Women's History Month Spotlight: Missouri Star Quilt Company
In celebration of Women's History Month, we reached out to female business owners and invited them to share their stories. In this spotlight, we spoke with Jenny Doan of Missouri Star Quilt Company who shared her experiences as a small business owner.
What inspired you to start your own business?
We lost most of our retirement in 2008 from the recession and needed to do something to recoup that. The kids bought me a quilt machine and we were off!
What was the biggest hurdle you faced when starting your business? How did you overcome it?
I think our biggest hurdle was handling growth. Once we got too big to do everything ourselves, we had to hire the right people to represent us and keep our customers happy, while preserving the culture of our small family business.
What is something you wish you had known before starting your small business?
We want our efforts to be successful but we forget to give ourselves the best fuel. If I had realized how much it was going to require of me, I would have taken better care of myself from the beginning.
How would you encourage other women small business owners to support each other?
Just support each other. You can accomplish so much more when you help each other instead of competing with each other. We're all doing something different and in our own way.
What’s been your #1 marketing tool for getting new customers?
YouTube! People who want to learn a skill like quilting might feel more comfortable trying it out for the first time in the privacy of their own home. Once they feel confident, they will venture out, become a part of the quilting community, and shop.
What is your hope for the future of small businesses?
I hope that small businesses can continue to thrive and keep our small communities alive. We need them.
What’s the best piece of advice you received when starting your small business?
Make sure you have your happiest, most cheerful people working the front of your store. Those are the people your customers will remember. Grumpiness and apathy can be a poison for your business.
What do you still want to learn as a small business owner?
How to better manage my time. When you start a new business, you have to put your heart, your soul, and so much time into it. The work becomes your life. In 2017, my focus is to find more balance in my life.