Saturday, June 11, 2016

The Star

I went to a "Glamping" retreat at the Missouri Star Quilt Company in Hamilton, Missouri. We Dreamers loaded up the motorhome and turned our wheels east. We landed at Wallace State Park in Cameron, MO about 15 miles from my ultimate destination. My best friend, Marjie, flew in to join me in the fun.

Quilters know this place as MSQC (or quilter's heaven), at least they know the online version of the company. The company had its beginnings with online tutorials, beginning in 2008. It has grown, exponentially, since then.  I first visited in November, 2015, and wrote about my experiences on another blog post.

One of the highlights of the retreat was a tour of the MSQC warehouse. Oh, my! It was overwhelming.

Here are a few of the numbers that were thrown at us on our tour:

4000: the highest number of packages sent on one day

This is one of several shipping stations.
Orders are packaged and labeled here.
One cart with packages for the USPS

45,000: bolts of cloth in the warehouse. This doesn't include all of those in the 12 shops. I heard a number in excess of 100,000 for the total number of bolts of cloth. 

One small corner with bolts stacked about 10 feet high.
There are several employees at the warehouse who custom cut orders from the Internet.
Much of the cutting is done in the shops in town.
Each of the bolts on the floor has a sticker with
a computer code for how much fabric is to be cut, and for whom. 

90: number of carts one picker picked and delivered to the shipping station in one day.

Pickers wheel carts to numbered bins.
An iPad shows the item ordered and the location.

Custom cuts are packed in the red baskets.
Many of the baskets contain fabric cut and packed in town.

Precut fabric selections, notions, books and other items are in rows of bins.

There are bins with thread.
Miles of thread!

14,000: highest number of orders received on any one day (Black Friday)

This pickers cart is ready to go the shipping area. Each bin contains the items ordered by one customer.

799: highest number of quilts finished in one month. In the early days Jenny Doan, the MSQC maven, began taking quilting orders. She finished quilts on a long arm machine. Now the company has 10 computerized long arm machines. Mention was made of more machines being added as the company's warehouse more than doubles in size in the next few months.

The machines were quiet when we visited. The quilters do not work on Saturday.
No, these aren't racks at the thrift shop!
These are quilt tops waiting to be quilted. 

65,000: shops that buy from MSQC. The company is a retail distributor for many lines of fabric but they also create and market a magazine (BLOCK) and specialty rulers that they sell wholesale.

A laser cutter, lower right, etches and cuts the rulers.
An employee explains the process and holds what remains of the large sheet of plastic. 

The Missouri Star Quilt Company seems to continually shift its focus and bring on new ventures.
They began as a company that finished quilts.... 
Then created online videos to show how to make a quilt... 
They began selling fabric, specializing in precut fabrics, to make quilts...
Created a magazine that shows more quilts and compliments the videos...
Developed special rulers that work well with precut fabrics...

and one of their newest ventures

Couch to Quilt

Now folks who are new to quilting can purchase an all-inclusive kit to make their first quilt. The kit has everything they will need, including links to online tutorials, tools, fabric, backing, and a coupon for the overall quilting. 

What a smart move. Quilting just might be addictive! Create new quilters who will then want to make more quilts, who will buy from MSQC....

It was all a fascinating experience.


  1. What fun! I enjoyed the tour even if I don't quilt! :)

    1. One never knows... perhaps you will want to try it some day!! My mother was a quilter. I kept her "stash" and tools just in case. I kinda thought quilting was very silly - cutting cloth apart only to sew it back together again?!! Didn't make sense. But then.... I tried a quilt or two and was hooked!


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