Welcome to the Quilting Business Blog! This blog is a resource for anyone who is involved (or hopes to be) with quilting as a business. This includes quilt shop owners, anyone offering a quilting service, quilts for sale, long arm quilting services, quilting classes or any other types of quilting business.

If you are brand new to the industry, you will find lots of articles and resources that relate to starting, and running a quilting business.

Small business is something I am personally very passionate about, and it is my goal that by reading this business blog and implementing the tips and advice you find here, you will see improvements in your business that speak to your bottom line. I believe everyone needs a business coach, and that is exactly what I intend this blog to be, your personal business coach. Now, let’s start making some money!

Warmly,

Charlotte

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Pricing Quilts

by Charlotte Colmon

Reader Question: I am struggling with figuring out how to price quilts and my quilting. Is there anything you can suggest to help me figure that out?

Answer: It can be challenging when you are trying to figure out the best way for pricing quilts. Right on the blog we have a free quilting calculator to help you figure out how to price your quilts. You can find that here:

http://www.quiltingbusiness.com/quilt-pricing-calculator/

Good luck and keep sending those questions in!

Warmly,

Charlotte

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Starting A Quilt Shop

by Charlotte Colmon

Reader Question:  I’ve stalled a little bit with starting my own quilting business…. It starts to get hard to think of all the things that need to be done, and it seems very overwhelming and intimidating not to mention expensive.

I want to have a nice little “family” business to expand on my love of quilting. My husband is very handy in that he could do a much of any “remodeling” that needs to be done with regard to fixtures and such. Do you have any insight for me. I want to continue to pursue this but obviously need a little more information.

Answer:

If you are seriously considering a quilt shop, I would recommend the ebook we offer (written by Chuck, the former owner of this site)

http://www.start-a-quilt-shop.com/

This ebook is $37 and you get so much included with that-besides the main ebook, there is also sample business plans, resources for supplies, how to figure out your initial inventory needed, fabric-calculator, etc. is it VERY comprehensive, and will probably help you a lot in terms of figuring out a plan and if this is right for you.

Warmly,

Charlotte

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Quilting Business-Where to Start

by Charlotte Colmon

Reader Question: I have always loved quilting, and I am thinking about trying to earn money through quilting. When I go into quilt shops, they tell me there is no money in quilting, and that it is very expensive to get started. To be honest, I just don’t know where to start.

Answer:
Quilting is a wonderful and very popular hobby.  There are far more people that want to quilt, than there are people that want to buy quilts (at least at the price they need to be sold at).

Because of the number of hours that go into making quilts, to make it profitable, they need to be sold for hundreds of dollars (or thousands for the larger and more time consuming ones).

The majority of consumers are just not willing to purchase quilts for these amounts.  They tend to equate a quilt with a fancy blanket, and go into sticker shock.  Consider that a small quilt takes at least 20-30 hours for an experienced quilter to make, multiply that by say $10/hour, add in $50-100 in materials, and now you have $300-400 invested into it, and you still have to mark it up more than that in order to cover the general overhead costs of your business.  There is more pricing information on our blog that goes into this in more depth.

So…the real money in the quilting business is selling quilting supplies and services to other quilters, not selling quilts (the finished product) to consumers.

The other major factor to consider is that many (if not most) quilt shop owners (that sell quilting supplies, quilting services, quilting lessons, and perhaps a few finished quilts) are finding it very difficult to stay in business, in today’s economic climate.  The overhead of paying rent for a storefront and all the associated costs of that (employees, utilities, etc) all add up very quickly.

So the end result of all this is that the best way to make money in the quilting industry really is to do it online.  The overhead costs are drastically reduced compared to opening up a physical shop, and your potential customer base is all across the country (and even worldwide to be honest).  But this not to say that it is easy.  You can’t simply put up a website (or have one made for you) and expect customers to come knocking on your virtual door.  Instead of the costs of opening a store, you have to put in time to grow a website by doing many of the things that would be outlined in Penny’s course, for example.

So this then leads to the fact that some level of computer knowledge needs to be learned, and if you don’t have the computer and online marketing knowledge already, then this is where you need to start.  The great thing is that this knowledge can be applied to any business, not just quilting, so they are skills that will do you well in the long run, even in other industries.

This is definitely something you can do part-time while raising a family, etc, you just have to be realistic about your expectations.  The more time you can dedicate to it, the faster you can grow it, but much more important than how many hours you put in is this -> putting in a bit of time every single day (well at least 5 days a week for a typical “work week”) ;) .  Spending 1-2 hours per day on what I call “Critical Focus Time” is what will make your business (or any other project for that matter) succeed.  Maybe you only have 30 minutes per day you can devote to it, that’s fine.  Just make sure it’s every single day.  It’s too easy to let life’s daily activities get in the way, and it’s this type of “procrastination” that kills most businesses from ever getting off the ground.

You don’t need a large sum of money up front to get into this business, it’s more about finding time.  The training through Penny is $497.  You will need some money for a website hosting account (the place where your website lives), a website name, and things related to this, but these all tend to be small fees compared to things like a storefront rent.  Website hosting can be found for under $10/month.  A website name is about $10/year.

Warmly,

Charlotte

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The Market for Quilting

by Charlotte Colmon

Reader Question: I have just purchased a quilting machine. I want to make money with it ,of course. Should I focus more on making quilts to sell or quilting for other people. I have sold quilts in the past but nothing serious.

Answer:

There are more people quilting than there are people buying quilts.  It seems most people receive quilts from friends and family members that are quilters, rather than purchasing them.

So, I would suggest that the best way to consistently make money with your quilting machine is to offer quilting services to quilters.

Warmly,

Charlotte

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Photographing Your Quilts

by Charlotte Colmon

Reader Question: What is the best way to display the quilt to take pictures for on a web site?

Answer: I asked a friend of mine who is a photographer and he suggested the following points for photographing a quilt:

1) hang the quilt on a wall so that it is very flat

2) is possible, find a wall that is free of any other distractions, and has good lighting, preferable natural window light

3) in addition to a photo of the entire quilt, also take some close up photos of individual squares so people can see the close up detail & stitching.

4) Avoid using camera flash if possible

Warmly,

Charlotte

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Reader Question: How would you advertise for your quilting business when professional advertising is so expensive?

Answer: I agree, traditional advertising in print media, radio, tv, etc can be very expensive.

I believe the way of the future for both advertising and conducting business is online.  People don’t use the yellow pages anymore, they use google.

As such, creating or expanding your online presence is one of the better (and cheaper) ways to advertise.  That being said, a website that is done up as an “online business card” will not do you much good, as the only people that will find that type of site will be people that are specifically looking for you, and already know your business and website name.  Even though it takes less money than traditional advertising, it does take more time to establish a website that works effectively for the online part of your business.

Warmly, Charlotte

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