How about creating an APQS Professional Long Arm Quilters Association?


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This is in response to the long thread on fears about the new domestic quilting frame systems by Viking/Pfaff.

Has anyone ever thought of organizing a national long arm quilter's association? Perhaps there is one that already exists? Through annual dues, an organization like this could conduct formal market research to formally assess the market potential for professional long arm quilting from year to year.

I understand these machines are an 'investment' for alot of people. IF anyone at APQS is reading this, that would be a wonderful service for your buyers, to establish an annual survey of quilters with a few basic questions on type of machine used, estimated number of quilts requiring professional quilting services, etc. There are surveys like this conducted to estimate demand for quilt fabric buying that I've seen posted at the Quilt Inc. website:

Link to PDF file:

http://www.quilts.com/pressreleases/Quilting%20In%20America%20Survey.pdf

If a large percentage of APQS owners are using their machines for a business, if you form your own association, and collect a small amount in dues from everyone, you could commission your own survey that could provide some really informative information on what your market really looks like from year to year and help you understand and respond to changing market conditions.

Here are some questions that you could address with the data that you could collect from this kind of initiative:

1.) What is the average dollar amount spent on professional long arm quilting per year?

2.) What is the average dollar amount per quilt spent on professional long arm quilting services?

3.) What are the key factors in a quilter's decision making process that lead them to commission the work of a professional long arm quilter?

4.) What are the customer segments that commission long arm quilting services, and by size? How can we profile them as distinctive segments with specific needs?

It would be really great to get a database started that collects this kind of information so anyone who has a concern about a new trend could look to this information as a source of support for their business planning. This kind of database could tell you if demand for long arm quilting services is being impacted by new market developments, so that you can be responsive to any kind of changing market conditions.

Also, one final thought. If you are experiencing a loss of demand for your services, you could always do a mini-survey of your own, informally, through your website with visitors and customers, or through a local quilt shop using a paper based survey. It can help you try to understand the conditions in your local market and help you respond to those with new marketing messages that appeal to your customer base. For example, the original post was alarmed about new home quilting frame purchases by her customers - from the information in the replies, I would have concluded that home quilting frame owners are one customer segment that you need to appeal to through your marketing efforts - ie. "Large quilts never a problem, discounts offered for multiple orders" or any kind of message that appeals to that customer segment to help win them back, in a way that works for your business.

If anyone is interested, you can create your own informal web based survey at no cost through: http://www.vizu.com/

I hope this helps.

Kathy :)

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Thanks Linda, I had seen their site before. My understanding is their mission is focused on education and machine sales - it seems more like a trade convention rather than an industry association.

What I was thinking about was a professional association of long arm business owners that works on behalf of members to help them promote their collective interests as business owners.

The Quilt Inc. people do this for fabric buyers and sellers and they have their big annual event in Houston.

Is the IMQA the only venue you have as a long arm quilter?

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Actually, we have several. They are called chat groups, and most of them do not charge a fee (Longarm Chat does have a subscription fee, but it's minimal). We talk, give each other advice on quilting, insurance, getting business, etc. As a matter of fact, this is one of the great groups right here. If you're more comfortable with databases, etc., there may be folks who are interested in that. I think a lot of quilters already belong to IMQA, AQS, and other large organizations that give them a pretty good idea of the direction of the quilting business.

Linda

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Thanks Linda, its not that I'm more comfortable with databases, it just seemed like there was no one out there providing that kind of data to quilters who seem to have alot of fears and anxieties and I felt for them and wanted to see if anyone out there was collecting the kind of data that could help alleviate their concerns!

Kathy

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In case anyone is interested, here is a link to Studio Art Quilt Associates, which provides a national forum for promoting Quilt Artists:

http://www.saqa.com/

They are not so much a self help organization, but rather an artist promotion organization, organized around the following goals:

1) Promote art quilts to major art publications, museums, and galleries

Educate the public about art quilts

2) Serve as a forum for the professional development of quilt artists

3) Act as a resource for curators, dealers, consultants, teachers, students, and collectors

Here are some of the cool things they have done as a collective:

A professional artist member category was established to provide artists with the opportunity to be included in a portfolio program. Portfolios were designed to present the work of the professional artist members to galleries, collectors, art directors, consultants, magazine, and other venues.

Volunteer regional representatives spread the word about SAQA and as membership grew, regional exhibits were organized to showcase the work of artist members. Oregon, Pennsylvania, and Texas were the location of some of these exhibits.

In 1992, SAQA established an Art in Public Places registry to document the installation of art quilts hung in corporations, institutions, and public agencies across the country. The purpose of this registry was to increase market awareness of art quilts as desirable works of art. The registry list is long (200+) and continues to grow.

A registry of art quilts in permanent museum collections was also begun. Its purpose was to document the validation and acceptance of the art quilt as a legitimate art form in the art world arena.

Art quilts are now part of collections in museums such as the:

American Craft Museum, New York, New York

Missoula Museum of the Arts, Missoula, Montana

Los Angeles Country Museum of Art, Los Angeles, California

High Museum, Atlanta, Georgia

Muse ArtColle, Sergines, France

Museum of the State of Pennsylvania, Harrisburg, Pennsylvania

Renwick Gallery, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C.

In 1993, SAQA and the Los Angeles County Museum of Art sponsored a symposium that featured speakers such as Miriam Schapiro, museum curators, conservationists, collectors, and artists.

In 1995, the first SAQA conference was held at Arrowmont School of Arts & Crafts in Gatlinburg, Tennessee. This 3-day conference included creativity-based classes, a national juried exhibit, and lectures. The exhibit, Diversity!, went on to tour the United States of America under the banner of Eastern Washington University. A boxed postcard-style catalog of the exhibit was published, and C&T Publishing distributed it.

Between 1995 and 2000, several 1-day conferences were held in conjunction with art quilt exhibits and events such as Quilt National and Quilt Festival.

In 2000, a multi-day conference was held in Santa Fe, New Mexico. The national juried exhibit, Exit/Entrance, was held in the rotunda of the state capital. This exhibit was documented in a small catalog published and distributed by SAQA.

The SAQA website (www.saqa.com) was developed to provide visibility to the accomplishments of the artist members through the professional artist member gallery pages, museum collections gallery, and the Art in Public Places gallery. It also gave members immediate access to information about exhibit opportunities, announcements of upcoming events and conferences, and other resources.

In 2004, two SAQA national juried exhibits, Uncommon Threads and Changing Definitions: The Art Quilt, hung at the Arkansas Art Museum and Arkansas Historical Museum in Little Rock Arkansas.

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