Power to the (Quilting) People Through Crowd-Sourced Fundraising

Putting money to artistic use:  Candace Kling showed me how to make origami shirts out of currency. (The heart and shirt w/tie were purchased by C.K.)
Putting money to artistic use: Candace Kling* showed me how to make tiny origami shirts out of currency.
(The heart and shirt w/tie were purchased by C.K.)

When one of our local quilt shop owners announced recently that she was looking to sell her business by the end of the summer, two of her staffers decided to see if they could find a way to keep the popular shop open. Just recently, they set up a crowd-sourced fundraising campaign to help purchase the shop. It’s a bold move, and one that’s been somewhat confusing to area quilters.

Typically, they’ve been asking what fundraising venues like Kickstarter.com or Indiegogo.com have to do with our local sewing crafts. Why should they contribute to save one shop when there are several great stores in our area? All good questions, especially when hard-earned $$$ are exchanging hands.

As it turns out, crowd-sourced fundraising campaigns are a rising trend, especially in challenging economic times when funds from grant writing have dried up and banks are slow to approve start-up loans for new businesses. Even though these crowd-sourced fundraising campaigns can be hard to get a fix on, they can significantly empower consumers by saving a much-loved resource from extinction or helping finance a brave new venture.

Just a few months ago, an email campaign saved the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles from sudden closure and bought the museum valuable time to improve its capital-raising efforts. A relative newbie on newsstands, Generation Q, raised capital via a successful Kickstarter campaign to finance its migration from an online to a print magazine, while the team behind the nine-part documentary, Why Quilts Matter: History, Art & Politics, which Darra wrote about in an earlier post, helped fund the development and publication of a companion discussion guide through a Kickstarter campaign as well.

A Week at a Glance (49" x 60"), by Jean Ray Laury, 2005; wool, felt, paint, floss. This wonderful, humorous quilt appears in Why Quilts Matter - Episode 2: Quilts Bring History Alive.
A Week at a Glance (49″ x 60″), by Jean Ray Laury, 2005; wool, felt, paint, floss. This wonderful, humorous quilt appears in Why Quilts Matter – Episode 2: Quilts Bring History Alive.

If you run across a crowd-sourced fundraising appeal and are considering a donation, be sure to do your research first. Visit the crowd-sourcing site (Kickstarter or Indiegogo.com, for example) and check its operating policies. It’s important that you do this in addition to visiting the fundraiser’s site. When you’re clear on the operating policy of the crowd-sourcing agency—and they are all different—carefully review the fundraiser’s proposal, and evaluate for yourself the completeness and worthiness of the request.

Tempting fabrics for quilt and sewing projects at Wooden Gate Quilts.
Tempting fabrics for quilt and sewing projects at Wooden Gate Quilts.

Keeping Quilting Alive and Thriving

Here’s my personal take:  every quilt or craft shop closure (add bookstores too) makes me sad. It’s not just the loss of a creative haven; it’s the broader effect of that ending to micro and home-based businesses. When a quilt shop shutters, quilting teachers, pattern designers, long-armers, custom sewers, and other crafters/artists who connect to clients and establish business relationships within the shop’s radius lose a valuable point of contact.

I’m an advocate of smaller independent shops and homegrown businesses because they bring far more to their communities than they take out—they have a stake in the well-being of the neighborhoods and they employ locals, plus they are unique representations of their owners’ personalities and tastes. Viva quilt stores and their intrepid shopkeepers!

Attention San Francisco Bay Area quilters: click here if you want to learn more about the campaign to save a Bay Area quilt shop.

*Revisit my Candace Kling posts here and here.

J-Signature

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10 thoughts on “Power to the (Quilting) People Through Crowd-Sourced Fundraising

    1. Thanks Pati! I don’t want quilt stores to become extinct. Sure it’s fun to shop online, but it’s much better to touch fabric and look for serendipitous combos of bolts in a shop.

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  1. I’ve got to youtube how to fold money like that before the tooth fairy comes again, it’s darling!
    I hope they are successful in keeping the store open, we lost our local scrapbooking business this year, there just isn’t enough traffic to keep some of these small places going up against the big chain stores and the internet. Sad really, as personal contact is taken out of the equation, and the fun of looking and touching everything before you buy is gone too.

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    1. Aren’t they cute? I didn’t realize the extent of the currency origami fad. Candace introduced me to the YouTube video of the guy in Japan who lives in a re-purposed garbage truck who is an incredible origami artist with paper money. I think “Japanese origami garbage truck” might work for the search terms. As to the how-to’s for the shirts . . . let me know if you find the instructions on YouTube. Best idea ever for monetary gifts! And, absolutely, I agree with your take on the small shop versus the big chains.

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