3 Things Jenny Doan Fans Need to Know About Her New Quilting Book, How to Stitch an American Dream
Get excited, quilting fans: Jenny Doan is taking her talents to the bookshelves!
The memoir gives Doan's fans an inside look at her life, from launching the Missouri Star Quilt Company in 2008 to raising her seven kids and revitalizing her small town of Hamilton, Missouri.
The book is available for purchase on Missouri Star Quilt Company's website, Amazon and Google Play Books — but for those who may be eager for a sneak peek, here are three things to know before getting your hands on a copy.
1. The timing of the book release mirrors Doan's start with Missouri Star Quilt Company
Doan launched Missouri Star Quilt Company in November 2008, just after the stock market had crashed and caused one of the worst recessions in history.
In her memoir, Doan speaks about the challenges of living through that time with her husband of 41 years, Ron Doan.
"Ron and I lost most of our retirement savings overnight. It wasn't much. Just what we had in a 401(k)," she writes. "Even so, 2008 was the first time our kids had ever witnessed a major downturn in their adult lives, and they were worried about us."
Her son Alan sparked the idea for her business, but "nobody came" to the store, she writes: "Sometimes a week would go by and we wouldn't get any customers. We did take out one or two ads in the newspaper, but that was all we could afford because we didn't have any money in the budget for advertising."
Despite those hardships, Doan was able to rise above and create one of the largest quilting channels on YouTube. Now she's facing challenging circumstances alongside the nation once again.
"Coincidentally, as I was working on this book, our country and the whole world fell into some uncertain times, which may or may not last a whole lot longer than any of us might want," she writes, referring to the COVID-19 pandemic.
"I say 'coincidentally' because our family is no stranger to hard times," she adds. "We found our strength through those struggles by believing in each other, in our family, in faith, and in the almost magical power of giving — even when it felt like we had nothing left to give."
2. How Doan transformed her small town into "QuiltTown, USA"
Before Doan was a household name, Hamilton, Missouri was primarily known as the hometown of James Cash (JC) Penney.
However, since Doan launched Missouri Star Quilty Company and her YouTube channel, the city is now called the "Disneyland of Quilting" or "QuiltTown, USA."
"The growth of Missouri Star has been life-changing for the people of Hamilton and the surrounding towns," Doan writes. "We have more than 450 employees on staff now. That's a lot of jobs in a rural area."
"We have thirteen quilt shops in downtown Hamilton now. People call it a Disneyland for Quilters. Before the pandemic, we were drawing 100,000 visitors per year to our shops — to a town of 1,500 people. We grew so big and so fast that teams from Google and YouTube and other big Silicon Valley companies have come out to interview us, just to hear our story and understand how to work with us."
At one point, Doan had people from as far as Brazil asking to meet her after seeing her YouTube channel. In her memoir, Doan writes of one Brazilian woman, "For someone to come all those miles to meet me, all because of what I had taught her to do, in a tutorial, online — that changed everything."
Later in the book, she discusses how her business made an impact beyond their small-town community, such as when a hurricane hit eastern Texas and the company helped donate over 8,000 quilts to disaster relief.
"If MSQC hadn't grown into what it is today, if we never expanded beyond that one little long-arm shop, if that one woman from Brazil had been the only woman whose life I'd touched through my work, it would've been enough for me. It would have been enough," Doan notes.
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3. Success has changed Doan for the better
Because of the hardships that she experienced early in life prior to her marriage to Ron (an abusive relationship, a divorce, supporting her children as a single parent, etc.), Doan said that success is still surreal to her.
"People often ask me what all of this success has meant to me, personally. And my answer is, 'Well, for the first time in my life, I can walk into a grocery store and buy whatever I want without having to worry about it,' " she writes. "That's a huge change for me after decades of raising seven children on a very limited budget. It was almost hard to get used to at first."
But that's not the only benefit of her new "sew-lebrity" status. As Doan writes, her perspective on family, faith and the power of giving to others has also changed.
"What I realize now is the pieces of all of our lives are being stitched together. The fabric stretches all the way back to our mothers and fathers, and grandmothers and grandfathers," she writes. "But in all of our lives, so many of the little pieces of our past are part of the beautiful quilt that tells our story."
"While many of our stories are fraught with heartache and hardship, what I've learned is that they are also filled with the batting of blessings — bound with dedication, hard work, faith, and, above all else, love for one another," she continues. "And sometimes, even when we're not aware of it, it's all of that love and dedication that gets passed down to the generations that come after us."