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Thread: Thinking of opening a quilt shop...

  1. #1
    Member Quilting_inthe_Rain's Avatar
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    Hi everyone! Does anyone have an idea how much it costs to buy fabric wholesale? I'd really like to open my own quilt shop, but keep running into road blocks when it comes to buying fabric wholesale. I want to get an idea on pricing so i can determine chances of turning a profit. However, the wholesale stores online that i've been to, granted that i haven't been to many (i.e. http://www.quiltworksonline.com/ or http://www.robertkaufman.com/), you can't look at their products/pricing until you register, and in order to register they expect you to already have a business (i.e. they ask for your resale #, EIN, business name, etc). And some places require you to make a $700 purchase upfront when signing up! :shock: Anyway, i really look forward to hearing what you all have to say...thanks in advance for your advice!

  2. #2
    Super Member Scissor Queen's Avatar
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    A friend of mine that is selling out the fabric section of her shop and is going to strictly longarming told me her wholesale cost has gone up to at least 4 bucks a yard.

  3. #3
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    Don't know where you live but you should contact Debbie Luttrell at Stichin Heaven in Quitman Texas. She actually does a workshop for quilt store owners. I think she is a great business woman. She opened the first retreat place in this area. If my calculations are right, she probably started earning a profit the first year on this venture.

  4. #4
    Honey's Avatar
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    Check out your local library for books on women starting businesses. There might be grants and special loans out there. Just make sure you research everything completly before you jump in. Owning your own business is hard work, but is very rewarding if done correctly.

  5. #5
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    Why go in debt? Buy fabric, bolts and flat folds, from a fabric distributor warehouse on your credit card, not from a fabric rep. and sell it at a fair profit. If you can't sell that then you know you can't sell enough to keep a business going. Just a thought to what I would do before putting thousands into a shop.

  6. #6
    Super Member TexasGurl's Avatar
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    I'd also recommend selling online BEFORE you decide to go into a brick & mortar shop ...
    I used to co-manage a LQS and there is SO MUCH to deal with when you open a store front. Leasing, rent, insurance, utilities, advertising, store help, classes, teachers, etc ...

    I have several friends who've started online sales, are doing well and very HAPPY that they did NOT open store fronts as first planned. It's a good way to START and see if you like it ! :)

  7. #7
    Super Member Favorite Fabrics's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Quilting_inthe_Rain
    Does anyone have an idea how much it costs to buy fabric wholesale?
    Remember the general rule in retailing, that the cost of an item is doubled to get the retail price. Then go do some research. Look at any LQS's in your area, to see what their prices are. DON'T USE THE CHAIN STORES as references for pricing. They buy in such huge quantities that they get special price deals that are out of reach for "the little guys". Also do research online. Look at the big established websites such as EQuilter, Virginia Quilter, Hancocks of Paducah. These sites carry new lines, which of course will be the highest priced. You will get a good idea of the actual cost by looking at their prices and dividing by 2.

    There is also the option of not carrying new lines, but rather discontinued / last season goods. You'll pay less for those. But you won't necessarily be able to put together wonderful coordinated groupings, because the fabrics will be "picked over" already before you even see them.

    One thing that's easily overlooked is that you do have to pay to get the wonderful fabrics delivered! Depending on how far they have to travel, plan on adding as much as 30 cents per yard to your cost.

    And... it's not all about the fabric, either. Do you like record-keeping? Are you disciplined and detail-oriented enough to keep up with that part of the job? You can't have a business without paperwork.

    Buying fabric and paying by credit card? A good idea, especially if you get a reward card (1% back is always nice) but to make this work best for you, pay in full and on time each month. Wholesale vendors will often extend terms, says 60 days, and if you're lucky you will have some of that fabric sold by the time the bill comes due.

    Other expenses you'll need to keep in mind are rent and insurance, and phone costs. Plus supplies (bags, signs). And equipment: shelves, tables, cash register, credit card terminal. If you take credit cards (and you definitely should) keep in mind that the banks will keep 2.5% - 3% of each sale. That's a significant bite out of your profits.

    I bet you can find some older threads on this forum that discuss this issue further. If you decide that you're serious about going into business, it would be a good idea to discuss it with an accountant, who can tell you what your tax liabilities would be.

  8. #8
    Member Quilting_inthe_Rain's Avatar
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    This is great advice - thank you! I was wondering if an online shop would be a better option for me, at least initially. It would be a challenge to make it stand apart from otehr websites though. I also wanted to offer machine quilting services, but that just adds more questions to my list (and more $$ :oops: ). If i did machine quilting services, i'd have to learn to use the thing and wouldn't know what to do if it jammed. I'm sure the manufacturer probably gives advice fort his type of thing.

  9. #9
    Power Poster Jingle's Avatar
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    Just remember there are lots of hidden cost that come up. Actual profit has to be turned back into buying more inventory to sell. You will be lucky enough to make a somewhat decent salary. If you can't afford to hire someone, then you will be the worker. If you rent a building, where it is located will play a large part in how sucessful it will be. I can understand how most people go broke. They rent or buy a building, come in a fix it up to look like they are really big time spenders and maybe buy a business vehicle to drive around - payment comes out of profit they haven't even made yet. When lease is up or can't make payments they go broke and lose everything, if unincorporated they can even lose their home and other belongings and at times end up being sued. Most people also have to have their two days a week off. You will have to plan to be open when people want to buy or kiss your business goodbye. If you have young kids at home or a controling Husband that wants you to spend evenings with him and not willing to help you out when needed, kiss it goodbye, it won't work and you will have even less money and more debt than you started out with. Trust me on this one. School yourself very well before starting this and you will learn a lot. Learn all you can.

  10. #10
    Power Poster amma's Avatar
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    I was an accountant/tax preparer... I seen many sucesses and failures. Good bookkeeping, being consistent with putting money aside for taxes, licensing, fees, etc... and being able to save for the lean times all were the main reasons some businesses survived or went under.
    Talking to an accountant the first time is usually free of charge. They can let you know what licenses you will need, what percentage of your sales will typically go to taxes and such, this is what we do day in and day out.
    Then check with local women's business groups, see what the local pitfalls are in your area (and bonus's)
    Too often people go into owning a small or large business without enough information and become easily overwhelmed. Few business start off being able to pay anyone a income, or liveable one.
    Like what was previously said, be prepared to work some 16 hour days without days off for atleast the first year or so...
    I wish you lots of luck on this venture!!! :D:D:D

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