Updated: Oct 31
Podcast Guest: Becca of Sugar Sand Quilting
As a solopreneur in the quilt industry, I wear many hats – from pattern designer and teacher to blogger and marketer. In the years since I started this journey, a theme has emerged: we can achieve so much more when we work together. By leveraging the strength of collaboration, we unlock endless possibilities for our quilt businesses to thrive.
Anyone can grow a garden alone. Plant seeds and tend to them, and they will (probably) grow. However, a community can grow a larger, healthier, and more varied garden with a lot less work by sharing resources: seeds, tools, labor, and knowledge. The same can be said for the quilting community. By working together and flourishing through shared creativity and mutual support, we can sow the seeds of success.
The Benefits of Collaboration
Collaboration helps us to reach beyond our own social circles and even across borders.
Working with other designers and quilters ignites our creative fire. Sharing ideas and techniques lead to fresh design inspirations and innovative approaches to quilting. Together, we challenge ourselves to create ideas and patterns that captivate new audiences and expand our marketing reach.
Collaborating with other quilt businesses introduces our work to their followers. This exposure leads to increased website traffic, social media engagement, and more email subscribers eager to hear from us.
We grow as artists and entrepreneurs. Sharing insights, tips, and tricks enhances our skills and makes us more versatile in our craft. As we share our knowledge through blog posts and tutorials, we position ourselves as experts.
We create fresh content. Working with others usually means you have set times and places to share blog and/or social media posts. Having these deadlines can fill in your content calendar–not only are you writing your own content, you can share your partners’ content, too.
Connecting with potential collaborators is easier than ever.
Join quilting communities: online and in-person! Engage with quilting forums and social media groups. Networking in these communities can lead to cross-promotion and new partnerships.
Attend networking events: again, online and in-person! Make connections with other quilt professionals at various events. In-person events like Quilt Market or H+H Americas, or Zoom meetings and virtual classes through other venues are a terrific way to connect with quilt businesses you wouldn’t meet otherwise. These meetups provide opportunities to explore collaborations and gain more email subscribers through joint giveaways or exclusive content.
Partner with influencers: Connect with quilting influencers and bloggers. Partnering with them expands our marketing reach as they introduce our brand to their followers. Participating in “linky parties” or social media loops with other quilters can help expand your circle. Keep an eye out for fabric designers looking for help promoting a new release, or reach out to the company that makes your favorite tool or notion.
Ideas for Collaboration
Now that the seeds have been planted, let’s water them! Here are some ideas:
Joint pattern collections/blog hops: Team up with other quilt pattern designers to create unique bundles that appeal to a broader audience. For example, there’s a monthly event called Quilt Block Mania, where every month participating pattern designers publish a 12″ block based on a pre-selected theme. The patterns are required to be free for a period of time, and every designer links to everyone else. The key here is to tie the freebie to your email list. If someone wants the pattern for free, they have to be subscribed to your list.
Quilt-alongs: Organize virtual quilt-alongs with other quilters. Participants follow shared patterns, learn new techniques, and share their progress, fostering a sense of community and encouraging email subscribers to join for exclusive tips.
Virtual workshops: Host online workshops with industry experts or fellow solopreneurs, or even just coordinate a blog hop on one topic or process. Collaborative workshops offer diverse perspectives, attract a larger audience, and showcase different quilting skills, inspiring more people to subscribe to our newsletters.
Keys to Successful Collaboration
For a fruitful collaboration, you’ll need to tend that garden with a few things in mind.
Keep communication open and transparent to discuss ideas and expectations.
Coordinate email and social media marketing strategies to engage subscribers.
Clarify the roles that each participant plays. Make sure everyone knows their responsibilities and any deadlines.
Make sure all parties agree on the objectives. Clarity makes the collaboration strongly focused and helps with both decision-making and defining success.
Aim for SMART goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant, and Time-Bound.
Make sure the collaboration benefits all involved.
Promote each other to grow everyone’s audience.
Share your special abilities. Great at graphic design, but new to writing patterns? Swap services with another participant!
In the quilt industry, collaboration is a special strength. So, let’s cultivate a thriving community where our quilt businesses flourish!
See all of Becca's Quilt Patterns, here!
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