A day at the studio
Today's blog is by Michelle, who works with me at my pattern-making studio. She captures the hectic but fun nature of my business really well. Enjoy!
This is the second year that I’ve worked with Brenda Miller at Among Brenda’s Quilts & Bags and there is always something new to enliven the day!
My first lessons were in printing and folding patterns … lots and lots of patterns! Brenda has a wonderful printer that can print scads of pages before worrying about replacing ink, but that paper tray is always crying for a feeding!!!
Once patterns are printed for an order, there are other things to do, like invoicing and shipping. Well, invoicing is the simpler of the two tasks for sure. Customers order Brenda’s patterns and other goodies from all over the world, but mostly from the U.S. and Australia, but various clients have different shipping requirements; UPS, FedEx, International Air waybills, commercial Invoices … I had a headache for a few days while trying to navigate that learning curve! Writing a “procedures manual” has really helped.
Once invoicing and shipping have been taken care of, it’s off to the post office to ship everything out. Recently, Brenda added hardware kits for her bags to her many offerings here. Packaging hardware kits can be a nice break in the pattern printing routine!
Brenda has specials every week that she offers to either her wholesale clients or her retail customers. This involves gathering various goodies together in a box and sending the completed package out. This may involve sample bags that she has had sewn, patterns, notions or other materials. It’s always fun to see what the new offering is each week!
Brenda’s studio is in the lower level of the building and occasionally her cat “Harry” will appear in the window (he’s a big orange tabby cat) … you know it’s time to let him in for his food or rest - or nibble - on my hand!!! You have to keep an eye on how he’s looking at you and see just what kind of mood he’s in! Really, he’s a good cat. He just has a mind of his own like all cats do!
Other activities keep things interesting here. Sometimes we will go to a quilt guild meeting in another town or city where Brenda will do a ‘trunk show’, displaying and speaking about all of her wonderful quilts and bags. I get to be the assistant, holding the bags up for viewing and sending them around the room for a closer look. It’s kind of like a quilter’s “magic show”!
We also do some filming for the internet so Brenda can explain how to construct her various bags. It’s fun, but the shoulder muscles get a bit tired and we have to stop filming when the stomach starts to growl! We know it’s time for lunch then. Brenda has converted me to a vegan eating program. I know it sounds extreme, but really, it’s been very easy to follow, and anything that makes me healthier is a good thing!
After lunch we go for a short walk. Brenda is definitely more fit than me. We took a Pilates class together. She lasted through the whole 12 weeks but I sort of ‘finished’ after three weeks … oh well, I tried!
It has been a wonderful work experience here. How could it not be with such a variety of tasks and activities, both in the office and out of the office? And Harry the cat just makes it even more fun!