The/Studio: Introduce yourself. Tell our readers a little bit about who you are!
Brenda: My name is Brenda Miller and I am a pattern designer for the quilt and bag sewing industry in North America. I own my business which is called Among Brenda’s Quilts & Bags and I’ve been in business since 2005.
The/Studio: I love the name of your company! What does your business do?
Brenda: I design paper patterns, like sewing patterns for the quilting industry. My patterns are carried throughout Canada and the United States. Recently I traveled to China and have partnered with a company that will be translating patterns as well as manufacturing some of my bag designs for the Chinese market.
The/Studio What have you learned since starting your business?
Brenda: Goodness what a question. I continue to learn new things every single day. I guess if I had to give you a short answer I’d say that you never stop learning in your business if you want to continue to grow and keep your customers engaged. I’d also say that the trick to doing good business is identifying a problem your customer has. Once you see the problem you can provide the solution with your product or service.
The/Studio: That is great advice! What about your business are you most proud of?
Brenda: I am very proud of the connections I have made within the industry and the invitations that I receive to share my work with others. Last October I was invited to show my work and represent Canada at the China Keqiao Textile Expo in Shaoxing.
The/Studio: What an amazing opportunity! What are some of the greatest challenges you face with your business?
Brenda: I am very goal oriented and so am very focused on the designing task at hand. My greatest challenge has been to find people who can do the day to day tasks that take up my valuable time.
The/Studio: Where do you see your business in 10 years?
Brenda: I see a full line of bags manufactured from my original designs available in North America as well as China. I will also be continuing to provide paper patterns to sewists for their own sewing enjoyment.
The/Studio: What type of legacy do you want to leave?
Brenda: I would like to encourage others to learn to create their own bags from my patterns. To pass on a love of sewing will be my legacy.
The/Studio: What is the story behind the custom product that you produced with The/Studio?
Brenda: My brand label was developed a few years ago and is a literal depiction of my cat mascot Harry who loves to be among my quilts and bags. So there’s Harry on top of a quilt on the new label. Harry has become very well known to my customers and is easily identifiable. Harry has become the brand – perhaps I should pay him!
The/Studio: (Laughing) Harry is adorable! He makes a great mascot! How are you going to use this custom product?
Brenda: Currently the product will be sewn into shop samples used by stores to promote the patterns. The label will also be included in packages that include the hardware needed for the various bags. I would imagine the Chinese will also be looking for the same label so I will be introducing it to them.
The/Studio: Describe the custom product and what does it mean?
Brenda: It has been very exciting to finally have a custom designer label for my products. It’s nice to see my customers are very excited to have it available to them to sew onto the bags that they make using my patterns.
The/Studio: Do you have any promotions you would like to offer our community?
Brenda: Please visit www.amongbrendasquilts.com be sure to subscribe to my newsletter!
The/Studio: Do you have any upcoming events that our community members can attend?
The/Studio: I will be showing the bags with labels at Quilt Market in Minneapolis, MN from May 15th to 17th.
Thank you Brenda for sharing your story with us! We wish you continued success! Send our regards to Harry!