Hi, I'm Jess.
In addition to quilting industry jobs like pattern designer, magazine contributor, (former) podcaster, and pantograph designer, I've been a professional longarm quilter for the last 9 years. I now run a membership of over 200 other longarm quilters called the Longarm League. I call myself the commish because if there are two things I love, it's shortening words and not taking myself too seriously.
Here's the thing, for as much success I had in my business (having a queue of 50 quilts at one time, working with dream clients, LOVING my work, making good money),
I never truly felt like I was "doing it right".
It wasn't exactly imposter syndrome. I felt pretty good about my technical skills at the machine. It was more financially speaking, tax-wise, making sure I was doing things by the book, even in the general self-reflective question I would ask myself, "Is this what other longarm quilters do?"
I totally winged the business part and it honestly didn't feel great. If someone were to ask me exactly how much I was making, I would have shrugged. It turns out that not having a system for bookkeeping... is not a smart plan.
The good news is, I've come so far and learned so much! I've educated myself and called upon experts to help me get my life right. Heck, I've learned so much by being part of the League and comparing notes with the other professionals in our community. I feel like a grown-up business person now who knows her numbers, is confident in her systems, and can help you skip the YEARS of winging it like I did.
Let's examine the tragically unsexy parts of our businesses, and get them in top shape!
And why? Why do systems matter? Putting yourself out there can be hard enough as it is. When you lack confidence in parts of your business, it comes out in ways that you might not even realize.
We don't want anything holding you back from providing the service that your clients NEED AND WANT. Even the ones who don't know you yet!
Let's face it, doing some of this stuff sucks. I get it! I would rather quilt, too. But taking care of this with other people and having some accountability built-in can make it suck less. 😂
No matter what your 'before' looks like, after taking my course you will:
- have named your business - I'll provide some guidance and inspiration
- learn more about the two most common business structures that longarm quilters use and decide which is best for you
- have your personal and business finances separated
- know common insurance products to consider for your business
- obtain your necessary IDs and permits to enable you to open wholesale accounts with suppliers
- have specific recommendations for which wholesale accounts to start with and what to order
- learn my "secret weapon" for consistent tension
- know my quilt loading tips that result in better-behaved quilt backings and straight-across-the-bottom quilts (even at the end)
- learn "the devil's-in-the-details" techniques that will give your work a polished quality that your clients will love
- get clarity about what quilting designs you should be offering and recommending
- learn my philosophy in pairing pantographs with tops and get guidance for developing your own aesthetic
- have a troubleshooting checklist of things to try if you have alignment issues on your computerized machine
- be able to look for efficiency hacks without ever compromising quality
- have confidence in correcting some common quilt issues like holes or fullness
- get guidance for times when you might have to communicate challenging situations with a client
- receive a list of our favorite "go-to" digital pantographs that are totally worth investing in
- get the Longarm League's top 15 easiest-to-use digital pantographs (VALUE OF $225)
- come up with your "menu of service" items that you'll offer and price them
- get ideas for establishing your workflow with clients from request to finished quilt
- GET A FREAKING WEBSITE - Seriously, we'll give you access to a SIX-page, fully-formed Wix website template made exactly for a longarm service business WITH an automated intake form (APPROXIMATE VALUE $600+). Plug in your photos, your services and pricing (we'll walk you through this and give you guidelines) and you're good to go! Or, we have an entire video series showing you how to build a website from scratch using Squarespace. You can adapt this information to use with another web host, if desired.
- be equipped to facilitate mail-in client work
- know how to invoice your clients and receive payment
- get multiple options to consider when choosing an accounting system
- create your chart of accounts with commonly used accounts for a longarm quilting service
- learn how to categorize your income and expenses, monitor your profit and loss, track inventory
- find out how to pay yourself and set money aside for income taxes and expenses
AND NOW, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER...
The nurturing will continue with THREE months of Longarm League membership immediately following Week 8 of the course.
Not only will we be with you every step of the way as you work through the course, but when it's over, you'll have access to:
• our community of amazing quilters via our Slack workspace
• every lesson we've ever written
• every video we've ever recorded
• every interview we've published with other longarm quilters or industry professionals
• a listing in our directory and a star on our map
• each new digital design that gets released during your membership
• access to exclusive pantograph discounts
• the opportunity to join a "business buddy" accountability group with other longarm quilters to stay focused and motivated
• our pantograph database with sizing examples and tips to use popular E2E designs from all over the web
• continuing community with the monthly League Group Call
We WILL be getting our Zoom on.
This is a big one.
When I say that we'll be with you each step of the way, I mean we will host a total of SEVEN (60 to 90-minute) group Zoom sessions over our time together.
These calls are all about your needs as a student and a group. If you need help processing any of the course information, if you need advice based on your unique situation, if you are curious about any other quilting topic even if it's not covered, this is the time and space we are creating for you to ask.
There is beauty and magic in these calls! It's such an emotional boost to talk to other quilters who are also chasing their dreams. It's so much fun to get hyper-specific about the details of quilting—and the business of quilting—that is unique to our niche.
Why it's worth it:
I cannot adequately describe the bliss I experienced once I really got in the groove of my business... but that won't stop me from trying. :)
I have this memory that sticks with me. It was all the way back in the pre-COVID days... April of 2019. I had a big meeting later that afternoon that had the potential to be career-shifting. It was a morning that I was working in my sun-lit room after the kids had left for school. It was an already warm-for-spring day and I had the windows in my studio cracked open. I was listening to a podcast while I had a quilt on the frame that I was absolutely in love with. It was from a friend I had met through Instagram but hadn't yet met in person – it was her pattern release and she had mailed it to me from a state away.
It was probably because I was considering making a change that I remember this morning so clearly. I felt SO aligned and happy in what I was doing, so grateful that I got to use my gifts to make other people very happy.
Do you want to see a photo that I took later that day?
Trust me, it was a difficult choice to even think about pivoting away from *this*, but it was also because of that opportunity that the Longarm League came into existence. So, I have no regrets!
I want to pass along the same love and giddy joy to others that I felt longarm quilting while getting paid for it.
So, let's get your journey started!
This course is designed to get your business started the right way - leaving doubt, worry, and fear behind!
Not only that, but the way the content is broken down will feel doable. We'll take things a week at a time giving you time to do the dang thang!
You'll have access to the private Facebook group, the ability to ask questions within the online course itself (similar to blog comments), you'll have my/our email addresses, you'll have scheduled Zoom sessions throughout. We'll get through this together!
Introduction (Next Available October 12 - Week 1)
Getting Started (Week 1)
Materials and Supplies (Week 2)
Quilting Techniques (Week 3)
Design Advice (Week 4)
Working with Clients (Week 5)
Catch-up! (Week 6)
Managing your Finances (Week 7)
Bonus Lessons (Week 8)
Frequently Asked Questions:
Q: My longarm just arrived and I'm really new to all of this, would the course benefit me?
A: Yes! We are talking to beginners here and that sounds like you! This is all about starting a business though, so hobbyist longarm quilters might be better served with a different resource.
Q: I don't have my longarm machine yet. Should I take the course?
A: This is tricky. Access to the course online lasts for one year (longer if you extend your membership), but lesson text is all downloadable. Ideally, this course would be best when you are ready to implement, but if your circumstances are such that you'll need to take it before you have a machine, I will not stop you! :) In fact, I've been told that if you are a person who likes to plan and need ALL THE INFO before doing something, this will work out just fine for you!
Q: I don't have computerized equipment and I'm not sure that I'll ever want to invest in it. Is this course only for computerized quilters?
A: I'll be honest, computerized quilters will get the MOST value out of this course. That's not to say that it wouldn't be worth it for handguided quilters. Quite the opposite! Of all the modules, Week 4 will be most geared to digital pantographs, and maybe one lesson in Week 3, but everything else is applicable to a hand-guided quilting business. Go ahead and look over the lessons again and ask yourself whether the topics covered would benefit you.
Q: This is a lot to spend, can't I find this information online?
A: Yes, to a degree. A lot of it is findable, provided you know what you're looking for. That is not always the case. There are also specific strategies that I've introduced to other longarm quilters via the Longarm League that they have deemed "game-changing". Realistically, how many hours, weeks, or (in my case) YEARS would it take to get all of this information pinned down? How much money did I leave on the table by not getting my systems in place earlier? I don't want that for you. What if instead of spending that time researching, you were able to invoice client work? By taking my course, you'll have a road map delivered to you AND you'll get a built-in community of support.
You are investing in a business you can operate for YEARS into the future. Once you get rolling and especially after you cover your initial investment, your longarm can feel like a money-printing machine. It's awesome! And perhaps—if you're like me—the flexibility of working how and when you want, cannot be beat!
Q: Is Longarm League membership included with the course fee?
A: FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, YES! In the past, I really wanted to keep these two things separate. Rookie Season was the getting started steps - the things you do in preparation for taking client work and Longarm League membership was Phase II - finding those clients! But what I've realized after several cohorts, is that in order to BEST SERVE new students, we need to go deeper and we need to give ourselves more time to do that. So, after Week 8 of the course, ALL students will automatically get access to all the archives and benefits of the Longarm League membership for three months. We'll extend a discounted offer to any student who wants to extend their membership access beyond that, but at a minimum, all Rookies will get FIVE months of support in total (two for the course, three for membership).
Q: I'm afraid I'll get behind in the course material. What happens if I can't keep up?
A: You will be able to go at your own pace if you wish. When each module is released, you will be able to download every lesson (including supplemental worksheets & templates) whether PDF or video. Additionally, you will have online access for a year.
If you are a person who enjoys a group aspect and the accountability that comes with it, I'd encourage you to work through the lessons when they are released, but it is not required.
My personal opinion is that there is SO MUCH VALUE in showing up to the Zoom calls. I can't tell you how valuable it would have been to me to "pick the brain" of a quilter who had the experience of building the kind of business I wanted for myself.
Q: I do not have a Facebook account, will I still be able to participate?
A: The private Facebook group is a bonus benefit to getting feedback quickly. It is not required. Students will be able to comment and ask questions on the course platform or contact me via email.
Q: I'm familiar with some of the course material, but not all of it. Should I take the course?
A: Check out this guided walk-through of the course. Maybe it'll help you decide? If you would like additional help, please fill out this questionnaire and I'll make a personal recommendation. Please provide context in the additional notes section about your quilting and/or business experience. Ultimately, you know your business best, so tell me what you are needing most and I'll do my best to help.
I do not want you to get into the course and feel like it was the wrong information at the wrong time for you.
That's why I'll give you your money back if you request it up to 14 days from gaining access to the course. You will be able to evaluate all of Module 1 and Module 2 in that time so that you can make an informed decision.
We asked our first three groups of students how likely they would be to recommend this course to a friend beginning a longarm quilting business. Using a 5-star rating, the average response was 4.81!
I have learned so much from Jess! One of the MOST important things she taught me was to price my services appropriately and pay myself first. Thanks to this life-changing knowledge (no exaggeration), I was able to retire from my full-time job and now spend all my time on my longarm career. I feel really confident in my finances, and have the know-how to manage my cashflow for success.Without getting this information at the start of my career, I would have wasted so much time... I will be forever grateful for the hyper-specific guidance, advice, and knowledge I have received from Jess!
"I have only been longarming for a little over a year. 😱 Around the time I got my longarm, Jess @threadedquilting started the @longarmleague and I signed up immediately. I was nervous about learning all the things I needed to learn about the machine, and starting a business longarming for clients, and having to figure everything out on my own (bc it's not like longarmers can go in the the office and chat with each other everyday). But I knew what kind of content Jess was lining up for the group and it made me feel a million times better about what I was doing here.
"Fast forward a few months and a lot of getting started lessons, and I'm VERY LITERALLY stitching up quilts that will go in a BOOK. And yes, that's Urban Quilting from @the.weekendquilter. Not only was it amazing to work with Wendy on her beautiful quilts, it was exactly the kind of quilting work I wanted to be doing. I've said this before, but I really don't think I would have said YES to this opportunity if it hadn't been for everything I learned in the first few months of the Longarm League.
"Rookie Season is a lot of that wonderful "getting started" content for people who want to start their longarm quilting business, wrapped up in a fun course format. There's a link in my profile where you can learn more about Rookie Season and the Longarm League, but if you're thinking about it/on the fence, I highly encourage you to check it out. Truth, I was also nervous about getting my own clients when I was already following so many talented longarmers. But seriously, there is more than enough quilting work for EVERYONE. Especially when we've all been at home making quilts for the past 10 months."
- Sarah Campbell, @stitchmodequilts
"I’m really just starting my longarm business and everything offered in the class was super helpful. It would have taken me hours, weeks and even months to research all of the content that was relevant to my business- especially with little ones at home. Even though we own a family business, starting my own longarm business was very intimidating and I had no idea where to begin. I was able to follow along and complete the steps as the Rookie Season content was released each week. Thank you!"
- Holly Smith, @hiddenwoodlandquilting
"This course is like none other that I've seen offered. Everyone is so supportive and helpful, and the course is packed full of information and details that are glossed over in other videos/resources. Thank you so much for offering this!"
- Lindsay Norlen, @lindsaypindsayquilts
"I am so glad that I made the decision to join the Longarm League. I knew that I wanted to quilt for others, but didn’t know quite where or how to begin. The Longarm League helped me to set realistic goals for my business, develop a strategic plan, and is also a vast resource for quilting tips and techniques. From learning how to photograph quilts and post them to social media to bookkeeping for a quilting business, the information is relevant and the community of members truly supportive and focused on helping one another be successful."
- MeLinda Collins, @melindaquilts
"I have thought many times over the past several months, since I became a member, this was ^the^ best investment I have made in my new longarm business. The community, the advice, the breadth of experience - it all adds up to a powerhouse resource."
"This was so incredibly helpful. I'm so grateful to have found it."
If you'd like to join us as a Rookie, here's how:
Click on the offer of your choice, (red buttons on this page - full or multi-pay) enter your name, payment information, and agree to the terms to complete your purchase.
I'll send you:
• Naming Your Business (from Week 1)
• Creating a Logo (from Week 1)
• Mindset Resource List (BONUS)
The course won't be available right away, but we can give you a jump-start! Let's get your wheels turning thinking about your business and your mind primed for success!
What happens next:
You'll receive a welcome email along with login information from Kajabi - it's the platform where the course content is hosted.
A week prior to the start of the course, we'll invite students into our private Facebook group. This is optional, but I believe a value-add.
The first module will be released Tuesday, October 12th at 10 am Pacific/11 am Mountain/12 pm Central/ 1 pm Eastern time in the US & Canada. We will be hosting a kick-off Zoom call that night at 6 pm Central Time - mark your calendars! An invite link will be emailed later and will be posted in our Facebook group.
As a student, you'll get an email each Tuesday when the new modules are published. Students will be able read/watch that week's content in order, at their own pace.
When the course is live, you'll be able to interact with the other participating students and with me. You'll have access to a Facebook group (again—there for extra support, not required) or the comment section within the lessons themselves.
Again, we are now including 3 months of Longarm League membership after Week 8 of the course. You'll seamlessly be added to the membership in order to get your hands on more "Phase II" materials - like finding your first customers and marketing your business. This includes much more info on social media, working with others in the industry, access to coaching calls, our private community on Slack, new (free) League quilting designs as they are released, a directory listing (when you want to be added) — all the benefits of being a fully-fledged League member.
We will be scheduling a total of SEVEN live Zoom meetings (not including our kick-off call) to address questions and to provide general class support. All meetings will be recorded for the ability to watch the replay in the event you're not able to attend live.
We will meet via Zoom every other week during the 8-week course and then we will meet once a month once you transition to the membership portion of your time with us.
Take advantage of these calls to get the most value! Once the class starts, we'll poll the Facebook group about the best meeting days & times and then set up the schedule so you'll have some notice.
The Rookie Season Fall Session starting on October 12th will be the last class offered for 2021.
Not quite ready to take the plunge? We get that.
When you join our mailing list, we'll share more info, news about future course dates, and even some goodies! But most importantly, our hope is that you'll be able to decide if our resources would benefit YOU.
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