Thursday, November 01, 2007

In which I go on and on and on...

Indeed, I'm back. Still trying to process it all and recover from the extraordinarily long days we put in while in Houston. So much happened in the six days I was there! Here's what I've got:

Quilt Market: I’m afraid I have very few photos to show you; it was too busy for me to take pictures. I took a few shots just before the show opened, and after that it was such a whirlwind that I just never had a chance to use the camera. But it was great! But I am hoping that someone else will share their photos, since I’d love to see more, myself.

Here are some of the people I met:

Amy Butler: even sweeter in person than all the wonderful things I had heard about her. So kind and thoughtful.

Anna Maria Horner: where do you get all that energy, Anna? And so nice!

Donna Wilder, former president of Free Spirit fabrics and a fount of knowledge about the quilting and fabric industries.

Eleanor Burns: lovely, soft-spoken, and generous

Gina Halladay: fun, fun! Gina, I wish we had spent more time chatting!

Heather Bailey: hey, Heather and Anna Maria are both tall, too! Great to get to know her and to learn a bit more about some of the many projects on her plate right now.

Jan "The Apron Lady" Lutz of The Threaded Pear: very generous in sharing her own experiences and knowlege. What a sweetheart!

Kathy Miller of Michael Miller fabrics: my hero; she came to our rescue with a replacement mannequin when ours was lost/stolen, and I am eternally indebted to her. Plus, she was just generally so enthusiastic about the booth and our patterns. Thanks, Kathy! Have you all see the new Michael Miller organic line? Very cool. I can't wait for it to hit stores.

Laura Gunn: so nice and fun. I really enjoyed getting to know her a bit and hope to spend time with her again sometime.

Laura Serna, who lives in downtown Houston and was phenomenally kind in receiving and keeping all my packages in advance of Market. Laura, I can't thank you enough!

Linda of Craft Apple who had some samples at the Michael Miller booth and was very kind to drop by and introduce herself. Laura, let's get together for lunch next time!

Marianne Fons: You know, Fons and Porter? She totally “gets” the younger generation of sewers and quilters, and I’m so excited because she has an apartment in NYC just two blocks from my studio. Hoping we can have lunch or something the next time she’s here.

Moda and United Notions; what a great crew! In addition to their general friendliness and enthusiasm, they are open to lots of ideas and threw an unbelievable sit-down dinner on Saturday night for something like 1,000 people. Whoa.

Nancy Zieman of Sewing with Nancy: I nearly fell over when she dropped by on the first morning.

Sandi Henderson: a lovely, perfectly eclectic fabric line with Michael Miller, and very sweet. Can’t wait for her fabrics to be available, and she has a line of children’s clothing sewing patterns in the works as well!

Tina Givens, with a gorgeous line of fabrics from Free Spirit.

Verna Mosquera of The Vintage Spool: so kind and fun; she shared lots of advice from her own experiences and was just as warm as could be. Verna also has a new line of fabrics with Free Spirit.

And I'm sure I've missed some equally amazing people. I came home with an enormous stack of business cards and even more memories of conversations, so please excuse me if I neglected to mention you in the above list.

Everyone was so nice. Store buyers, distributors, exhibitors and press contacts stopped by the booth and were so complimentary and enthusiastic, gushing about the line and the booth, sharing their own experiences, and generally showing an amazing amount of enthusiasm. Despite insanely long days in preparation for the show and during the show itself, I kept finding more energy than I knew I had as a result of all the excitement and enthusiasm around me.

Now, before I talk about the launch of the company itself I need to tell you that you’re getting a preview here. The patterns themselves will not be ready until late January, so don’t get too excited and rush off to your local quilt shop to purchase them yet, ok? Actually, I'd love it if you would ask for them at your local shops, but I just want to be sure you know that the patterns won't actually be in store until early February. We launched the company at Quilt Market so that buyers could place their orders in advance of the actual printing, but the retail launch of the patterns themselves will happen in 2008. Just a little warning.

The booth: Brooke is just so good; I never would have thought to look for those adorable little cabinets (Ikea) or to frame the pattern envelopes. The giant banner was an adventure in itself, since our original artwork was small enought that it fit entirely onto an 8 1/2" x 11" paper but was successfully blown up to 6' x 8'. In the end, the booth came together beautifully (not without a few challenges), and we received a wonderful response from everyone who visited. It just made me happy every time I rounded the corner and saw it: our own little candy box in the middle of Quilt Market. Oh, and it's difficult to tell from the photos, but the carpeting matches the walls! Love that.

Next, the handout. Every pattern envelope will have a heavy cardstock wrapper with a paper doll printed on it, which can be removed for framing or playing. Isn’t she sweet? We hired a wonderful illustrator named Dan Andreasen who, it turns out, has done many of the American Girls books. He based the doll on my own sweet Tsia and painted each of the patterns as her clothing. Each new collection will include new clothes for our “S” doll or for one of her friends, who will be added as we progress.

The paper doll idea started as a simple packaging concept and quickly evolved into a “look” for Oliver + S. The paper doll with all her outfits is the line list for the patterns, and everyone who visited the booth received their very own “S” doll to take home. And don’t worry; we saved a few for people who couldn’t attend Market!

The website. Once the patterns are printed they'll be available via quilt stores as well as on the website itself. Feel free to browse around; we'll be adding much more over time.

And I think I need to write a separate post to thank all the people who made the launch a success. I've been thanking for days/weeks/months now and truly could not have done any of this without them: Todd, Brooke, the Gibsons, Mom, Judy, every member of our families, Laurel and all my other friends who have listened and made suggestions, Joelle and Jen and all the folks at Purl, Hemant, Yun Joo, all my students, and every one of you readers, without whom I probably would never have actually had the guts to do this. Thank you so much.

It's good to be home again, and I'm actually looking forward to cleaning the apartment, shopping for groceries, etc. Yesterday I did five giant loads of laundry; it feels nice to be getting caught up on life again.


  1. oh Liesl - how exciting it all is - the stand looked wonderful and the patterns look so good too and then to meet up with all those amazingly creative people. Enjoy the ride!

  2. The booth was really nice. I was looking around but didn't know for sure it was your booth till it was too late to come by and say hi. Looks like you're off to an awesome start!

  3. Anonymous2:30 PM

    Congratulations, Liesl! Everything--from the booth to the patterns to the website--everything is so cohesive and beautiful. Cannot wait to see O+S at our local fabric shop!

  4. Anonymous2:30 PM

    I'm enourmously excited for you! I had a blast at market, and meeting you was a pleasure! Can't wait for Portland..

  5. Anonymous2:44 PM

    wow Liesl, it looks gorgeous. great job

  6. Congratulations on your launch! Spiffy design and delectable patterns.

  7. it all looks so great! It is really educational for me to watch your idea grow into a business. I hope to one day be in your shoes (so to speak) thanks for sharing the info!

  8. Oh my goodness! Your booth is so pretty and sweet! And I love the idea of including a paper doll with the patterns! Good luck as you get everything off and running! :)

  9. When I read that you were going to do this I was so excited and now that I get a glimpse of the patterns I am even more excited. I am really looking forward to trying these out. I hope the response is brilliant, your booth looks beautiful and the most importantly of course, the clothes look beautiful.

  10. Anonymous4:23 PM

    congratulations! i am SO excited I'm having a girl, 'cause it means I can make some of these beautiful clothes for her (obviously most of them would be cute on a boy too, but girls get better fabric, hee).

  11. Anonymous4:34 PM

    So cute... Cannot wait to get the patterns. WIll you teach classes @ purl w/ these patterns? after our skirt classes, been waiting for another sat morning class...

  12. Congratulations
    I am so excited to see these.
    The booth and patterns look beautiful and I love the paper doll idea
    I'll be having a girl in February and i can't wait to try some of these out.

  13. Beautiful booth!!! Congratulations on your company launch. It looks like you will be very successful.

  14. The booth is awesome, the clothes look beautiful, and I can't wait to get sewing!

  15. Anonymous5:21 PM

    Liesl, it looks amazing. Well done to you! It really shows the amount of time and professionalism you have put into it all.
    Good luck with everything, I think it is going to be a winner!

  16. Anonymous5:24 PM

    Oh, wow, that is so amazingly cute! Now I need your patterns, but need to wait three months, agony.

  17. holy crap! it's amazing. your booth is stunning and the paper doll idea is perfect. it's all so cute. the clothes are adorable and I love the site and the illustrations. wow!! congratulations!!!

  18. Anonymous5:38 PM

    Ohmigosh, you met ALL of the rocks stars of the sewing world! How awesome. The patterns seem just cute as pie. Good luck with it all!

  19. Anonymous5:42 PM

    Your booth looks like it was too cute! I love the website..I visited the other day after seeing a post on Portabellopixie's blog. The whole concept is just so cute and I love the patterns...can't wait for them to come out as I have 2 girls:-) Good luck!

  20. the patterns are darling. and I must say, Brooke is very very talented. The packaging is amazing, and the paper dolls..they must really have impressed the ladies at the quilt show.

  21. Anonymous6:37 PM

    good god woman-are you joking me?? I am dying over here with the whole paperdoll concept!!! amazing! you are a star!!!

    the patterns look so good-I can't wait!!

    congrats and I am freaking out!

  22. Anonymous6:59 PM

    I can't wait to dress my Liesl in your patterns. They are so sweet and fun!

  23. love the paper dolls. genius.

  24. I'm so happy for you! Really, every time one of the bloggers goes for it and takes it to the next level I'm totally stoked. It's all so beautiful.

  25. I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to your patterns! Your booth is beautiful and I'm sure this is the beginning of an amazing journey for you!

  26. You deserve to be very proud of yourself! What a terrific job you have done and what talent!

  27. Anonymous12:32 AM

    Wow, what a great concept and packaging idea for the patterns! I am definitely putting an order in through my distributor! Good luck!

  28. Anonymous3:27 AM

    Oh I am so excited! These are so cute. I'm expecting my first daughter (I have a 3 year old son already) in January and I can't wait to make her pretty dresses!
    The paper doll concept is so great. It's one of those awesome things that I wish I would have thought of.

  29. The photos don't begin to do justice for your sweet booth! It was one of my favorites at Market. I can't wait to receive my order! Enjoy this ride, and the fruits of your labor. Thanks for letting us share in the excitement!

  30. Anonymous10:39 AM

    yay!! we can't wait to get them!!


  31. Congratulations! I am in love with the look of your patterns, I can't wait to buy one. I just know they will be a great success.

    Why will they be available at quilt stores instead of sewing stores that sell clothing patterns? Just curious.

  32. Anonymous3:47 PM

    Liesl, I've been boo-hooing for the past five minutes. Something about seeing pics of your booth and the web site...a dream realized perhaps. Seeing something that grew so beautifully and creatively out of the love for your own little "S," touched me in my center. I feel so proud of you, even though I only know you by reading your blog. Hurray for creative (and hard-working) mommies!

  33. Liesl,

    Great meeting you and your booth was gorgeous! Congrats!

  34. I just LOVE the paper doll idea! I am working on a few sets of paper dolls myself, just because I always have loved them so much, and I think your idea of using htem for your patterns is so great! Beautiful booth too, and of course the patterns look adorable!

  35. First time I have visited your blog - I love how well integrated the concept and design of your company is. So sweet. I don't even know any little girls otherwise I would be demanding a paper doll as we speak! I look forward to seeing how this venture goes for you - successsfully, I'm sure.

  36. Anonymous7:46 PM

    Fantastic how your booth looked and what clever idea the paper doll is... It is fresh and cute but not too much... it so fits your style, Liesl.

  37. This is great. I loved trying on the paper doll clothes on the website.

  38. Man, oh, man Liesl, absolutely fabulous. Thank you for sharing the pics from market. The clothing designs are gorgeous and the simple beauty of your branding is really stunning. I love it all. I wish you huge success as you journey forward.

  39. Hi friend, Good to meet and hang out with you and Brooke (and your mother) at market. Your booth was amazing. And the blue jellies, the best taste treat at market. Lets play again soon.

  40. Anonymous4:55 PM

    Your booth looked LOVELY and I just can't wait to try your beautiful patterns! Congratulations on a successful launch -- so satisfying!!!

  41. Anonymous12:45 AM

    Hey Liesl, so great to meet you last week! The whole market experience was certainly an education for me and I'm still absorbing everything. But what fun! Your site and pattern line look fantastic. I'm sooooo looking around for a little girl to dress! It's all boys around here and I find them very hard to sew for. :o)

  42. Anonymous5:56 PM

    These patterns look fabulous. I look forward to them getting as far as Australia one day!

  43. Very nice. I am so glad you are designing these wonderful outfits! They will be great for my grandkids!

  44. Anonymous12:17 AM

    So excited for you, Liesl! (And you guys, she's such a sweetie!!) I wish you every big success.


  45. Anonymous1:17 AM

    Oh my god, the paper doll idea is genius!

  46. Congratulations on getting closer to the launch!! Your booth looks great--so professional. And you're making me wish I had kids so I could try out your patterns, because they're adorable. Gotta find a hubby first though. ;)

  47. wow! everything looks so fantastic... congratulations and best of luck - you're a wonderful inspiration.

  48. Anonymous12:05 AM

    amazing and so fun!!!
    can't wait to get my hands on them!

  49. Congrats to you!! I read about you on the quilter's buzz. Lovely collection of vintage styled patterns. And love the idea of the paper doll to collect new clothing for--sweet, sweet.


  50. Liesl!!! Yay for Oliver + S!!! The entire concept and execution are unbelieveable. The "look" is beyond-words fantastic. I am honestly speechless, and can not wait to make some fantastic new outfits for Zoe. Congratulations! Your genius brain has been hard at work and I wish you all the best. Yippee!

  51. Anonymous6:38 PM

    Hi Liesl, I found your blog thru Anna Maria's where I was led to quiltersbuzz. Love, love, love your quilt market display. Didn't see it in person but your photos bring it to life. I have a question: What is the meaning behind the name "Oliver + S"? Just curious. Can't wait to see the patterns in February '08. I will be sure to request it in every pattern shop in my area. Best Wishes!

  52. oh my goodness. it's been a while since i checked and you have been doing ALL sorts of stuff. i just love your new endeavor! i checked out the website and it is probably the most creative one i've seen in a long time.

    how wonderful for you! it's all just adorable.

  53. Anonymous9:28 PM

    Hi Liesl,

    Your booth really was amazing. It was like a breath of fresh air. And your patterns couldn't be any cuter. Where will we be able to find them?
    I'm sure everywhere soon. So great to meet you and your lovely mother.

  54. Oh LEISL. How incredibly gorgeous and incredibly exciting. I got goosebumps just looking at the photos -- I can't even imagine how beautiful it must look in real life.

    I am so happy for you. It's really wonderful. Congratulations!

  55. Anonymous9:33 AM

    I love the paper dolls in your booth soo cute! The whole color palette goes wonderful together! Best of luck on your patterns!

  56. Your booth looked amazing! The design of everything is so cohesive and sweet. I love the paper doll idea.

    It's a shame that even though I live in Houston I'll never be able to visit the Market because it isn't open to the general public. Sad really.

  57. I'm very impressed with your marketing plan - the paper dolls were a stroke of genius. The booth looked very professional!