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Thread: To sell or not to sell

  1. #26
    Member Bicycle Hobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pioneerlady View Post
    I sold my quilts for awhile, made a good profit. I will not take orders for quilts, will only sell what I pick out. My experience with making a quilt that someone picks out was not pleasant, kept changing what she wanted. Another lady tried to avoid me when it came to paying me. The ones I made and then sold turned out to be a good experience. I keep track of my expenses, even to the thread, keep track of how much time I actually spend working on the quilt, the time it takes to quilt one. The lowest price I charged was $250.00 the highest was 450.00. Honestly, I was surprised how much people will pay for a hand made quilt. you are going to find people who don't appreciate hand made quilts, they won't buy one anyway. Good luck, it's a good feeling that a dollar amount is put on your work.
    I've also given away alot of quilts.
    I really prefer to keep my business life separated from my private personal life. Sewing (and all the related activities) is one of the rare skills that straddle both areas of my life. I have been keeping them separate for about 30 years now. This is how do I do this.

    I work (or had rather) in the fashion/garment industry for pay (rather a pittance). I sew at home for my own use and for personal relationships over the years. My skills are equally used in either case. To live, I must charge a fair amount for the products I make based on my own experience, the prevailing market allows, and what is now offered on online shops as well with similar products. Does it work? It did until the market crashed with the recession, bargain hunting mania, and of course others undercutting through ignorance and/or desperation. So my services waxes and wanes with the resulting demand (or lack of it). Right now, I decided that the best road for me is to keep my skills hidden at home until the day arrives that labor and materials costs will be fairly paid for by the consumer. It will probably be a very long wait. I rather just sew/quilt at home & go back to a paper stamping government job before I accept slave wages & giving the store away ever again.
    Last edited by Bicycle Hobo; 04-24-2012 at 10:17 PM.

  2. #27
    Power Poster earthwalker's Avatar
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    I'm in agreement with Pioneerlady and Jan in Va. More of a do-able idea for me....I just need to practice my machine quilting and get over the fear that everything I make is less than perfect...oh...and stop the nightmares...you know, the ones where all your quilts fall to bits on removal from the washing machine

  3. #28
    Senior Member paulettepoe's Avatar
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    Have a 98 quilts under my belt. The one that gave me the most headache was the only one I did for money. Swore then, and swear now...will NEVER do another one for money.....just me tho.
    Some people visit paradise, I live there.

  4. #29
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    I would love to sell sme quilts that I have done!! My problem is I am not sure where to sell them that you can get the prices I would need to recoup expenses - I have to send out to have mine quilted. I tried auctions, craft fairs and craigslist to no avail. Ifsomeone can help me please pm me thanks cheryl
    Grandmas are just antique little girls!!

  5. #30
    Junior Member nantucketsue's Avatar
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    I agree with everyone here and I have never charged for a quilt, in fact even when I have been asked to make one and have received some of the fabric, I usually end up paying for wadding, backing etc., as I don't like to ask for the money. However, I am going to start laying down some ground rules and one is that I will not do panels, or pictures. I find these so limiting and unrewarding, especially when it comes to hand quilting. It becomes a reall chore.

  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Nanamoms View Post
    I understand your feelings. I was charging for embroidery work but it became a chore for me. I just dreaded having to do anything I charged for!! Something about "having" to do it took the joy out of the embroidering. I now only do it for family and a couple of friends and I charge them a minimum fee to cover thread/stabilizer costs.

    I certainly could use the extra money but don't know if it is worth the stress!!
    I agree with your comments! I've almost stopped doing machine embroidery work for pay because I get very nervous about doing the work on items that belong to other people. What if I goof something, what if I ruin the item, what if they don't like it after it gets done and they have paid big bucks for the item??? Just isn't worth the headache anymore.
    Last edited by runninL8; 04-25-2012 at 04:16 AM. Reason: typo

  7. #32
    Senior Member stchenfool's Avatar
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    I believe when you start "working" for people it takes the "fun" out of your hobby. I have to push myself to do it and leave it to the last minute - I have to learn that word "no". So I have learned to say "no" and enjoy my quilting so much more! I do do some special things for special people but don't get paid - but I do trade services! Good luck!
    Love 4 stchen

  8. #33
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Unless you find a rich clientele, you'll never get what they're worth. JMHO.
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  9. #34
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    My mom used to weave rugs - they were wonderful.

    She took "an order" once or twice - and swore never to do it again. What worked for her - she made what she liked with materials that she had - there were very few duplicates -

    If someone liked it - wonderful - if now, she still enjoyed the process.

    She did sell these rugs for a pittance - but she seemed okay with it.

  10. #35
    Senior Member Z Any Mouse's Avatar
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    I've sold a few quilts and have learned a number of lessons along the way. I enjoy doing commission work, but if a client is too controlling it really does take the fun out of it. I've had people try to cut my cost (which isn't even $5 an hour once we're through with materials costs) by asking if they buy the fabric, how much less will the quilt be? Now I set my base cost which includes thread, batting, labor, and any fabric from my stash. If they want to buy fabric or if it has to be special ordered, that is in addition to the base cost. I also state loud and clear that I am not trying to compete with Walmart, plain and simple.

    I learned the hard way to invoice the heck out of any commission, and I collect 50% up front. I had a lady completely rip me off over some Christmas stockings she wanted. She made so many changes along the way, adding beads, lace, wanting them much larger than the original size we agreed on, etc. Each time I told her it would cost more, but didn't invoice it and to make a long story short, I didn't even recover my expenses for materials, let alone my many hours (including three sample stockings I made for her). She refused to compensate me for the additional materials or my hours, but tried to make it better by buying me a Starbuck's. Yeah, I don't think so.

    Even with that, I truly love what I do and plan to continue sewing and quilting. I do give away a lot of my things, and sometimes that will result in future business for me. Good luck, and do what's right for you.

  11. #36
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    I mainly sold my quilts in a quilt shop, moved to Idaho and asked the shop owner about selling my quilts. She asked me to bring them in and let her see them. I have a different technique for quilting. She liked them and offered to sell without a commission if she could sisplay them in her window. That was our deal for a couple of years until she closed the shop to open a class at her new house. She also wanted to know if I would teach her my technique and let her teach the ladies that wanted to learn. I'm very picky, I won't sell at flea markets, i don' want people touching my quilts. I will post a picture of my quilting if anyone is interested. Thanks
    Before I speak,let me think first:
    Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary. If not, let it be left unsaid.

  12. #37
    Super Member Latrinka's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pioneerlady View Post
    I mainly sold my quilts in a quilt shop, moved to Idaho and asked the shop owner about selling my quilts. She asked me to bring them in and let her see them. I have a different technique for quilting. She liked them and offered to sell without a commission if she could sisplay them in her window. That was our deal for a couple of years until she closed the shop to open a class at her new house. She also wanted to know if I would teach her my technique and let her teach the ladies that wanted to learn. I'm very picky, I won't sell at flea markets, i don' want people touching my quilts. I will post a picture of my quilting if anyone is interested. Thanks
    Yeah, post the pics, we wanta see!
    If a woman's work is never done....why start?

  13. #38
    Power Poster ckcowl's Avatar
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    some people use the X's 3 formula for figuring a price- as in keep track of all expenses- then multiply by 3- and you should come up with a pretty 'fair' price-
    remember to follow copyright laws- keep good records- label them correctly/honestly ( some states have laws concerning selling textiles- the fiber content has to be on the label- (as in 100% cotton/ polyester batting/ect.)
    it can certainly become a (job) instead of a hobby if you let it-
    if you just make quilts you want to make- then show them off- and people want them- sell them- it can easily make you extra $$ (support your quilting habit) without becoming a job-
    if you start taking special orders & trying to quilt on demand it can quickly become quite a chore-
    there is a site on line called: Quilts For Sale=
    they are 'based' in Canada--with a couple hundred quilter members from the U.S & Canada
    browse the site- you will get an idea what quilts are selling for- you can sign up for their newsletters & then will see when new ones are added & when ones sell- so you can really see what is selling & for how much-
    best way to start is to show off a quilt & if someone offers to buy it-give them a price- if they buy it-cool - you are on your way. it can be as big a 'head-ache' as you let it become- or simply a way to support your habit and still love what you are doing. good records & organization is a must though...keep all receipts- start a quilting journal---take pictures- keep track of the time you put in & don't forget a new needle for each new project, thread- piecing & quilting, ect---
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

  14. #39
    Senior Member alisonquilts's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pioneerlady View Post
    I mainly sold my quilts in a quilt shop, moved to Idaho and asked the shop owner about selling my quilts. She asked me to bring them in and let her see them. I have a different technique for quilting. She liked them and offered to sell without a commission if she could sisplay them in her window. That was our deal for a couple of years until she closed the shop to open a class at her new house. She also wanted to know if I would teach her my technique and let her teach the ladies that wanted to learn. I'm very picky, I won't sell at flea markets, i don' want people touching my quilts. I will post a picture of my quilting if anyone is interested. Thanks
    I want to see too! Post a pic!

    I sell quilts whenever possible, but they are almost always word-of-mouth commissions, which means I know the people and have no problem setting basic rules (my timescale; I get paid a flat rate for my work, and materials are on top of that; etc). If I break it down to an hourly wage it works out to a pittance - but I am working from home, doing something I love, and it pays for my habit! I would certainly like to sell more, but I have had little luck with Etsy so far. And honestly, I'm not sure how much more quilting I could do - what little "spare" time I have I already spend quilting (or on this Board)!

    Alison

  15. #40
    Super Member tesspug's Avatar
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    I just sold several purses and totes. All I could think of was that I now have $120 to buy more fabric.

  16. #41
    Member crzy4qults's Avatar
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    you naare not alone i feel the same exact way that u do ....i thought i was alone....i add so much love into my quilts.. and do u ever think that someone who does not cherish hand made quilts will get them dirty and then just throw them into the washing machine like u would to wash towels....i dont think i will ever be able to sell them but i occasionally give them as a very intimate gift

  17. #42
    Member mama lyn's Avatar
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    I do make quilts for other as a business and enjoy it immensely. I agree that sometimes it seems more like work than fun and that some people don't grasp the actual costs and time involved. They are the ones that won't sign the work order. My thoughts are I'm better to know up front. Some quilter's actually break down the expenses: fabric, batting, thread, piecing labor and quilting labor. I feel this helps others understand why the price is what it is. I think it sounds like a great idea to start out selling quilts that you don't want or need, using the above criteria and see where it goes! Every local is different and it won't take long to figure out what your demographics will pay for hand crafted quilts. Once you get a little business going it is very satisfying to see the joy on the faces of your clients when they pick up their quilts!
    Mama Lyn - Overland Park, KS

  18. #43
    Super Member barri1's Avatar
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    I couldn't agree more with what you all are saying.. I brought into the office a panel I outline quilted for someone that did an externship in my office.. A person saw it, and wanted me to make one for her grandchild.. I don't want to do it.. I do the quilting to enjoy, and give to people of my choosing..

  19. #44
    Senior Member maryfrang's Avatar
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    I was told when I first started making crafts, remember to enjoy what you are doing. My grandmother sold for two or three times her costs. She knew you can never get your time paid for, so if you enjoy makeing the quilt that bacomes part of your profit. I do long arm quilting and also making quilts or putting blocks together for others. I make sure I write everything that is requested down and have my customer sign that the request is what they want. Then there is no changing once I start. Best way to work for others. Good luck with what you decide.

  20. #45
    Senior Member Sewze's Avatar
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    Thank you everyone for posting your opinions. All this information from your experiences is very informative. I've only sewed,quilted, and embroidered for my family and friends and never charged....only my personal enjoyment.
    Last edited by Sewze; 04-26-2012 at 05:57 AM.
    Jinnie

  21. #46
    Senior Member Michellesews's Avatar
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    I have sold many quilts, being a professional longarm quilter, I often get requests for quilts 'from the ground up'. I start at $500 for a lap and $1000 for a queen or larger. Usually my clientel only know what colors they want, they really have no idea about patterns etc. I had a 75 foot tree cut down and in exchange I made the fellow two 'recliner' size quilts with a foot pocket at the bottom. I used my AccuGo to cut out the pieces and they went very quickly, I was also able to use fabric I had on hand. Another lady ahd boxes and boxes of baby clothes from her granddaughters and I made each a quilt from those...and charged $500 a piece for those, but she got a deal on that and I would never do that again, it was a nightmare. So, you have to stay open minded, is what I am saying, I guess. You cannot make a quilt and then expect to sell it, it may not sell and then you are stuck with it.
    Michelle Guadarrama

  22. #47
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    A quick explanation about the way I quilt. I'm impatient, when I start a project I want it done now. I would hand piece quilt tops and the only thing I knew to do was tie them, some quilts need to be quilted. Hand quilting takes too long, and I have not mastered machine quilting, bexides I love the hand work. About 20 years ago, I thought there has to be another way to hand quilt but that is faster. So, I came up with this idea. I had to teach myself quilting, we traveled with my husbands job and we still do. I stretch my quilt tight on the frame or hoop, when it's done, it's a bit poofier. I didn' know until a few years ago that it shouldn't be so tight, but it was too late then. I like the outcome. The pattern determines how close my stitches are and what I quilt around, what's quilted is what stands out. All the traveling is where my user name came from. I'm sure back in the wagon train days we would have been pioneers, or the ones attacking the wagon trains. lol. The first pics are my latest barbie quilt a 2" tumbler. The other 2, table toppers.
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    Before I speak,let me think first:
    Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary. If not, let it be left unsaid.

  23. #48
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    May I suggest looking around for an Arts Council or other artists group in your area? My younger sister is a self-taught (awesome) weaver who makes incredible rugs out of furniture upholstery selvage. Her rugs are plushy, comfy and very comfortable and she was selling them for peanuts at local craft sales. She joined the Artist Council and her prices have increased modestly, but the increase in sales has been dramatic. When people go to an "Art Event" they know they are looking at true artwork and that it will cost more than $30 at Walmart. She no longer has an issue with wanting to hold on to all of her precious "babies" because she knows they are going to a good home with someone who really appreciates them. And the rate of word-of-mouth orders has skyrocketed almost as much as the orders from previous buyers who want one or two or four more rugs for their homes. When you consider the time and cost of making a quilt, you are thinking of artwork and should be going someplace where your art is truly appreciated.

  24. #49
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    I understand what you are saying. I too am making the transition from just doing it for the fun of it to selling. There has been some joy taken out of it but I am on my way to solving that problem. Now when I am making something to sell I first look at as will this be a fun quilt for me to make. That is the key, if its not fun then I dont do it. Second, are the little things. I dont let myself get stressed over the small stuff, fabric choice, colors, etc. because in the long run it not for me. Just make things you enjoy making and keep in mind that someone out there is gonna love it. The price to charge is the sticky part. I try to keep mine as low as possible knowing that Im probably not going to get every dime for my time out of it. Most I have talked to break it down, Materials needed, then a set price for piecing the top, set price for sandwiching and quilting, then finally a set price for binding them. This tends to keep the prices a set level for the size your doing and you dont run into the destress of much time your putting into it because your fee has already been set. hope this helped.

  25. #50
    Super Member needles3thread's Avatar
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    Yes, Pioneerlady, I would like to see a picture of your quilting. Thanks

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