Let Me Answer Your Questions

by Charlotte Colmon

Question MarkBased on the comments on the site, and the emails I've received, I've decided to do a weekly Questions and Answers article where I answer 1 – 3 questions you've submitted.  To make things easier, please send your questions to me via the Contact page.  And, here are a few hints to getting your question chosen:

  1. Be Specific: Try to narrow your questions to just one specific topic, not a general question.  For example, asking me “how do I start a quilting business?” is not a very specific question, but “how can I market online to my local area?” is much better.
  2. Be Concise: Don't send really long questions.  If you need to cover quite a bit, break it down into multiple questions instead of a very long single question with too much detail.
  3. Be On Topic: Please confine your questions to how you can start, manage, market, and run a quilting business.  I really want to make the content on this site as targeted and useful as possible.
  4. Be Interesting: And finally, try to make your question as interesting as possible. Think about how you can frame the question in such a way that other people would want to know the answer as well.  That way, everyone wins.

The first Questions and Answers article will be towards the end of next week, so get y our questions in as soon as possible.

Thanks!

Chuck

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Laura October 23, 2009 at 3:32 pm

I need to know a good program on how to keep good business records.

Marie G October 23, 2009 at 3:44 pm

I have designed a pattern that has lots of interest. What do I need to sell to individuals and shops from a website?

Cathy Beckley October 23, 2009 at 5:07 pm

Which is the best computer program for designing quilts?

LeAnn Frobom October 23, 2009 at 8:10 pm

What are the pros and cons of marketing through a website like
Etsy?

Annie October 24, 2009 at 4:13 pm

I’m having trouble selling the Quilts that my Husband and I have made. Our pricing has been very reasonable; Not able to sell any. I did have a web site, but I had to shut it down. I had it for about 6 years and sold only baby quilts and that was only four in three years.
Would appreciate a reply.
Thank you,
Annie

Donna October 24, 2009 at 10:46 pm

I make memory quilts/wallhangings. I’m having trouble securing orders. People will tell me they want one, but can’t get them any further than that. What am I doing wrong?

Debbie Baumgartner October 26, 2009 at 9:28 pm

If I design a new pattern do I need to have it copyrighted, since they can be adjusted and the copy right is not valid. How do I know if I should copy right or not.

Chuck Smith October 27, 2009 at 12:38 pm

Hello Debbie,

By virtue of actually creating a new pattern, you have a copyright to that pattern. There’s nothing else you need to do, although you could register your design with the patents and trademarks office. My suggestion would be just to not “Copyright 2009 by Debbie Baumgartner” (or your company name) and that is protection enough.

Hope this helps,
Chuck

Chuck Smith October 27, 2009 at 12:40 pm

Hi Donna,

I doubt you’re doing anything wrong except perhaps you’re not making your presentation compelling enough. You should read through some of the old posts on the site, especially the ones about getting a higher price for your quilting. You basically want to make sure you are in line with the styles and pricing in your area, and then make sure people know about your products. A little publicity will help, and always be thinking of ways that you can get in front of people.

Good luck,
Chuck

Chuck Smith October 27, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Hello Annie,

Selling online via a website can be difficult, but no impossible. A website is great for local marketing efforts, though, so I wouldn’t get rid of a website unless its a budgetary issue.

There are a number of things you can do to make your quilts more attractive to the local market, and concentrating on baby quilts is not a bad idea. People tend to spend a little extra money on items for a new baby, so you can count on a market being available. Now, you just need to tap into that market.

Perhaps you can start looking at local obstetricians and get them to carry some brochures about your quilts. Really explain the quality of the fabric and the workmanship in your brochures. Make sure people understand this is a one-of-a-kind item, and that they can customize what they want (if this is something you will do). Be competitive in your pricing, but don’t go on the low end. Be a little higher, but really deliver. Package your quilts in a special way that makes it easy for the purchaser to make it a gift (cool gift box or bag?). Make really special tags for your quilts. The little touches count.

There are some articles on the site about getting higher prices and marketing, so do a search.

Good luck,
Chuck

Susan Mathison October 27, 2009 at 1:55 pm

Hello, Chuck.
I have designed a specific quilt style (not a specific fabric or design) with a name for the design concept. Would I trademark or copyright the name rather than the design?

Chuck Smith October 27, 2009 at 2:11 pm

Hello Susan,

Once you have created the style, you already have a copyright. But, to protect your style further, you could trademark the name, especially if you plan on creating books or other teaching tools to explain your style and how to use it to other quilters.

The best thing to do, depending on how much time and money you want to invest in the concept, is to talk to a trademark and/or patent attorney. They will definitely be able to help more, and since I’m not an attorney, I certainly cannot give out legal advice.

Best of luck,

Chuck

Annie November 23, 2009 at 8:51 pm

I still want to sell my quilts. I’m having a hard time doing it. I can’t afford to give them away. can you help me please. I REALLY need the money. I could try going back to having a web page again but I think I could have some help. I have about 10 quilts to sell. Please reply.
Annie kaczmarek

Chuck Smith December 2, 2009 at 7:15 pm

Annie,

I just noticed that I somehow missed your comment reply. So, here is my reply, although a bit later than I hoped…

Trying to sell something like a quilt very quickly can be a daunting task. The first thing that comes to mind would be to check if there are going to be any craft or quilt fairs in the area, especially around this time of year. You would want to go to one of the nicer ones, although this may cost a bit more for a booth. Churches and schools seem to have a lot of craft fairs at this time of year and a handmade quilt is a great gift.

Make sure you check this site for tips on optimizing your booth at the craft shows so you stand out above the crowd. Also, I’ve got some articles on how you can position your quilts to command a higher price.

Good luck!
Chuck

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