3 Questions to Ask to Avoid Being Just Another Shop

By Jacob Curtis

No one wants to get lost in the crowd, but how do you help your quilt shop stand out? How do you help it gain more loyal customers? Well to put it simply you have to solve your customers’ problems.

Example from History

Do you know who John Chapman is? Well how about Johnny Appleseed? They are actually the same person. For those of you who do not know, John “Johnny Appleseed” Chapman was, an eccentric wanderer who was known for wearing a pot on his head and planting apple trees throughout the American frontier in the early 1800s.

So why am I bringing him up today? Because he unified what his market (or customers) needed with what he enjoyed: apples and apple cider–the hard stuff. At the time when Johnny Appleseed lived, Pittsburg was a launching point for American settlers moving west. And Johnny noticed that many that were moving were thirsty. And because it was the 1800s, they didn’t have easily accessible clean water. But Johnny had something that was bacteria-free and tasted pretty good: apple cider.

Johnny saw a growing trend or need in the market and had a solution that he enjoyed. He unified his customers’ wants and needs with his unique skills, talents, and solutions. The lessons we learn from Johnny Appleseed will help our quilt shops stand out and avoid being just another quilt shop.


Today, I am going to show you how to match your efforts to the exact size and speed of an individual trend that the group is creating. To do this, we need to identify the following elements in your niche:

  • Problems
  • Pressures
  • Needs
  • Requirements
  • Desires

Once you have identified these five commonalities, you then unify them with your unique products and services.

Interview Top Customers

Ask them these questions.

1) “What specific elements of my company’s services or products are best?”

When your customers answer this question, they are not telling you what is actually “best,” but rather what they are paying attention to and what you need to improve to really wow them.

2) “What about my industry is wrong or frustrating?”

Asking about your industry instead of your quilt shop makes it less awkward, and you will most likely get a truthful response. Once they answer, you know what problems to fix with your quilt shop.

3) What are the biggest frustrations or challenges you are facing?

This question is more direct, so be prepared to ask more “why” follow-up questions. Their answer helps you spot trends and problems. Once you know your top customers’ wants and needs, you can align your products and services to be unified with them.


Another great way to find a trend is to look at the history of your niche. Trends usually repeat themselves. But you have to be smart; you have to know what trends will actually be coming back and what trends will not.

If you follow these steps, you will unify your products and services to your top customers’ wants and needs, which will help you piece together Financial Freedom.


To review, you need to set up interviews with at least three, but I recommend ten of your top customers. Prepare your questions in advance. Don’t skip this step! Schedule it now. Your top customers can point you directly to the next trend. Take note of the commonalities in your customers’ answers. Which of their problems or desires is your company uniquely suited to solve? Of the solutions you could provide to your customers, which of these are they most interested in? Don’t guess. Ask them. Now, which do you enjoy most? Do this step because you want to be helping them and enjoying it too!

Free Tool

We are here to help you, so please click on the link below to download the tool for unifying your products and services with your top customers.



Jacob Curtis, CPA, CPFP, is a co-owner of Utah Valley Quilting and the founder of Curtis Accounting Solutions. Jacob and his team at Curtis Accounting Solutions help quilt shops piece together financial freedom by taking on the day-to-day bookkeeping, payroll, and taxes while providing valuable business strategy and coaching. Go to www.curtisaccountingsolutions.com for additional practical and useful tools.


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