• Fran Dill

How It All Began

I’m so excited to finally get my blog up and running. It’s still a work in progress but it will get to where I envision it soon enough. One of the main reasons I decided to start a blog is because of the Quilt Cart. For those of you who don’t know what the Quilt Cart is, let me start from the beginning. Several years ago I had to stop working at the local quilt store due to the start of arthritis in my hands. It was a hard decision because I had been in the industry for many years. I loved teaching and being around all those creative people. I found myself missing the interactions between the great customers and many friends I made along the way. One morning I was having coffee with my Dad at the time when food trucks were all the rage. I said to him- “Wouldn’t it be fun to have a food truck for Quilters?” He looked at me funny and said “I’m not sure what you mean.” I elaborated, saying “There are so many retirement parks in the East Valley and almost everyone one of them have quilt groups. I can just go from park to park visiting the groups, doing demos, teaching, and selling quilt supplies.” He agreed that it was a really good idea but still didn’t understand how I would do it. And that’s when the idea came to me: maybe a cute vintage trailer? Later that day my brother called me and said “Dad called me and told me of your idea. I think you need to make it happen.” After this, the wheels really started turning and with much conversation with my husband we decided maybe this was something I could do. So the hunt for a small vintage trailer began. It wasn’t as easy as I thought initially. It turns out, suddenly everyone in Arizona wanted a vintage trailer at the same time as me. Every time I found one it sold before my husband could go and take look at it. One day I was on Craigslist and found the perfect size trailer. I called up the gentleman who had posted the trailer and asked him a few questions regarding the condition of the trailer. From his description, it sounded good so I decided I would go look myself and not wait for my husband. I dragged my Father out to a very scary junk yard in North Phoenix to see the trailer. We both thought that, structurally, the trailer looked in good condition. I took several pictures and sent them to my husband, who agreed it looked pretty good as well. Now here’s the thing: I am terrified of creepy crawly bugs and there was no way I was going to go inside this old, musty, dirty, trailer to see the inside. I figured we would be gutting the whole thing so what’s point of even going in?

I did a bit of negotiating to get the price down and even convinced the guy to deliver the trailer to my house. I was so proud of myself. Later on, when my husband got home from work and walked inside the trailer. He headed towards the back and almost fell through the floor. There had been some water damage and because I didn’t go inside, I didn’t notice it. Oops. So there was a bit more renovations to do then first anticipated. Slowly but surely my husband and my father gutted the trailer down it’s frame. They reinforced the floor, put new walls/ceiling and flooring in. Little by little my vision was coming to light. The next part was getting my business license and business accounts up and running. I called a few of the popular fabric companies and inquired about getting a wholesale account. I never thought this part of it would be a issue, but they asked where my shop was located. I explained that it was a mobile shop in a vintage trailer. The companies said they had “never heard of such a thing” and would have to talk to a supervisor to even see if they could give me an account. I think they thought I was kidding. I had to talk to many supervisors to explain what my business concept was. One company even insisted I send pictures of the trailer so they could visualize what I was talking about. After much back and forth they decided to give me accounts. So with of help of my wonderful friends, I started ordering fabric, making samples and planning the launch of my mobile quilt store. October 2016 I launched Sew Bella’s Quilt Cart and I have been having a blast ever since. I always have fun stories regarding the trailer and my adventures so I look forward to sharing my crazy stories with you on my blog. I will also be keeping you up to date on the latest quilting trends, fabrics and patterns. So be sure to subscribe to my blog and fasten your seat belts and enjoy the ride.

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