“In the MKNG” Joins Bethel Woods Center Lineup

Screen Shot 2018-05-28 at 2.31.06 PMA new festival called “In the MKNG,” (think of the term in the making) joins the Bethel Woods Center festival lineup.

“In the MKNG” will take place September 29-30 in the notorious Hudson Valley at the same site that Woodstock happened so many decades ago. Although the inaugural festival is not expecting as many attendees, the festival nods to the same principles that once attracted so many visitors.

The festival will showcase DIY, creativity, and imagination and is hosted by the creative giant AFCI, or the Association for Creative Industries. The festival will include live music, food trucks, demonstrations, workshops, and more.

Research has shown that the demographic of those who refer to themselves as creatives is not subject to a single group. Rather, the type of creator is as diverse as the word itself. “In the MKNG” was started as an event for the creative universe to provide inspiration and education for them all.

Bethel Woods strategic location places it just two and a half hours from New York City and three hours from Philadelphia, attracting some of the nations largest creative populations.

Bethel Woods Center for the Arts is a non-profit who’s mission is to “inspire, educate, and empower individuals through the arts and humanities.” They accomplish this mission on their 800-acre Hudson Valley campus that was once the same location as the historic Woodstock festival.

The campus also includes an amphitheater and a year long list of festivals that inspire creativity across generations and demographics. The non-profit also makes it a goal to preserve the historic site and inspire future generations to also positively contribute to the world around them.

If you’re looking to become a vendor for the 10,000 plus attendees, apply at www.inthemkng.com, or email sales@inthemkng.com. 


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Crisis Planning

crisisIf you’re a business owner, you have probably already experienced a crisis. If you haven’t then great! It’s just a matter of time until you do.

There are a variety of crises that businesses should plan for; the first of which are the obvious—natural disasters. Set up a plan and make sure your employees know the protocol for storms, fires, etc.

There are some crises that happen out of the blue, and that’s okay. How you respond is what matters.

First take responsibility. As soon as you can do that, you can begin to get ahead of the game by responding to whatever happened. This response can come in a variety of forms. In the case of United Airlines, you could refund the customer. And in some cases you can issue a public apology.

Speaking of which, you should definitely apologize. And along with the apology, practice empathy. Put yourself in the shoes of whoever was affected and ask yourself what you would want to feel better. Don’t worry about the cost, because every crisis costs money, but the quicker you can respond to the crisis the less it will cost you and your business in the long run.

The time right after a crisis means everyone should be extra cautious. Monitor your social media like you never have before, listen to your team on what ideas they have to get you back on track, but avoid knee-jerk reactions. Your company’s brand is at stake but chances are your employees want things to get back to normal as much as you do.

Crisis communication isn’t easy but it is something you’re going to embrace at some point in your career. And the best way to embrace a crisis is to just be ready.


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Connect at Quilt Market

American Quilt Retailer is returning with Better Homes & Gardens American Patchwork & Quilting for another Schoolhouse Series at this spring’s Quilt Market!

The Spring International Quilt Market is May 18-20 in Portland, Oregon, and the Schoolhouse Series will feature three classes on Thursday, May 17.

Editor of AQR and shop owner Heidi Kaisand will be joined by editor of American Patchwork & Quilting Jody Sanders and Roseann Kermes to feature three classes.

The first class of the Schoolhouse Series covers something we all wish we had more of; time. Owning a small business can make it difficult to reach business goals and often interferes with our personal lives. This session will cover organizing, delegating, and making essential decisions to run your business.

The second session is as dynamic as the people running it. Editors Kaisand and Sanders will cover information for consumers and shop owners alike through topics like color options and products to inspire customers.

Lastly, Heidi Kaisand is again joined by Roseann Kermes to share how to make a staff operate like a well-oiled machine. A team that works well together makes victories so much easier to obtain, and thus an even more successful business that everyone can reap the benefits from.

Finally for the part you’ve all been waiting for… AQR is happy to announce the now-legendary blue bags are back, and the first 400 people to attend the Schoolhouse Series will receive one filled with information and product in exchange for a business card.

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Just some of the product to be featured in the blue bags AQR will hand our during their Schoolhouse Series at the Spring International Quilt Market in Portland Oregon.

If you so happen to be sticking around the Quilt Market, feel free to stop by American Quilt Retailer’s booth at 839 and talk to editor Heidi Kasiand about how we can make the issue better for you.  We love feedback—and conversations with other small business owners, too.


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.

An Ode to Mothers

With Mother’s Day approaching this weekend, we thought we would take a moment to thank and appreciate mother’s every where.

Mothers are an integral part of the quilting industry. We work with mothers, sell to mothers, and are mothers.

Mothers walk into our stores every day with their children and grandchildren; planting the seed for a love of crafting.

They purchase our goods and create memories that will be looked back on with love, appreciation, and nostalgia. And one day, those children and grandchildren will return to our stores with their own children to create those same memories with the new loved one in their life.

Nobody ever said that motherhood would be easy; we all work with a mother and some days seem smoother than others. But I’m sure none of us would have it any other way.

Take some time this Mother’s Day to thank the mothers that come into your store. Be mindful of those whose maternal situation isn’t what it ought to be; and show them the motherly love they deserve.

No act is too small, even if you don’t have a Mother’s Day sale going on simply make a sign to display in your store. Find some product that would be good as a set, and use it as that week’s mothers day gift. Or buy some special wrapping paper and wrap any mother’s purchase in it to add just a little more color in their life.

Thanks again to mother’s everywhere, and take some time for yourself today—you’ve earned it.


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.

The Wonderful World of Video

Social media can be intimidating enough, but the thought of video can make the task seem even more daunting. Even though it’s not easy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do it; read these tips to find out why outsourcing your videos is not always the best idea.

  1. The best way to learn something is by doing it yourself. It’s okay if your metrics on your first video post don’t compare with the rest of your social’s engagement – social media is learning by trial and error, which is something that should excite creatives!
  2. Nobody knows your brand more than you. Think of your brand as your own creation, you wouldn’t want to give someone else your hard earned curation to take a chance on, would you? Keeping videos in house means the style and voice remains consistent.
  3. Everyone feels uncomfortable in front of the camera. If I could explain why the second a camera is in front of my face I start second guessing every move I make I would, but since I can’t all I can say is practice really does make perfect. Give it some time and the process will begin to feel more natural.
  4. Outsourcing videos can often have a low return on investment. This is especially true if you’re just starting to experiment with them. Having a high quality video but not knowing what content people like to see is the easiest way to see your hard earned dollars go down the drain.
  5. If you’re struggling on content just remember that if you can’t come up with ideas, the people you hire to make a video will lack inspiration for ideas from you as well. Think about the last video you watched or searched for, then look around your store. With how much product you have, chances are there is something worth making a video about.

Like all other technology, cameras seem to get smaller and smaller. If you’re experienced, editing footage is easy, if you’re not the process may take a little longer. But if you start to learn it now, you’ll be a professional by the time every phone has the power to take high quality video (and finally ahead of the game).


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.

Team Building

We spend the most time with our coworkers; but how much do we really know about them?

The best way to relate to someone is to get to know their story. Businesses often overlook the importance of understanding one’s past; not only will employees overlook pet peeves in their colleagues to ultimately work better together, but these exercises can truly change the work environment for the better.

  1. The ball. In college my advisor had a ball with things written all over it. She threw me the ball once and told me to answer the question my thumb was closest to when I caught it. Create your own ball with your own set of questions—this can be as light or as serious as you want. Ask questions like “What sort of legacy do you want to leave?”, or “If you really knew me, you would know _____,” and “Share a defining moment.” And don’t shy away from asking people to dig deeper if their responses are one word answers or seemingly superficial.
  2. Speed dating. No, this isn’t a date, but more like a rapid-fire 20 question session. Set up team members with 20 questions to ask one another, and after five minutes, switch up the partners. Do this until everyone has spent five minutes (or whatever amount of time you chose) asking questions with every coworker.
  3. Encourage play. One of the hardest things to do in a workplace is to break down the barriers of being in a professional setting to see people create things together. One of the best ways to do this is through play! Although this is the most light hearted of the three team building exercises, it can change the work environment the most. Have your team create a video about why they love their industry, task them with building a tower out of marshmallows and noodles, or have them design their own board game! The options are limitless and the more you sell the narrative of acting yourself during the sessions, the more your team will buy into showing more of themselves.

The power of creating together is more impactful than it seems (view this article on the power of play, or watch this Ted Talk). Whether that be creating moments, or creating with our hands (as most Quilt Retailers love to do!) the effects of working together can make work feel more welcoming and more like home.


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.