How you know it’s time to expand

Are you wondering if it’s time to grow your business? Check out these six signs to see if expanding is the best option for you.

  • You’re bored. Do the days feel like you’re stuck in a rut? Maybe it’s time for a challenge, and one challenge that will get you off the hamster wheel is seeing if expanding is the best option for you.
  • You’re overworked. You gotta make money to spend money, and if you’re doing work that could be delegated to someone else, think about hiring someone part time. With that extra time you could find more ways to make money.
  • You’re in high demand. Do you have to schedule orders weeks in advance? Are you having to turn customers away because you’re out of stock? This is a tell-tale sign to find ways to partner to make sure everyone leaves your store happy.
  • You’re profitable. If you’re making a profit in the hundreds (or even thousands) consistently, you are ready to expand. If your profits aren’t trending, then wait a while until they do. Read this article from Forbes to find out more.
  • You have opportunities. Has someone contacted you for a larger than usual order? Are people wanting to partner? Jump on that opportunity before it goes away (after all you never know when it will come again).
  • You have ideas. The best entrepreneurs act on market trends. Do your research first, but if you’re sure something is going to take off find a way to make a profit off it.Expansion.png

Expanding is exciting and can open doors for your business you never imagined. If you’ve been thinking about it, maybe it’s time to take the next step.

This article was inspired by The Small Business blog.


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Rethinking Burnout

Perhaps you read the title to this blog post and thought “this isn’t about me, I’m really happy where I am in my life.”

Maybe work is going great, and your relationships are too. You’re sticking to your New Year’s Resolution and you’re looking forward to the future.

But first let’s ask the question, what even is burnout?

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A quick Google search shows that burnout is defined as “a state of emotional, physical, and mental exhaustion caused by excessive and prolonged stress. It occurs when you feel overwhelmed, emotionally drained, and unable to meet constant demands.”

Reading this description may not seem like burnout is present in your life, but what does your to-do list look like right now? Are there tasks on it that you keep putting off?

You can make the argument that these tasks don’t need to be done right away, that they’re more work for little reward, and a million other excuses as to why you’re not getting to them.

The biggest misconception about burnout is that it doesn’t target just corporate executives and high-powered politicians, but burnout lies in the nuances of everyday activities, the same everyday activities that weigh you down.

Maybe to address this you’ve taken a vacation three months ago but have fallen back into the rut. Maybe you take time each day to do a self care routine, but the to-do list stays the same. Maybe you’ve figured out that those things may be fixing other things in your life, but burnout isn’t one of them.

Unfortunately I don’t have a solution to the problem of burnout. At the least, I do hope this article helps you to target the burnout in your life and inspires you to take steps to address it.

If this topic was interesting to you, check out this article from BuzzFeed News.


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Top Trends for 2019

You may have read about this in our digital issue, but the best way to track what’s trending in 2019 is by taking note of what’s popular at quilt market.

American Quilt Retailer did just that and narrowed the list down for you! Check out the top ten must haves your store should stock up on for 2019.

  1. English paper piecing. Popular in Britain, this trend is making it’s way across the pond to gain popularity in the U.S. EPP is appealing for a variety of reasons, including increased creativity and easy to do on the go.
  2. Hand embroidery. You may want to stock up on extra embroidery hoops as this trend doubles as wall decor.hand embroidery
  3. Kitchen. Kitchen themes were prevalent this year; as it turns out quilters love to cook—and it’s influencing their craft too.
  4. Fruit. Going off the kitchen theme, quilters are craving summer, with fruit being one of the main staples of the kitchen theme. fruit
  5. Succulents. Popular for several years in the craft world, succulents are now becoming popular to quilt as well. Chances are many of your quilters like to garden too, so selling some of these plants (and having them as a display) may not be a bad idea.
  6. The color blue. Blue is the new red. Shades of blue could be found everywhere, so consider expanding your store’s options.blue
  7. Pop-up shops. Inspired by the fashion industry, retailers inside and out of that industry are jumping on the pop-up shop band wagon. Have a go-to display and products that are easy to take to and from events in your community.
  8. Small piecing. Attention to detail is what crafters are all about this year. Pair patterns of fat quarters to make your customer’s shopping trip a little easier. tiny
  9. Characters. Everybody has a favorite TV show, and consumers want more of them. Stock up on your children and grandchildren’s favorite characters (think Spongebob, Harry Potter, video game characters, etc.) popularized by society.
  10. Intergenerational quilting. Turns out, quilting can be a bonding experience too. Check out your kid’s selection of books and kits to help inspire the next generation of crafters.

You can read more about what we saw at the fall Quilt Market in the December issue of American Quilt Retailer.


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Thank You from AQR

AQR Digital IssueAs 2018 comes to a close, we can’t thank you enough for such a great year.

2018 was a big one for us, with the continued release of our digital magazine, more work on videos, and two quilt markets all while juggling the life of a small business owner.

With the craziness of the holidays it can be hard to get away and find some time for yourself. But try to take some time to reflect on your year.

What good things happened? What happened that you would change? What changes did you make that worked? What are you most excited about in the future? AQR Heidi

American Quilt Retailer knows we couldn’t do what we love without you, so thank you for being such loyal followers. We have excited things in store for 2019 and hope you’ll enjoy it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it.

Happy holidays and we wish you a happy, healthy, and prosperous 2019!


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End of Year Tax Tips

As 2018 comes to a close, there are many things we would rather use the remainder of our time with other thinking about taxes. But the changes you make now can help keep the cash flowing come tax season. Check out these tips to help your small business.

  1. Find out if your business qualifies for different treatment. The next time you meet with your tax specialist, check if your status is pass-through and if you can switch to C-corporation. New laws decrease income tax rates from 35 percent to 21 percent for all C-corporations, but be sure to ask an expert if the switch makes sense.
  2. Pay your taxes throughout the year. Ask your tax specialist if you can pay taxes at quarterly estimates in 2019 instead of in one lump sum.
  3. Think about retirement. Contributions you make to you or your employee’s plans can be tax deductible. Check with your specialist to see if opening a new retirement plan counts too.
  4. Buy some equipment. This includes both new and used, and equipment bought after September of this year can be listed with 100% depreciation.
  5. Defer revenue. Wait until the end of the month to do billing or wait to get some services until January. On the flip side, if you have events or things you need to buy in January, consider purchasing them early.
  6. Give to a charity. Tis the season for giving, so why not get two birds with one stone and not only give back to your community, but help make your taxes more manageable.

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Hopefully 2018 has been a more prosperous year than the last, and gives you the problem to worry about what your taxes are going to look like. Regardless of your financial standings, these tax tips can help all businesses manage their bottom line.


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Pantone Color of the Year

coral reef.jpgIf you haven’t already heard the news, Pantone’s Color of the Year for 2019 is Living Coral.

Pantone has released the Color of the Year every December for the past 20 years. The color is supposed to reflect both trends in design and in our culture.

Living Coral is a shade of orange with gold undertones, and is supposed to be reminiscent of the coral reef. The coral reef acts as a water filtration system and gives shelter to a vast range of sea life.

Pantone said paying attention to the environment and our roles in it has become even more prevalent in today’s society. Living Coral evokes energy, something the environment needs as it’s natural resources continue to be depleted.

According to Pantone, Living Coral creates an “innate need for optimism and joyful pursuits” and “authentic and immersive experiences that enable connection and intimacy.”

This is Pantone’s way of saying our culture needs to spend more time unplugged and start living in the moment. Living Coral is supposed to evoke a sense of togetherness that technology lacks and can even take away from our lives.

Living Coral has already made it’s debut on the runway and in make up pallets, and you can expect social media influencers to start using the color more too. Living Coral can already be found on beach themed attire and spring pastels.

The pink-orange hue follows last year’s Color of the Year Ultra Violet, a color that many thought honored the late musician Prince and was a nod to politicians working together.


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‘Tis the Season

Make sure your store is the place to shop for quilt related gifts this holiday season. Check out this quilter’s buying guide for ideas on what to add to your store.

  • Travel steam iron. Not only is the quilter in your life going to love this gift, but you’ll stay well within budget with this item costing just $20.00.
  • Foldaway cutting mat. Whether you quilt on the go or occasionally at home, storing this foldaway mat won’t be a problem (and is the best part about this gift).
  • Quilt organizer. This gift is going to take a little bit of intel to know what exactly your recipient would use the most. Do some investigating to find out what your loved one is wanting or what they already use.
  • Quilt caddy. Organizing is the name of the game this holiday season, if you’ve got room to splurge package this gift with the quilt organizer to make your quilter’s day.
  • Thread. A classic gift never goes out of style and is guaranteed to be something they use (and need).
  • Quilt starter set. Definitely targeted to the younger crowd, this gift is to inspire children and grandchildren to get in with mom and grandma on all the fun.
  • Mini quilt kit. Give an easy project to keep your loved one busy this winter with a kit to make a mini quilt. If the quilter wants to share the love they could easily regift this mini quilt, too.
  • Rotating cutting mat. Long time quilters will have no idea this is what they’ve always been needing, surprise them with this new take on a conventional tool.

Figuring out what the best gift to give someone can be one of the hardest decisions around the holidays. Make sure your store helps to make the process easier for customers.


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