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Thread: Business Idea

  1. #26
    Super Member SouthPStitches's Avatar
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    There was a couple in the central NY area that used to pull with their truck, a utility trailer filled with fabric. They would alert someone in the local guild when and where they would be parking. You could walk into the trailer (not always an easy feat for older customers) and pick out your fabric. Their prices were similar to Joann's at the time. They would pitch a tarp and that's where they would cut the fabric and do the financial transactions, so if the weather was less then desirable, it was difficult for them and for their customers. With gas just a few pennies under $4.00 and the high price of cotton, have to believe it would be difficult to turn a decent profit now. As often as I buy fabric online, there is still nothing better than seeing and touching the fabric though.

  2. #27
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    I live in the same type of area ..............I would buy from you .... if prices were reasonable

  3. #28
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    Contact the lovely Kris Driessen at Quiltbug.com in Esperance, NY. They had a QuiltBus that travelled around to quilt Guilds and shows, teaching classes- possibly the bus SouthPStitches is referring to. It was before I moved to the area several years ago so I never saw it. I'm sure she could give you food for thought and great advice. With the price of gas and the sales on the internet I'm not sure if is still an economically feasible idea. I've been to the shop several times- very nice folks, fast shipping.

  4. #29
    Senior Member Highmtn's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sandra in Minnesota View Post
    Why not sell at the Farmer's Market on Saturday and hand out your business cards about your mobile fabric shop??
    That was my first thought! Go for it!
    "It's a *fine line* between HOBBY and MENTAL ILLNESS"~ Dave Barry

  5. #30
    Super Member jitkaau's Avatar
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    I lived in the North of England and was impressed with the number of travelling trucks enterprising business people had to service people in rural areas. There was a general store - type one, and a sewing one, and a butcher. I often went to the cafe truck which used to turn up at sport events or bus stops to sell coffee and cake, fast food etc. It was warm to sit in rather than tand outside. Anyway, as long as you do your math etc., I think it could be very successful. You may find it helpful to look up when the local markets are on in each place and park your truck nearby so that you have a ready crowd, or supply other necessary items (perhaps tools) other than sewing, to encourage customers.
    In the area I live now, a man comes up from the coast and sets himself up in the local church hall. He puts an advertisement in our local paper about a week beforehand and emails all of the quilt groups or previous customers that he will be coming. Good luck with the enterprise and 'go for it'.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by TanyaL View Post
    How many small communities are within a 2-3 hour drive that have no LQS? Do you have a truck, van, SUV? Have you tried selling at craft fairs or flea markets to see if you like that venue? What will you do for personal security? What are the arrangements from wholesalers? Will someone be available to help with set-up and and take-down? What $ investment is needed to start? Where will it come from? How long can you carry the business before you need to show a profit? Are you thinking you are providing a service or going to primarily be in a business for profit? What type advertisements are you going to use and what are their costs? Lots to think about.
    yep what Tanya said.....LOTS TO THINK ABOUT!!!

  7. #32
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    Schoolbus quilts

    A gal in South Carolina had a school bus and did just what you said. It had to be 15 or so years ago. I just searched on the internet and didn't find her, but it was a good while ago. There are still lots of people who don't use the internet yet but I would think it would be a bog competitor. I can see you parking at quilt guild meetings, quilting retreats and workshops, farmer's markets, etc.Sounds like fun!

  8. #33
    Senior Member ghquilter53's Avatar
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    There used to be the Quilt Bus. I had it scheduled to visit our guild but it broke down. They were trying to decide whether to fix it or buy a new one. Never heard. This was about 6 or 7 years ago.

  9. #34
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    I think it's a great idea. It would be the very thing in rural areas. Good luck let us know if you start one and how it's going.
    Quote Originally Posted by lasews View Post
    I've been kicking around an idea for about a year now, and decided it was time to discuss it with other quilters. I live in rural Illinois, and like many of you, have limited local shops for purchasing fabric. The ones that are available are often 30+ minutes away. Not a big deal except that I work full time so it's not always convenient to go running around after fabric.

    I've been thinking of starting a Fabric Truck where I would take the fabric to small towns around me. I could sit on the town square or in large parking lots, and open my truck up as a storefront. I would also be available to travel to quilt guild meetings if anyone was interested in that.

    What do you all think? Only honest opinions please. It would be mainly Saturdays or by appointment.

    Thanks for your input.
    Texas raised, Texas Proud

  10. #35
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    There were a few ladies, I believe in Iowa, that had converted an old school bus into a quilt shop. They would take it to different spots & set up shop for a few hours. One of the quilt magazines featured them in a story several years ago. I will see if I still have the mag.

  11. #36
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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    I'm a business major and I will tell you for a business to turn a profit is hard in general. Doable, what your wanting to do is great. I will caution you when you run your numbers make sure you read up on tax law. Vehicles are so tricky when involve them in a business plan unless you buy a vehicle just for your business. Honestly I would take others advise and on a Saturday I would invest in some bolts or just fat quarters and open a booth locally or ask permission at a church to set up after service if allowed. See what your market is and you have to get the local flavor. Is it country, modern, loud, bright, pastels, solids, prints or scrappy fabric that's the top seller.

    Good luck and I hope you achieve all your goals, it can be done!!
    *Rachel*

  12. #37
    Junior Member beckalou's Avatar
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    I found the magazine, it is Fons & Porter's Love of Quilting May/June 2006. The ladies who operate it are Gay Murphy & Kris Kelderman. They had scheduled stops and would also take their bus to quilt shows, etc. The article may still be available on line @ www.fonsandporter.com.

  13. #38
    Senior Member maryfrang's Avatar
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    With the price of gas, to maintain the truck, your insurance etc., would have to be looked at for the your overhead costs. Besides tying up weekends selling fabric? Your time is worth money too. What about looking at a small store in your garage, or the internet. Remember when you sell in towns, you have to follow their rules and collect taxes, and when your in the county they have there too. So much to think about. Good luck.

  14. #39
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    There is a "shop" in our area that operates out of one of the owners' garage on a day-to-day basis but they rent a vendor space at quilt all shows within driving distance. At their booth they mostly have pre-cuts and notions....all easily transportable and appealingly displayed.

    Another one that has an old trolley car. They take their mobile store to quilt shows.....don't know if their vendor fee is the same or not but they just park outside the entrance to the show. Too claustrophobic inside for me with bolts piled to the ceiling and all that lint and sizing in a small space plays havoc with my hay fever. But they are a retired couple and it works for them.

    Good luck with whatever you decide!
    Yesterday is history. Tomorrow is a mystery. Today is a gift....that's why it's called the present.
    Karen

  15. #40
    Senior Member CarrieC's Avatar
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    I had to chime in. I bet your local community has an SBA office (Small Business Assoc). Usually the SBA has mentors etc. for FREE that can help you develop a business plan, costing etc. They can help you get through the requirements like (and I'm just listing a few I can come up with) insurance, taxes etc. They might be a great asset to you as you think about this endeavour!
    Carrie, Queen of the Seam Rippers!

  16. #41
    Member clcoats's Avatar
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    Consider the fact that you are already working full-time. With the time a business would take of your 'free' time, you would be giving up your own time for you own quilting.
    "There is a very fine line between hobby and mental illness." Dave Barry
    ~~Cheryl

  17. #42
    Super Member jetayre's Avatar
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    Are there farmer's markets somewhere you could go to once a week with your truck? This is advertised and you already have potential customers. I live in a rural area and there are crafts and quilts at the ones around here.

  18. #43
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    I think it is a neat idea. They have all kinds of those now going around with food, why not fabric? The small towns would probably appreciate it.
    I am Mimi for 2.

  19. #44
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    I'm not sure why people would prefer a fabric truck with limited variety to the internet. If you can get mail, you can get fabric via the internet.

    So, IMHO, I wouldn't do it. It sounds like too much work for something not really needed. Many, many people live in a place where they have to order things via the internet. Unless you have people asking for such a business, I'd think it wouldn't be profitable enough to do as a real business, and if you decided to try it on Sat/Sun...is that how you want to spend your only free days?

  20. #45
    Senior Member MissSandra's Avatar
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    the quiltbug had a buss i don't know if they still do it but I wish they would come to my area if they did, its quiltbug.com its 40 min for me to go to a quiltshop. or people could put in pre orders if you had a website.
    Warm Regards,
    Sandra

  21. #46
    Super Member justflyingin's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by MissSandra View Post
    t or people could put in pre orders if you had a website.
    I really think that the internet is "the future" and this kind of traveling business isn't where the future is.

    Anyone who is "rural enough" to not have access to the internet or mobile phones, etc. is probably not in a financial situation to want to pay the prices you'd have to charge to make it profitable.

    I know that I live in Poland (but am an American who returns back to the states once in a while), but I'm aware that in the US, people have access--they get mail--they can almost always connect. Those who can't, well, they go once in a while "to town" to get their mail, buy groceries, etc--and they could then order fabric wherever that needs to be if they sew. If they are so rural that they have no library or post office available, well, they probably could quilt with recycled clothes, curtains, etc. They just live a simpler life and your ability to "make living" off those people is probably 'nil'.

    I have to add that my first few months of marriage, my DH and I lived in Northway, AK. No, there was no PO for me, and we drove an hour to a regular grocery store in Tok, AK (a small one, but not just a hole in the wall), etc. I ordered my supplies for cross stitch and had them delivered to me (25 years ago).
    Last edited by justflyingin; 03-12-2012 at 06:06 AM.

  22. #47
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    While I think it would be a blast to have a truck with fabric come around, and would be more fun to actually drive it, but i think the money for gas and insurance would eat up a lot of profit, and i would question of whether it would turn over enough to keep a fresh selection whenever the truck came around, or whether you could even carry enough variety so that folks would have a good selection of fabrics. Like I say, sounds like a lot of fun, but be sure you do some research first.

  23. #48
    Super Member Shirlrh's Avatar
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    I think it is a great idea.
    SHIRLEY

  24. #49
    Senior Member MarieM's Avatar
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    I live in Montana - 30 minutes isn't rural here.
    Marie M.

  25. #50
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    the cost of truck maintenance/gas/oil supplies would mean you need to count on a sale before setting off... why not start with a smaller version.... contact the quilt guilds in neighboring towns... ask when their meeting are, show up at noon (so you can count on both 'morning' and 'afternoon' quilters) and sell to the whole group... be sure to make it clear to people that this is an 'as is' business... don't start taking 'special orders' or they will nickel and dime you to death... let them have a sign up list with suggestions for 'next month's trip)... if you get enough people asking for more yellows, then you can invest in a bit... but don't become a 'one yard' tripper or your business will fold fast... it is true we can get fabric from our internet connections, but many quilters really want to feel the fabric and see the colors in advance.... you never know... just try to have six months of supply money, use your own car as long as you can, and put lots of flyers everywhere you can. you can be the Tupperfabric Avon Lady....lol

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