I talk with Christa Watson of Christa Quilts as she shares her journey over the last 25 years as a successful business owner in the quilting industry. She shares her triumphs, her struggles and the impact she has through what she offers in the quilting market. Her story is inspirational for new and experienced business owners a like. Don’t miss the 100th episode of the Craft to Career Podcast! You won’t want to pass on the advice and business insight that Christa shares! 

Growing A Successful Quilting Career

In this episode we talked about:

  • How her quilting career started. She shares her story of how her business started 25 years ago.
  • What the journey looked like merging the idea of quilting with business. 
  • Her underlying motivator over the years has been teaching. Seeing her students excited, made her excited. 
  • She shares what she is known for in the industry, which is machine quilting. Over the last 25 years she has sold quilts, taught, designed patterns and fabric among other things. She shares how she opened up an online fabric shop.
  • There were 4 years in her business when things were really struggling. She shares about how she survived and what made her decide to keep going. what did she do to keep going and push through? In 2012 she refocused the business and decided to do what she really wanted to do. That was design fabric, write books and teach nationally. 
  • She had a quilt at the very first Quilt Con! Christa share why Quilt Con was a total game changer for her and her business! 
  • Christa shares how she got into fabric design. She attended a conference and two days after the conference, she got an offer, which set her out on the design path. Her first line came out in 2017.
  • We talk a little about imposter syndrome and being YOU. It wasn’t until she had an interview that she realized her strength and really started to lean into it. 
  • Christa shares what the biggest pieces of her financial pie are. 
  • What if someone tells you no? We chat about how that can out a fire under you, to help motivate you to succeed. 

Show Notes

Find Christa and her patterns, notions and all she has to offer on:

Instagram @christawatson  

Her website 

Precuts for sale (her hubby’s area of expertise)
Find out more on her Blog 

You can also stop to see her at the 2023 Quilt Market (where she will have her new fabric line) or chat with her at Quilt Con! 


To celebrate, I have decided to award two prizes to my listeners! To qualify to win the prizes, please leave a review on Apple Podcast and screen shot that review THIS WEEK (March 17th-23rd, 2023). If you have previously left a review, thank you! You can screenshot that review and DM it to me. 

The prizes are as follows:

  2. Win a FREE MONTH LONG COACHING MENTORSHIP. Meet for 45 minutes each week for 4 weeks to really get things moving in your business! 

You do not have to be a quilty business to qualify for these prizes. I have mentored other creative businesses and would love to help you too! 

Go leave your review this week! I will announce the winners on March 24, 2023!! 


If you enjoyed this episode of the ‘Craft to Career’ podcast, be sure to check out these other past episodes:



[Music] welcome to the craft to Career podcast with Elizabeth Chappell or every week we
dive into how you can turn your craft into a successful career get ready to have the career you’ve always dreamed of
[Music] welcome to the 100th episode of The
Craft to Career podcast I am so excited for this Milestone it’s just a kind of a
reason to celebrate which is why I’m excited to announce that I’m doing something that I’ve never done that’s of
a great value and it’s completely free for two of you listeners so what I am
going to do to celebrate the 100th episode I’ve realized that you listeners
are most likely interested in turning your craft to a career
this is something that will benefit both a brand new entrepreneur even down to
the alumni to anyone who’s been in business forever what this is to celebrate the 100th
episode of The Craft a career podcast I will be offering two things for two
different individuals and all you need to do to qualify is leave a review for the podcast I do
recommend that you take a screenshot of your review so that I know that it’s you sometimes it’ll say a weird name or I
don’t know exactly who it comes from when you leave a review so what do you win let’s get to the fun part
what you win is either the first person that I randomly draw is going to win a
one free one hour coaching call with me where we sit down and chat about your business
and we go through brainstorming what can you do to move the needle what’s your
Niche all of the things it will be tailored to you whatever you want to
talk about we will do that for free for one hour the second winner
will get a free month-long coaching mentorship with me I’ve never offered this before in the
past I’ve done a two-month mentorship but it was paid so this is one month
where we will meet each week for one month and we will not only have a
coaching call but we will move through the month with let’s try this okay come back let’s talk about it let’s try this
again let’s tweak it this way let’s do this whatever your business needs we are
going to look at it and you will have me for a month where we will meet for 45 minutes each week for a month and really
get things moving with your business so these are for two of you listeners now
this can even be if you’re not in the quilting World it can be any kind of business I have helped coach people in
different markets uh even if you are just thinking and dreaming of starting a
business this is applicable for for any any business owner out there
so I am excited to offer this to celebrate the 100th episode of the
crafter grower podcast and these will be private it’s not going to be for the podcast it’s just for you and me to have
privately alone to help your business so when does this need to be done by
this is rather quick it’s going to be this week so Friday March 24th next
Friday I will be announcing who the winners are so be sure to leave a review
this week if you’ve already left a review you still are qualified just send me a DM with a screenshot of your review
and you are qualified so I cannot wait to announce I cannot wait
to see who applies I cannot wait to work with two of you and let’s celebrate the 100th episode together
and now I’m excited to introduce you to this week’s guest it is Krista Watson of
Krista quilts she is just such an example of someone in the industry who has made an amazing
career with quilting again where people feel like but can I really yes you can and
she has their entire family her husband quit his career I’m not going to share too much more because we’ll talk about
it with Krista and I’d love for you to hear it from her own mouth but you can absolutely have a
successful career in the quilting community so let’s learn more and let me introduce you to Krista
well Krista thank you so much for being here today I’m like super excited to
pick your brain and hear all the things because you’re kind of a big deal in the quilting world so thank you for being
here I have a quick story really quick a friend of mine one time she had the the best t-shirt which I wanted to buy and
it says I’m kind of a big deal and it’s kind of funny because I was like no I’m not but anyway she had that shirt and I
think it’s awesome I love that well you are and I don’t know if you remember
this but maybe you do so when I had the subscription box I sent you one way back
in the day yes and I saw you at Quilt Market and you’re like hey I got your
box and I anyhow so you remember we’ve known each other for a while and you know it’s funny
because it’s one of those things like we’ve known each other but I had to go back and check like direct messages when
we were like chatting with each other and it was like oh that’s right like I know that I know you and and I’ve seen
you in all these different iterations yeah with your books and then now with the podcast and then a side thing I
don’t know if you want to talk about you’re really motivating me to get more fit anyway and it’s just been really fun
over the years to kind of get to know you better as both of our careers have been growing so it’s been a fun Journey
yeah well okay so speaking of I would love to when did you I I mean your story in my
mind begins Where My Story begins because that’s when I met you but like how did your whole quilting career start
so it’s been a long process it’s like people have only seen me and maybe like
the last five to ten years when I’ve started like getting out there and being more public but I’ve actually had a
quilting business now for like over 25 years and so it basically started back in like the mid to late 90s as like the
poor college student I just kind of fell into quilting uh when some friends were making some charity quilts they were
tying them and inviting me over to help and I had never seen a quilt before I don’t know how because I grew up my mom
was always a sewer but she was never into quilting and so I just like sat there and they
had just put together these simple like nine patch Patchwork quilts and they were just tying them with yarn and I
thought that was the most amazing thing the touching the fabrics and the tactile nature of tying little knots in the yarn
to keep the quilts together I was like this is amazing and I just happened to be in school my husband and I were both
in business college at the time and I knew I wanted to have a business and I was always crafty and creative as a kid
but I nothing ever stuck like I never knew what I wanted to do I had like this craft and art that I wanted to pursue
but I was also going to school for business and then once quilting entered my life it like five minutes later was
like oh how can I make a business of this and it’s taken me 25 years to figure that out okay I feel like there’s a major
correlation here between this like you and I with this entrepreneurial thing
and this creative thing and then the quilting is what merged the Two Worlds so what did that look like for you from
this moment of tying quilts to like oh this could be an idea what did that Journey look like so really that was
back in the day of course before the internet and I just I knew it was amazing and so I went to the library and
you know because that was the that was our search engine at the time you go to the library and check things out and I just checked out as many books as I
could learn on quilting and I remember just you know looking around and finding
all the fabric stores and finding the guild and once I’m very intentional once I make a decision that I want to do
something I go all in and so I just did everything that I could to learn how to
quilt and I just made as many quilts as I can and I never really let anything stand in my way like lack of skills or
lack of you know equipment I didn’t worry about any of that I just dove in and started making and pretty soon maybe
within like a year or two after I made my first quilt I dove into teaching and then one thing led to another I tried
teaching and I tried doing local craft shows and selling at little local co-ops and basically everything related to
quilting I kind of Threw It On The Wall to see what would stick and so on the one hand it’s been great because I’ve
tried almost everything but on the other hand I know it took a long time to get focused on what I wanted to do and so
that’s why it’s been a long journey but I will tell you the minute I started teaching I loved teaching like I loved
when I would see my students who were always older than me at the time because I started teaching in my 20s
um I love the fact that they would get so excited when I would show them this thing and so that to me was kind of a
motivator and I think maybe that’s the underlying thing over the last 25 years is when I get when I get to see someone
be excited about what I’m excited about that really that really Builds Me Up
yeah and I can imagine too just that aha that reward for them you know seeing
that unfold in front of you would be really yeah exactly so if you had to say what you are known
for in the industry what would you say so what I what I’m most known for I believe is my machine quilting so kind
of just continuing with this journey so I started teaching in the 90s you know I had a couple kids took some time off in
between then and not long after basically what I would do is I was teaching and as I said I was also
selling my quilts which you know there’s lots of talk about that um I realized soon on that number one I
don’t really like making quilts to other people’s specifications I like making what I like to make and so the custom
quilting thing didn’t really really go for me I wasn’t into that but I had like all these leftovers like I started
buying fabric wholesale to make quilts to sell and I started having these leftovers so I started selling the
fabric I had a booth at this little shop in Vegas called the Quilted Bear I don’t even know it’s a if it’s around anymore
but you would like rent off a little craft booth and you would put your items for sale and so I started selling little
leftovers like a yard here fat quarters there and before I knew it that kind of started taking off I started selling
more fabric than I did actual quilts in my booth and so back then at the time so
I was teaching locally and I was selling you know my leftover fabrics and one of my local students she this was somewhere
around I think like 2002 2003 and she told me she’s like well you should really sell your fabric online like that
that’s a thing now you know because that’s the internet had started coming into its own and I I literally told her
she’s like you should sell your fabric online and I said no way no one would ever buy fabric online because you can’t
touch it and she literally had to work on me for a week she’s like no no you really should sell your fabric online so
I got online started selling fabric on eBay and so it kind of took off with
this idea of selling fabric online teaching locally and then fast forward a little bit to 2006 my husband who had
been working in a CPA firm at the time he came to me and he said you know I’ve been working at this job for a while
because like straight out of college we both got jobs um you know at account different accounting firms and after working for a
while he was just like this is not my passion this is like not exciting I want to stay home and I want to do something
you know I want to work from home and at the time I had started my little online Fabric business and so I said well you
know I’ve got this little part-time thing do you think we could put our hits together and like turn this into something real and so we kind of sat
down we crunched the numbers we we realized we could make it work and so we opened up um we opened up an online
fabric store that was like independent because back back at that time eBay was on the scene
um I don’t think Etsy had really taken off yet and so my husband his hobby was computers my hobby was art and craft his
hobby was computers but somehow we both end up studying business you know so he he built us a website and we started
selling things online and that really started taking off because that was the early days and we we we were in this
really wonderful period where I was making and he was you know getting our website up and going and don’t ever get
comfortable I will I will say this to your readers don’t ever get comfortable in life don’t ever say oh things are
falling into place because the minute you do that your whole world is going to be you know rocked and basically that
was right before the financial crisis of 2008. we thought things are going great so don’t ever say that so then for about
the next four to five years it took us a long time to kind of recover from that because you know things just things fell
apart and I don’t really know how it did but but our our website that had been really really strong for about a year it
just it just wasn’t working and so we kind of struggled for the next four to five years and during that time I always
make a joke my business is called Krista quilt but I made the joke that Krista doesn’t quilt because I had about a
period of five years while we were struggling with our newly fledgling business that I wasn’t quilting so
rather than throwing my efforts into doing something fun I was kind of spinning my wheels and so I call that
kind of the fallow period um and I like to tell that story because I’m successful now but but everybody
doesn’t share their non-successful times as much as they share their successful times so that all changed about 2008 so
about 2000 or 2012. so for four years 2008 to 2012 was really really difficult
time in our business we thought we would lose our business whatever fortunately we got through that and then at that
time we kind of had a my husband and I had kind of like a sit down like what do we really want to do what do we want to
do with this business so we’ve been selling fabric online and because I was spending so much time managing doing
that I wasn’t quilting and what I really wanted to do is what I do now I wanted to design fabric I wanted to write books
I wanted to to take my teaching from the local level and start doing it at the national level because I was so inspired
by all these other instructors that I would see in magazines online that were like traveling the world and I wanted to
do that my kids were finally old enough that I could you know not have to be around them all the time so about 2012
we decided okay let’s kind of let’s kind of refocus the business my husband will take care of the online sales which he
does to this day and then I will take care of the you know the designing the teaching the writing and that kind of
thing and the beautiful thing is that kind of really coalesced uh with me hearing about the modern quilt movement
which as many of you know started around 2009 I didn’t hear about it till about three years later and then I saw that
quilt con was coming and I had never gone to a national show before I had never entered my work in a national show
I just entered locally and I took a risk I told my husband I said I think I really need to go to this quick con I
don’t know anybody I’m going to travel by myself I’m going to get a hotel I’m going to stay by myself but I feel called to go to this and at the same
time I entered a quilt and I my one of my quilts hung in the very first quilt con which is super exciting and I went
and that was a game changer because like I said up until that time I had always been teaching people that were older
than me you know by the time 2013 came around I was older than I was you know 10 15 years ago but it was still
thrilling to go there and to see a little bit of a younger crowd and for the first time I started seeing people
that were my age or maybe a little bit younger um that were doing quilting as a full-time career now just so you know
this is kind of going into a long story here but growing up teaching ladies in my 20s and my 30s and getting all the
magazines before I found quilting on the internet before that became a thing all I saw what was was in magazines and what
I saw in magazines were very traditional quilts and mostly women of a certain age
retirement age doing quilting is a full-time job I never saw younger
quilting Quilters doing quilting as a full-time job so I didn’t think it was possible I thought oh I can’t do this
until I pay my dues I can’t do this until I’m retired I can’t do this until my kids at around the house meaning
nobody will take me seriously as a full-time maker or quilter or instructor
and tell him of a certain age and when I went to a quilt con and that was the first time that I saw that that wasn’t
the truth you know I saw reality that you could actually pursue your dreams I
came home on fire and from the period from 2013 until my first book came out
in 2015 I did more meaningful work than I had done in the you know 10 to 15
years prior so anyway that that really was a game changer for me
I well there’s a lot here that I want to unpack so first of all I love the idea
that just because you’re not seeing it doesn’t mean it can’t happen so I did okay so many things I did not know 2009
is when like the modern quilt thing because that’s before I came in the scene around 2015-16 so 2009 is when
like the modern I think that’s when they founded it because I I quilt Con in the modern quilt Guild that’s just been part
of my heart and soul for so long um because I’ve gone to every show and yeah I think if I got my facts right I
think it was started in LA in 2009 by the LA modern quilt Guild and then they
coalesced and then put on quilt con of course for the first time in 2013 they skipped a year then they came back in
2015 and it’s been going strong ever since very cool and you had a quilt and the
very first quilt con right well and I took a risk I just it was just this very simple Chevron design and I thought I
actually entered a couple quilts because I had entered quilts in my local quilt shows that’s not like my main part of my
business but I do like to exhibit my work and I do like to enter my work into shows and so that was very validating so
going there attending and being in that event was very validating for me and I always
talk to people now whenever I do talks and stuff and I always try to tell people don’t be the one standing in your
own way don’t have all these preconceived notions I don’t know where they come from Elizabeth I really don’t know but we there’s like lies that we
tell ourselves there’s things that we make up and like all we need is we need someone to hold our hand and say it’s
okay you have permission so whenever I teach and I don’t even know if I answered your question what am I known
for mainly machine quilting so when I teach my machine quilting classes I’m a facilitator I am there to tell people
it’s okay to make mistakes it’s okay to do what you want to do it doesn’t have to be perfect and I literally feel like
that’s my job is to dispel the lies oh I’m not good enough I can’t do this I don’t have the right machine I don’t have the right this that or the other
I’m like no no just dive in there and do it and I think I feel so passionately about that because I was standing in my
own way so now I’m trying to train people don’t stand in your way if you want to do something whether it’s
quilting or business or you know getting healthy or whatever you want to do you
know just give yourself permission or if you need someone else to give you permission that’s okay I will be that
person to give you permission and tell you it’s okay to do it I love it and we all need that sometimes you know all
every single one of us because no matter I’m about to record a podcast episode where I talk about things that I’ve said
in the past and all of a sudden I’m like shoot I need someone else to step in and tell me like it’s okay you can you know
that’s beautiful and then I also wanted to touch on these four years-ish where
your business was really really hard because again no one really you know we see the successes we I’m having on the
podcast now because you’re great you know like you’re not on the podcast during the hard time so
four years this was your bread and butter you and your husband this was the career how did you survive why did you
stick with it like what would you say to someone how did you know that you should stick with it sometimes people do sometimes
people don’t like what can you speak to about well we remember when we were very determined and so during that time we
did odd jobs I mean he did some side gigs doing some computer programming we pinched our pennies we just really we
just really tightened our belts and I I don’t get really too woo-woo and I’m very I’m a religious person but I don’t
really share that much in public but we did we turned to Faith we turn to prayers we turn to family
um we did blow through savings at the time we did have to borrow money through from family we did whatever we could
because at the end of the tunnel we could see the light at the end of the tunnel we knew that what we wanted to do
was the right thing we knew that what we wanted to do was successful we just had to get through the hard period and once
we did get through the hard period of course now you look back and you say oh yes it says but during the time you don’t know you you know you think okay
am I going to be able to make the mortgage payment and am I going to be able to pay the bills am I going to be able you know how many credit cards do I
have but we were just so determined that we knew things would turn around and fortunately
they did but at the same time we didn’t just sit back on our Laurels I mean we really sat down and we strategized and
we talked and so just to kind of go in a little more detail so basically what my husband does is he’s so he sells stuff
online that’s his part of business my part is the designing and the teaching and all that and he got very he kind of
niched down if you will I know you talk a lot about that rather than selling everything like all quilt supplies to
all people and being like a full service shop he decided Well what if we just focus on pre-cuts rather than because
before then online we would have bolts and bolts of fabric and we’d cut it out and that was a lot of Labor and so my
husband thought well what if we just sell pre-cuts like is there a market in that and now there is because there’s a
lot of a lot of people that do that so we sell everybody’s pre-cuts and then you know I I design fabric of course and
then I focus on just my stuff but that’s what he does and just as a side note he’s he’s very much an introvert he’s
very much behind the scenes we go to Quilt Market together but people don’t see see him they see me because I’m out
there sharing pictures and he told me a long time ago he’s very very supportive of what I do but he’s like I’m not
interested in the Limelight I don’t want interviews like people have tried to interview oh the husband and wife team and most people think it’s just me but
it’s really two of us but he’s like nope you go do your thing he’s like let me put you on a pedestal let me make you
look good he’s like but just let me kind of be anonymous behind the scenes and I said that is perfectly fine we’ve been
married almost 30 years now it works great for us and I’m like oh so you’ll do the hard work and I get to reap all
the benefit he’s like yes I will do
now to like talk to him and make him enjoy this conversation like I know he’s like he’s like oh no no
he’s like I put up a booth for you know for quilt con I was a vendor there this last time in uh 20 23 whatever Year
we’re in and he’s like Hun he told me I took my daughter with me and she was like my my right hand gal he’s like
thank you so much for not making me go with you I said no problem that is the secret if you want to talk marriage that
is the secret to marriage success don’t make them do what they don’t want to do enjoy them for what they are good at and
don’t make them do what they don’t want to do and you will be happy I love it so how did you get into fabric design okay
so that’s another fun long circuitous story so 2015 I write my first book and again because I don’t do anything
halfway that led to book two and three so 2015 2016 2017 boom boom boom three
books in a row during that time I was very strategic I knew I wanted to be a Bernina Ambassador because that’s like
my machine of choice so I got in with them I knew that I wanted to be a fabric designer and and specifically the fun
story about fabric design once once I had written my books um that kind of really got me on the map because that
kind of gives you that street cred kind of you know thing and so that was going really well and then I got in with
Bernina and Bernina actually owns bennertex Which is the fabric company that I designed for they also own a
distributor company that sells like Notions and supplies called Brewer and I do have a lot of Notions of Brewer and
so I basically use those connections between the companies but how fabric design came about this is one of those
really fun like Universe woo-woo stories so it was 2015 or 2016. I went to this
industry event that only happened one time I think it was called sopro and
um people from all over the industry came in to talk about you know if you want to be a fabric designer if you want
to be a shop owner if you want to be an author and at the time I was already established with my my national teaching
and my book so so I didn’t really need the beginning business stuff but I had had it on my bucket list to design
Fabric and I put out a five-year plan so this is 20 2016 and I thought okay my Five-Year Plan by 2021 I’m going to be a
fabric designer so I I go to this event people like Pat Sloan are there Tula pink is there Allison glass is there and
they are talking about one of four things they are talking about Fabric and then there were three other uh you know tracks you could have done so I do the
fabric design one and really at the end of that meaning at the end of the weekend I thought yes I absolutely do
want to be a fabric designer this is like really excites me so again I thought okay so this is step one of my
five year plan I’ll go home I’ll figure out how to design fabric I must have put it out on the internet I must have put
pictures on Instagram or something hey I’m at this conference this is really fun I’m learning about fabric design I
think I want to do it so I put that out to the universe two days after I got home from this conference two days later out of the
blue I get a phone call from Ben or text again you know they knew who I was because I was a burning Ambassador and
they said hey we like your style we see that you’re an ambassador you’re into this modern thing we have this kind of
modern division called Contempo would you like to be a fabric designer two days after I decided I want to be a
fabric designer I get a phone call out of the blue and so that’s where I totally believe you put it out in the
universe and it’s going to manifest somehow and so I said yes and then the second thing I said was okay I don’t
know how to do this I’m gonna need help because this was 2016. this was you know five year this was you know four years
and you know 363 days you know kind of schedule you know because I’m a very
scheduled person and so throughout the years they have helped me you know they helped me with the technical stuff like I draw everything on paper they put it
into repeat in the computer and all that kind of thing but yeah it just it came about and I always you know I always
think about like luck and hard work and how you get to where you need to be and my definition of
um what is it if I say this correctly luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity so I had prepared I
had had talked to myself I had done all this stuff I’d gone to this conference and then when this opportunity came up I
said yes had they called me a month prior to that I probably would have said no but because I had already decided
this is what I want to do then I said yes and then it just it all you know it all just kind of went downhill uphill
whatever from there and it’s been a wonderful collaboration so my first line came out in 2017 I just finished
designing my ninth fabric collection and as I kind of talked to you a little bit right before the call so I went into it
as a whirlwind it’s been great I love designing fabric but the thing that I missed out on is I didn’t learn the
technical skills of how to do it because it was all such a whirlwind like I said it was five years ahead of schedule and
so they’ve been helping me for the last five years figure out like how to do the technical and now I’m at the point where
I’m ready to do more of it myself so I I’ve said that this is my year of Education I’m starting to take classes
I’m starting to learn about illustrator and InDesign um I do patterns as well and I get help
with that so I’m thinking I need to join your pattern writing group you know because I need to even though my career
is successful now and established now I’m missing a lot of stuff I need to go back and I need to fill in the gaps and
so this whole Whirlwind of like 25 years has been like go go here and go go there
and take all the opportunities you can but maybe the pandemic kind of gave me a chance to step back and reevaluate I
love what I’m doing but how can I take more ownership of the process how can I put more of myself into the creativity
how can I not have to rely on other people’s technical skills to get me where I want to go today
it’s very cool how you’ve come about I feel I mean I could be wrong never say never but I feel like your journey is
probably going to look very unique from people who are starting off right now because I think right now they would
expect Somebody To You know you you’ve got a really cool opportunity where they’re helping you out but I don’t know
that they would offer that now you know to thank you I agree and I there’s this kind of this thing that I’ve seen
because I’ve kind of grown up in the quilting industry since I’ve been doing it for so long you know full time since
2006 but really I feel like I haven’t you know 2013 2014 is when I really feel
like it started getting going so it only feels like less than what’s that eight or nine years where I’ve really been
able to do what I want and what I would say to people out there is it’s been very much of a chaotic Journey because
it’s been like go left and go ride and go up and go down and it’s been a fun ride but it’s taken a lot longer I think
had I made a strategic plan in the beginning and been very well I was intentional but then things kept coming
my way way you know but at the same time I was putting myself out there I was you
know going to Quilt Market so I could meet people in person I was going to quiltcon I was spending my money and my
time and I was investing in myself but I just kind of it was kind of fun journey
to like go wherever the wind would take me but but what I was going to say is I could kind of get away with that now I
think things have changed and I think you have to be more intentional um back you know I didn’t even get on Instagram until 2013 I didn’t even join Facebook
until 2014. and so I think now unfortunately or fortunately social
media plays such a big part or the online presence plays such a big part whereas when I did it I don’t think it
was as big of a deal you know and so I think now not only do you have to be intentional but you do have to do some
of the things you know I’ve heard before you know you don’t necessarily have to do all the social media but you have to have a presence you either have to be on
Facebook or you have to be on Instagram or you have to have a blogger you have to have a website you can’t just sit
back and wait to get discovered because there’s so much noise out there you have to put your best foot forward and you
have to have some kind of presence so that when you do meet someone at a conference you know you have a place to
point them I mean case in point when I went to quilt con I didn’t even bring business cards you know people would ask me for my business card and I’m like
well just look up Krista quilts you know and you’ll find me I’d give them a sticker you know because it’s just it’s
nowadays it’s just so different than it was when I first started out and so that’s why I have to go back and you know kudos to you and kudos to other
people that are helping people make that journey in their business because I
think because there’s so much noise you have to have a pathway you need if you don’t know where to go yourself you need
someone like you Elizabeth that can hold your hand and say oh try this do this you know or I’d mentioned I’m I just
signed up for Bonnie Christine’s aversion course you know somebody out there who has more experience than I do
in specifically fabric design and I was a little worried like I’m taking her class and I want to take your class and
I was a little worried first signing up for these classes because I thought oh well this is like just for beginners people are going to look at me and say
what are you doing in this class but as I got into it I realized no no there are people in all aspects in all levels of
success in the quilting industry in the creative industry and again I have a lot
of success but I’m missing a lot of gaps I’m missing the technical education and other people may have the technical
education and maybe maybe an expert on illustrator for 20 years but they don’t know how to get started or they don’t
have a Blog and so being like doing these online courses getting myself involved in these communities it’s just
so wonderful because you have such a breadth and depth of knowledge and
different people are on different points in their journey and even if people you know no two people are on the same
journey and there are different you know areas in their journey and the beautiful thing about it is there’s no one right
way to do it so there you go that’s true and I well I am really feeling the woo
like it turns out I guess I really do buy into all that but putting it out of the universe you know and it worked out
for you like I do I do buy into that and I I have to address the fact that I
notice with you I I okay right I work with a lot of people who are growing their business and I I see all the
different personality types but you definitely are a go-getter have you been that way your whole life like kind of determined yes and I didn’t realize it
so one of my early back when I was kind of really getting my my national career
um going I wrote a column for the national quilting Association which is really sad they’re no longer in business
I have a side joke that I’ve done things for all these companies that are now out of business first time I ever wrote um I
ever got a pattern was in quilty magazine quilty magazine with Mary bonds that’s not out of business I wrote four
books with Martingale they’re now out of business so I’m kind of a bad lecture no I’m kidding Bernina better text you guys
are okay but uh you know so that’s my joke I do these things for these companies but it just Ebbs and flows but
my whole point being what was my whole point um oh yes I am a go-getter but I never I never realized that wasn’t
Advantage until I wrote this column for this magazine I was kind of unknown at the Times Like 2013 2014 and I applied
to have a regular monthly call I’m just talking about quilting tips in the their journal and when I interviewed with the
lady she’s like wow I love your energy I love your enthusiasm I love your go-getter attitude and that was so this
was the first time that I had done something nationally and it really dawned on me I was like oh this is just
me like I didn’t know there was anything special I didn’t know that I I was a quote go-getter this is just me and so
once she put that in word now I lean into it now I lean in yeah you know you want something done I’m gonna get it to
you as soon as I can you know you want something done I’m going to go all the way and I can’t not be me and so I would
say with that you know when people are figuring out their business not everybody has to be a go-getter or
gregarious like me but whatever it is that is you you know lean into that best part of you lean into that successful
part of you and so I do that I make a joke out of it when I teach I talk a million miles an hour I’m very loud I’m
very gregarious when I teach and so I try to be entertaining so when I give a lecture you know I loved if people can
laugh I love it if people can smile because that’s just my personality and I don’t I don’t know how to be anybody
else all I can do is be me which have you ever because I oh
actually even recently sometimes which is embarrassing to admit but sometimes I will look at other people who are doing
really well especially more at the beginning especially with Instagram they would do lives that they would hop on
and be really peppy and funny and clever and I was like oh I guess I better be that way too and I’m not you know like
I’m just I’m me and but do you ever have you ever found yourself it doesn’t sound like you do but have you ever been like
maybe I should be a little more oh all the time because you see because we all have that we all have that we have that
imposter syndrome we have that oh this person well they’re doing this and they’re getting success because of ABC
so if I do ABC but then like you said you have to stop back and say no wait a minute that’s not me like I’m not a
quiet person and with you Elizabeth I love your podcast I love your calm demeanor you have a great voice you know
you’re very you know organized or if you’re not you you know how to get people to help you out like I love all
the podcasts where you talk about your team and so yeah yeah we all get that I’m like oh well if I was a little more
this way and a little less this way but then again I had to go back and I have to say you know what doing that is like
trying to move mountains like that is not comfortable I have to go with my comfort level and kind of realizing that
has given me a little bit of freedom because if I walk into a room and I’m teaching and I Stumble over my words or
I make a mistake I just laugh it off and I just say you know what okay we got that out of the way you know I don’t
have to make that mistake again and so you know you just lean into it as all you can do yeah have you see it’s funny because
when I first started I thought I was a little more outgoing and funny and then having other people like oh you’re very
calm in this it was a bit of a reality like identity like oh my gosh I’m not as fun as I thought I was like Dad have you
had any of that or are you like no I I knew who I was no you I saw oh my gosh
you were totally fine I I was totally feeling the jealous Vibes when you um had everybody come to like art gallery
and you put that on okay here you go I look at that and that intimidates the heck out of me I’m like I could never
coordinate a group of people I could go and I could be the speaker or I could go and I could be a keynote at an event but
to organize it myself and that’s what you did you organized this trip you got all these people together you you’re the
head of your you know online courses that you teach I’m like I could never do that you know if someone comes to me
you’re very nice yeah if they tell me here we want you to do this I would I will do that but being the head
organizer that you are that’s a really good skill that you have I mean just putting your podcast together you know
bootstrapping your career everything that you’re doing coming up with your pattern writing course and your Quilters
candy community that to me is so impressive because I just feel like I would never have the skills to do that
but I appreciate that you do that and that is you’re really good at it well I feel like I want to give you a
hug this is really sweet we can chat every day love all the rest yeah so I’m curious
with your business what is the biggest piece of the financial pie what is your your what your main thing if you will
okay so it’s kind of there’s lots of Pies so the the online sales that my husband do that’s a big chunk of it and
then for what I do the designing the teaching and the writing the teaching is the biggest chunk of it because and I
realized that during the pandemic so a little side note it’s always good to find out what you enjoy and what you
don’t so I was out there teaching left and right then the pandemic hit everything shut down I tried the online
teaching did not like it because I cannot just stare into a screen I have
to have feedback so I did not like the online teaching thank goodness I’m out there traveling and teaching more now so
for me the biggest thing is teaching because while I’m teaching then it gives me an opportunity
um to sell my stuff too because of course I have my books and my patterns and so I will I’ll kind of I’ll give a
little insight here so I was a vendor at quiltcon um which I loved which was a fabulous
experience it was very successful I had my own booth I know you were talking about it you’ll have a booth there in the future totally worth doing however I
looked at my numbers I looked at the time I looked at the effort that I put into it and it was so good for me to
have that experience because I realized I can make just as much or more teaching rather than vending because when I’m
teaching they pay my expenses they pay my hotel I I bring things to sell to my
students that’s like a part of the class they buy my books they buy my Fabric and whatnot during class and then again
somebody else has organized it for me but when I had to organize and set up my booth myself oh my gosh the logistics
and again this goes back to like this just dawned on me that’s right up your alley because you’re an organizer I am
not an organizer I’m a doer and so or I’m a I’m a worker bee I guess I don’t know and so that was such a good
experience for me to have because I wanted to try it out and see how much work it was for the payoff so getting
back to yeah so product sales product sales are a big chunk and then teaching is a big chunk lesser of a chunk and
what I’m focusing on this year is my patterns so with all that I was telling you my big long journey I did books and
I did Fabric and I did all this and again with somebody else’s help patterns are again an individual Standalone thing
and so I’ve been wanting to do patterns for the last 10 years and I’ve only managed to get out about a dozen or so
of my own Standalone I’ve done stuff magazines books all that but my own independent patterns so that’s my next
area where I think there’s a huge growth potential is in patterns because a little bit of pattern selling that I do
is very successful and I thought okay what if I can double that what if I can triple or quadruple that so right now
pattern sales is one of my lowest areas of income just because I haven’t focused
on it but now that the other areas are kind of being more stable that’s what I’m gonna that’s what I’m looking
forward to in the future is really focusing on that so again that’s why I’m so glad I’m super excited I’m going um
to take your class what September is that when you sign up again yeah so put me you know I’m going to be on the list doing that because I figured that you
know again the gaps in my knowledge that I don’t have I would really like to put that into that effort so so just to
recap so product sales and teaching those are my highest levels of income and then right now the pattern sales is
my lowest I also get a decent amount of royalties so I have book I have book royalties I have fabric royalties I
actually have royalties I did a couple of curated thread collections with orophil so that’s been successful I have
a couple of craftsy classes that the last one I filmed was in 2017 I still get a good size of royalties so maybe
that would be three so one pattern sales or I mean product sales number one um teaching number two royalties number
three and then pattern sales number four those are my four main areas of business and in that order does that make sense I
yeah I really admire too and want to highlight the fact that well it sounds like you’ve conquered one
thing at a time I feel like and even listening to you I’m like oh yeah I should do that you know I’m like no no no you you’re being very intentional
like now that you’ve got these other things working and it’s like rolling then you can address the pattern sales
but it’s one thing at a time if you try to conquer it all you’ll do terrible at all of it you know
I’m very curious about the products what products you’ve created some yourself is
that right well still both of it so this goes back to you so the product sales that includes the pre-cuts that my husband sells online and um so that
that’s a good chunk and then my product sales so I’m sure people know this but I’ll just kind of I’ll kind of recap so
when you’re a fabric designer you get royalties on the fabric that you create
that gets sold and most companies I think are this way where you don’t get a royalty on how much is printed you get a
royalty on how much is sold so if they print 3000 yards and they only sell a thousand yards um and like 2 000 yards
has to go on clearance you only get a royalty on that thousand yards that sells and so that that can be decent but
you have to you have to do a lot like you see some some designers out there that fabric is all they do well they’re
releasing six collections a year because each collection is only going to have a lifespan and so I talked to another
fabric designer that told me you know I’m gonna say say something hopefully it’s not too controversial I hear I
already love it I know I hear a lot of talk that says oh there’s too much fabric out there there’s too much fabric and we get lost there’s not too much
fabric out there um if there were too much fabric out there then the market would self-correct
but the reason there’s so much fabric out there is because there’s so much demand for it so there are fabric
designers that are doing six to eight collections a year and being successful I do one to two a year so because I’m
doing all these other things so anyway so you get a royalty based on the amount that is sold but then if you want to you
can purchase it wholesale and then you can also sell it so I make more money selling my own fabric than I make in
fabric royalties if that makes sense and so for me the product sales is like I said my husband does everybody else’s
pre-cuts only I sell my own fabric on my website and when I travel and when I
teach and so together the pre-cut cells that my husband does plus my fabric you
know I’ve done what eight nine collections now that makes up a good you know sizable income of course you’ve got
Logistics you have fifth order fulfillment you have inventory so for some people it may not be a viable
option for us we have built our lifestyle around that being able to manage the inventory and that’s just
something because that’s kind of what we started with we started with the fabric if that makes sense well and you were
both CPAs so you definitely have this like logistic let’s keep track of this and that and that which I’m very envious
of well and I was you know part of me laments like I put this thing out a couple weeks ago online I was like I
really want to go back to art school or I really want to improve my art education because again when I was younger I loved art but I was always
told you have to do something practical so I studied business and so part of me like laments the fact that I didn’t also
study art but then I look back and I say no my journey I needed to study business because I needed to understand that part
of it and then my husband I actually never became a CPA I was like I don’t want to do that but my husband was and I
call him a former CPA because he he left that behind you know over 10 years ago but with both of us having that business
background it’s been very good for us and so when we had that fallow time you know when we had the hard time because
we had that business background we were able to Crunch the numbers and realize okay our business is not you know
bringing in enough money having that information at the time we could project and we could okay this is
what our shortfall is how are we going to fix it you know savings family odd jobs whatever whereas if we didn’t have
that background if we didn’t know our numbers it probably would have sunk us and so you know I look back and I say no
it is good to have a business background because that has helped us with that part of it now what I need to focus on
is like I said the Techno technical aspects I wish I had more of a marketing background you know that’s where that’s
kind of my my week area as well but you know I just look back and I say don’t you can’t ever go back you can’t ever
change things all you can do is start from now what are the skills that you have now what are the desires that you
have now how can you start now and make tomorrow better you know don’t look at yesterday look at tomorrow what can I do
today so that tomorrow’s better what can I do tomorrow so the next thing’s better and in that way I try to be an optimist
because at the end of the day going back to this yes I’m a go-getter I’m very driven I don’t accept no as an answer I
just if I ever hear no which I do here I say oh okay so now let me go to the next
person who will say yes I don’t ever say oh this one person told me no and now my my career is over I say okay well that
person said no that’s fine let me find somebody that will say yes and that’s kind of my philosophy and that that
works for me you know do you ever I’m curious this is me now projecting myself
on you but if someone says no it doesn’t even hurt my feelings it actually gives
me a fire to like I want them to want me down the road like I’m going to make
myself so desirable that they will say yes down the road does that happen to you or absolutely I it does hurt my
feelings for five minutes for five minutes maybe ten and then I move on and I say okay now that will light a fire
under my belly and now I’m going to prove them wrong and so it’s it’s that kind of I guess I rub up against that
it’s like you you tell me you tell me no okay now I’m gonna do it 10 times harder and so exactly yeah it does motivate me
after after the five minute cry then I’m like okay now now how am I gonna do it better it is interesting how it
motivates and I’m not sure that it’s like a healthy attribute you know what whatever it motivates me so it gets the
job done exactly I love it well this is awesome so if our listeners want to find you where’s the
best place to find you just Krista quilts with the ch um
c-h-r-i-s-t-a-q-u-i-l-t-s though I do own domain names with misspellings because when sorry any story I have to
share so my email and I’ll put this out there too you guys can email me you can find me Krista quilts everywhere my
email is Krista so my my name appears twice I will get people
saying dear Krista with a K even though they got my email address right so I own
all the domain names with all the misspellings of my name so you will find me even if you spell Krista incorrectly
but yeah Krista quilts everywhere and you know what I’m an open book if anybody wants advice or wants
hand-holding or just needs a high five or a hug I’m here for you nice well so are you gonna go to quilt
con now or when will I see you in real life yes yes I will be so I will be at Quilt Market in the fall okay I have a
new line of fabric debuting then I will be at quiltcon next year and the modern quilt Guild knows this quilt con changed
my life I go I go to every single quilt con I I build my schedule my teaching
schedule around it sometimes I teach sometimes I volunteer I just go to that show because it is so fun it is unlike
any other show and even if you’re not into modern quilts the vibe and the community that is there is just amazing
so yeah I will see you either at Market or quilt con whenever whenever you’re going to head out there it’ll be awesome yeah well I’m in Houston so I’ll be here
for sure but I will say on the modern quilt thing because I have some friends who are a bit older more traditional and
they’re like oh the modern quilt Guild I don’t know that’s for me I’m like no no it is like yes there’s some really funky
stuff but just the vibe the connection but there’s also things that are surprisingly more traditional if you
will so I feel like it’s for everybody but I guess the last thing I’ll end on
quilting the reason the number one reason I love quilting is there’s something for everyone no matter your
style no matter your personal taste no matter what whatever motivates you there
you know what do they say you know there’s an app for that there’s a quilt for that whatever you like there’s a
quilt for that and you belong in the quilting Community whether you’re a hobbyist whether you want it to be your
job whether you just want to admire I had ladies that I was friends with in my traditional quilt Guild in Las Vegas
some of them don’t even quilt they just go there for the community so no matter what you like about quilting there is
room for you and there’s something for everything and something to love that that is beautiful well thank you so much
I love chatting I’m already looking forward to seeing you and in person again anytime my pleasure
[Music] Krista thank you so much for being here for sharing your story with which is
awesome and an inspiration and you were just so sweet and kind and I loved it
thank you for being a guest on the podcast and I’m really excited to see you I think it’s going to be in the fall
in Houston at Quilt Market so thank you again for being here if you do not
follow Krista go and take a look at her account on Instagram which is Krista
quilts c-h-r-i-s-t-a quilts and be sure to check out the fabric she designs her
patterns her Notions all the things and thank you again Krista for being here for sharing with us what is possible in
this quilting industry I love it and next week join me right here again on
the crafted career podcast I’ll be announcing the winners and I’m excited to have mod of the Retro quilter as a
guest on the podcast we’ll see you next Friday until then have a lovely week
[Music] foreign foreign


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