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PatternJam: The Perfect Storm of Tech, Startup, and Quilting

How can PatternJam not benefit from this convergence of high-tech, startup-mania and quilt-central environments? I think it’s the perfect storm.

If there’s one scene that might rival tech for prominence in Utah, it’s the crafting community. For every software startup there’s an Etsy shop owner. For every app developer, an avid quilter. Up to this point the two industries have operated independently, both thriving, but with little overlap in interest. However, PatternJam is now changing, or maybe initiating, the relationship between tech and craft, to the mutual benefit of both. Conventional wisdom might find it an unconventional pairing, but Emily Taylor, founder of PatternJam and winner of TechTeamUp, is anything but conventional.

Taylor describes herself as both artistic and driven, a combination she considers strange, albeit a combination that has led to success. As a newly-married college student she knocked door-to-door in upscale neighborhoods, offering to paint murals in homes, and eventually became so popular that she was booked three months in advance and won several awards in the Parade of Homes. She then went on to create a die-cut print that she sold on QVC and then, after having an epiphany in a quilt shop, became a fabric designer. “I desperately wanted to become a fabric designer. I purchased a computer as well as the software needed to produce digital artwork, and set to work teaching myself the skills that I needed to reach my goal,” Taylor said. She has been under contract with Riley Blake designs for about six years and has produced over 200 unique fabric designs with worldwide distribution.

As a fabric designer, Taylor wanted increased exposure for her fabric and wanted a tool that could help her visualize fabric placement of a quilt prior to sewing. If I may make an editorial note here, as an amateur quilter, I would find this tool to be incredibly useful. Designing a quilt is no easy task, and the ability to plan and see a layout before making a fabric purchase would save me a whole lot of time, frustration, and money. Taylor understood the need for this tool in the market, and got to work designing it. “I realized there isn’t really a convenient and inexpensive option for interacting with current designer fabric in a quilt pattern. So being the scrappy entrepreneur I’ve always been, I created PatternJam,” Taylor said.

PatternJam allows quilters to design an entire quilt online, with customizable dimensions, 24 different block options and a robust library of available fabrics. PatternJam then generates yardage and cutting assumptions for fabric to be ordered. I cannot emphasize enough what a headache-saver this is for those of us who have been known to show up to fabric shops with a calculator in hand.

PatternJam is currently a semifinalist in Start Madness, with hopes of winning the $150,000 grand prize. “My main concern right now is user acquisition, and winning that money would really accelerate the process,” Taylor said. “We know we have a great product and an enthusiastic market, but bringing the two together doesn’t just happen. We need to make people aware of PatternJam and what it does by attending events, using social media ads, and connecting with industry influencers. All of that takes planning and cash!”

For now, after winning TechTeamUp, PatternJam is teaming with Izeni and using the $5,000 worth of development won in the competition. “It’s great being in this environment where there are so many highly skilled techies,” Taylor said. “How can PatternJam not benefit from this convergence of high-tech, startup-mania and quilt-central environments? I think it’s the perfect storm.”

PatternJam will be presenting in the Start Madness Semi-finals in Provo on July 15, and as part of the current Boom Startup cohort will have a Demo Day on July 13. Attend either (or both) event(s) to learn more about PatternJam, or what I like to call, The Quilter’s Salvation.

Published 7/7/2015

PatternJam: The Perfect Storm of Tech, Startup, and Quilting
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