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Thread: To sell or not to sell

  1. #51
    Super Member EagarBeez's Avatar
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    I am not that experiened. I make quilts for family, I enjoy my making of quilts a hobby. I don't have to be set to a time frame. I feel that if I were to sell quilts, I would never regain the time and money put into one. If I were to sell quilts, I would feel that it's not a hobby anymore.
    I never believe in the word can't,unless you've tried

  2. #52
    Super Member quiltmom04's Avatar
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    I don't sell my quilts and for exactly all the reasons you mentioned. I have found you can't make a living selling your quilts for what they SHOULD be worth, unless you're someone famous, I suppose, and that just makes me upset about selling them. And I've found when I take quilting, which give not only produces quilts, but is very relaxing, and try to make it a job, I don't have any other way to relax. And I was never good at stopping 'work" quilting and going to 'my' quilting. Got burnt out too fast. But I DO like to make quilts as gifts. The time frame is largely my own, I generally decide who to give ( and NOT give) them to and a can largely keep track of them, as you say. I have also have given quilts to fundraisers, but that too has a tinge of not raising the amount it should be worth. My judgement for selling quilts is if you can make enough to not make you upset about parting with them, good. But just because you CAN do something tangible as a hobby, as opposed to, say, playing golf or reading, doesn't mean you should feel obligated to do it for money.

  3. #53
    Super Member Rose_P's Avatar
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    Maybe if you make one from start to finish with the intention of selling it, it wouldn't be as hard to part with it. The matter of its worth will always be difficult because only you will know what your time, effort and artistic value really are worth to you, but perhaps if you put it up for auction with a starting bid that reflects just the cost of material and a fixed value for your time, you may be pleasantly surprised what someone would be willing to pay - assuming the marketing is done effectively (ie, if it's a venue such as eBay, you have enough feedback points to assure potential bidders of your reliability, and the description is accurate and complete, the shipping reasonable, the pictures very clear. Having an auction end in the early evening of a weekend I have heard is also optimal.). Some quilt shows let quilters offer their works for sale. It might be worthwhile to check into that.

    It's fairly certain that a person who is willing to pay a nice price for a quilt knows something about the value of it and will love having it, even though they don't know you personally. In fact, there's more assurance that it will be appreciated and cared for, perhaps, than if it is given to someone who may be "not that into quilts" as someone near to me was honest enough to say when I offered to make her one. It's possible that the experience of getting a good monetary value for your quilt will turn out to be quite rewarding, and if you start with just one you can say that you tried it and based your further decision about whether to sell on actual experience. From what others have said, it may not be a good idea to make a quilt to order because it seems like there are too many potential pitfalls, but the joy of making one exactly as you would like is still there, and just maybe others will be happy to demonstrate their appreciation for it by making a generous offer. Think of it as setting it free into the world - just one more way of sharing it with others.

  4. #54
    Super Member cwessel47's Avatar
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    I have a shop on Artfire. It costs $5.95 a month for everything that I have there. I only make what I want to make. I charge close to what I would like to get for them. If they sell, they sell. If they don't -oh well. Business is sporadic at best. When I get a buyer for 200-300 dollars - I'm really happy, and I go to buy more fabric. When I sell something little - that's good too. I have a lot of quilts in my house and have given many away. I MAKE QUILTS! You can only keep so many. If someone wants to me to make something for them - I listen carefully. I have them preview the fabric and design I have chosen. I ask for half of the cost up front. It works for me.

  5. #55
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    They are on here #47
    Before I speak,let me think first:
    Is it true, is it kind and is it necessary. If not, let it be left unsaid.

  6. #56
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    My husband is a woodworker and he too has trouble selling his items. He was told to figure the cost of materials and double that amount. That would account for his time, etc. I don't know if that would translate into sewing but it's something to mull over.

  7. #57
    Member Bicycle Hobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by quiltmom04 View Post
    I don't sell my quilts and for exactly all the reasons you mentioned. I have found you can't make a living selling your quilts for what they SHOULD be worth, unless you're someone famous, I suppose, and that just makes me upset about selling them. And I've found when I take quilting, which give not only produces quilts, but is very relaxing, and try to make it a job, I don't have any other way to relax. And I was never good at stopping 'work" quilting and going to 'my' quilting. Got burnt out too fast. But I DO like to make quilts as gifts. The time frame is largely my own, I generally decide who to give ( and NOT give) them to and a can largely keep track of them, as you say. I have also have given quilts to fundraisers, but that too has a tinge of not raising the amount it should be worth. My judgement for selling quilts is if you can make enough to not make you upset about parting with them, good. But just because you CAN do something tangible as a hobby, as opposed to, say, playing golf or reading, doesn't mean you should feel obligated to do it for money.
    The above post is the key to my own concerns about making some sort of living from sewinq/quilting-you probably cannot do so the way the infrastructure and living costs demand from you.

    Quote Originally Posted by cwessel47 View Post
    I have a shop on Artfire. It costs $5.95 a month for everything that I have there. I only make what I want to make. I charge close to what I would like to get for them. If they sell, they sell. If they don't -oh well. Business is sporadic at best. When I get a buyer for 200-300 dollars - I'm really happy, and I go to buy more fabric. When I sell something little - that's good too. I have a lot of quilts in my house and have given many away. I MAKE QUILTS! You can only keep so many. If someone wants to me to make something for them - I listen carefully. I have them preview the fabric and design I have chosen. I ask for half of the cost up front. It works for me.
    The bane of the Arts & Crafts movement is that one needs to either the luxury of a financial backer similar to the wealthy royalty of past centuries to support you as you create whatever that you do. While it is possible to get a few dollars for your trouble, it is not enough to live on in a first world country. I cannot help but think about all those sewing factories have sprouted up in those far off third world countries leaving behind what little there is to make some semblance of a living. Don't believe me? Look at the top of the next bolt of fabric or labels in your clothing/shoes. Chances are the the article in question is "imported" and from anywhere else that is not a first world country.

    Quote Originally Posted by read2me1989 View Post
    My husband is a woodworker and he too has trouble selling his items. He was told to figure the cost of materials and double that amount. That would account for his time, etc. I don't know if that would translate into sewing but it's something to mull over.
    Big Box bargain shopping mania fueled by the flood of cheap and cheapen goods of most anything has or will push out most anyone serious about his/her craft. Trust me, it translate very well into sewing. My family has sewn for generations. I am the last one. I had to leave the industry because all the work went overseas and what is left is not taken too seriously (constant undercutting as discussed heavily above in the other posts). My family pressured me to go to college when I was a young girl to better myself & the family name. Even the academic/professional workplace has suffered the same (or similar) fate as factory work. The home cottage industries definitely feels the effects of poor legislation and thoughts of globalization. Nothing or no one is protected from rampant stupidity & greed.
    Last edited by Bicycle Hobo; 04-26-2012 at 12:11 PM.

  8. #58
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    I just want to add another level to all this discussion. I think the reason I (we) have a hard time parting with our quilts is that we have given birth to them. We've picked the colors and fabrics carefully, worked on it day and night to have it just perfect and really created a one of a kind piece of art. Then to turn around and let go of it is difficult. I don't think anyone would pay what a quilt is really worth in time, energy, materials and care. Plus I don't think half the people I've given my quilts to really appreciate and know what a generous gift they have received. I sold some of my quilts but in the end it just wasn't worth it. My buyers didn't appreciate the work, my costs and they were always try to "bargain" with me. It is not a money making past time, no matter what someone says! I figure my kids will just have to deal with the quilts when I move into the home or take the dirt nap.

  9. #59
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bicycle Hobo View Post
    The bane of the Arts & Crafts movement is that one needs to either the luxury of a financial backer similar to the wealthy royalty of past centuries to support you as you create whatever that you do. While it is possible to get a few dollars for your trouble, it is not enough to live on in a first world country.
    That's just plain baloney. The world is full of self-sustaining artists and craftsmen who are merely hard working, self-confident, talented people who never lose sight of their goals. They are happy, creative souls, loving what they do and doing what they love. It doesn't get better than that. I've known these people all my life...friends, relatives, neighbors and aquaintences...and not a single one has ever had a benefactor or patron.

    Your bitterness about life is palpable and, in reality, should have no bearing at all on the future direction others reading this thread may take. Open the shutters and let some sunlight into your world. You'll live longer and enjoy it more.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  10. #60
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    If you have a place to sell your work other than at a craft fair, such as through a high end furniture store or gift boutique, why would you feel reluctant to sell at the price that the store wants to put on your goods? And if you can use the money, why be reluctant to earn it? The hard part is usually getting the entree to the market.
    Last edited by TanyaL; 04-26-2012 at 02:06 PM.

  11. #61
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    Keepsake Quilting has a consignment shop; 30% is added to the amount you want to receive. There seems to be a lot of variability in what people are asking. Has anyone placed quilts with KQ and would you share your experience?

  12. #62
    Senior Member skothing's Avatar
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    yeap

    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.
    Quote

    I agree.

  13. #63
    Member Bicycle Hobo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    That's just plain baloney. The world is full of self-sustaining artists and craftsmen who are merely hard working, self-confident, talented people who never lose sight of their goals. They are happy, creative souls, loving what they do and doing what they love. It doesn't get better than that. I've known these people all my life...friends, relatives, neighbors and aquaintences...and not a single one has ever had a benefactor or patron.
    I was refering to a practice done centuries ago-not in the 21st century. That is how my ancestors lived when they worked at home. Or perhaps some of them wandered from place to place selling their wares, I will never know as the eldest ones from the old country are gone now. Now to the present (or within the past 30 or so years). Starting in the 1980s, I witnessed the loss of the sewing factories (that is where the fashion industry and the big players is based, not in homes) surrounding the inner city and older suburbs of Los Angeles close shop and move away. The skilled base of sewers, pattern makers, and cutters are mostly forgotten, dead, or imported immigrant labor now. That is where the friends, relatives, neighbors, and aquaintences that I grew up with are at present. They were all skilled with the needle and can switch from home sewing to industrial sewing-different sewing styles-in a flash. They did what is known as "piecework" and generated their living from that. Not from one or two art quilts or similar one off pieces. That is where the money is. I too did the same sort of work all the while putting myself through college-until the last major player closed shop in my area.

    Quote Originally Posted by ghostrider View Post
    Your bitterness about life is palpable and, in reality, should have no bearing at all on the future direction others reading this thread may take. Open the shutters and let some sunlight into your world. You'll live longer and enjoy it more.
    What bitterness? I was simply illustrating the massive changes creating the shifting from hand made products to imported cheaper than ever possible Wallly World specials. The home based cottage industry of one to a few cannot compete with this exploitative using- third-world-vastly-underpaid workers business model until a massive shift back occurs. I don't live in a tiny backwater community or in some third world country. I live where I live (super high cost of living) and so does my sewing and other skills and post graduate education does too. By the way, besides the needle arts (considered a side job in getting through school) my major in college was Sociology trained for working in think tank corporations like Rand. I studied these trends in college and followed it post graduate school. I cannot help my professional side peeking out from my mild sewing/quilting side from time to time.

    I do not wish to discourage creativity or selling handmade products. I simply wish to share what I have been observing, even experiencing, the changes of not only the fashion industry, but the same people that are potential customers of these same handmade products. I don't expect to get rich assuming I find a buyer for any of the quilts I make.

    Actually to live a more fuller life, I now only sew for the local animal shelter. Not dealing with people who constantly try to wear me down with their haggling for undercutting prices. Some examples:
    Attached Images Attached Images

    Last edited by Bicycle Hobo; 04-26-2012 at 08:22 PM.

  14. #64
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    Most people who don't quilt don't realize the expense and number of hours that go into making a quilt. Getting people to pay what a quilt is worth is very difficult.

    I have a home-based machine embroidery business. People think you shouldn't charge much because all you do is push a button and the machine does all the work. They don't know how much work goes into digitizing the design and they don't consider the cost of stabilizer, thread and machine maintenance, not to mention the initial cost of the machine. Some of the designs have over 1000,000 stitches and take 2 hours or more to stitch out, but they think you really don't do anything but push a button. DH retired about 2 years ago and started helping with the business. He does all the caps as well as some other items. After 16 years in business, we are talking about closing it down. It just isn't worth it any more.

    Good luck if you decide to sell your quilts.

    Norma

  15. #65
    Super Member nstitches4u's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shelbie View Post
    I just won't make quilts for anybody unless I am planning it as a gift. I don't think that I could charge enough to cover my costs and many people are very "picky" when someone is stitching for them. For me, it would not be a good experience and I would end up feeling stressed and probably unappreciated. I won't even give gifts for silent auctions anymore as I've seen too many beautiful quilts sold for very little money. Now I politely decline and send them a cheque if it is a charity that I wish to support.
    I agree with your comment about charitable donations. A couple of years ago we donated 2 elaborately embroidered shirts for a silent auction for a fundraiser that was held at our church. The shirts sold for $25 each---not even enough to cover the cost of the shirts, much less the hours of work (about 3 1/2 hrs. per shirt) embroidering them. I just make monetary donations now. It is easier.

  16. #66
    Power Poster BellaBoo's Avatar
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    I sold all the rag quilts I made until I was tired of making them. I made them from homespun fabric which is not expensive and rags the best. I kept each quilt in the same color family and they sold fast by word of mouth. I sold a double bed size for $75. I bought the fabric by the bolt at a fabric warehouse. I think it was about $1.50 yard if bought on the bolt. It was nice homespun not the really thin stuff. I could make one in a day and I used the rag die for the Go. My DD took one I made her to her job and came home with 18 prepaid orders in that one day. I would never try to sale quilts that took me more then a day to make and get what the quilt was worth. I didn't have a deadline for the quilts. I made about four a week. All I had to do was sew the blocks, the die cut the fabric and batting. I made the Santa and Christmas rag quilt throws and sold them for $100. I got tired of making these quilts and stopped. I had a fabric budget to last a very long time after that. The key is to find an easy pattern that catches the eye, the right tools to make the quilt not tedious, and buy fabric in bulk and get the product seen at workplaces of busy working women. Hospital staff is a great place.
    Got fabric?

  17. #67
    Senior Member sculpyfan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by nstitches4u View Post
    I agree with your comment about charitable donations. A couple of years ago we donated 2 elaborately embroidered shirts for a silent auction for a fundraiser that was held at our church. The shirts sold for $25 each---not even enough to cover the cost of the shirts, much less the hours of work (about 3 1/2 hrs. per shirt) embroidering them. I just make monetary donations now. It is easier.

    I thought some of my 69,000 stitches with 36 thread changes were big. I would see one of those you are talking about nstitches4u

  18. #68
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    if there were not people making good money selling their quilts there would not be as large a 'quilting world' out there thriving- i have to totally agree with ghostrider's comments above-
    maybe it depends on how/where you were brought up- the experiences you had- in my world- being raised by a very creative single mother- with 6 kids to keep in shoes- we learned that if you are happy with what you are doing- you can make a living at it---it takes setting goals- keeping your goals in focus & working toward them- my mom is an artist--- as in painting-
    we were raised to make gifts, learn crafty things- learn to sew- i was making my brother's 3-piece suits by the time i was 14---my kids never would have had the cute -original design clothes they had if i hadn't learned to sew-
    and i have never had a problem selling a quilt- and getting a 'pretty penny' for it! in fact i have gone through times when i've said----enough----no-i'm taking a break from it for a bit!
    my sister worked in a shop for a few years- she took a quilt into work one night & showed it off---i bet i made 40 quilts for her co-workers before i said- this is becoming too much like work- no more orders for a while- i want to make something---i want to make- for a while!
    i prefer to make quilts- show them off- people say----oh i want that one & they pay what i ask for it-
    i like it better than taking orders & (creating on demand) i work at keeping it a hobby-fun- not a job- but i know if something happened to my (real job) i could fall back on it for a time if i wanted to-
    especially with the researgence (of cottage industries) i don't know where hobobicycle is from- - i do agree many factories have shut down- but that just opens other doors- there are plenty of people more than willing to pay what a quilt is worth-
    sure there are people who think they should only pay what walmart may charge- but they are the same people who would never pay alot for their clothes, shoes, ect---it takes all kinds to make the world go around- without them walmart would go out of business- but they are not the majority who dictate the way of all commerce.
    for every quilt i make as a gift i have 2-5 requests to sell it-sometimes more- sometimes i give in & do sell it- & make a new gift one- those i charge alot for- trying to discourage the sale-
    hiding away in my stash where i'm warm, safe and happy

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