The Story of Us on Turning Point

The Story of Us on Turning Point

It’s hard to believe that our story started back in 2008 (nearly 8 years ago). We’ve grown as people, as quilters, as a community and as a company in so many ways since then. It’s been an amazing journey and we are so lucky to have you all by our side through it all.

A few months ago we were lucky enough to have the BYU TV film crew come to the small town of Hamilton, MO to film a Turning Point feature on Missouri Star Quilt Co. and the full story of how we came to be. We hope you enjoy watching the feature below and feel a bit more like family after doing so.

* Click the expand button in the bottom right hand corner of the video to make it bigger.

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!

Nostalgia and Warehouses

Nostalgia and Warehouses

Today’s post is a heartfelt one, written by Al. We hope you enjoy it as much as we have.
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Growing up brings about so many nostalgic moments.
This weekend was a huge one for our company.  HUGE, I tell you!  HUGE!
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Almost six years ago, we started our company in a great big 5,000 square foot building at 100 N Ardinger in Hamilton, Missouri.  It was way too big for us! We refinished the front 1,000 square feet to be our shop and went to work refinishing that space.
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We tore out the paneling and put up some fresh paint and a new floor and that room was great.
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We got our first internet orders there and we would all package the 3-4 orders a day right up and send them off right from the cutting table.
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As we continued to grow, we built a little shipping department in the back, then a machine quilting room.
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Once it became more than just Becky and Jackie answering the phones, we moved our customer service into their own room.
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Eventually, the shop moved to the main street (where it remains today) and that 100 N Ardinger building became strictly shipping and customer service.
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And then it wasn’t big enough for that, even! It was crazy, but we needed more space for our customer service team and a loading dock. Ammon (our warehouse manager) made a great forklift, but his arms were getting tired!
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About a year ago (August 8th of last year, actually) we decided it was time to build our own custom warehouse for our shipping and customer service.  We had all kinds of cool stuff that needed to be in there. We needed a way to get fabric cut in the shops and then connected back into your orders so they get shipped out in a timely manner. We wanted ways of organizing products so that we could always find them, even when we were down to that very last charm pack. But mainly, we needed space.
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So we got building! Winter came and snowed us out for a few months, but we kept going.
This last weekend, we finally moved our shipping over to the new warehouse.
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There were so many moving parts to this move. Did we think of fire extinguishers? What about chairs for the breakroom? (sorry everyone!) Carts for the pickers and bins for the carts? We got bins for the charm packs and layer cakes, but what about notions? What do those go into?
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The move got more and more complex, and was a pretty stressful time for a lot of us. And now (making sure no order was lost in the mix) we are working hard to get everything up to snuff.  Now we have the room to finally hire a few more shippers and get our feet back under us. Our goal by the end of the month is to be back to getting your orders out the day you place them. We are excited!
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With all that hubub going on, I was a little surprised at some of the feelings.  Sarah, Natalie, and myself were sweeping out the 100 N Ardinger building on Saturday night. After everything had been moved out of the front rooms and it was just a few empty shipping tables and shelves, we tidied up the floor and then all sat down and were overcome with this nostalgia.  We’re definitely not sad. This is exciting! We have needed more space for so long!
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But it’s weird, you know? It’s weird to grow up.
We were laughing about the early days there. How every package that has ever been shipped from our company had gone through that tiny room we were all cramped in. Hundreds of thousands of orders have been fulfilled from there. (!!)
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We recalled the days the A/C unit would quit and we’d just sweat and ship.  We remembered how (even before that) we had the Friday night sews, with people sitting on top of people.
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It’s also where the first tutorials were filmed with a little camcorder!
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Just to have those walls remember such wonderful times choked me up a little.
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A lot of companies have a garage that is their very, very beginning. Ours is that building on Ardinger. It’s that small room in the front where it all started, with Mom and a long arm machine and two shelves with a half dozen bolts of fabric.  And it’s great to remember that, I think.
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I asked Sarah what we should do with that building now. She’s not sure, but one thing is for certain. We’ll keep that front room just like it is. No matter what else we end up doing, we need to be able to walk back in there and remember those feelings that keep this business so exciting.
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I’m definitely not sad to be moving on from there. We are excited to be growing, but there’s a big part of me that will just miss walking in there every morning to tackle the day.
That being said, it’s nice to finally have room to park!  🙂  Thanks for the journey, everyone. Here’s to another great era in our new warehouse!  Thanks for sticking with us while we improve and learn. I promise you’ll like what we have up ahead!
-Al
Alan’s First Quilt

Alan’s First Quilt

If you’ve been following along on Instagram, we’ve been sharing snippets of #alansfirstquilt. Today, he’s here to tell the tale and share photos of the finished quilt. He picked an upcoming line of fabric from Fig Tree called Somerset (look for it in September). Here’s Alan!

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So I made my first quilt and put in the last stitch this last week (Sunday night actually).  A friend of mine, Adrian, was out in Missouri working for the summer with us and wanted to surprise her mom with a quilt and challenged me to make one, too.

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The buddy system worked really well for us, having one of us call the other and say, “Hey, let’s go quilt for an hour or two.” It helped us see our quilts to the end. But quilting really is a social thing, even if you’re just helping each other iron or both messing up on your 1/4″ seams together, it’s great to have a partner in the process.

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Now going through a quilt start to finish, I had a few thoughts I wanted to share.  My honest thought was that I would be a pro already.  I have watched every. single. one. of Mom’s tutorials. I’ve seen her do everything that touches quilting a thousand times (and then some) so I was ready to be a pro. I had it all worked out in my mind, so I was a little surprised that it wasn’t soooo easy. Maybe you’ll get a kick out of this story:

Both Adrian and I chose to do the Dresden Coin quilt tutorial. I was hovering on the churn dash because I love that one, but settled on the Dresden Coin because I thought it would go together a bit more quickly.

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So I needed two Layer Cakes (I’m a big guy) and my layer cake dresden template, I got those and hopped right in. My first obstacle was when I opened up the layer cake I broke the bands on it and was staring at this beautiful stack of fabric… but now what?  I just kind of stood there until I got the courage to start cutting, so I grabbed 4-5 at a time and started cutting my dresden blades.  Cutting fabric is a bit tricky, I kept trying to use the ruler / template as a guard, so I’d angle the blade into it and got some wonky cuts until I figured out straight up and down was my friend.  Game changer right there.

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The other hard spot was after I got them all cut, what next?  I had these big piles of dresden blades and struggled figuring out how to go from a stack to the quilt, so I grabbed two tables and started laying them out. It was turning into a big endeavor because nothing matched anything and it felt like there was no right place. I’d get one row set, then have to change it again because I’d see too much brown.

Then my sister Natalie suggested I just match up two blades at a time and sew them together, then put them into groups of four, then move around batches of four to make my rows.  It made it much more manageable, and I got a few spots of too much orange or too much red. I was too overwhelmed trying to get everything perfect before I sewed my first seam, so Natalie’s way was much better for me.

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This leads me to my next challenge. I had no idea how to thread my sewing machine or set it up. I sent mom a text, “Ma, we need to do a tutorial on the first time you sit down at your sewing machine. I’m lost!”  Thankfully, Natalie rescued me (again!) and showed me how to follow the numbers on our Baby Lock Melody sewing machine. Now I’m a pro! If you don’t know how to do it, maybe just get someone to show you once or twice and you’ll be set.  Then I tried Mom’s Baby Lock Jane (the super fast one she sews on) and broke the thread. I think I put four square knots in that thread before I gave up on it. Moral of the story; not all machines have numbers on them to help you thread that needle.  They should.

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So now got all my rows together and called Natalie. It went a little something like this:

Me: “OK. What do I do if my rows are different lengths?”

Nat: “Just make sure they have the same number of pieces, they’ll be the same length.”

Me: “I did. There is like a 3″ variance in length.”

Nat: “Haha, you’re a dork, Al.  I’ll help.”

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So, here’s how we fixed that. I cut my sashing to all the same length, then would pull on some rows and be loose on a few and that helped until I got the whole top together.  Then I had a top that had one great side, and one really wonky side.  So, we folded it in half 4-5 times until I had a 10″ strip by however wide my quilt was, then I just trimmed the one side about 1/2 – 3/4″ in and I had a straight edge again. I was ready for my side sashing and my borders.

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Borders were hard to pick! I wanted an orange one from the line, because I like orange. But it made the quilt too soft, so I went with a brown one. It was hard to let my orange go, but after auditioning the fabrics (as mom would say), I knew I was making the right choice.

This was all still work for me at this point.  I kept making the comment “I can’t believe people pay money to do this! It’s so hard!”

Then I went to the quilting department and got our great girls Sandi and Danielle to help me quilt.  Once we got the quilt pinned on, I think I giggled a little. It was happening!  I was so tickled with myself for making something. For doing it!

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As we quilted, that’s when it started clicking for me.  Sandi was there with us until almost midnight (Thanks, Sandi!). We got it done, and then were off to binding.

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I watched the binding tutorial a few times and got to work.  I kind of found my own stitch that worked for me. Mom said it was a slip stitch and not a ladder stitch, but it looked good and worked fine for me.  I don’t mind a knot or two showing on my backing. 🙂  When I finished, I texted mom: “I’m done with the quilt!” Her first response was, “What?! Who taught you how to bind?” I laughed. “You did! Via YouTube!”

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What an awesome feeling to have made a quilt.  I know where each mistake is. I know the sashing is wavy and the borders don’t match perfectly.  I know my binding is fudged in two parts cause I didn’t sew it onto the quilt right. But it’s done, and it looks awesome (I think!) and I’m so excited to have made something that just a few weeks ago I didn’t know how to do.

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That’s the greatest feeling to me. It’s making something that takes time.  Amazon can’t deliver this. When I give this quilt away, someone will have 20-30 hours of my life, and that’s something I haven’t given anyone for a long time.  Thanks, quilting!

Meet Missouri Star: Ammon & Jarom

Meet Missouri Star: Ammon & Jarom

Today’s Meet Missouri Star post introduces you to Ammon (on the left) and Jarom. This pair of brothers can be found in the warehouse, hauling boxes, organizing arrivals and knowing exactly where things are on each shelf. They’re really pretty amazing. And like Ammon says in his interview, together they are “Jammon.” Ha! Want to meet them? Let’s go!

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Ammon

Ammon is our warehouse manager and has been with us for two years now. Sarah is his sister-in-law, so though he’s not a Doan, he’s definitely family! 

Any special experience that helps you with your position? I worked for 11 years for a company that merchandised in Walmarts, was in a lot of Walmart back rooms and delt with all different kinds of product. Stocked, did inventory counts, helped customers find what they wanted, and had to remember all the things we had avalable for sale. Turns out, all those things are very useful still!

How’d you land the job? My sister-in-law and friend,  Sarah, called me one day and asked if I would be interested in working for them. I said, “No.” I was happy with my job of 11 years. But something kept bugging me to check it out, so I did. Came in to check it out, met with Sarah, had decided to take a chance and take the job. Sarah spent the next 30 min or so trying to talk me out of taking the job because they couldn’t pay what I was currently making, but I am so glad she didn’t. It has been a crazy ride so far, but a worthwhile one. And it is great to be working with family and all the wonderful people at MSQC. What a story and what a ride. Thank you Sarah for the job, and for not talking me out of it. 😉

Do you sew? I can sew. Buttons on shirts, patches on pants and things like that. I have yet to attempt a quilt. That will be someday in the future for me! I do have a fabric line picked out for my first one!

Any crazy work stories to share? Everyday is a crazy work story for me! We receive thousands of pounds of fabric everyday, I did most of that all by myself for about a year. Just recruited my little brother Jarom, and we got twice as busy after he came, so thank goodness he came when he did. All alone I was just Ammon, you add Jarom to the mix, and now we are Jammon! Life is good. 😉

Favorite type of fabric? The fabric line called Gorjuss, and I am also a big fan of the socky line

What do you like best about your job? Working with my family. And being close to home. And meeting people from all over the world!

Anything else you want to share? I have a beautiful wife named Cyndi, five boys and one baby girl. I love movies ( big Tim Burton fan), books, frisbee, and basketball, love to bounce on the tramp with my kids and just hang with them. I am a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints and love Jesus 😉 am a bit of a goofball, and my wife says I’m a flirt. I also love skulls (very fond of my own), am a fan of the outdoors, love all the little plants and animals that you really have to search for, like blue tailed skinks, oreals, snakes, and spiders (especially jumping spiders). But even though I like the out of doors, I’m not a fan of camping!

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Jarom is Ammon’s warehouse assistant and has been with MSQC for three months now. 

Any past experience that helps you with your job? I delivered appliances and furniture for a company in Idaho for eleven years and then was a salesman for them for one year. So I have lots of lifting and product handling experience mixed with some people skills.

Do you sew? I’ve sewn some buttons back on shirts before. But no, not really.

Any funny work stories to share? I’m Ammon’s younger brother but I’m a bit bigger than him. It’s always funny when Ammon introduces me as his little brother. A few of the girls in the shipping department can’t remember my name, so they just call me Big Ammon.

Favorite MSQC product? We just got a new line in called Gorjuss. love it!

Anything else you want to share about yourself? I’m married to the most amazing woman in the whole world! We have six beautiful children. We love to spend time together reading books, watching movies, enjoying the outdoors, hanging out with grandma and grandpa and aunts and uncles and cousins.
I play the piano, love to ride my motorcycle and enjoy sports.

What do you like best about your job? Working with Ammon every day!

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How about those brothers?! Pretty awesome guys, right?! You can tell in the photo that they really enjoy being together and we love seeing family members side by side, creating such cool teams. If you enjoyed reading about Ammon and Jarom, check out the other posts in our Meet Missouri Star series. We’ll be back on Monday with more folks for you to meet!