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Thread: Selling Quilts on Etsy or at Craft Shows

  1. #1
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    I am a stay at home mother of three little girls, and to make a little extra spending money I decided to sell some things on Etsy and possibly at craft shows too. I understand this can be difficult as people like to compare crafts to items mass produced and found at Walmart which only cost pennies to make. I am testing the water a bit here as far as pricing and what to make, but I was wondering if anyone here has had success with this and what kind of prices they ask? I have a crib/toddler bed quilt 51" x 31.5" listed for $92. I have researched similar quilts on Etsy and my prices seem to be comparable, but I think the quilting on some of mine make the items unique, and I use very good materials for all of my quilts - which does add to the price a bit.

    Just wondering if anyone has any tips, suggestions, experiences they could share? You can visit my shop, the link is in my signature. I don't have much up yet. Do my prices sound right? Experiences with Etsy?

  2. #2

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    Etsy is great but you need to know how to market yourself and get your shop and name out there or you won't get a lot of hits. You also need to know how to tag and name your items appropriately so they get caught into search engines and searches on Etsy.

    Price generally isn't a big issue, if other people are selling comparable items as similar prices then I wouldn't be concerned with the price. People will pay for quality items when they know they are quality. When people go to big box stores they aren't expecting a quality product, they are expecting to purchase something they'll use a few times and probably throw out because the seams will come up, etc.

    How much does Etsy charge you now? I don't think you should charge to much more than what you would charge at a craft show because don't you have to pay a fee at a craft show to have a booth? It's pretty much the same concept and I've never heard of a lot of people doing great at craft shows...maybe its different for you though.

    It may be beneficial for you if you go to craft/quilt shows and find that people are really interested in your quilts and you give them a business card with your shop info on it so they know how to find out and then word of mouth happens and can help get more people to your shop too.

  3. #3
    Super Member Glassquilt's Avatar
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    Don't forget to cover your expenses when pricing

  4. #4
    Super Member ontheriver's Avatar
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    You can try QuiltBroker also.

  5. #5
    Super Member pumpkinpatchquilter's Avatar
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    That is a good point about having to pay for a booth fee at a craft show. I didn't think of it that way. I will use the same pricing across the board. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Super Member Deborah12687's Avatar
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    Craft shows depending on the size of the show can cost up to $200.00 or more because of the liabilty insurance that the show has to cover so prices do run higher and hope to make some money from your items that you are selling.

  7. #7
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    Try QuiltsforSale.ca - it costs $10 per quilt, one time fee, and a closing fee as well, I think. They seem to sell a lot (you can look at the sold quilts on the website). I have one on there but it has not sold. I am a bit surprised, as it is super low priced ($350 for handquilted full size bed quilt).

  8. #8
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    That is interesting, never did either one before.

  9. #9
    Super Member earlylace's Avatar
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    at craft shows you need a variety of items and i found that if you are priced under $15 that is what sells, examples would be table runners, placemat, Thanksgiving and Christmas quilted items, hope this helps

  10. #10
    Super Member janRN's Avatar
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    I think another important thing to think about when doing craft shows is your demographic. I live in an area with a lot of unemployment. Went to a large, well-attended craft show a few weeks back and nothing was selling. Like Earlylace said, usually the $15 items sell--not this year. There were table runners, potholders, etc, for under $30 and late in the day the lady said she'd only sold one tablerunner (don't know what they charge for a booth) but she said she wouldn't return; she'd been coming there for about 10 yrs. I hope things are different in your area and you do really well--good luck. Just thought I'd share my recent experience.

  11. #11
    Senior Member NDQuilts's Avatar
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    Quilts typically do not sell at craft shows. It's more the kitch that can be made and sold cheaply. But with the economic downturn even those venues are getting little traction. I have sold on ETSY and prefer it to eBay as the overhead is lower. What I really prefer(and what comprises most of my business) are custom orders. No inventory risk involved for the time spent. Most business is WOM but I am working an Internet marketing plan.

    BTW. I am a handquilter so I have to emphasize the difference between hand v machine (long arm) v big box store.

  12. #12
    Senior Member sammygirlqt's Avatar
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    pumpkinpatch quilter, good for you. It is exciting to try something new, but I will warn you, whatever venue you choose, it involves hard work to have the right mix of product and the right pricing.

    The comments on craft tables are very worthy. I did craft shows for 12 years in the 80s, then there was a lull in the cottage industry but it is coming back.

    I have just set up a shop on Etsy so I am very new and still working through the hurdles. I have a friend that is helping me with a few items. As far as pricing I did like you, looked at lots of other people's work. I did a little caculation by figuring the sq inches of the item (quilt) and then divide that number into their price. This gives you a price/sq inch. Then do the same with your item and see where you sit. I feel this is a better comparison that just eyeballing their work vs your work. Of course you do need to compare style, fabric, workmanship. Calculating shipping is another important area. Take you bigger items to your postoffice, weight them, measure them and find out what each costs to ship to another country. You can guestimate if you need to but get a general idea of costs. Good pictures and 5 of each item, use all the tags offered, and you can compare descriptions to others that you like.

    If you have specific questions, you can PM me and I will be willing to help you as much as I can with what I know.

    It is exciting and fun and once you meet a few other members on Etsy, you will be well on your way.

    Good luck!

  13. #13
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    I have a few things up on Etsy too and I'm wondering if it's worth it. The pages are buried so quickly that someone would have to scan through hundreds of items to find yours.

    As for tagging them, how many different tags can you give a quilt other than naming everything that's in your listing?

  14. #14
    Super Member Treasureit's Avatar
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    If you are considering selling on Etsy - do a lot of research to see how many other quilts like the ones you will make are already on there. Some items are in abundance and the chances of all of those selling are slim, but if you have something that isn't real common then there is a better chance.

    I got a bug one day and decided to make a bunch of bibs, then I looked and I think there was 10,000 of them...I sold one - have since taken them off and given them away.

  15. #15

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    Oh yeah, you may want to look into Artfire, I believe they are free.

    I've never used them before but I know a lot of people are moving their shops from etsy to artfire.

  16. #16
    Senior Member dogpursemaker's Avatar
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    I think Artfire has done away with (or will soon) their free option.
    Upillar.com is free. I've had lots of lookers, but honestly no sales, however it is entirely free. No listing fees or sales fees, so it costs me nothing to leave my items posted. I figure it can't hurt!
    Most of my online sales have been on ebay. I've just rolled everything into the purchase price; the item price, the fees and the shipping.
    Another sales forum I use is Facebook. If you have a regular page, you can make a business page too. There is no charge for it, and no fees if anything sells! I have made three sales on Facebook. I find their advertising fees to be very reasonable-IF you choose to use them.
    Just another suggestion!

  17. #17
    Senior Member BRenea's Avatar
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    My MIL and I used to do crafts shows. It can be fun but also very frustrating. Some craft shows want you to have a good variety of different items, and some want you to stick to a particular genre of craft. My pet peeve was people looking over our items and saying "I can buy that for $__ at Wal-Mart." :evil: We were going for quality and handmade specialness, not mass-produced crap! Now I do a lot of commissioned work, I personally find it more enjoyable. Good luck in whatever venture you choose!

  18. #18
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    I have read the responses to you letter and good info. I am just learning to quilt basically I am a painter. I have tried Craft shows in the past and got discouraged. The one thing I found was buyers want everything for little money. For the most part they do not have any idea the time that goes into a project and the love that goes into it. I have thousands of dollars tied up in my projects as well as I am sure quilters also have with thier stashes. And I also agree that demographics play a big role in selling at Craft fairs. Good Luck with your venture.

  19. #19
    Super Member ptquilts's Avatar
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    I think if you want to do craft shows, have a lot of small, inexpensive items, and showcase maybe one or two big expensive items. You never know when the right buyer will come along, we have sold full size quilts at craft fairs but it didn't happen often.

  20. #20
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    I just scanned most of the responses, so I hope I am not repeating a suggestion. We have a small craft/quilt consignment shop in out town. She seems to be getting more and more people coming in and is doing pretty well. Check and see if you have a local consignment shop that may be looking for quilts or handmade items. You may have some luck going in this direction. This shop seems to do very well in the fall while everyone is looking for Christmas gifts.

    Good Luck....I also have 3 girls!! I stayed home with them also and it was a blessing!

  21. #21
    Senior Member mshollysd's Avatar
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    I did what you did, when my child was young, I did craft shows for my job. I started out with quilts but they didn't sell, then I made 44" x 72" quillows, the quilts that fold into a pillow and sold about 500 of those. They use to cost about $20 each and sold for $40 with about 1 hour of my time in each. I tied them instead of quilting. This was a time when internet was only ebay and there were people selling little quillows for $5 there. Craft shows can be expensive and if you are serious you need to book the ones you want early in the year since the good ones fill up so fast. I would take the advice here about on line and word of mouth. Get your name out there and maybe book cheap local shows to get your business cards out there.

  22. #22
    Senior Member lovedquilts's Avatar
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    I have an Etsy shop, you need to get your shop noticed, I am always adding other shops to my circle, clicking favorite items, buying alot of my supplies and other items from other Etsy shops. You can also join different teams such as the quiltsy team. Also create treasuries. Adding more items to your shop is also a good idea. I will add you to my circle. Once you start doing that, just watch it get bigger and bigger. I have had some sales not going to get rich but it is fun. Check me out at lovedquilts.etsy.com Hope this helps.

  23. #23
    Senior Member LovinMySoldier's Avatar
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    Good Luck :) it's a cold hard work out there lol! I sell on etsy but it took me about 9 months to really start selling. I was selling one item a month and this month about 15. It takes a bit to build up good feedback. With etsy you have to have great pictures and unique items. Something so you stand out from everyone else. Make sure you use all 13 tags. I too checked out similar items prices. And I chose to go a bit lower. I make a bit less money but things are moving. You can always raise the prices after you build up your reputation.

    I have heard lots of people have success with Facebook. But then you have to really get your page out there. I started one this weekend.

    I have never done a craft show. I am worried about making up so many items and then have the risk that they won't sell. I am a stay at home mom too and it is hard to spend money On something that may not being a profit back.

    I have also had some luck on craigslist. But I also live in a very populated area. So the ads do get burried quickly but there is the chance that more people will see them.

  24. #24
    Senior Member LovinMySoldier's Avatar
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    I have also heard that people spend money on things that are under 50.00 bucks pretty easily. Over 50 they really debate on it and have a lot harder time making that big of an impulse buy.

  25. #25
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    I have had stuffs on Etsy for over 4 months and nothing has sold so far and I am underpricing things. So dont know if it is worthwhile or not.

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