MISSOURI STAR QUILT When Jenny Doan and her husband lost their savings during the Great Recession, daughter Sarah and son Al convinced her to build a business around her passion for quilting in the small town of Hamilton, Missouri. Today, Missouri Star Quilt boasts a workforce of 450 American employees of which around 85 percent are women, thanks to a devoted global customer base. “We have the world’s largest selection of quilting fabrics,” observed Jenny. “In terms of our customer base, international markets are very important for us. We have big customer bases who have been bit by the quilting bug in the UK, Germany, elsewhere in Europe, Australia and New Zealand.” Co-founder and son Al Doan built their website and e-commerce platform from the ground up and notes that is their main portal to the world. The Doans also point to Facebook and other social media tools as other components of their marketing strategy. “YouTube is a big platform for us,” said Jenny. She highlighted that, “we translated several of our tutorials into multiple languages so people around the world can get to know us,” which helped their small business take off. Today, Missouri Star Quilt is the most popular quilting channel on YouTube, which helps drive their global sales. Missouri Star Quilt uses its web platform and social media tools to elevate their brick-and-mortar presence and support their local community. In the company’s YouTube video overview, Jenny flags for viewers that Missouri Star Quilt offers,“the largest selection of pre-cut fabrics in the world both online and at our lovely store in Hamilton, Missouri.” A separate website, Visit MSQC, accessible from the Missouri Star Quilt homepage, describes the suite of shops, lodging, restaurants and tours in Hamilton that benefit from the business. Missouri Star Quilt’s reputation and selection attracts tourism to Hamilton from around the country and the world. The company faces several challenges as a global business. For one, all of Missouri Star Quilt’s fabric is cotton, a global commodity. “When the tariff on cotton goes up, our costs go up,” notes Al. “There’s a large global effect on the cost of goods that we consume as a company.” QUILTING | 450 EMPLOYEES | FOUNDED IN 2008 20 Global Innovation Forum