Crafty lady turns offline quilting hobby into online design business

Kirsty Cleverly is one smart cookie. Nothing to do with her last name.

Kirsty took a passion for a time-consuming, hand-crafted hobby – gorgeous modern quilts – and turned it into a growing online business by selling downloadable patterns she designed.

A few months before connecting with me, Kirsty hired someone to export her four years of Blogger posts to a new Wordpress site. She planned to continue blogging, but needed a site that could also help her run and grow her quilt pattern business.

Pretty, but no

Kirsty got a site that looked beautiful at first glance. But after taking possession of the site and attempting to tweak it to better fit her vision, she discovered that it didn’t work well for her or for visitors.

When one is simply trying to run a business, or create great blog content, or design wonderful things, it’s hard to understand enough about the website creation process to know what questions to ask to prevent problems. So things happen – sometimes really aggravating things. Fortunately, Kirsty’s got the kind of attitude that is not only admirable but conducive to success.

Pick yourself up, dust yourself off

Grit - by Kirsty Cleverly of Bonjour Quilts
Grit – by Kirsty Cleverly of Bonjour Quilts

Kirsty invested time and money establishing the “Bonjour Quilts” brand, and one way or another she was determined to have a site that presented the business in a professional light and helped her administer it instead of getting in her way.

Kirsty found me through Fizzle, a community of entrepreneurs to which we both belong. She’s in the Brisbane area, some 9,000 miles and 15 time zones away from Douglasville, but we had a connection and the miles really didn’t matter. She was on a mission.

While I was sleeping, she looked me up, checked me out, and reached out to me. In the morning, I read a message that, while conveying the need to fix an immediate problem, was obviously written by someone who cared about – and had taken care of – the bigger picture of building a business.

While Kirsty was sleeping, I looked at all the amazing work she’d done – branding, designing and stitching – and knew working with her would be a win-win.

Princesses and fairy godmothers

There’s something magical about working with someone on the other side of the globe. Kirsty would wake up and see that her site had taken further shape overnight. I’d wake up a day or so later and find the content, direction or answers I needed in my inbox. OK, not magic – but great flow.

It was also interesting to have a real-time conversation when Kirsty had just gotten up and I was ending my day, and when I was freezing and she had her windows open. But I digress…

Synergy – the real kind, not the fakey corporate brochure kind

Kirsty is exactly the kind of person who gets the most out of working with me. She was a full participant in the project. Yes, I did the heavy lifting, but her design sense, knowledge of her business, care of the brand she was building, and her great way of communicating it all made everything come together in a way that works for her and for her customers.

Here’s what Kirsty wrote after we wrapped our project:

I appreciated knowing what was going to be delivered up front, and Teresa’s advice on what work would really make a difference to my site and what would just be a waste of money. I also appreciated the regular communication so I knew exactly how the timeline was progressing and the few things I had to do to make sure work could progress quickly. Teresa quickly gathered through our communications what it was needed in my site and what sort of site maintenance I’d be able to handle, and catered to that. She was also great at catching the curve balls (unexpected changes) I threw her way.

Two steps ahead

If you’ve worked to build a business you care about but your online presence doesn’t yet reflect where you’re going, maybe you’re already thinking about your next move.

May I suggest contemplating the one after that for just a moment?You know – the one where your business has grown so much that you’re about to engage a team of pros with specialists in each area of expertise required to build the best websites.

Your website – your most visible and cost-effective marketing tool – ought to reflect the direction you’re headed. To get there when you’re working with a bootstrapped budget, partner with someone whose skills bridge the gap between solo developer/designer and expert team, and be a full participant in the process.

If you’re at that in-between stage and need help with an online presence that cares for the brand you’re building, tell me what you’ve got going on, and how I can help.