I AM GENQ: Kimberly Jolly of Fat Quarter Shop

by jake on April 25, 2012


Let’s see…. Organized? Check. Great with numbers? Check. Energetic? Check. Deep understanding of the Internet and how e-commerce works? Double-check. Love of fabric and those who also worship its magic? Way big check! Add this skill set together and what do you get? Well, we get the Fat Quarter Shop and the face behind the incredibly successful online quilt shop, Kimberly Jolly.

Once upon a time, in 2003 really, Kimberly, a Certified Public Accountant, started Fat Quarter Shop as a hobby, sort of.

“I was married for three months,” Kimberly said. “I had a job at the time. I was just doing it as a hobby. I had a full-time job and doing this at night and on the weekends–packing orders.”

She sounds modest, but really she understood how search engines worked, and almost from the start, quilt fabric surfers found her store.

About a year later, Kimberly and her husband quit their day jobs to work for Fat Quarter Shop full time. Bye-bye accounting. Hello kits and bundles and fats, oh my!

So that was nine years ago. Five years ago, Kimberly gave birth to her daughter, Emma. Then, because she wasn’t quite done, she had twin boys (now 2 ½ years) and another son (now 1 1/2 years) to even out the count. And how does she do it? (This question is a cliché for a good reason!) Well, with a little help from her friends, she says.

And with the shop? Well, Kimberly is one quilter who understands the power of choice. When a customer has a lot to select from, you have a happy customer. And when you couple this thought with really good customer service, you create a life-time shopping partner.

Kimberly’s careful with disclosing numbers, but we can at least share that she’s adept at creating regular quilt kits, and tracking them (no small effort). She also understands everyone’s place in the bigger collective.

Secret pleasure?

I like to watch reality TV shows.

Oh, you mean like Project Runway (being a fabric addict and all)?

I’ve never watched Project Runway. I like to watch Parking Wars and Pawn Stars. I went to the (Pawn Stars) store last week. I don’t think they film there. It’s very different when you go in. They really didn’t have much. I was like how do they stay in business? My husband plays guitar and he was like, “These guitars are horrible!”

Okay, we understand now. What show really disturbs you?

Hoarders bothers me. On an emotional level.

Perfect day?

Stay home in the morning and sew and play with my kids at night. Really, it’s already every day. Always.

The industry trends you’ve seen over the last few years?

I think just the amount of fabric that’s coming out. The manufacturers are producing more fabric than ever before. As a shop, there’s more to choose from. They are producing 20-30 percent more fabrics.

Why do you think this is?

I think they’re trying to produce more so that every manufacturer is going to have something for every store. It’s a good thing for the consumer because they have more to choose from.

Leave a Comment

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

Christa Marcotte Identicon Icon Christa Marcotte April 25, 2012 at 6:13 am

I love your website! Great job!


Marcy Identicon Icon Marcy April 25, 2012 at 7:30 am

I always wondered who the faces were behind the web site. Thanks for sharing.


quiltzyx/sue Identicon Icon quiltzyx/sue April 25, 2012 at 5:11 pm

It’s always so nice to ‘meet’ the people behind the scenes! I bow down in awe – 4 kids under 6 yrs old AND running a successful business!!!


sylvia Identicon Icon sylvia February 8, 2013 at 1:45 pm

OMG this brought a HUGE smile to my face, i’ve been toying with the idea of starting a small online fabric store. I’ve been designing materials I’d like to selll and have been to scared to take a leap. This story has inspired me to challenge myself to start this as a hobby :) …..you never know where the road can lead you


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