Thank You from AQR

As we reflect on the past year, everybody at AQR wants to thank you all for your continued support.

AQR1We’ve had a lot happen; we hired new members, we increased consistency of our blog, and we released our first digital issue. And we’re planning for a lot more to happen in 2018.

And some things stayed the same. We still enjoyed ourselves at the fall Quilt Market (and with our Schoolhouse Series), we still celebrated outstanding quilt shops, and we still learned new techniques to share with our beloved customers.

AQR knows we wouldn’t be where we are today without you, the reader. We take pride in being able to connect a community and encourage small business owners across the nation, so thank you again from the bottom of our hearts. AQR2

We hope as you reflect on 2017 you find yourself content with your successes, and everyone at AQR wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2018.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

 

Gift ideas for crafters

Christmas is less than a week away, but there is still time to get that last-minute gift for the crafter in your life (while not steering too far away from your budget).

  1. Hot glue gun: the crafter’s tool of choice. Stock up on glue sticks and glue gun accessories like tweezers and a bag to store your gift in. You can never have too many!
  2. Knitting kit: so your crafting friend can knit on-the-go. Kits come in accessible boxes and include almost anything you’d need to complete a pattern.
  3. Washi tape: to scrapbook or spice-up plain gift wrap. Throw in some mod podge, another crafter must-have, to save the creative in your life a trip to the craft store.
  4. Doodling notebook: or adult coloring book, depending on what your friend prefers! Keep all those wonderful ideas in one place or buy Creative Doodling and Beyond, a book that provides doodling inspiration.
  5. Craft storage: to inspire any crafter when it comes time for spring cleaning. Make it a package by also including a tote and cutting mat.
  6. Jars: Mason jars have more uses than can be typed; feel free to decorate them before to make the gift even more special.
  7. Gift card to art class or store: who doesn’t love free money! Enough said.
  8. Crafter’s book: look into staples like Martha Stewart’s Encyclopedia of Crafts, or purchase a craft-specific book for knitting, macrame, and more. The list is limitless!
  9. Wall decor: or wall art that would look good in a crafter’s studio. Whether it is something you make on canvas, a poster, or vinyl you purchased, a crafter is sure to showcase your thoughtfulness.
  10. Magazine subscription to American Quilt Retailer: the gift that keeps on giving!

If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Why Resolutions Matter

New Years resolutions can quickly become fruitless; why make a change on January 1 when you can make a change any day of the year? But, somehow, New Years resolutions are still around.

To some, it is the act of reflection that drives them to create a goal. Looking back at the year can tell us where we went wrong, where we went right, and where we got stuck in a rut. Reflection provides the opportunity to learn from the past and invest in a better self.

To others, it is a renewed attitude. The holidays are supposed to be the most wonderful time of the year. But often it becomes a time of body shaming (even though that pie felt so right in the moment), observations of selfishness (when so much money could go to better causes), and a reminder of all of those around us who will spend their holiday alone.

But a resolution is a great way to tackle one aspect of your life and transform it. Tired of feeling heavy? Buy a gym membership. Afraid to check your bank account? Donate money to charities in a friend’s name instead of buying them a gift. Feeling guilty that you haven’t done enough? Volunteer at a homeless shelter throughout the year.

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According to Psychology Today, these resolutions are what our brain needs. Goals provide direction and purpose. This leads to progress, which in turn creates happiness. And this happiness enables us to connect to people around us, providing a more fulfilling life.

So, maybe your plans to travel to Europe didn’t pan out this year. But making a new resolution can provide renewed positivity into your life.

New Year’s resolutions are still around for a reason. Let’s keep that tradition alive by setting goals to not only inspire others, but re-inspire ourselves.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Top 10 Self Help Books

It’s never too late to start caring for yourself! Read the bios of these self help books to see which most applies to you—or to a friend.

1. Man’s Search for Meaning by Viktor Frankl was originally published in 1946 and is in the top 10 of the most influential books in America. After suffering—and surviving—four holocaust camps, Frankl writes about how to cope with, and move on from, suffering, and how he used these skills in his practice. 1

2. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People by Stephen Covey is both a personal and professional self help book that includes in-depth exercises to put into practice what you’re reading. This landmark book teaches you how to live a life through integrity, fairness, honesty, and dignity.

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3. The New Psycho-Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz was originally published in 1960, but updated to include modern anecdotes. This book walks with you on your way to success, no matter if your goal is to lose weight or grow your business.

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4. Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion by Robert Cialdini is a book about why people say yes. Learn how to make people say yes and how to defend yourself against the same tactics through this research-driven read.

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5. Fooled by Randomness by Nassim Nicholas Taleb is definitely the most business-oriented self help book on this list. Used on Wall Street, this book teaches you about markets and luck.

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6. How to Stop Worrying and Start Living by Dale Carnegie is exactly what the title says; if you’re wanting a worry-free future then this is the book for you. Other tips include time management and financial planning.

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7. The Magic of Thinking Big by David Schwartz is yet another book who’s title accurately depicts what you’ll learn on it’s pages, if you reach for the moon you’ll at least land in the stars.

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8. The One Thing by Gary Keller is also listed on the top five business books and has won 12 awards. This book is about mindfulness, cutting clutter out of your life to be the most productive, and how to work on what really matters.

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9. The 48 Laws of Power by Robert Greene is a book that follows over 3000 years of powerful public figures and narrows their common traits into 48 laws to follow in your life. Read about confidence, humility, self-preservation, and more.

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10. Predictably Irrational by Dan Ariely shows how humans waste time and money on systemic processes in our lives. Whether you’re buying a car or choosing a romantic partner, this book exposes how humans are predictably irrational.

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AQR knows business owners don’t have access to an infinite amount of spare time, but pick up one of these reads as a gift for a fellow business owner or as a way to kill time while traveling.

*Note: this list was found at Medium.com, another blog founded by the creators of a little app known as Twitter.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.

Create your online presence

Now that Black Friday, Small-Business Saturday, Cyber Monday, and Giving Tuesday have all come to a close, you can take a deep breath and pat yourself on the back for surviving the busiest week for retail stores every where.

And as you prepare for the continuing busy holiday schedule, one thing to keep in mind is your online presence.

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Developing an online presence can be intimidating; especially if your business has never had one. But one sure way to ensure you are getting the most success during the holiday season is ensuring your website and social media are as on-point as your store.

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Plan ahead. Have a goal and outline for what you want your website to look like. Think of it as how you plan your store; your business’s website should be clean, welcoming, and easy to manage. Try to follow the three-click rule, meaning you shouldn’t have to click more than three times for customers to find the information they need.
  • Write. Write your own message but keep it short and simple. Feel free to use calls to action and advertise what sales you have going on. Make sure you tell customers what you can do for them even if you don’t have an online shopping option.
  • Seek help. Designing a website isn’t easy, but it is so important in today’s industry, so don’t be afraid to ask for help. The most cost effective way to build a website is through a website builder rather than hiring a designer. Check out this article for an in-depth review on which website hosts are the best for you.
  • Keep it professional. Make sure your website is heavy on visual content; but most importantly, make sure you’re happy with the product! Take your time building the website and try to keep your online brand as consistent as the physical store.
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Another important tip is to test your website on a variety of platforms. Ideally, your website should be transferable to all three. 

I realize the holiday season isn’t the best time to make a website, but with the new year comes new goals. If you already have a website, now is the perfect time to freshen it up! Creatives love to create, think of working on your website as another outlet for your creativity.


If you’re looking for more information to guide you in owning a retail business, subscribe to American Quilt Retailer today. Already a subscriber? No worries—join our Facebook group for insights and dialogue from industry specialists like you.