Mary Graham hadn't been on the net very long, but she had already subscribed to every quilting maillist she could find. As a quilter starting up her own quilt pattern business in Albuquerque, NM, she quickly encountered one of the biggest taboos of some of the maillists -- Thou Shalt Not Do Business on the Net! As Mary puts it, "one thing I began to notice was there was no place that I could talk freely about what I do. I was pretty much restricted to E-mail exchanges to be able to talk about my business."
Then Mary made the "innocent statement" to her husband, Ozz, which has changed both their lives: "There really should be a place for us quilt-related businesses to freely share information and ideas." Ozz, who has been involved with computers and bulletin board systems for many years, replied: "Then start a list yourself."
Unschooled but game for the challenge, Mary and Ozz began to explore their options for managing such a list. After an encouraging survey of interest through other net groups, the pair decided to start "QuiltBiz," as it is known, immediately. They began publication in early June and almost at once had more than 100 subscribers, including small entrepreneurs and "representatives of some very well-known and established quilt-related publications." It has subsequently exceeded 250 subscribers.
For now, while it is still small, the list is being managed manually by Ozz. He simply takes incoming e-mail sent to their commercial box, repackages it as a digest, and sends it out to subscribers once a day, in the evening.
Subsequent to the establishment of the list the Grahams opened the QuiltBiz web site, which features listings by the members of the maillist (see Top Ten Quilting Web sites).
QuiltBiz is an example of the expanding scope of the internet as an arena for business-related activity. When asked about the potential of the internet for quilting business activity, Mary said, "There are already hundreds of companies selling their services and wares on the net with more coming on each day. I do believe that in the future this will only grow and expand, as where else can you reach potential customers from all over the world for the small cost of net access? With a computer, a modem, and a scanner a person can put a catalog on the internet that will be seen by thousands at literally pennies a day."
To subscribe to QuiltBiz send an e-mail request to Ozz and Mary at email@example.com and they'll send you the guidelines for posting.
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