Sunday, March 15, 2009

From 1 to 20,000: We're Celebrating at DCQ!



Good morning!

This week, dakotacabinquilts.com will ship our 20,000th online order!


First, a little history. In the spring of 2002, while pregnant with Matthew, I decided I wanted to make a baby quilt for his nursery. My friend Kathleen helped me get started, and introduced me to rotary cutting. I made my first quilt, a checkerboard design, by piecing dozens of 2" squares. I carefully arranged and rearranged the little blue & white squares on a makeshift design wall in our kitchen. In retrospect, the quilt really should have been strip-pieced.

But, I finally completed the top, took it to a long-arm quilter for quilting. Amazingly, I had the quilt ready long before my baby was due, so I stitched bumper pads, a matching crib skirt, and other nursery accessories. Soon, I stitched a blue and yellow "yellow brick road" and made my first rag quilt. (Matthew & Aimee snuggle on these, in the top photo).

The quilting bug hit me hard. Within months, I had a substantial stash of fabric, books, patterns & tools. I had plenty of unfinished projects, and a few finished ones.

Wesley jokingly tells people I decided to open a quilt shop because I wanted to buy my fabric at cost. To be honest, that thought did cross my mind. But, it was more than that! I wanted to share my newfound passion for quilting with others, and we recognized the need for a quilt shop in our rural area. Local quilters were traveling great distances to quilt shops, and many were shopping online for their supplies.

In September 2003, we wrote a business plan, borrowed $5000, and hesitantly ordered some notions, patterns, a collection of Western flannel, and some fat quarter bundles. Wesley asked how many hours a week I thought I might need his help. I naively replied, "Oh, an hour or two at the most!"

Working out of our basement, we started to sell fabric & quilt kits on E-bay, and at local craft & quilt shows, then moved into a corner of the Fried Photography studio in November 2003. Thanks to Dawn and Duane Fried’s generosity and help, our customers could shop for quilt kits, books, patterns, thread, and notions. In May 2004, we purchased a beautiful 2700 square foot retail store-front from the City of Hettinger. Our dream of having a full-service quilt-shop was realized. Our website opened for business in July of that year.

I'll never forget the excitement we felt when the first internet order arrived. Friday, July 23rd, 2004: Invoice a100001, we shipped $56.00 in merchandise to a quilter in Wyoming.

At first, we had between one and three orders every day. Larissa worked day after day to add more items to the website, and when she returned to college at the summer we had about a thousand items in the catalog.

As of today, we have 7000 items online, and we're approaching Invoice a120000, confirmation of 20,000 online orders.

We sincerely appreciate your business, and look forward to our future together! ~ The Dakota Cabin Quilts Family.