Small Breathitt County quilting business thriving because of e-commerce
JACKSON, Ky. – Shaina Naillieux is selling quilts all across the United States from a garage turned quilting studio in a rural part of Breathitt County.
“Quilting is becoming a lost art,” said Naillieux, the owner of Sew Knot Fancy. “When I was a child, you had a variety of people in your local community that quilted, and some did it for a living.”
Naillieux’s mother, Patricia Caudill, still does. She opened Quilts Plus with her mother, Alma Jean Riley, in 1988.
“It’s just something I loved to do, and I learned so much from my mother,” recalled Caudill. “It was something I wanted to pass down to Shaina, and she has taken off with it.”
Naillieux opened Sew Knot Fancy in 2015 and instantly carved out several niches. Her most popular is t-shirt quilts.
“It’s a great way to remember a special part of your life or remember a loved one that has passed away,” said Naillieux. “It is by far the most requested quilt we do.”
Sew Knot Fancy isn’t your average quilt shop. Quilting, like just about everything else, has evolved with technology. Instead of running from it, Naillieux embraced it.
Sew Knot Fancy is essentially a national company with even a global reach. She sells through her website https://squareup.com/store/sewknotfancy, Etsy, and a Facebook page. She has sold quilts to 30 states since her opening.
Her biggest challenge? Connectivity.
Naillieux said projects like Kentucky Wired are important for small and thriving businesses like Sew Knot Fancy.
“My connectivity here is not very good so I have to rely a lot on the data on my cellphone and go into town or to a family members home to do work maintaining my website and Etsy page,” said Naillieux. “I have the potential to do a good business here, and I have dreams of opening up a larger studio and expanding my product line to include custom woodworking, but I can’t sell to the world if I am not connected.”
Naillieux’s home is about five miles west of Jackson, Ky. The quilt shop is therapeutic for her as it brings back memories of her childhood, learning to sew with her mother and grandmother.
“I’m now passing that on to my oldest daughter (Keevia, 8),” said Naillieux, a married mother of four children who also homeschools her children. “She’s asking questions, and I have no doubt she will continue to learn and be a quilter.”
There is a market for Appalachian arts and crafts across the globe. Naillieux’s vision is to make the business a family affair with her mother and husband, who currently works in Hazard.
“I’d love to have my family working with me, and I would love to have a few more employees,” Naillieux said. “We have something special here, and connectivity allows us to showcase our talents to the globe, while staying in a region that is home.”
Sew Knot Fancy is a proud Blueprint Partner of Shaping Our Appalachian Region, Inc. (SOAR). They plan to use the vast network of SOAR to expand their customer base and learn more from small and thriving businesses throughout Appalachia.
“SOAR provides a network and a place for me and others to share ideas and work collectively to move our businesses forward,” said Naillieux. “SOAR understands and promotes the value of broadband and its place in building the 21st Century Appalachia we all desire.”