For the last several weeks, we have been learning about different ways quilters make a living with their quilting. If you missed that be sure and read the whole series starting here. This week, we meet a British quilter with a lot to teach us about creating a values-driven quilt business. Even if you’re not interested in quilting professionally, keep reading. This professional has an approach to her life that can work for any endeavor.
Meet Jane Galley, Owner of Loopy’s Place
I recently sat down and chatted with Jane Galley, the creative force behind the Sheffield-based quilt studio, Loopy’s Place. It was wonderful to Zoom with someone from “across the pond” and learn from her unique perspective. As we sipped our warm beverages, we giggled at the different phrases we use to describe the same things. It was immediately obvious to me that one of Jane’s greatest qualities is the warmth she exudes for people. She really thinks about ways she can help others.
At Loopy’s Place, Jane holds small classes and conducts one-on-one quilt instruction. She also develops her online courses, and content for her online membership club, Create with Loopy. In addition, Jane makes custom memory quilts for clients.
Jane is the mum (mom) of two grown young men aged 22 and 24 years. When they were younger, she homeschooled them, instilling a lifelong love of learning. These days, she has two great supporters, who know just how to respond to her beautiful creations!
In addition to operating Loopy’s Place, Jane works as a Learning Support Assistant (LSA) at a nearby college. LSAs assist students with a variety of learning challenges. Their purpose is to make learning accessible for all students by addressing their specific needs.
Aligning Your Business Plans With Your Personal Values
Obviously, Jane has a really good handle on what’s most important to her. What intrigued me, was how carefully she aligns her entire life around those values. She has a balance to her approach that baffles me a little. I was so excited to discover her talent for this. I think there is a lot to learn by carefully listening to the lessons Jane shared with me. Here is what I gleaned from our conversation:
1. Look At the Big Picture
Many quilt professionals work from home-based studios. Jane obtained her creative space away from home just before the Covid-19 shutdowns, with plans to host small classes and foster a local creative community. She is planning to move from her rented home to a purchased home which she expects will reduce her outgoings (expenses). Jane is open to a variety of living and studio options because she is looking toward the big picture.
Jane allows her business income goals to be driven by her actual needs. Instead of viewing her business as a money-making machine, she is looking at the big picture. One big step toward creative freedom in her business is to reduce outgoings in both her business and personal life. The discipline to manage outgoings gives Jane the freedom to pursue her business in a way that aligns with her values.
2. Know What You Value
Deep down, we all know what really drives us, but we often fail to acknowledge what that actually is. You have to be honest with yourself about what you really care about if you hope to be values-driven. Jane’s life speaks to a well-thought-out legacy.
Several times during our chat, Jane mentioned her mum who she lost many years ago. She also spoke very sensitively about the process of grieving that she goes through with many of her memory quilt clients. Most of what Jane shares is about other people, and how she can connect with and care for them. She emphasizes learning and thinks deeply about how her life experiences can help her support others in developing their potential. She also notes the importance of good mental health. Simply put, Jane seems to be an extremely thoughtful empathetic person with a passion for teaching and helping others. These values pour out of her when you talk with her.
3. Establish a Habit of Self Care
Even though Jane is focused on the needs of others, she doesn’t fall into the trap of not caring for herself. She shared with me that she loves to read. Each day, she treats herself to a soothing soak in her tub and a chapter of a great book. She has established a small habit that recharges her and made it a part of her daily life.
Jane nurtures her own creativity regularly. Even with the many demands on her time, she periodically gives herself a day to work on a creative project she is passionate about. She also unwinds with handwork in the evenings.
She has figured out what restores her and consciously incorporates these activities into her routines. I admire that Jane strives to be as kind to herself as she is to others.
4. Make Your Actions Reflect What You Value
Many experienced business owners offer the sage advice that you should build your business to align with your values. I appreciate every author, speaker, and friend who has ever shared this advice with me, but it wasn’t until this conversation that I began to understand how a real person might build a values-driven business.
I asked Jane to describe her business to me. She didn’t start by saying I create meaningful quilts to commemorate special people. There was no mention of teaching beginner quilters the skills needed to make their first quilt. The fact that she manages an online membership site or designs patterns didn’t warrant inclusion in her business description. Shockingly, she didn’t even say the word, “quilt.” Here’s how she described her business:
“I help people to be creative, to gain that confidence, to think that they can do it. “Jane Galley, Loopy’s Place
The first three words really capture the heart of Loopy’s Place, “I help people.” Jane does all of the things that she didn’t mention, but at the forefront of her mind is her mission, helping people. The quilting part of Jane’s business is secondary to the driving force, other people!
What Does a Values-Driven Business Look Like?
In discussing her business further, Jane shared two main ways that Loopy’s Place generates income. She creates custom memory quilts and teaches quilting both online and in person.
Creating Custom Memory Quilts in a Values-Driven Business
The term memory quilt can have a variety of different meanings. In some cases clients hire her to create a quilt to remember precious baby moments, using tiny clothes, and possibly photographs to create a bespoke quilt.
Other times, clients commission her to create a quilt to commemorate the life of a deceased loved one.
Jane tells her clients that the memory quilt is their quilt; she is just the one making it. She reflects on highly personal moments in her own life and tries to give her clients what they need in this process. Each memory quilt is created with extensive communication. Jane expends considerable energy to capture the personality of the one being honored.
For grieving clients, she moves very slowly, allowing them to process their grief at their own pace. She waits for however long it takes for the client to be ready before cutting the first piece of special clothing. The process of making a memory quilt can take 6 weeks or more. When the quilt is finished, Jane hand stitches the binding on the quilt and uses this time to say goodbye to the person that she has become connected to during this process. She even makes a video of the process which she delivers to her clients as part of the memory.
Jane helps people celebrate happy times and process grief through her memory quilt-making. Even though she obviously puts a lot of herself into this process, she doesn’t feel drained by it. On the contrary, she is passionate about this part of her business, because it is so closely aligned with her values.
Teaching Quilting in a Values-Driven Business
Jane described her goals with the classes she teaches at Loopy’s Place.
“I’m hoping what I give is a safe space and a supportive space for people to be able to express themselves without fear of doing it wrong.”Jane Galley
In addition to teaching quilting online and at the studio, Jane hosts an online membership club. Create With Loopy provides her students access to pre-recorded and live workshops, online community events, a quilt along, mental health and creativity tips.
With Jane, it is always about what she can do for people. It isn’t even something she really acknowledges about herself. It’s just a passion that she can’t suppress. Her teaching is about helping people to become comfortable and confident. She focuses her creativity on building a solid mental health foundation. She wants to foster a community that builds people up. These are her core values, and since she is true to them, she seems content, calm, and energized in her business.
What Can a Values-Driven Business Teach Us?
Anytime we start a new endeavor, whether a business, home improvement project, new job, or educational opportunity, this approach is beneficial. So many times when I start something new, I jump in without pausing to ponder the big picture. I focus all of my efforts on succeeding, without considering whether success in this endeavor would really be a good thing. I know what I value, but sometimes my daily actions aren’t well aligned with the things I hold most dear. To be honest, self-care is often an afterthought for me.
I am so glad that I had the chance to chat with Jane. Her values-driven business approach and her life, in general, have given me a fresh perspective on what’s most important in business planning. Even by chatting with me, Jane was doing what she does best, helping people! How about you? Do you have good ideas about how to align your business or life goals with your values? Is this a challenge for you?
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