Al Doan and his sister, Sarah Galbraith, bought their mother, Jenny, a long-arm quilting machine as a way for her to make a bit of extra money during the economic downturn of 2008. This led them to eventually forming a company to sell quilting supplies and offer machine-quilting services. “We’ve always been a little bit entrepreneurial, but we’d never started a business before,” Al says. They soon opened a store in their rural town. “You open a store in a town of 1,500 people and get all 1,500 to come, but that’s where it ends,” he says. “You think, all right, what else can we do?”
“The Internet let us build a business that’s changed our town and changed our family.”
Al Doan, Founder & CEO
The family launched a website and considered what came next. “Quilting is challenging, because you can’t just go advertise on a quilting channel,” Al says. So they turned to Google products to reach people outside of their city limits. They created their own YouTube channel, where Jenny (a.k.a. Momma Doan) began hosting video quilting tutorials that transformed her into an online star. “She’s sweet, right?” Al asks. “She’s pretty awesome, a ham.” And clearly YouTube viewers agreed, as the success of Missouri Star Quilt Company has surpassed their wildest dreams. They now have more than 300 videos on their YouTube channel and they consistently see more than 100% growth in their business year-over-year. Ninety-five percent of their sales are through their website and they use Google Analytics to track sales and measure the effectiveness of their marketing. The growing business relies on Google Apps for Work to keep employees connected through products like Gmail, Google Docs, and Google Sheets.
Missouri Star Quilt Company has 250 employees
Missouri Star Quilt Company now is the largest employer in their rural county. They ship thousands of packages every day to customers around the world. Tour buses filled with quilters sometimes pull up outside the shop, which has become an international quilting destination. Perhaps best of all, in 2015 the U.S. Small Business Administration named Al and his sister the National Small Business Persons of the Year. Neither could quite believe it when they visited the White House for the ceremony. “How are we here? How is this our life?” Al occasionally wonders. “But every now and then, you think, wait a minute, we actually built something pretty impressive.”
For more information on the Missouri Star Quilt Comapny case study, visit https://economicimpact.google.com.
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