Friday, June 16, 2017

Stitchography with Helen Stubbings

This week, my guest is from Down Under.  Helen Stubbings and I are both teaching on a cruise to support The International Quilt Association, sailing out of Galveston, TX in November after Quilt Festival in Houston.  I can't wait to meet her in person.  She does beautiful applique and handwork.
1.   Please introduce yourself (actual and professional name) and describe your areas of expertise

 Hi, Im Helen Stubbings of Hugs ‘n Kisses (I also own Pattern Press- the wholesale division of Hugs ‘n Kisses and also publication/distribution for other designers and Quarter Inch – my shopfront and caf√© in Hobart, Australia)  I’ve been operating as my brand Hugs ‘n Kisses since 2001 and specialise in a needleturn applique technique, embroidery/stitchery, English paper piecing and Colourque®. I have also written many books, two for different publishers and 4 self published and completed many commissions for various magazines around the world. I also design fabric for what was Red Rooster, now P&B textiles. Oh and I’m also a Craftsy instructor. 

 2. What is your background and how did you arrive at your current job(s)
 I'm a born country girl, growing up on a sheep farm. My childhood was full of music and craft but my first career took the path of music – becoming a professional musician in the Australian Army for 13 years. I married an army musician and being posted all over the country and without family support, once I had children I had to leave the job and pursue a transient option. Hence I took my hobby and passion of all things stitching and turned it into a business.
3.  How many hours a week do you devote to your job?
At least 70! And that doesn’t include my actual hand stitching time… to make it in this industry you have to treat it as a full time professional business, and now having three, I am well overstretched.  But my
4.  Where do you physically work? 
Mostly in my home studio in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia – at the bottom of the world.
5.  What do you sell and how do you sell it? (It can be a service)
 I sell my patterns and books, and I sell my products to make them – ie applique paper™ and a unique new version of English paper piecing templates – EPP Iron-ons™ – iron on leave in templates. And I sell my teaching skills – teaching around the world, sharing my methods and love of stitching. I sell directly from my website/s (one for my brand, one for my store and one for wholesalers), from my storefront, and through Distributors to stores worldwide. I also sell a little from my Facebook page and

6.  What are you working on now?  
Deadlines!!!! An Australian magazine commission, a group quilt for our Quarter Inch family entry into our state show, two projects for an upcoming retreat, a US compilation book project, the next fabric line and believe it or not, my new patterns/samples and booth display for Fall Quilt market – plus Im sure there’s several other things on my list!  Yep, I’m stressing just listing them…. Too many ideas, not enough time..
7.  What do you do when you are not working? 
Ummmm eat and sleep! Pretty much. Try and put some family time and friend/socialising time in there….
8.  Perhaps an indelicate question, but people starting out want to know - what are your income sources?
 Pattern sales, book royalties, fabric royalties and teaching fees.
9. If you could give one suggestion to someone starting out, what would it be? 
If your plan is that your business is going to be your income stream (and not just play money) then you have to make the decision to treat it as a business. Invest startup money – branding/logo, websites, brand personality and quality packaging and presence that all works as one story. Be prepared to put the time in – and not just to startup – it will be ongoing – marketing is the biggest time suck, but the most important necessity – read, read, read – learn as much as you can about business strategies in today’s world. You have to be up with them or you just won’t be seen or noticed.
Photo courtesy of Craftsy

10.  Where can people find you and/your products? (FB, blog, website, IG, Twitter, stores

Other websites:
FB: quarterinch

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