How does one spirited, creative woman with a background in theater go from costume designer to quilting celebrity? With the love and support of her amazing family, Jenny Doan, of the Missouri Star Quilt Company, started posting instructional quilting videos on YouTube in 2008, and since has become one of the most widely watched sensations in the quilting world with over 17 million views. Her inspirational story coupled with her expertise in making quilting easy caught the attention of Baby Lock, and now Jenny will feature Baby Lock machines in her videos and store.
The Doan family moved from California to Missouri about 20 years ago for a more relaxed lifestyle. In 2008, to help their parents save for retirement in the slowing small-town economy, the Doan children decided to start a business. The Missouri Star Quilt Company also became a gift for Jenny as a place she could enjoy her spare time in their little town. The company quickly became popular for its selection of pre-cut fabrics, the largest in the world. Today, the company is owned and operated by Sarah (Doan) Galbraith, David Mifsud, and Alan Doan with help and support from family, friends and the community. "I'm the mom, but not the boss," Jenny said as she joked about working for her children.
Alan Doan is experienced in helping start-up companies get on their feet, and he soon realized that there was a lack of help for quilters on the web. To fill the void of quilting tutorials and help advertise the company, he asked Jenny to create easy-to-follow videos and posting them on a YouTube channel, http://www.youtube.com/user/MissouriQuiltCo.
"It used to be that [quilters] had months to work on a quilt. Now we're so busy, but we still have to look amazing [finishing projects quickly]. I thought, ‘Oh, this will help women who work and have kids,'" Jenny said. She did not anticipate the popularity of her easy-to-follow techniques. "I get letters all the time telling me how I've helped all types of people from all over the world," Jenny said. "This journey is so unexpected. I had this little plan, but Alan could see bigger."
These videos became extremely popular, now with over 17 million views, and the Missouri Star Quilt Company developed a strong following. In fact, just this January, Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting released Jenny's magazine, Quilting Quickly, which outlines the lessons from her videos. "We're growing so quickly, but the flipside of being so busy is that we're so very blessed," Jenny said.
Now the store will also offer user-friendly Baby Lock machines to complement its videos. These tutorials will feature the Baby Lock Tempo, but Jenny's personal sewing area is also equipped with other Baby Lock machines.
As a costume designer, Jenny had always used a serger. In fact, until recently she used the very first Baby Lock serger. Now she has a Baby Lock Evolution ExtraordinAirTM Threading serger. Jenny also needs a machine with a free-arm. "I'm the only sewing machine in town. I do all the hemming and boy scout badges," Jenny said. For this, she uses the Baby Lock Crescendo.
When she's quilting off camera, Jenny likes a sturdy machine that just gets the job done. She loves all of her Baby Lock machines, but one has a special place in her heart. "For me, it's all about the speed," Jenny said. "I love the Jane!"
Additionally, fans of Jenny will be pleased to hear that she is joining Baby Lock's list of quilting "sewlebrities" including Eleanor Burns, Marianne Fons, Mary Fons, and Kay M. Capps Cross. In becoming a Baby Lock quilting "sewlebrity", Jenny will speak and teach at several Baby Lock events throughout the year. Those fans looking for even more from the Missouri Star Quilt Company will appreciate a virtual visit to Jenny's personal sewing room through online video tours. Fans will also notice that Jenny's sewing room is furnished with Koala Studios sewing furniture.
Watch as Jenny takes you on a tour of her Baby Lock machines and quilting space:
"My sewing room looks wonderful with the new Koala furniture," Jenny said. "There's so much room for all my stuff, and that machine lift is so cool!"
Six pieces of Koala furniture outfit Jenny's sewing room-each piece has a matching Brazilian Cherry finish. When she's filming videos, the Koala TreasureChest and StorageCenter is the perfect height for both cutting and sewing while standing or sitting. Jenny's other Koala furniture provides room for all her off-camera machines and a computer, too. With extra storage and a comfortable, custom workspace, the Koala Studios are ideal for Jenny's easy-going quilting style.
About Baby Lock:
Baby Lock has been a leader in the sewing industry for nearly 50 years. The company brought the first home serger to the market in 1964, and since then has introduced 14 patented features to the world of serging. Baby Lock also offers a full line of other products that enhance the love of sewing, including easy to use sewing and quilting machines, embroidery products, exclusive software and industry-leading Gold Standard service and support.
Numerous celebrities in the sewing industry prefer Baby Lock machines, like Nancy Zieman, host of the PBS television show "Sewing With Nancy". Similarly, Quilters Hall of Fame inductee, Eleanor Burns, represents Baby Lock's quilting line of machines. Additionally, Baby Lock machines are on set of Fons & Porter's "Love of Quilting" hosted by Marianne and Mary Fons. Other "sewlebrities" such as Jenny Doan of the Missouri Quilt Star Company, blogger Lindsay Wilkes, and more are all proud Baby Lock users.
For more information, visit www.babylock.com.