Hartford Artisans Weaving Center

How the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center Supports an Artistic Community with QuickBooks

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center's mission is to promote and teach the craft of handweaving in a supportive and creative community. The center, located in Hartford, Connecticut, encourages seniors and people with low or no vision to learn how to create beautiful and original handwoven items — no weaving experience is necessary!

Beyond learning a new skill, the people who come to the center gain self-esteem and a sense of accomplishment. They also get to connect with a community of fellow artisans and receive support from their peers. According to Claudia Spaulding, treasurer, the weaving center is a rebirth of the former Hartford Artisans Center, which was located at the Connecticut Institute for the Blind at Oak Hill.

When the Hartford Artisans Center closed in 2009, the weaving center opened to help meet the needs of the people whom the artisans center had served. Currently, the weaving center has 3 staff members, 22 volunteers, and 31 artisan weavers. About a third of those weavers are blind.

Supporting a Robust Community Program with QuickBooks

The Hartford Artisans Weaving Center receives support from both donations and volunteers. Another major way the weaving center continues to be able to provide free weaving classes is through sales from its boutique. Because sales are an essential part of keeping the center running, having a reliable, versatile accounting program is important.

When the weaving center opened the boutique, it began using QuickBooks, which it received via TechSoup's Intuit donation program. The first year, the center sold over $20,000 in merchandise. Last year, it sold over $50,000 of handwoven goods, equipment, and supplies. The center uses QuickBooks Point of Sale to record and track its sales.

The Importance of Reliable Accounting Software

As the treasurer of the Hartford Artisans Weaving Center, Spaulding knows her accounting software. She had been an Intuit Quicken user for years. "I was comfortable with Intuit software and a satisfied customer," commented Spaulding.

QuickBooks also helps the nonprofit produce financial statements and reports for grantmakers and board members. Spaulding said: "We wouldn't be able to secure grants if we were not using accounting software. And it would be very difficult to make budgets, and organize our business."

This story originally appeared on the TechSoup Blog. It was written by Ginny Mies senior content curator at TechSoup.