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Thread: To sell or not to sell

  1. #1
    Senior Member pacquilter's Avatar
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    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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  2. #2
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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.
    Judy

  3. #3
    Super Member Nanamoms's Avatar
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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!!

  4. #4
    Super Member oma66's Avatar
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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.

  5. #5
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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.

  6. #6
    Power Poster PaperPrincess's Avatar
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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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  7. #7
    Super Member Buckeye Rose's Avatar
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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.

  8. #8
    Senior Member QuiltingCrazie's Avatar
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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!!
    *Rachel*

  9. #9
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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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  10. #10
    Junior Member judys's Avatar
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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.

  11. #11
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    stick with small stuff....that way you are not stuck with a huge stockpile of unsold goods!

    Here are my steadfast rules for craft selling!

    Never do "fad" themes, when times are hard people will only buy for babies and Christmas!

  12. #12
    Super Member Gramie bj's Avatar
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    I have been asked to make quilts for some people when they ask how much I tell them 2 1/2 times the cost of fabric, thread and batting and I will only use LQS fabric, only high quality batting and thread, then I send them out to check the prices. LOL So far no takers, and they stoped asking, but thats OK I really don't want to quilt for other people.

  13. #13
    Super Member icon17's Avatar
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    I was making a Quilt, (Alice in Wonder land/Queen of Hearts) Was going back and forth to the store for fabrics. One of the ladys at the store just Fell in love with the Quilt!!!! Just HAD to have it!!!! SO I said OK! NOW You know very well how much all the fabrics/batting/thread and not to mention TIME!! Fabrics such as 'Alice' cost More!! This was 5x5.5 so I added up as best I could (I never kept records because at 1st it was for my own use) and told her she could have it for $120. Now thats Very Very Cheap! I even said she could make 1/2 at first! SHE backed out!!! said it was to much!!
    SO As for me I don't think its worth the time people want something for nothing with all the stuff coming from over seas and very low $$ its hard to compete.

  14. #14
    Super Member Shelbie's Avatar
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    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.
    Shelbie from the High County in Southern Ontario

  15. #15
    Super Member jcrow's Avatar
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    My husband keeps telling me I need to sell my quilts too. He doesn't understand that it's hard to find someone who will pay you what it is worth. To please him, I put one on ebay and no one bid on it. Well, It was a twin size and had lots of applique and I even reduced the price to $199. Then, after one day, I took the ad out. I would be losing big money as I send my quilts out to be LA quilted. I checked on etsy and it seems most of the quilts there are baby quilts and very simple ones. They sell them for $30-40. I'm glad I didn't sell my quilt. My daughter was recently hospitalized in another state and I mailed the quilt to her. She received it the very next day and called me and said how it made her less lonely. Now she uses that quilt everyday to snuggle in. And to think I was going to sell it for next to nothing.
    "Be yourself...everyone else is taken."
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    What if you made quilts for sale rather than taking orders making quilts and selling them. Make sense? That way the buyer can choose to pay what you are asking for YOUR art work. You are still creating just the way you want to create. So if somebody says will you make me a quilt it blue and yellow, if you have a blue and yellow quilt you can say " this is what I have, I don't take orders because it interferes with my creativity".

  17. #17
    Moderator kathy's Avatar
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    I have some quilts on Etsy, I don't think you can really "make" money any where, least of all at a consignment shop as they take 20-30%. I make what I want and can afford to make, put it on etsy, if it sells fine, if it doesn't fine. It only cost about 35 cents a month to have it on there. I did sell one big quilt for $350 around Christmas, other than that it's an occasional small quilt. If I were to make a special order quilt I would get cost of supplies up front and would not turn over the quilt until I got the rest. I've heard "walmart has them for $30" I say "then go to walmart!"

  18. #18
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    Whether I sell or give away my quilts I still feel the satisfaction of sone enjoying them.

  19. #19
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    I have been making quilts since 1975. All sizes, I have given them to friends, and everyone in my family has at least one. A couple of years ago, I sold one. I had a booth in a bazzar. I have to tell you, I felt terrible. I can't explain it. When I got home that night I cried. I felt like I had sold part of my childrens inheritance or something. I got an excellant price for it, but I will never do it again. This probably sounds silly, but I can't help it.

  20. #20
    Super Member ghostrider's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacquilter View Post
    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.
    Unless you can overcome the feeling of attachment, and especially any need to have your quilts go to "good" homes, selling will be very painful. You cannot screen your buyers...these are quilts, not puppies.
    The Earth without art is just "Eh".

  21. #21
    Senior Member Lois-nounoe's Avatar
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    If puppies you still can only screen so far. After they are gone (quilts or puppies) you have no control. Sold kittens for a few years and still wonder how they all made out. LOL

  22. #22
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    I second the dont make a quilt unless you make what you want and then they can choose from your finished ones. I'm sitting on one now that I have over 180.00 in supplies. Full size. They have decided they would rather go gambling every weekend. Well at least I learned my lesson at the beginning of this endeavour. I would understand if they did not like the quilt after they saw it but, they never even came over to look. GGRRRRRR Oh well life goes on.
    Now on the other side of the coin I have a friend who quilts all hers by hand and gets anywhere from 300.00 for crib size to 2000.00 for queen size with a 12 inch drop on all sides. Queen is the biggest she will do. There is money to be made out there. Good Luck in whatever you decide.
    Carol

  23. #23
    Super Member Jan in VA'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.
    Of all the replies I like this one the best, for me at least.
    Make what YOU like.
    Sell if you WANT to, for a market acceptable amount.
    Recoup all your costs plus some slush funds.
    Replenish your stash and supplies.
    Smile.

    Pretty much how I do it.

    Jan in VA
    Jan in VA
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    peacefully colors my world.
    http://www.quiltingboard.com/members...bums19552.html

  24. #24
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by pacquilter View Post
    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!

    I'm a rank amateur compared to most quilters here, but I'll guarantee you one thing------------------I'd never take an order for a quilt someone else wanted. Guess it would take the fun out of it for me.
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

  25. #25
    Super Member GrannieAnnie's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by icon17 View Post
    I was making a Quilt, (Alice in Wonder land/Queen of Hearts) Was going back and forth to the store for fabrics. One of the ladys at the store just Fell in love with the Quilt!!!! Just HAD to have it!!!! SO I said OK! NOW You know very well how much all the fabrics/batting/thread and not to mention TIME!! Fabrics such as 'Alice' cost More!! This was 5x5.5 so I added up as best I could (I never kept records because at 1st it was for my own use) and told her she could have it for $120. Now thats Very Very Cheap! I even said she could make 1/2 at first! SHE backed out!!! said it was to much!!
    SO As for me I don't think its worth the time people want something for nothing with all the stuff coming from over seas and very low $$ its hard to compete.

    I'd pay $120. My older DD, even at 45, is one of Alice's biggest fans.
    Bad Spellers of the World
    U N T I E

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