HAMILTON, Mo., May 3, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- Highlighted by Google for its values, honored at the White House as the small business of the year, and showcased on the front page of the Wall Street Journal, the Missouri Star Quilt Company has come a long way since its humble beginnings in 2008 during the great recession. The staggering growth of this family business has transformed the small town of Hamilton Missouri into what many call the "Disneyland of Quilting".
The company was founded when Sarah Galbraith and Alan Doan purchased a longarm quilt machine for their mom, Jenny Doan, intended to help their parents earn a small stream of retirement income. But this business, powered by a family beaming with ingenuity, was destined to become so much more. Alan soon suggested, "Mom, why don't we shoot a video of you showing folks how to quilt?" That first YouTube video was a stone that created ripples beyond any of their wildest expectations. Fast forward ten years and Jenny Doan is the most popular quilting instructor in the world, backed by the largest quilting YouTube channel boasting over 500 videos. Her high-energy, easy-to-follow quilt tutorials have garnered more than 160 million views and 550,000 subscribers from around the globe. A burgeoning ecommerce and brick & mortar retail business have flourished around the channel, employing more than 400 people in rural Missouri to serve a global customer base's quilting supply needs.
The success of the Missouri Star Quilt Company has revitalized Hamilton Missouri. Ten years ago, Hamilton faced the harrowing challenges shared by many rural towns across America—crumbling infrastructure and vanishing jobs. This was in stark contrast to Hamilton in its heyday, when mainstreet bustled with activity. In fact, J.C. Penney, who grew up in Hamilton, got his start there working in retail in the 1890s, and later went on to build the iconic J. C. Penney chain. In 1920 he even opened his 500th store on main street in Hamilton, paying homage to his hometown. Almost a century later this town of 1,800 souls sat haunted by empty buildings falling into disrepair. With local jobs scarce, people would make long commutes to the big city or just leave all together.
Missouri Star Quilt Company has changed all that—J.C Penney's 500th store is now a quilt shop named (appropriately) "Penney's Quilt Shop". Each month, this destination, dubbed "Quilt Town USA", attracts over 8,000 visitors from around the world, who come to shop in one of the company's 12 stores, eat at one of its three restaurants, stay in one of its two retreat centers, or attend a trunk show in their theatre. The town also boasts the world's largest spool of thread and has plans for a future quilt museum. It's not uncommon to have multiple tour buses roll in from locations all across America, often filled with international customers. After all, where else can you find 30,000 bolts of fabric in one place?!
Most of these visitors discovered the Missouri Star Quilt Company online, where the company earns roughly 90% of its revenue, shopping for a wide array of quilting supplies, including quilt kits, fabric by the yard, quilting notions, block of the month kits, and precut fabrics such as jelly rolls, fat quarter bundles and charm packs. Many check the site early each morning to grab the Quilter's Daily Deal—a unique quilting product discounted 40-95% every day. Missouri Star ships over 50,000 orders each month to customers all over the map from its 150,000 square foot distribution center
The success of the Missouri Star Quilt Company hasn't gone unnoticed. Jenny's children Alan and Sarah and their partner David Mifsud were honored at the White House as the National Small Business Persons of the Year in 2015. Missouri Star has also been featured on the Today Show, MSNBC's Main Street USA, the NBC Nightly News, and a myriad of other programs and publications.
Jenny Doan, who many call the "Oprah of Quilting", didn't realize how impactful her quilting tutorials would be on so many people. Every year she gets thousands of letters from people sharing how being creative through quilting helped lift them out of depression or ease the discomfort of a crippling disability. Jenny says: "Most people say that quilting is just sewing. I thought that way as well. But what happens when you make a quilt for someone else is that you create something that wasn't there before…and it changes you."
SOURCE Missouri Star Quilt Co.