T-shirt quilt maker utilizes SBDC training in small business startup

By Austin King, Kilgore News Herald

Kilgore College’s Small Business Development Center is gearing up for another short semester.

In another of its ongoing courses hosted at KC–Longview, SBDC will soon provide more business advice for up-and-coming East Texas companies in a program taught by local experts in business, finance, advertising, marketing and more. This semester, the course will be offered at KC Longview as well as Gilmer and Marshall.

“Classes feature local professionals who examine topics relevant to small business,” said Melanie Northcutt, SBDC training coordinator. “Startup and existing businesses join us each year to learn not only small business basics, but also advertising strategies, tax and corporate laws, insurance policies, financing programs, marketing trends, government forms and filing requirements, bookkeeping basics, and much more. Those attending have the unique opportunity to interact with an insurance agent, attorney, CPA, banker, marketing consultant, and others throughout the program. These professionals volunteer each week to lend their expertise in support of local entrepreneurs. Small business regulations and conditions are constantly changing, so small business owners must stay informed to ensure long-term success.”

Numerous local business owners have taken the course to get seasoned advice from East Texas business veterans. Connie Rosen of Kilgore-based GotQuiltz? is one such former student.

“It was very helpful,” she said. “They had several professionals come in with their own experiences. They gave a lot of great advice.”

Rosen started her business in November of 2011 and she took the class last year. GotQuiltz? is operated from Rosen’s home, where she patches together quilts on demand for customers with a specific pattern in mind.

“Customers drop off or ship me their t-shirts,” Rosen said. “I cut them down and do the design the customer wants and weave it into the quilt.

“They normally take me four to six weeks to complete when it’s not Christmas or graduation time, which is busier. I only work on one quilt at a time. I do it all, from start to finish. I’ve had clients as far away as Massachusetts and I’m on an order now for Florida. It’s all over the United States, thanks to my website.”

Rosen’s quilting career evolved from what was originally a hobby for her.

“I was making quilts as a hobby for years,” she said. “I do feel very happy that I can make a living doing what I like to do and using my talent to bring happiness to other families. I feel very blessed.”