This week I received the finished paperwork on establishing my micro-business “Betty Jo’s Fabric Arts”. I have a few more more steps before I can start offering downloadable items, and those are getting a shopping cart arranged and filling the shop part of my business with items you might want.
As some of you know, I retired from my intense US Government job on 31 December 2012, and have been slowly pursuing my plans to open this micro-business ever since. My expectations are to make enough money to pay for my fabric arts pursuits, provide money for attending some of those marvelous quilt shows, have a little spending money for fun and to travel to see my family in California. Sew it is very much a “Micro” business. This will also provide me a way to share more of what I have learned in my sixty plus years of sewing and art pursuits and eight or so years of taking art quilting seriously.
The first three years of my retirement I spent largely in setting up my workspace and learning, learning, learning…filling in all those gaps that exist between expert sewing and expert art quilting. I hope that I will continue to learn. There is so MUCH to learn. That’s part of what makes fabric arts so great…lots to learn, lots to experiment with, lots to share.
The process I used to set this up, as requested by my friend Maggie: As you may be aware, over the past few years I built my website and blog, and shared where I felt I could. Last week, I also registered the website name www.bettyjosfabricarts.com with GoDaddy and connected it to my existing website www.bjfabricartist.com This past month I went through Legalzoom.com and set up my “Doing Business As” or DBA. The cool thing about them is by using their questionnaire and putting in what you want, what state you are in, and so on, they take it from there. They work out the paper work, they send it to you. You take it and get it notarized, and send it back to them. They deal with the government entities and send you your license. They have lawyers available to talk to if you need to. I think it is just right for a micro business like mine. If you are setting up a more involved business, you might want to talk with a lawyer and get them to take this on. But this only cost me right around $150, plus the cost of my GoDaddy and Blog accounts. Not so bad, considering. I’m sort of a do-everything-myself kind of person, so I built my own website through GoDaddy. There are some really good tax and record keeping programs out there to help you with keeping the books too. I use Intuit who make TurboTax, but there are several good ones. This is a vast improvement over the way I had to work more than 30 years ago when I set up my own fashion design business in Ithaca, NY. and did everything on paper. The bookwork was dreadful, and took a large chunk of time. Of course, then I had two employees, the hiring of whom cost me all of my profits for a while, but I will not have employees for this little business.
You may be wondering what I am planning on offering for downloads. My intent is to provide you with the tools you need to make the fabric art visions in your head or improve the projects you purchase from someone else. Here is my initial list and it is truly subject to change:
1. Embroidery items for your embroidery machines like trees, flowers, flags, other small items to spice up your landscape quilts, or small in-the-hoop projects. I am currently working on a set of trees. Trees seem to be something I have needed a lot over the past few years and I have been unhappy with downloads I have purchased in the past, so I am digitizing them myself.
2. Patterns and/or step-by-step instructions for building your own incredible pieces of wall art.
3. I am writing two books (or is it a series of worksheets?). One is on all the different techniques I use for machine applique, and when to use each type. The second is on surface design…painting, thread work, beading. It’s entirely possible these will boil down to a series of worksheets complete with some projects and step-by-step instructions that will help you practice, rather than actual books.
4. Digitally painted items you may wish to download and print on fabric using your own inkjet printer, such as faces and hands, horses ready to applique and add threadwork for their tales and manes, small characters for appliqueing on your landscape quilt. These will come with instructions.
5. And finally, worksheets with learning projects on using technology in your sewing and quilting studio. This would include, for instance, how to use Corel Draw with Bernina v7 software to produce a provided wall art project. Or using a digital painting program, such as Corel Painter 2015 and a Wacom tablet to paint and draw your own faces and hands, or horses and dogs for printing on fabric. Or even a project with worksheet in taking your advanced sewing machines through their paces to help you to create that incredible piece of fabric art of your own.
6. Videos may accompany some of the items above.
In truth, I don’t expect many downloads to be available much before summer, and after that, they will be added from time to time. I plan on putting just a few up in the spring to help test the download, and shoppng cart system. I will be looking for guinea pigs, ur, testers and reviewers for some of my things as they come out, sew keep that in mind if you are interested. Sew this will probably take me a few months to get really rolling even though I now have the structure set up…kind of like building a house. I have the foundation made and the walls up, but I have to put all the inside finishes in.
Sew happy everyone! Learn a new technique every now and then and practice, practice, practice.