I have sold my business, Quiltopia!Design, after 7 years in operation. I started the business back in 2007 because I needed to create a job for myself in the country town I live in. I was a teacher and, after moving down here from Darwin with my daughter, I found it very hard, almost impossible, to get a job with Queensland Education Department close to home. It seemed there were a few reasons for this. Firstly, the rural location and limited migrant population meant there wasn’t a lot of call for ESL teachers and secondly, there weren’t any positions available because Queensland teachers hang onto their jobs when they go on leave, even with no intention of returning. There are limited vacancies for new teachers to move into. Frustrating. I started teaching workshops for some of my quilts, got several tutoring gigs around the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane, and slowly moved out of ESL into my own patchwork and quilting business. I added some Moda pre-cut fabric as a retail line, then some fabric, then an eBay store, website, shop and I had become a retailer. This suited us really well while my daughter was in school and I could be here, able to take her to school, come quickly if needed,my shop a place for her to drop into on her way home from school. I was lucky to get a little shop space in Maleny’s main street, down a short hallway arcade. It was tiny and I shared it for three days with other tenants on the other days of the week. It was a killer taking the growing shop stock in and out every week. Eventually the shop became mine permanently and people gradually got to know about it. It quickly filled up with shelves, quilts, fabric, notions and customers. My online store also started to boom and life was busy. Time marches on, especially when you’re busy and it seemed, suddenly the school years were over! New plans were made and my little girl was going to be moving overseas! What would I do? What would become of our little life in Maleny? It was time for a new adventure, new challenges for Ann. I thought it might be fun to go back overseas teaching English so I googled “TESOL Cerificate” and found some colleges and courses on SEEK, enrolled in a TESOL Diploma and Certificate course with on organisation called ATA TESOL. They have an office in Brisbane and I enrolled in a TESOL Diploma and Certificate course to upgrade my qualifications and have that piece of paper so desired by international learning centres. (TESOL is an acronym for Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages). Very quickly, I transitioned back into my past profession and, after blitzing the online recruitment sites, I found a job teaching English in China. Everything fell into place. Meanwhile my little shop and fabric business had to wind up. I moved it into my home studio and became a 100% online retailer. It turned out my home studio was actually larger than the shop had been! At first the aim was to sell out of stock and move on, a massive task! Then someone asked if I was selling…I hadn’t even thought about it, but decided to give it a go, ended up advertising on Gum Tree, Quiltopia!Design Facebook page and website, and found a buyer. It was amazing and felt like a gift from the universe. So here we are, seven years later, most of the stock moved out yesterday and more things have to happen online as well over the next few days, then it all goes down to its new home on the Gold Coast on Saturday. Quiltopia lives on! It’s a very satisfying feeling and I’m so glad for my customers, my little business and it’s new and excited owners. It seems a long way from that first year of setting up the business and making this Straight Furrows Log Cabin quilt, made in the shop, from the scrap strips cut off the uneven beginning edges of the fabric rolls in that first year. I’m reminded of all those similes drawn to life being like a patchwork quilt. Bits joined together, forming a pattern and design with light and dark, not immediately obvious or clear, until, viewed from a point of reflection it gains some perspective and even beauty.