Alicia Campbell will tell you that quilting is “not just your grandmother’s crafting project.” What she learned as a 12-year-old girl turned into a passion that led her on a unique entrepreneurial journey with many exciting road trips across the wild, wild West.
When most people think of quilting, they rarely think of it as anything more than being an older woman’s favorite pastime. Or, maybe a quilt conjures special memories from the past. For Alicia Campbell, the quilting skills she learned from her grandmother when she was a child are not only a family tradition, but also the foundation for her business, The Batty Lady, specializing in wholesale and consumer quilt batting and other quilting materials.
Located in an industrialized area in Orange, California, Campbell’s storefront is about 800 square feet and is attached to her warehouse. She describes it as “more of a destination place instead of one with regular foot traffic,” indicating that her offerings are typically sought out by people with specialized needs– though she also gets the occasional customer who pops in just to see what’s going on.
Campbell opened the brick-and-mortar location in 2016, but started her business 14 years ago because she realized that many people lacked knowledge of batting–or simply didn’t sell it. “One of the reasons,” she explained, “is that quilt batting is a bulky item. While it’s not heavy, a lot of specialty stores that sell fabric don’t want to devote the shelf space to it.”
She decided to answer the call.
The Batty Lady is now the largest distributor on the West Coast, with Campbell selling products online, in-store, at trade shows, and at popup events across California, Arizona, and Nevada.
With so many points of sale and product offerings, managing inventory became frustrating. Campbell realized she needed to streamline her processes. After chatting with a few providers, she eventually turned to Clover following her son’s recommendation. Not only was Clover able to help support inventory management needs, but it was also an affordable option that integrated with the eCommerce platform she’d been using for 10 years.
She started using the Base Station last May, which she keeps in the warehouse, to help with managing inventory. She added the Flex to her suite of products, which has been especially helpful during trade shows. She exclaimed, “When I go to the trade shows, I can move customers a lot more quickly through my line.” She’s amassed nearly 40 percent of her sales at trade shows thanks to the efficiency that Clover has offered.
Invoicing has also become less of a pain point with Clover, as has sales reporting. “It saves time, and it sure as heck is a lot easier to do electronically than manually,” she shared. “Anything that will help me not have to write something down on a piece of paper is really nice.”
Best of all, she’s been able to grow her customer base to more than 3,000 recipients using the opt-in feature that Clover provides, so she can share updates about sales and other information customers may find useful.
It’s special when a family tradition can become a means for earning a living, and Campbell is a true testament to that. She saw a gap and filled a need that will likely grow as the quilter community becomes more diverse and identifies new ways to craft crossover products like purses, bags, storage containers, and masks–thanks to the pandemic.
Campbell’s entrepreneurial vision has impacted many lives–and promises to impact even more. Even now, she’s seen an increase in people making quilts to send to those in need in the Ukraine. And, she’s opened up her space to those making quilts for the charities they support.
To many, quilting may seem like a grandmother’s favorite pastime, but as Campbell explains, quilters offer much more to their communities: “Quilters are very generous with their time to make things for people. Whether it’s due to a pandemic, a natural disaster, or political situation, they will rise to the occasion and support the efforts.”
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