With Pewter Acorn Quilts
Meet Anna Liese, The Founder of Pewter Acorn Quilts
Laura: First things first, tell me about your business? What do you create and who do you create it for?
Anna Liese: My mission is to provide quilting and longarm services to fellow quilters who need help turning their works-in-progress quit tops into to finished quilted heirlooms.
Quilters are deeply compassionate makers, often using their hobby to express love and care for those around them. When it’s time to actually quilt their quilt, that is, to stitch the top, middle, and back layers together, many people find they have space constraints, physical limitations, or creative roadblocks. That’s when they can call on me to do the quilting part for them.
I work on a 12 foot long industrial quilting machine in my studio, which allows me to complete much larger, or complicated quilting designs than what most people are capable of doing on their home sewing machine.
Laura: How did you first get started in your industry?
Anna Liese: As a child, I watched my momma make a quilt for her dear friend’s wedding, sew curtains and clothes, and one of a kind halloween costumes. One day, she sat me down with lined notebook paper in front of her sewing machine, and she ‘let me drive’. I was hooked, and eventually I learned how to follow a pattern, pick fabric, and experimented with various techniques.
Fast forward a few years, to my mid-20’s. I was working my first ‘real’ job out of college, and I went in search of a creative outlet. I found a local fabric shop and discovered that many people my own age were gathering ‘virtually’ via modern quilting blogs. I immediately felt at home in the online quilting community. In the 10 years since, I have taken dozens of workshops + classes, and spent hundreds of hours sewing, quilting, and creating.
Laura: What is one thing you want people to know about you, that they may not already know?
Anna Liese: I am an active volunteer, and advocate for the Alzheimer’s Association® , in honor of my Grandmother Meg. She was an incredibly intelligent and talented woman, a leader in many areas of her community, and she was the one who taught my mom how to sew. We lost her in 2006 to Alzheimers, and it breaks my heart to know that others are fighting everyday to hold on to their memories, their health, and their loved ones. Until there is a cure, I will continue to fight to end Alzheimer’s.
Laura: What do you struggle with most when it comes to running your own business?
Anna Liese: All of the administrative paperwork. I would much rather spend my time on the customer services and creating! I try to keep all of my tools for bookkeeping really simple. The simpler it is, the more likely I am to stay ahead of it.
Laura: What is one thing that comes really easy for you?
Anna Liese: Inspiration for new designs and products. I have odd bits of papers, digital notes on my phone, and photos scattered around all over the place! The ideas and inspiration come from all sorts of unexpected places, so I try to capture it while it’s fresh. I look at them when I’m planning a new collection or product, they are a great jumping off point.
Laura: What aspect of your business is the most rewarding?
Anna Liese: The opportunity to meet a beautifully diverse array of people while doing what I love. I get to make connections with fellow makers and am honored when they trust me to help bring their artistic vision to life. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of watching the pride and joy that crosses a quilter’s face when he or she shares their most recent finished project.
Laura: How do you manage the stress and overwhelm of running your own business?
Anna Liese: To be honest, it’s a work in progress. Building and running a business is HARD! I don’t think I’ve ever met a small business owner who didn’t get panicky and freaked out about doing ALL the things at some point in the process. At one point, the pressure of my 9-5 job, life, and building my small business got so intense I had a full blown panic attack. Not good!
I now practice mindfulness and meditation in the mornings several times a week, to help me clear my mind and start the day with a ‘fresh mental canvas.’ I am much more decisive, calm, and productive for the rest of the day. Even my goal setting, scheduling and ability to stay on task throughout the day seem to improve.
Laura: Who influences or inspires you the most in regards to your industry?
Anna Liese: So many makers have inspired me over the years. Currently, I have been so impressed and inspired by Anne, from Ladybird Fabrics. I met her in a local modern quilt guild, and have watched her grow from a maker on etsy to opening a brick and mortar fabric shop in Oklahoma City. She’s faced many challenges along the way, but through it all, her kindness, creativity, and welcoming nature shine through. Her shop has a lovely stock of fabric, but what makes her really special is the care and next level customer service she provides to all of her customers. Anne and her shop are absolute gems, I can’t wait to see where they go next!
Laura: You have “a worthy brand,” I can see that, but why do you feel your brand is worthy? How do you remind yourself of your worth to continue building your business each day, how do you remind yourself, you are worth it!
Anna Liese: Quilters are unique in that their ‘products’ are both utilitarian and artistic. Their work provides warmth + physical comfort, but they are also embedded with a personal + creative connection. Each piece of the quilt making process is a reflection of the maker.
Before a quilt top comes to me, so much time and energy has already been invested in its design and construction. Sometimes the person who pieced it is gone, but a family member wants to see the project finished. Every quilt, and its maker, is deserving of love and respect!
Laura: And last… if you could give new or struggling entrepreneurs one piece of advice, what would it be?
Anna Liese: When you get stuck, or don’t know how to make your brand stand out, look for inspiration in unexpected places. Exploring beyond your craft or industry, can open your eyes to a potential idea or an innovation that you would never otherwise try. For example, if you’re a painter, watch a documentary on architecture. If you’re a woodworker, read a blog post on photography. You get the idea. In other words, stay curious! You may be pleasantly surprised by what unexpected things can be learned and applied to your own entrepreneurial endeavours.
Photography by Anna Liese
This was such a lovely interview and I’m so glad Anna Liese got to share with us all that goes into quilt making. Past down from generations, quilting is a way to feel connected to our family.
Thank you for sharing your story with us.
Follow Anna Liese on Instagram for behind the scenes: