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To sell or not to sell

To sell or not to sell

Old 04-24-2012, 07:10 AM
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Default To sell or not to sell

I have a question: How do you cross over from giving quilts to selling them?
I've had people for years telling me that I should sell my quilts, but I've never been able to go there. There are several reasons for this:
It might sound crazy, but I can't seem to disconnect from my quilts unless I give them to someone I know and care about, or give them up for some kind of charity or worthy cause.
Another reason I don't sell is that I just don't know if I could get enough money to make it worth all the time, sweat and materials that go into making one. If I charged by the hour, we would be up in the thousands. (What my first grade teacher wrote on my report card is still true today, "she's slow, but thorough")
The other thing I'm wondering is that if you do it as a job, does it take the fun out of it? Or, on the other hand, is it great making money at something you enjoy?
I'm trying to get my head around this and be open to some new possibilities, as it sure would be nice to make some extra money, (if only to be able to continue my addiction.) But, I do wonder if some people are cut out for selling and others aren't.
Any and all points of view appreciated!

Last edited by pacquilter; 04-24-2012 at 07:13 AM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:33 AM
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I'd love to make extra money but I agree with all of your points. I don't have too many quilts finished. I'm taking classes in June to learn the FMQ and binding stuff to finish a few that I want more than SITD or cross hatching with. I've only given one away outside of my family and I had no problem giving it to her because not only is she a great friend she used to quilt some and did sew clothes so she has knowledge of what all went into the making of that quilt. To her she said it was the best gift she had ever gotten and that made it worth while to me. Alot of others might not have felt that way because they relate quilts to things they spend 30 on at Kmarts. If I could make money on them well I don't care if they know what goes into it as long as they are willing to pay me for it and that would be the other problem. Alot of people have a hard time realizing how much just the fabric cost let alone the piecing and quilting. Good luck on it all.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:40 AM
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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!!
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:41 AM
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One of my friends sells her work regularly and gets a "pretty penny" for her work. She recently sold 3 to one person and the most expensive one was sold for $900.00! I went to Lancaster, PA twice and of course saw all the wonderful Amish and Mennonite quilts for sale - they ran anywhere from $450.00 for small quilts to nearly $2,000.00 for the larger ones.

If I were to sell quilts I would add up my materials and then charge what I deemed a honest and fair hourly amount for the number of hours taken to complete the quilt. It is only other quilters that really know the amount of time and money it takes to complete a quilt and therefore the people buying the quilt usually think it cost too much when told the price. I suppose it really depends on how much you want to sell your work.

I am an artist and I don't want to go home with my work, so I do not charge hugh amounts for my work though I think they are worth it. LOL. The cost of frames, the canvases, the oils and other equipment is not cheap, but if I can get all that back and just a bit more I am happy.
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Old 04-24-2012, 07:57 AM
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I wouldn't want to make something that someone else picks out the fabric and pattern, then it becomes a chore to finish it. But if I have many that I've already made I wouldn't mind selling. I was making dolls for awhile to give to the children at the hospital I worked at. Every once in awhile someone would ask to buy one and I'd sell it to have more money to put back into my dolls. But I tried making one on order and I could never satifsy the lady asking for it. she was wanting an African-American doll the exact shade as her granddaughter. Do you know how hard that is to find?

You have to be firm in your asking price because many people think that handmade means it shouldn't cost much. Don't underestimate your time and hard work. If you bought your fabric on sale or had it in your stash for 20 years and only paid $1 a yard for it, don't sell it like it was $1. Check out the fabric prices now and price it out as if you had to replace that fabric today.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:11 AM
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"...Another reason I don't sell is that I just don't know if I could get enough money to make it worth all the time, sweat and materials that go into making one. If I charged by the hour, we would be up in the thousands."

You will probably never make minimum wage. Most folks are happy if they get 2 to 3 times the cost of materials. I agree with the poster who said to figure the current non-sale price for materials.

"...The other thing I'm wondering is that if you do it as a job, does it take the fun out of it? "

Yes, this happened to me with another hobby I originally loved. I got a long arm last year. Several people have asked me to quilt their quilts for $$$, but I didn't want to turn that into a job, so I said no.

I would suggest if you have completed quilts with no homes, then try a consignment shop in your area. Just make what you like, and if you recoup your materials plus some, then you can support your habit. If you are quilting to a deadline or taking special orders, might become an issue.

Last edited by PaperPrincess; 04-24-2012 at 08:14 AM.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:26 AM
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I know the standard fee for quilting labor is two to three times the cost of materials, but I honestly can't charge that much to do something that I get so much enjoyment from. If somebody wants me to make something, I require them to go with me to buy the materials so they understand the prices - sometimes that will shock them enough to make them back out. If they want to continue after buying materials, I will give them a figure for labor that is fair to me and them. It is also important to agree to a finish date - working under a short deadline is no fun. I won't make tons of money, but enough to support my quilting habit and a maybe pay a bill or two. With all that said, you can take on paid jobs and still enjoy the process, but don't take on more than you want....."NO" is a perfectly acceptable response.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:28 AM
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I think your questions are well placed. My husband keeps telling me to sell my quilts as well and I keep saying no. I just made my mom a memory tablerunner and my aunt a memory quilt and they are gifts and I'm nerve racked at what they are going to say or think. I'm like you I love quilting for the joy of it. Sometimes I sew for a month straight and sometimes I don't for months at a time. I'm always planning though!!The economy is so rotten Very few can afford to pay what a quilt is worth. I think part of that got started when so many of us donate to wonderful causes and that is priceless but I think people seeing so many quilts donated for auctions and charity just think we are whipping these up for pennies!
If I were to sell anything it would be smaller items....tabble toppers, mug rugs, placemats, baby mats. Something easy to recover your money out of. I remember years ago when Quilos were super popular made from panels and were sold for $40. The batting alone gets you now!! Good luck and anything is possible!!
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:34 AM
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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.
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Old 04-24-2012, 08:48 AM
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I have to echo all the replies here and add that my biggest concern has become the issue of copyrights. There is such a wide variation of the understanding of this issue that I just don't want the headache.
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