Latter-day Saint Jenny Doan is included on Forbes’ 50 Over 50 list—and LDS Living thinks she fits the bill perfectly. Forbes explains that this list seeks to highlight “women who are actively stepping into their power in their sixth decade or beyond,” and that the publication was,“looking for stories about accelerating or recreating careers to reach the highest echelons of a business or field after turning 50—with an eye on women who have overcome significant odds and are creating businesses at scale.”
At age 65, Jenny has been included on the list for her position as founder of Missouri Star Quilt Company. Jenny was featured on the cover of LDS Living magazine in May, where we told her incredible story of going from a life of serious personal financial struggle to becoming the largest quilting supplier in the US, with over 843,000 YouTube subscribers tuning in to watch her weekly quilting tutorial videos. And for Jenny, faith in God and dedication to family were central to her success.
“Who would have ever thought that sewing would be the catalyst that would take care of my family and get me to where I am?” Jenny told LDS Living. “It’s so fascinating to me and lets me know that whatever we do, it’s enough. … When we get to heaven, there won’t be a whiteboard with all the good things we’ve done and all the bad things we’ve done. The Savior will look on our heart, and if our heart is like His heart, that will be enough.”
Read the full story on Jenny: “Quilting sensation Jenny Doan on faith, creativity, and accidentally building an empire”
Forbes said of the women on its 50 Over 50 list: “Their stories are important reminders that while we can’t control every circumstance, we can control our actions; failures can make for beautiful opportunities; and experience can fuel a more vibrant career than your younger self could have ever imagined.”
For a glimpse at Jenny’s vibrant career, watch a minute or two of one of her popular sewing tutorials:
Also included on Forbes'’ list are notable names such as Dolly Parton, Tina Turner, Sandra Bullock, and Martha Stewart. The first 50 Over 50 list was published in 2021 and Forbes received more than 10,000 submissions. Thousands more were submitted in 2022, and Forbes used the following five main criteria to whittle down the list:
- “The first: achievements after turning 50, with a particular focus on ‘Over 50 Firsts.’ Did this person make history in ascending to her role or founding her company?”
- “The second: success at scale. Founders and CEOs of private for-profit companies must drive a minimum of $10 million in annual revenue, while those leading publicly traded companies must oversee a market cap of $300 million or more.”
- “The third: impact. For investors and asset managers of traditional funds, we looked for a minimum of $100 million in assets under management. For socially responsible impact investors, we relaxed this rule in order to highlight those working to solve systemic inequities.”
- “The fourth: first-time listees. Did this person make the 50 Over 50 in 2021? If the answer was yes, we moved on.”
- “And finally: a pay-it-forward mindset. Many of these women aren’t just working to advance their own careers, they’re using their platforms to make life better for future generations.”
While Jenny meets each of those criteria, her driving force is making life better for future generations. She told LDS Living that she has received hundreds of letters from people all over the world thanking her for sharing both her quilting knowledge and her happy disposition—something she never suspected when she first began offering her quilt services.
“When my first letters came, that wasn’t even on my radar. I just thought I was going to teach people how to sew, then they’d send their quilts to me, and that’s how I’d make money,” she says. “The letters that always stunned me were ones that came from overseas in places I’d never heard of, never dreamt of being able to go. Their lives were so different from ours, but they wanted to bring the same joy to people [through quilting] as I brought to them; they wanted to be able to teach people. They didn’t have fabric, but they had clothing, and they would cut up their clothing. It was just so amazing to me.”
Congratulations, Jenny! We are grateful to see such a faithful, optimistic Latter-day Saint finding success and sharing her light. You can read more about Jenny’s life, faith, and business in her book, How to Stitch an American Dream.
Over the last decade, the Doan family business, the Missouri Star Quilt Company in tiny Hamilton, Missouri, has grown from Jenny’s corner shop—with one quilting machine and two bolts of fabric for sale in the back—to become the largest supplier of pre-cut quilting fabric in the headquarters of Jenny’s world-famous YouTube tutorial videos.
Jenny is now giving her fans, the business world, and moms of all ages (and grandmas too!) what they’ve been asking for: the full story of her journey, from her humble beginnings as a homeschooling mom, to founding MSQC in her fifties, through the remarkable success and inspiration she’s so well-known for today. Available at Deseret Book and deseretbook.com.