Interview with the Inventor of the Twister Tool- Marsha Bergen!
I recently wrote an in depth blog post about the Twister Tool. A very fortunate byproduct of this post was the fact that I was able to communicate with the creator of the Twister Tool. Below is my interview with Marsha Bergen.
Marsha Bergen, inventor and creator of the Twister Tool, also owns the Country Schoolhouse Quilt Shop in Superior, WI, only 3 blocks from Lake Superior.
Marsha originally created the Twister Tool for use in her shop but the idea grew and eventually found a market nationwide.
Like most inventions, necessity was the mother of invention. She came up with the idea of the Twister Tool in response to her customer’s frustrations. The traditional methods for creating pinwheel quilts were time consuming and not easy.
She knew if she designed a tool that simplified the process and could be used for precuts (charm packs and layer cakes) this would open the pattern up to a whole new group of quilters. Both beginners and experienced quilters looking for a quick and fun pattern would have new options for making pinwheel quilts!
It was important to Marsha that she develop a high quality product made in the United States. Marsha’s rulers use thicker acrylic than most. This means you won’t accidently shave off the plastic edges when the tool comes into contact with your rotary blade.
She also puts “bumpers” on the bottom of the ruler so it is raised up over the seams. As an additional bonus the bumpers make the ruler “slip-free”. As a side note, Marsha, her husband and one other employee (Kathleen) manually attach the bumpers by hand in their shop before shipping to customers.
If you own one of these rulers, you know that the markings on the ruler are clear and easy to read. Surprisingly, Marsha had to work with quite a few companies before finding a printing method that would create a marking that would not rub off.
I mean, who would think this one simple thing would be so much work!!
Marsha, Kathleen and her husband do all of the packaging themselves in the quilt shop. They send the tools out personally to all of the distributors and people who order online.
“I’ve tried to keep prices as low as possible for distributors so they can keep their prices low for the independent shops. I’ve had three price increases from the companies with whom I buy materials but I haven’t passed it on yet. I’ve tried to absorb the costs so prices won’t increase.”
Of course, the business of running the Twister Tool business is done at night and on the weekends because Marsha runs her quilt shop during the day.
Marsha admits she’ll never become a millionaire from making the Twister Tool but was motivated by her passion and desire to improve the technique.
Based on the number of Twister quilts I’ve seen online (I’ve personally made three!), I’d say her method has been a success!
Thank you, Marsha, for giving us a little insight into the world of designing!