I’m delighted that you’re interested in learning more about the Gem Affiliate program, a team of instructors certified to teach in-person classes based on my unique gemstone patterns. The Gem Affiliate program will give you knowledge, tools, and resources to take your business to new heights.
As an expert on the sparkling patterns that are taking the quilt world by storm (with the amazing support of industry leaders like BERNINA, Sulky of America and Paintbrush Studio Fabrics), Gem Affiliates help quilt shops and guilds grow their revenue and client base. I've listed specific benefits of this program below, including new ways to increase your business income. — MJ
Now Recruiting for New Affiliates!
We announced the formation of this program in August 2018, and already have 20 independent teacher and quilt shops in the US, Canada, and Australia who are certified and ready to teach. This map shows you where Gem Affiliates are currently located across North America. (You can learn more about them by visiting the Meet The Gem Affiliate Page.)
I am looking for 20 additional teachers in the Canadian Provinces not yet served by Gem Affiliates to join me at our certification retreat in Calgary from August 8 - 11, 2019.
If this interests you, read on! The information below will introduce you to the program and the products, and allow to register for the retreat. We’d love for you to join us on this amazing adventure!
(Note: if you are located in one the eastern Provinces and would be more interested in attending a retreat hosted in eastern Canada, please click the CONTACT button at the bottom of the page to tell me more about where you are located and your interest. Let us come to you!) — MJ Kinman
Gem Affiliates are independent quilt shops and quilt teachers who have been certified to teach in-person classes based on my gemstone patterns. The Gem Affiliate program is a respectful, mutually-beneficial collaboration between your business and my brand with the ultimate goal to expand both. Gem Affiliates can significantly expand the menu of classes they offer to shops, guilds, and groups, as well as at retreats, conventions, and shows, by teaching patterns such as The Birthstone Series (a collection of 12 blocks representing the traditional birthstone gems) and new patterns and products scheduled for release in the coming months and years.
I welcome teachers at every stage of their career -- experienced and brand new alike. The skill level of my patterns range from those designed for the "Confident Beginner" (such as the Birthstone Series) to those designed for the Intermediate and Advanced sewist. (My Diamond Divas series now in the works is one such series of patterns aimed at the more experienced maker.) As a result, teachers of all experience levels can feel confident in their classroom and share patterns of interest and sufficient challenge with their students.
Finally, I’m delighted to announce that Paintbrush Studio Fabrics and Sulky of America are excited about the Gem Affiliate program and have offered to help Gem Affiliates in any way they can. That includes providing products to you at or below wholesale prices so that you can boost your per class revenue (when teaching for guilds and groups). The publicity that Paintbrush Studios and Sulky are also willing to provide will be invaluable in promoting your own classes to prospects.
Our inaugural retreat in December 2018 was sold out! We now have 20 independent teacher and quilt shop owners from around the United States and Canada who are actively booking and teaching classes. Our second set of retreats (one in the US and one in Canada) are scheduled for early August 2019.
The Gems: Current & Future Products
I've been making quilts for 30 years and gemstones for over 20. It's a passion that grabbed hold of my soul in the mid-1990s and has become a joy -- if not an obsession -- ever since. My original goal was to simply make art quilts. But that changed as it dawned on me that there might be lots of people out there who would enjoy creating their own gems. I pour my 20 years of experience (joy, frustration, and exploration) into every pattern so that quiltmakers can confidently and proudly create their own treasure trove.
The Birthstone Series -- My first pattern series is the Birthstone Series. Designed for the Confident Beginner, this collection of 12 traditional gemstones each with its own special cut is a perfect entrée to teaching and making gem quilts using the same freezer-paper piecing technique I use to create my giant gem portraits. Here are few of the Birthstone Series features:
The 17" square blocks are designed to use the fewest number of fabrics and pieces, yet still sparkle with light and color. Most can be taught in a single day-long class. (The Diamond has the most pieces and may require more than a day to put together.)
The cost is not prohibitive; suggested retail price for students is $18 per block.
The blocks are designed around the spectacular Painter's Palette solids from Paintbrush Studios, and are available to students as fat-quarter "Birthstone Bundles". Teachers can order these wholesale directly from Paintbrush Studios.
If teachers prefer to use fabric other than Painter's Palette solids, I have mapped the blocks to four additional fabric lines: Kona Cotton, Michael Miller Cotton Couture, Maywood Studio’s Shadow Play and Bali Batiks. I am also working on a translation for Moda’s Bella Solids.
I've created tutorial videos to introduce teachers to the technique. These tutorials are available only to shops and teachers who purchase the Shop Kit (see more below), and so are not available to the general public.
I've created a Piece Plan for each block to help you assist students in assembling the facets once they've been cut apart.
Each block has a special challenge (albeit an easy one) to help students grow in skill and confidence.
By virtue of the fact that each block corresponds with a particular month, you can easily market and schedule classes all year long. In addition, you can plan Birthday Party themed sew-ins or other special events to market the series.
Collaboration with Northcott Fabric -- I'm delighted to announce that earlier this year (2019) Northcott released our first collection of digitally-printed fabric and coordinates inspired by Lila, one of my art quilts. The collection, as well as four patterns I designed, were introduced at Quilt Market in November 2018 and shipped to shops during the first few months of 2019. Gem Affiliates were provided access to the patterns and digital images so that they could familiarize themselves with the contents and begin marketing classes. This line is swiftly selling out, but I’m just wrapping up a second collection to be introduced later this year and shipped to shops in early 2020. Also, stay tuned for some fun new designs centered around the Birthstone Series patterns, but using the Northcott colorway!
The Diamond Divas Series -- A second series on the drawing board features larger patterns that could be used either as art or functional quilts. These patterns will include classic cuts, such as a Princess Cut Square diamond and a Brilliant Cut Solitaire diamond, in various color ways. The image to the right is of the first pattern I've created called The Elizabeth. It is soon to be in the hands of Gem Affiliates, and will be shipping to large distributors later in May 2019.
Patterns in the Diamond Divas series will be released one at a time over a period of the next two years so as not to saturate the market and give you time to schedule classes. In addition, one of the benefits of being a Gem Affiliate is that you will have access to the Diamond Diva patterns several months before they are released to the general market. (Note: Quilt shops that are part of the Gem Affiliate program will, of course, have advance access to the Diamond Diva patterns, just as independent teachers will.) This advance time will give you time to create samples, and then market and schedule your classes.
Book with C&T Publishing (Working Title: Diamond Divas & Drama Queens) -- I am currently writing a book about the diamonds and the freezer-paper technique for C&T Publishing. The book will be out in late summer of 2020 and will provide Gem Affiliates with yet another opportunity to market classes around its release.
Future Projects -- Plans for future art quilts include the following:
A series inspired by the National Gem Collection -- the Hope Diamond, the Hooker Emerald, the Blue Heart Diamond, and other gorgeous gems found in the collection of the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History. My goal is to create a series of simplified blocks for quiltmakers inspired by these gorgeous diamonds, sapphires, rubies, emeralds, and other colored gemstones. Gem Affiliates will have access to these patterns months before they are released to the public, so that they can begin marketing to their client base.
An exhibit of the Bourbon Diamonds and the Smithsonian-inspired Gem Quilts at the National Quilt Museum (Paducah, KY) from September thru November 2020.
A Short Introductory Video to the Birthstone Series -- And just for giggles, here's a short video featuring your's-truly that I made to introduce myself and the Birthstone Series. It's part of the first of three videos that I created for shop owners and teachers. The first part is available for public viewing out on YouTube, while the final two parts covering technique are available only to people who purchased the Shop Kit.
Have I caught your attention?
Do you want to join me on the amazing ride ahead?
If so, read on!
Benefits of Becoming a Gem Affiliate
I hope you're considering becoming a Gem Affiliate because my patterns delight and inspire you. But there are other reasons to join us, too. Here are just a few:
Distinguish yourself from other teachers in the marketplace by promoting your Gem Affiliate certification.
Gain exclusive access to marketing tools to promote the patterns and designs that are not available to non-affiliated teachers.
Watch your business grow when you include a wide-range of classes and events that feature unique and inspiring patterns.
Increase your profitability by purchasing patterns, fabric, and thread at or below wholesale prices and share with your students at suggested retail pricing.
Participate in a consignment program whereby you can order volume stock and pay a small deposit (15% of total wholesale order) as you prepare to vend
at shows and festivals.
Join a growing company that will continue to create new designs over time to keep your clients and students coming back for more.
Get access to my new patterns well in advance of their release to the general market so that you can create samples, market your classes, and secure bookings.
Receive timely notifications of pattern updates and news of upcoming designs.
Meet a great group of creative, talented makers just like you.
Participate in retreats and gatherings around the country that will help you grow your business and nurture your creative flame.
The Gem Affiliate program is a training-based program rather than a competitive application. While any training invariably requires an investment of both time and money, the process to become a Gem Affiliate is deliberately designed to be rigorous yet reasonable. I want to provide the knowledge and tools you need to immediately begin growing your business without breaking your budget or swamping your schedule. The following program requirements are designed with that goal in mind:
Those interested in becoming a Gem Affiliate must attend an in-person retreat planned and hosted by me (MJ). This requirement pertains only to interested teachers located in the US and Canada. Those who live outside North America may participate in an online webinar specifically designed for international teachers. Of course, international teachers may also participate in the in-person retreats! A description of the retreat (and webinar) is listed below.
Gem Affiliates must purchase the Resource Kit for any pattern series they wish to offer as classes. Kits are likely to range from $75 to $200. Contents of these kits are described below.
Gem Affiliates must teach a minimum of six (6) classes within a one year period to maintain certification. (I realize that life can step in the way of the best-laid plans, so exceptions to this requirement will be made on a case-by-case basis.)
Gem Affiliates are required to sign and abide by the Code of Conduct described below to maintain certification. Affiliates must review and sign the Code of Conduct on an annual basis.
Gem Affiliates are welcome to teach at major shows and conventions (i.e., AQS' Quilt Week, Quilts Inc. Festival) after consulting with me about my teaching schedule at those same shows.
Recommended, but not required: I encourage Gem Affiliates to participate on my monthly conference calls, featuring topics of interest, current questions, success stories, and open forum for questions by Gem Affiliates.
A Resource Kit will be developed for every pattern/series released. These kits will be available to Gem Affiliates several months prior to their release to the general public (and non-Gem Affiliate shops). Kits will range in price from $75 to $200 depending on the number of patterns included in each. Each kit will include the following:
Pattern(s) and instructions
Link to video tutorial that I have created specifically for that pattern
Class pricing suggestions (of course, depends on your market)
Fabric suggestions for Painter's Palette solids by Paintbrush Studio Fabrics
Tips and talking points
Mapping to other fabric lines (i.e., Kona Cotton, Michael Miller, Northcott, etc.)
Access to professionally photographed images of the patterns for use on your website and/or social media platforms
Access to digital layouts for postcards and fliers announcing new patterns that can be downloaded and printed locally
Content for Gem Affiliate Facebook page featuring the new pattern
NOTE: If you are not quite ready to join us as a Gem Affiliate but want to start teaching classes featuring the Birthstone Series, please contact me to request a Shop/Resource Kit by clicking here to send a message via my CONTACT form. I want to be sure that you're aware of the resources available on my website that will help you plan classes and assist your students.
Our Shared Commitment
The Gem Affiliate program is a respectful collaboration between my brand and your business. That includes a commitment to trust and cooperation. As such, I’ve put together a list of standards that Gem Affiliates (and myself) must adhere to remain in good standing:
Clearly state the official name of my company and the pattern in all communication with shops, guilds, groups, or individuals (example: the Birthstone Series by MJ Kinman|Textile Artist); affiliates are not allowed to teach the pattern under their own business name without referencing my brand
Clearly state the official name of my company and the pattern in all marketing material, announcements, or social media posts
Include my Facebook page name and Instagram handle in social media posts featuring my patterns; this allows viewers of my social media sites to see your classes and successes, further expanding your marketing reach
Teach only in-person classes; developing online classes is not permitted by Gem Affiliates
Teach to the pattern instructions without shortcuts or modifications, nor use another piecing technique
Not copy or modify my copyrighted patterns and teach them under your own name
Refrain from writing articles, books, or ebooks about the patterns without my express permission
Direct students to purchase patterns and fabrics from shops (if teaching at that shop); if the shop does not carry the patterns or fabric, Gem Affiliates may assist shops in obtaining patterns and fabric
Sell patterns to students at no less than suggested retail price; the price may be included in the class fee, added as s "kit fee" or sold to students directly
Ensure that they have signed release forms on hand before placing students' or other Gem Affiliates' work product on their website or social media platforms
Offer students the opportunity to complete an evaluation of the class and their performance at the end of the class; have forms available in class for that purpose
Take care to create and maintain a safe emotional space in the classroom for all students when teaching under my brand
Handling Violations of Our Shared Commitments:
If it comes to my attention that a Gem Affiliate has violated the Code of Conduct, the following will occur:
1. At a first instance of a violation, I will talk with the Gem Affiliate to discuss the issue, determine the situation surrounding the alleged violation, explore different ways to handle it, and plan steps to change behavior if necessary.
2. If a specific violation continues -- or a pattern of multiple violations develop -- the teacher will be removed from the Gem Affiliate program. The former Gem Affiliate will receive written notice of removal by mail and email, including instructions to refrain from teaching my patterns and to remove all mention of the Gem Affiliate program from their website and/or social media sites. Their contact info will be removed from my site and their access to the private Gem Affiliate Facebook site will be revoked.
3. In some cases, a single violation may be so egregious that it warrants removal from the Gem Affiliate program. I reserve the right to make that determination.
4. If it is determined that a former Gem Affiliate continues to teach my patterns and is representing themselves as a Gem Affiliate, I will take appropriate legal action.
My Commitment to You
1. I will never ask you for your list of shops, guilds, groups, or students. This is your confidential business data.
2. While I reserve the right to develop online classes for each pattern series, I will do so only after you have had ample time to market, schedule, and teach your in-person classes. The suggested time period between releasing patterns to Gem Affiliates and creating my online classes is one year.
3. While I may teach one of the more complex patterns from time to time at local, regional, or national shows, my interest is primarily teaching the freezer-paper technique classes that I have developed. My goal is not to compete with your business, but to complement your business.
3. I reserve the right to increase or limit the number of Gem Affiliates in a given area based on demand. However, I will avoid bringing lots of teacher into any one location so as not to dilute your business' ability to thrive. Please keep in mind, too, that you are not limited to teach in your geographic area. If you have a connection with a guild, shop, or group in another area, by all means, pursue it.
Canadian Gem Affiliate Retreat (August 8-11, 2019)
Teachers interested in becoming a Gem Affiliate must attend a 3-day retreat . Details of the next retreat in August are listed at the end of this section is limited to 20 people for each retreat.
During the retreat, Gem Affiliates will:
Have opportunities to build relationships with other affiliates
Learn more about me, how my diamond quilts came about, my vision for the Gem Affiliate program, and plans for future patterns and products
Learn the basics of how to create a freezer-paper template, the technique I use to create the patterns, as well as my art quilts
Create one of the Birthstone blocks
Have the opportunity to learn from other experienced teachers how they built their successful businesses
Prepare for and script a successful gem class
Learn how to handle difficult situations and students in class
Have the chance to complete exercises that will help them map out teaching opportunities available to them in their home regions and other areas to they have connections in; and create outreach and follow-up plans targeting shops, guilds, shows, conventions
Have the chance to create an "elevator speech" that will increase your confidence when marketing your business and result in lots of bookings
Have a chance to build a professional Facebook page if you don't already have one
Provide me (MJ) with a professional head shot, profile, contact info, and a link to your existing website and/or social media platforms so that I can include you in the list of Gem Affiliates on my website, and welcome you on my Facebook and social media platforms
Get access to private Facebook page for Gem Affiliates that is to be used solely for information and resource dissemination
Get access to monthly webinars for Gem Affiliates on which I will share updates, news, have short information sessions, share stories of success, and provide an open forum for questions
Receive information about success tools for your business, such as...
Contracts and agreements with shops, guilds, and other groups
Professional services and how they can help you
Online services that can help you with design, printing, shipping, and other activities
Contact and ordering information Paintbrush Studio Fabrics, as well as Sulky thread
Contact and ordering information for patterns from me (plus the chance to purchase patterns and bundles in bulk at the retreat, as supplies last)
Accommodations & Pricing
Price: The cost of the 3-day retreat is $925 (CAD). The price includes seminar fee, materials, breakfast, lunch, one dinner (Saturday evening), snacks each day, and a dessert party on the day of arrival (Thursday). The price does not include lodging or travel costs. Registrants will have the option of paying in 3 installments or in one full payment. Upon conclusion of the retreat, participants will have all the tools they need to immediately begin scheduling classes and securing their return on investment.
Location: The August Canadian Gem Affiliate retreat will take place at the Holiday Inn & Suites Calgary Airport North in Calgary, Alberta. This brand new Holiday Inn & Suites is just 4 miles from the Calgary Airport and within walking distance of great downtown locations. Available rooms in our block include standard 2 Queen bedrooms and 1 King bedroom for a special rate of $109.99 (CAD) plus tax per night. This rate is for either 1 or 2 people per room. Retreat attendees will be responsible for making and paying for their own reservations. (The block of rooms is listed under the Group Name “Gem Affiliates with MJ Kinman” and will be held at this special rate until July 19, 2019.)
Here’s just a few of the many amenities you’ll find at the Holiday Inn & Suites. (See left.) Best of all, the entire certification retreat will be conducted onsite. There’s no need to go off site…unless you want to check out some wonderful dining or fun things to do in the evenings!
To find out more about the Holiday Inn & Suites Calgary Airport North, click here.