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Jane Greenwood

Lollie's Quilt Shop
By Terri McClung
Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation
January 8, 2019 -

This is the thirteenth in the series of interviews conducted by the Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation about small business entrepreneurship in our area.

The Alleghany Highlands Economic Development Corporation offers entrepreneurial services, one-on-one business planning assistance, training, mentoring and operational assistance to existing local small businesses and startups.

We are located on the Dabney S. Lancaster Community College campus and can be reached at 540.862.0936 or marla@ahedc.com or terri@ahedc.com.

Lollie’s Quilt Shop is located at 515 E. Ridgeway Street, Clifton Forge, VA 24422. "Hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 10 am to 5 pm. The phone number is 540.862.7845 and website is www.lolliesquiltshop.com

"I recently sat down with owner Jane Greenwood to get her view on the life of being a small business entrepreneur in the Alleghany Highlands."

What made you take the leap into being an entrepreneur and start your own business?

"Well I had dreamed about owning a quilt shop years back and at that time the timing wasn’t just right.

"For the past couple of years I have been reading books, improving myself, stepping up and stretching myself knowing this is what I want to do. So I thought, why not just do it?

"I jumped right in to it by starting with a plan because mentally I needed to figure out what exactly I wanted to do.

"I started by getting online and researching plans, and came up with my own business plan. I think with my education and being a teacher some things just came naturally.

"Once I had the business plan, I had to decide exactly how I was going to do this. At that point, everything started to snowball and things began to come together.

"When I mentioned all this to my husband, I don’t think he thought it was going to happen.

"Every step made me feel that I was getting closer to having it work out for me, and I feel like God has his hand in all this."

What advice would you give to someone who wants to become an entrepreneur?

"Make sure you do a business plan. Even if you stray away from the plan at least you have a foundation to go back to and you know where you were headed and what you wanted to do.

"Reach out to people because you will be surprised how much support is out there for you if you share your plans.

"I could not have done this by myself. When I started, I thought that I could.

"I was working on my business plan and thought this is my thing, this is my goal, I can do this. But I could not do this by myself.

"The community support has been wonderful."

What motivates you?

"I have always wanted to be a better person.

"Right now it is my granddaughter. You want to try and make the world a better place for your grandchildren.

"She comes in and sews with me even though she doesn’t know what she is doing; she can make the machine move fast and slow. The people here at the shop make over her so much."

How do you generate new ideas?

"Today we have a meeting with all the instructors and together we discuss ideas. "Right now we will be discussing how to advertise our classes.

"At the moment I have six instructors and they do an excellent job in getting samples to me and planning their side of it.

"We need to find a way to get our schedule of classes out in to the community. "People come to me all the time not knowing anything about our classes.

"We really need to figure out how we can do this.

"It is tough especially when people come in and say if I had known I would have done that."

How do you find people to bring into your organization that truly care about the business the way you do?

"My two children are first on my list, my son is the repair person for the sewing machines and my daughter is my support.

"I told them my plans back in January and asked my son if he would be interested in doing the repairs for me and he immediately said yes.

"I then started with my quilting community who I meet with once a month. I told them my plans and they have been very supportive.

"Carol Almarez and Brenda Bartocci were next and I shared my mission statement with them. They were on board from the start and have been very supportive with their time and energy.

"I think it is very important to let those who are supportive to know your mission statement.

"When we do our instructional meetings, I try to remind them that yes I want to make a profit and I want this business to be self sufficient.

My goal is to make it feel welcoming, especially for my beginning learners so they have a good experience, are not criticized, and will want to come back.

"I guess that is why I like my quilting community so well; you would go to the meetings and share your quilting knowing all your mistakes and they would make over you for your work.

"I want other people to feel that experience knowing what they do does make a difference."

What would you say are the top three skills needed to be a successful entrepreneur?

1. "I do not feel like I am successful yet because I still struggle with finances. I know in The Gauntlet we had a section on finances, and knowing your finances is very important.

2. Know how to delegate because you can’t do everything yourself.

3. Find yourself a good mentor to help guide you. Mott Atherholt was my mentor through The Gauntlet program and she has been wonderful along with her husband who has even helped me some with finances."

"Jenny Oeltjen has been a huge help to me since I have actually started my business due to our similar situations."

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