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Thread: Longarming for a business I'm scared to death

  1. #1
    Junior Member
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    Longarming for a business I'm scared to death

    I'm just afraid I won't get customers. How did you get yours? I have a couple lined up but I'm afraid once those quilts are done I won't have others.

    Please share your best tips for getting new clients. Guilds, business cards at Joann's/Hobby Lobby...

    Thank you

  2. #2
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    Just by posting this, you may have found some potential customers right here on QB. Best wishes in your new venture.

  3. #3
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Please keep posting of your success! I thought about it too but got stuck with the thought I would have to do a LOT of quilts to pay for the machine and each one would have to be quilted as perfectly as possible.
    Got fabric?

  4. #4
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Lots of pitfalls to quilting for others. I would not like it. I enjoy making quilts. If I were to get paid for it, it would seem like a job. I think I would grow to dislike it. Good luck on you venture.
    Another Phyllis
    This life is the only one you get - enjoy it before you lose it.

  5. #5
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    If you are good at LAing, have a fast turn-around time, and your prices are reasonable, word of mouth will probably get you more customers than you can handle.

  6. #6
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    Couple things that I would recommend to help build a customer base
    1. Join as many guilds as you can afford that are available in your area. More exposure
    2. Show off your quilts that you make and quilt yourself at the guild "show and tells", and let them know you quilted them yourself...
    3. Offer to quilt the charity quilts for the guilds, set a reasonable number you can do during the month and offer to do them.
    4. Frequent forums such as this one. Post photos of your work, ask any customers you have if they would not mind you posting photos of their quilts when you finish,
    5. Join Long Arm forums and such and talk to others who quilt professionally, (this will help you grow your skills)

    The main thing to building a customer base is getting out there where the quilters are located (guilds/forums/etc) and show what you can do. When people see you can do things they want done, they will come and ask if you quilt for others. Once people hear I long arm, they ask if I do it professionally (I do not, but wanted the ability to do so if needed) They will come when they see the work you can do, so get what you can do out there.

  7. #7
    Super Member ckcowl's Avatar
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    building a quilting business is not something that happens over night- it takes time, experience, referrals, repeat customers, lots of exposure- do a lot of 'show & tell' , take pictures of every quilt you quilt- front and back- and show them- people will see your work- if they like what you do they will contact you. start a blog- show pictures- establish regular policies, prices, services- write them out- print them off- so when people ask you have the basics all determined. be competitive with your pricing- find out what others in your area are charging --don't undercut other's-that will get you (negative) feedback- but base your prices on your experience and ability- if you are fairly new and do not have a lot of experience don't charge what someone who has been quilting for years and does custom heirloom quilting. when you figure out your policies/services- include how you will handle 'long-distance' customers...especially if you put yourself on the list here on the board- remember shipping/insurance/delivery confirmation and packaging details- also, remember that there will be slow times and times you are so busy you will think you've lost your mind! for me I get very busy about October through the holidays- then it slows down a bit through the rest of the winter- and slows down more during the summer when people are busy outside and not sewing so much- it may take years to build up a business where you are busy year around and making enough to actually pay your bills & consider it a profitable business.
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  8. #8
    Super Member grammysharon's Avatar
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    Be sure and post pictures of your work, before long many will find you!!!!!
    Quote Originally Posted by love 2 sew View Post
    I'm just afraid I won't get customers. How did you get yours? I have a couple lined up but I'm afraid once those quilts are done I won't have others.

    Please share your best tips for getting new clients. Guilds, business cards at Joann's/Hobby Lobby...

    Thank you
    A quilt is a blanket of love. Sharon

  9. #9
    Super Member WTxRed's Avatar
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    Are you located in a retail area or ? Is this going to be a full time shop or open certain hours?
    The VERY best advertising you can have is happy satisfied customers. It will take a year, give or take, for business to become steady, or even enough to pay the utilities without covering other costs.
    Use your first few months to quilt everything you can find - pillows, wall hangings, cheater tops, charity quilts, any and everything - and in a variety of styles AND take lots of pictures. Hang / display lots of finished products.
    Everyone coming in will want to see your work.
    Go to Guilds, Clubs, enter Quilt Shows - everything to get your name out there. Become friends with your LQS and Chain fabric stores (More than just leaving cards). Grow a thick skin as there are still many people who don't 'get' LAQing...
    The quality of work, your rates, the turnaround time, pets or not in the area/shop, hours of operation will all get you business. BUT it will also take a bit for all of that to come together.
    You might consider a referral program or frequent quilt program for your customers for the first year (or longer even) - maybe every 5th person referred qets them 10-20% discount on quilting (not thread, batting, etc.) or every 5th quilt they get 10% off.
    Be flexible for the first few years - find what works for you in your area, for your customer base. Know what you're willing to work during the holiday season - are 12 hour days 6 days a week between Thanksgiving and Christmas acceptable to you to crank out the volume?
    If you've gotten far enough to be ready to open - you're in it for the long haul!
    Hang tough, be creative and enjoy the ride!

  10. #10
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    Thank you all for your responses. I will keep pushing the fear out of the way.

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