A Day in the Life of a Fabric Order

A Day in the Life of a Fabric Order

Ever wondered what happens after you click “submit” on a Missouri Star Quilt Company fabric order? Here’s a behind the scenes look at the process! It’s a day in the life of a fabric order! Because we are an online AND brick and mortar shop, it’s a little different than a warehouse with everything under one roof. Ready to see the process?

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Meet Stephen. He’s shopping at missouriquiltco.com and places an order for the Daily Deal. On this day, it’s a charm pack of the Frost fabric line. A steal of a price, too! While he’s at it, he adds a yard of Kona Solids fabric in Snow. Gotta build that stash!

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His order is fulfilled from two separate places here at Missouri Star.  All precuts (and notions, books, etc) are stored in the warehouse and are picked there. The yardage, though, comes from one of our four fabric shops. In this case, his Kona Snow comes from Penney’s Quilt Shop, where our solids are sold.

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At the solids shop, bolts to be cut for orders are picked and stacked at a cutting counter. (Say, “Hi, Cindy!”) The cutting counter crew cuts these orders AND takes care of orders for people who are shopping in store. As you can imagine, it’s a busy place!

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Then the order is cut…..

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….and labeled with a sticker that has a barcode.

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It’s then scanned and placed in a numbered bin. When the tag is scanned, the system tracks the numbered bin all the way to the warehouse.

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The bins travel to the warehouse in a horse drawn carriage (with the high school marching band playing in the background, of course). Or something like that.

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At the warehouse, the shipping department takes over! The pickers pull orders in batches. Each batch fills a cart of 15 orders at a time. Pickers wear iPads that help them know where to go in the warehouse to find each item in the order.

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The screen even displays how many of each item to put in the bins. This particular cart has orders that all include the Daily Deal, so what you see here is the number of Frost charm packs to put in each bin (or order). Stephen’s charm pack is in one of these!

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The picker finds the charm pack location…

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…and tosses them into each bin for the orders on the cart.

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Then it’s off to the shipping stations where Stephen’s order is wrapped and labeled for shipping.

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The jolly postman comes for pick up and the order is whisked away, off to Stephen’s house!

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We hope this peek behind the scenes helps you to know what’s happening with your order. As you can see, some orders come from one spot (for example, if you order all precuts, they are all at the warehouse) while other orders come from multiple places (where it gets really fun). Let’s make a pretend fabric order for that:  Say you ordered a precut (from the warehouse), a yard of Christmas fabric (which is cut at Sew Seasonal), some Civil War yardage (which is cut at the Mercantile), a yard of the latest Bonnie and Camille fabric (which is cut in the main shop) and a few yards of coordinating solids (which are cut Penney’s Quilt Shop). The five pieces of your order will come from five different spots, all meeting up at the warehouse with matching barcodes. It’s pretty cool, actually!

We’re settling in at the new warehouse , getting used to our new system of picking orders and are working SO hard to get back to same day shipping. You can bet there will be a giant celebration as soon as that day gets here! We’re deeply grateful for the patience and support of our incredible customers. YOU ROCK!

  • Holly

    This is an amazing operation. I can definitely say “You did build this”, I want to visit and bring a u-haul truck. It would be so much fun to take a tour and be around all those pre-cuts. You’re all Great Americans. Thank you for having a bigger stash then me. The next time my husband ask me. Do you think anyone has as much fabric as you? Bingo! I will show him this blog.

  • houx

    I think MSQC has a lot of business sense. It takes a lot of courage to run a business especially this large. Business plans are fine but sometimes it just take a the shear fun and energy to make a business go. No matter how much I try to control myself everyday it is a struggle not to look at the “DAILY DEAL”.
    Yes I am a fabricaholic and yes I my drink of choice is the charm pack.

  • houx

    Many years ago I went to visit the Keepsake quilt store in N.H. beautiful store and town. The store was the main attraction in the town, quilters would visit the town just to see the store. I did and flew all the way from California to see it and spent 2 nights there. Doing Business you don’t know quilters or the term, “Road Trip”, we invented it. All I can say is I place an order with MQCO. and a few days later it shows up. My because problem is hiding the boxes from my husband.

  • Linda

    We support family run businesses! MSQC thanks for your good customer service!

  • JenniferMSQC

    Robin! You are so sweet. We hope you do make it for a visit at some point! We love you right back!

  • Pamela Hennessy

    MSQC is a great company. I really like the way they conduct their business. I stumbled across Jenny and MSQC via the original Jelly Roll Race quilt tutorial and need I say any more? I am an avid watcher of Jenny’s tutorials and anxiously await for Friday to come around to see what lovely things/ideas she will give us. This is all for free!!! I absolutely love the Daily Deals, the great stories which come with the deal, the new BLOCK magazine and the ease of ordering online, it is very easy to navigate the ordering site. I have lots of admiration for what the children and Jenny have done for their little town. Please keep up the great work and may you have many more years of successful trading.

  • Eileen Killoran

    I’m with you Karen! Love this company. Will continue to order with them.

  • MyLoveServedInTheDesert

    I support small businesses who provide excellent service and an fair prices and you at MSQC go above and beyond. Thank you for making us customers feel appreciated!
    My father ran his own business (he was a plumber) – it wasn’t the big jobs (like plumbing a new house) that kept his business afloat during the tough times; it was the smaller handyman type jobs that were the day to day bread and butter of the business much like the folks like me who only buy what we can WHEN we can. The amazing prices for daily deals, the fixed $5 priority shipping and the personalized service with a thank you on every invoice that will keep me coming back. 🙂

  • Julie

    “Doing Business.” have you ever even gone to this place before? I have! And I love the idea of multiple shops (as a customer). It’s great to “shop-hop” the same company. As a quilter, seeing all this fabric in one location would not only be crowded, but a bit overwhelming. As far as the business side? Jenny and her peeps make it work. I had no idea this company has only been around 6 years. Holy cow, Jenny! You go girl! Bad business sense? I think not. Maybe if it was set up differently, she could employ less people…meaning less jobs for the community. DB, back off Jenny. If I lived closer, I would work there for fabric instead of money. Why not, my check would go to fabric anyway. Got nothing to say about the longarm branch of MSQC? Now THAT is some business sense! Seven longarm machines finishing our projects for us. Faster and more reasonably priced for what I am getting than my local longarmer (batting is included in Jenny’s and not my local longarmer). A better website? I’m no website guru, but I find everything I need and order with no problems. Trust me, I am on every night for the midnight sale. They do treat you like family there and are always very helpful. That’s why MSQC always gets my business first. If I can’t find it there, I go local.

  • Carol J Bauman

    You are to be commended for your vision. Starting a new venture during a recession. Wow! Having a full service retreat center is fantastic. I am hoping to come next year

  • Dana Madera

    I absolutely love the fact that this business, started out small and has grown exponentially while always remembering the small details. I wish my local shop had the variety you do, but when I can’t get it locally, MSQC has my dollar! God bless and keep up the amazing BUSINESS PLAN because it works for me!!!!! <3

  • JoAnne K

    Meg, I am sorry you didn’t get your project finished as you wished.
    As a long-time quilter I can tell you 3 things:
    1) It will ALWAYS cost you more than you think.
    2) You will have many unfinished projects in cupboards that you revisit at a later time and finish in a different way
    3) You will misread a pattern more than a few times in your career.
    One of the problems of working solely from a tutorial when you haven’t been quilting for very long is that you are only “hearing” not “reading” what you need.
    Good luck with your next project.

  • Terri

    I am a new quilter and my cousin turned me on to your site, I love it!! I have purchased many of your daily specials and never had any problems with my orders, even through Christmas. I also love the friendliness and personalization of the orders. I have learned so much from your tutorials and also have subscribed to your block magazine!
    I live in two different states going back and forth ( can’t leave kids and grand babies for too long) and wasn’t sure how to manage my block magazine subscription so I emailed and got a rapid response to my question with
    a very nice personal touch to it! By the way I Love, love, love the Block magazine. I have used several things in it. Keep up the good work!

  • Christine Marshall Waggoner

    if it ain ‘t broke, don’t fix it! MSQC is the BOMB!

  • Rosie Hutchison

    Don’t listen to the negative nannies, you’ve got something that works for you. I have only placed one order so far and loved the email I got telling me what was happening to it. You all have a great sense of humour too. I look forward to ordering again but just hope this country don’t c**k up the delivery next time 🙂 keep up the good work

  • chespen

    MSQC is the only online fabric company I use now. I live in Canada and am amazed at their super fast service and shipping. I am so grateful for the free tutorials as well. i am a much better quilter since I discovered MSQC and the awesome Jenny Doan.

  • spoore

    Doing Business, What is your problem, this is a very successful business. You are probably one of those MBA’s who know it all from the books you read and believed. Or is it that you’re a bit jealous that some one came up with a super idea and made it more than work, Doesn’t follow your text book plan? too bad, This family has it wrapped up and is doing very well. They brought a dieting town back to life. Using at the existing buildings in town is awesome, Sorry they didn’t tear them all down and bring in some new big box store looks. The whole town has a feel for this business and that is part of the fun of being there. Cut the fat? Hello the family runs the business, what fat? oh, I forget they didn’t need your MBA in management to run the business. Its their business how they spend their profiles, be it on labor, or maintenance. They are making that little town rock again. You think money is the answer to all. Money doesn’t make you happy or successful, They seem to be happy, the employees seem to be happy. Leave them alone and go pick on some other business.

  • MSQC Fan!

    Pretty sure MSQC wasnt requesting feedback on their business system. Looks like they have an amazing thing going here, with a lot of supporters. It makes everyone feel like we are shopping right in the stores, knowing the process that orders go through.
    Everyone runs a business the way they see fit for their product/service. This post was merely a fun ook inside how the shops run when all of us MSQC fans and supporters place our orders. I enjoyed the read and the pictures…and I’m super excited to visit you guys in August for the MSQC/CGQC Quilt Retreat! Great job to MSQC!!!!

  • Jaye

    Thank you so much for this post. It is so interesting to get a little peek into your process. I am curious to know if there is someone who checks on orders that might be lacking a piece. How do you know if an order is completed or waiting for something. I don’t think things languish and am just curious.

  • Karen Bassett

    I think doing the right thing for a community trumps the right thing for a business. Maybe, just maybe, MSQC doesn’t want to employ less people. Maybe they don’t want to have less buildings. My mom and sisters and I went to visit and we had the best time walking the streets and going into all the shops. I have ordered several times online and agree that something as easy as a handwritten thank you on an order makes a world of difference in whether or not I “enjoy” an online shopping experience. Their daily deal is genius. The YouTube tutorials are genius. I’m thankful that there is a business, and a family who understand what good customer service is and can distinguish that from the need to make a few more dollars. Thank you Jenny and MSQC for doing what you do and being who you are in the quilting community.

  • Debra

    This AWARD WINNING business is getting it ALL right!!! I love your story and I love getting that email everyday and I especially love getting those packages in the mail!! That personal note of thanks on every packing slip is wonderful. I am so very new to sewing and quilting so the tutorials and the mail order is so much fun for me! Thank You so very much for bringing such joy to my life. Please keep on doing what you do because you do it better than anyone else!!!!

  • Yanicka Hachez

    I love the way you do business. Enough of the big impersonal place. What stop me to buy at your company I am sad to admit is the shipping fees to canada. With the Canadian dollar being what it is right now and the high shipping cost you charge, it is not worth it and it break my heart. Maybe one day I will go see you in Missouri 🙂
    Yanicka

  • Pat Steele

    Thriving small town- check! Locally owned family business – check! Employees (I assume from same small town) – check! Boosting local economy – check! Great guest service (which you can’t get in big box store)- double check, check! Known by people world wide -check! Williness to help others via internet, tutorials, and in person ( with friendly attitude) – check!! In my book that is successful business with two thumbs up!!! Glad to be a customer and student. Jenny is the reason I have become friends with my sewing machine again after a nearly twenty year hiatus! Thank you for my renewed friendship!

  • Kim

    And yet, I get my MSQC orders faster than from any other place I’ve ordered. I love their products, and I’ve never had a problem finding what I wanted from their website.

    I’ll stick with MSQC, thanks.

  • Lila Bugs

    You just don’t get it! It works, no need to follow your logic!

  • Gloria J. Zeller

    They’re shops do connect… one to another down the whole side of the street. The main shop still sits in the middle of town and it still the most visited. The have the large retreat center on the same side as the Main shop and will have another small one above the shops that are all connected. It’s a fun place to be and they are way ahead of you.

  • Gloria J. Zeller

    Isn’t that what the Retreat center is for? Sewing in pj’s and all nighters ?

  • Shirley Helm

    I am so proud of this family and what they have built. They ship out thousands of orders a day. I can’t even imagine. I’ve ordered many , many times. I always receive my orders quickly. We have visited M* several times. The employees are just as sweet and friendly as the family is. On our first visit the sweet little gal behind the counter said ” would you like to meet Jenny, she’s in the back, go one back she’d love to meet you”. She was as proud of Jenny as anyone could me. It was precious!

  • Marilyn Skaggs Enlow

    MSQC has heart and soul. They DO treat their customers as if they are friends and family. I would much rather spend my hard earned money at a place like M*, that values their customers, instead of some big chain or another on line company that doesn’t put the love in to their orders that you do. I will stick with my favorite fabric store, thank you very much. Missouri Star Quilt Company will always be MY fabric store. Thank you for ALL that you do.

  • Gloria

    Thank you for sharing the order process. I always wondered how it goes. Love the personal touches your company always gives to each order. Love the stories and the tutorials too.

    I think you are the most unique quilt company… Love it … it shows in your success. Bless you all for being such a caring bunch.

  • Paula Mills

    The negative doing business comment is disturbing. MSQC daily functions make perfect business sense for a family owned personally run and operated business where their customers and employees matter to the extent that the business is success because of they are treated as such, and more business should learn from such a model. Corporate minded business, concerned with cutting hours of employees, having less employees and boosting profit are in my opinion one of the biggest and worst mistakes in history. Our existance as humans and the world we live in is paying the price in ways much larger than most recognize. Please transport my orders from one shop to another for shipping in your usual horse and buggy manner and I shall be always grateful and pleased.

    Keep up the same great way in which you provide your products and services MSQC…Hats off to you for being one a the few who are keeping what matters most real….Bravo !!

  • Donna Bolte

    I love the tour of my fabric’s trip around Hamilton. Every company is unique and your business plan is obviously working well for you. I love dealing with you and your staff. Always pleasant, helpful and they make me feel part of the family. I wished I could visit, but until then i keep on ordering!

  • MizWasy

    I love ordering from MSQC! Everything is always as described and there is always a handwritten “thank you” on my packing slip. You can’t get more personal than that. I remember my first order, the note liked my shop name (Treasures In Stitches). I’m so thrilled at your growth and success.

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Donna! Thank you so much. Our Missouri Star Quilting family is very dear to us. Thank you so much for being a big part of that!!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi MizWasy! Thank you for your kind words! We are so lucky to have such wonderful customers! Thank you so much for being apart of our Missouri Star Quilt Family!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Thank you so much Paula! Our customers are more like family to us and we could not be successful with out each and every one!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Thank you so much Shirley! I am proud to be an employee of this amazing family who loves their customers and employees like family!

  • Karen Cheney

    I just got back from actually having the extreme pleasure of visiting Hamilton, Missouri. My sister and I did a road trip from Omaha, NE. It was worth every mile. I thought along the way that I had my expectations way too high. I was wrong. What an amazing day we had-what a great place to visit. The weather was perfect and the employees were smiling in whatever shop we happened to visit. My husband and I happen to be small business owner here in Washington state so I know what it takes to build a business from the ground up. It is a lot of hard work, vision and perseverance. To walk down main street and see what the Doan family has accomplished for that little town which is now a Destination Place to visit is wonderful. I love that they have kept their sense of humor and been persistent to stick to their plan. You can see that just walking through town. There is a vibrancy and joy in this little town that is BIG!! I would love to go back some day. Right now the memories are enough and when I see a picture of the buildings I can now say I have been there. To have the vision the Doan family has and to keep going takes integrity and honesty. What a pleasure to have been able to go there. I will be forever grateful to my sister who didn’t hesitate to say ‘YES” when I said road trip-our first ever together!! Thank you MSQC for taking a spark and becoming a beacon in the Quilting world! You bring joy to many!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Yanicka! Thank you for your support. We love our Canadian customers and are working very hard to find solutions to high international shipping. We would love to have you come visit us! Thanks Yanicka!!!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Debra! Thank you so much for your support! Quilting is a love for us and we would not treat it any other way!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Karen! Thank you so much for your support. I am so glad you had a great experience while here. Our Missouri Star Quilt customers are extremely important to us! Thanks again Karen for your kind words and we hope to have you back soon.

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Rosie, Sharing the love of quilting is more important the the bottom line. Thank you for your support. Have a great day!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Chespen, Thank you for your kind words. We love our international customers! Jenny is such a wonderful teacher and easy to follow. Thanks for watching!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Jaye, Thank you for your question. We make a lot of notes in our computer system about where each product is in the order.

  • Wendi MSQC

    Thank you Marilyn for your support! Its our wonderful MSQC customers that make our jobs so wonderful thank you!

  • Wendi MSQC

    Hi Karen, I am so happy you and your sister had a great time here in Hamilton at MSQC! It is easy to have such a great day when we have customers like you and your sister! We hope to see you again soon.

  • cin s

    I love that you have taken the time to blog about how your ordering system works. I found it after I experienced issues ordering from you. It makes more sense now. In the blog from two years ago you said you had a new warehouse system and that you were trying to get used to it and hoping to be back to shipping orders out the same day as received. Did that ever happen?

    Maybe you can update the blog and let us know what is happening now. In my experience this is not happening and seeing that picture with all the fabric stacked up for cutting, I can see why! Personally if I am ordering for my quilting enjoyment I don’t mind the wait, but when I have a client or a rush need, I do mind. My recent order took 5 days to leave your shop, even after I requested expedited shipping (which I learned you don’t offer). I also love the flat rate shipping, which is also why I don’t mind waiting, but for those customers who have a need, have you thought about offering expedited shipping at a higher cost? If my order arrives on Monday it will be 12 days from the date I ordered to delivery.

    I would also like to comment that the email responses about expediting this shipment was super quick and friendly. You have great staff and I love your shop. I will definitely support your business, but I will have to make a note that when my order is for a client that I will be unable to use your business which makes me sad because I love your fabric and your shop!

  • Dede K. Young

    I don’t even remember how I came across MSQC but I thank God that I did! I have ordered hundreds of dollars of material, precuts and notions from there. The fact that they are a family owned and operated business gives them the freedom to “personalize” their business and that is what I love the most! The hand-written thank-you messages on your receipts, the funny little facts on your receipts and of course, the ever so humorous Jenny and her awesome tuts! Outside of one single aisle of fabric at our local Wally-World, I would have to drive 90 miles to get to a corporate fabric store. No Thank You, not when I have MSQC and Jenny sitting on my laptop. You folks are awesome peeps!