Virtual Quilt Market 2020

I am finally coming up for air after spending an intense three days participating in the first-ever Virtual Quilt Market. This is a bi-annual conference for quilters that was supposed to take place in Philadelphia in April, but due to the coronavirus, they did it online this week. I wouldn’t have been able to attend any other way. It only cost me $50 to get the whole package!

Tuesday and Wednesday, there was a different speaker every ten or fifteen minutes from 9:00 in the morning to 9:00 in the evening. There were two ten minute breaks during the day, and if Mark hadn’t come home for lunch and also fixed dinner, I wouldn’t have had any square meals, although I did snack whenever I was hungry! As I understand it, people usually only go to a few of these talks, but since this might be my only chance to go, I wanted to attend them all. This was their Schoolhouse series.

Today, they had a line-up of presenters that got to speak for forty-five minutes each and they often had a few minutes between speakers. They also had a couple of ten-minute breaks and a whole hour off for lunch! It’s a good thing because Mark had to run some errands in Green Bay all day. Also, the conference ended at 5:30 this evening so I actually cooked dinner!

I feel like my head is about to explode! I took about twenty pages of notes — so many, in fact, that I ran out of ink in the first pen today and had to switch to another. They recorded the whole thing and will make the recordings available for a month if I want to go back and re-watch any of the sessions. They also had a long list of vendors that would have been at the conference but instead included a link to their websites so I can go back and check them out.

As a result of attending this conference, I have a better idea of the kinds of information I could include in my business plan, and I have kind of changed some of my direction for the business. There was also a lot of good training on how to start and run a business and how to do marketing. There were several younger business owners who were talking about things that would appeal to the younger generation, like setting up a booth at Comicon to sell fabric for making costumes of the attendees’ favorite webcomic characters, and various social media sites to be on. There were older women with clever marketing ideas, most of whom suggested making kits to sell. There were men and women talking about COGS (Cost of Goods Sold) and linking inventory to your POS (Point of Sale) system.

Next week, I’m registered for an online class called Intro to Business Planning. What I learned at this conference has gone a long way toward beginning to clarify some plans in my mind.

After the conference ended, what did I do? I watched a couple of YouTube videos about starting your own business. One would think I would have had enough of sitting through trainings, but it seems to have whetted my appetite for more. I was really inspired by this conference and I have ideas swirling around in my head. I’m so glad I was able to attend!

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