Categories
Quilting Business

Welcome to the Quilting Business Blog!

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

Categories
Quilt Shop Business Quilting Business Quilting Websites

What Would Your Life be Like if You Had a Bigger Piece of the More than $3.3 Billion Quilting Market?

Have you ever stayed awake at night thinking about how to get your quilting business up and running?

Are your revenues down because of the economy?

Are you working hard to get your business off the ground, but feel like you are treading water?

Do you have excellent customers who move away and you never hear from them again?

Do you think about setting up a website but have no idea where to start?

Are you trying to market your quilting unsuccessfully to a local community that is tapped out financially?

Are you ever frustrated because you have new products arriving in your shop that you are excited to tell your customers about but you just don’t have the time to pick up the phone and let them all know?

And your employees forget to tell them?

Does it seem like no one knows about your online store?

Is your community willing and able to pay the true value of a quilt?

Do you have inventory that you wish you could sell?

Do you have workshops you would like to fill?

Are you looking for a real business strategy to make some extra money with your quilting?

Chances are you are wishing you were doing better in at least one of those areas, and – well, you are not alone.

By now, if you don’t know that most businesses in this economy are suffering, and many are just plain throwing in the towel and closing up shop, you’re sleeping with Rip Van Winkle, confident that when you wake up 20 years from now, your quilt shop business will be booming and you will have a gazillion dollars in the bank (and you are also assuming that a gazillion dollars will be gobs of money 20 years from now!)

And it’s not just quilt shops, it isn’t just in the US, and it isn’t just small businesses.

When General Motors lays off 130,000 employees, large chains like Circuit City, Starbucks, and Zales closes hundreds of stores, and even WalMart lays off more than 1,450 employees, many surviving local quilt shop owners are probably wondering what they can do to survive – let alone thrive.

Today, more than ever, professional quilters and quilt shop owners like you are anxious to figure out how to get the share of the quilting business revenue you deserve.

Many of us know that the number of quilters in the United States has been growing for the past several years, and with the impending retirement of the Baby Boomers, you can expect that trend to continue.

After all, for many, retirement brings the desire to remain active and interested in new trends, combined with the need for an activity that might not be so physically challenging.

Many Baby Boomers have fond memories of their grandmothers or mothers gathering with friends, neighbors or church groups to create beautiful quilts for babies, weddings, hope chests, and adorn beds at home.

And now given more time, the thought of learning how to quilt or creating more quilts for their family and friends is irresistible.

And we all know that quilters need resources – both beginner quilters and quilters with more experience.

But how is the best way to reach them and let them know about the resources at our shops?

Most business owners agree that the fastest and least expensive way is online.

But how do you keep in touch with your customers and visitors without getting them angry?

Quilter Penny Halgren has been a quilting website owner for more than 5 years now and has developed a system of communication with her newsletter subscribers that gives them what they want – information about quilting techniques, ideas for quilts, and resources to make their quilting easier and more fun – while giving her what she wants – increased revenue.

And now she has put together her system so you, too, can increase your business.

Penny reveals all of her closely held secrets in her brand new Online Quilting Business Success System.

Because Penny loves quilting and wants quilt shop owners to thrive in their businesses, she is sharing her system, and you can take advantage of her vast online experience:

http://www.QuiltingWebsiteOwners.com

By reserving your copy now, you can participate in live telephone training calls, listen to Penny explain her Online Quilting Business Success System, and get all of your questions answered, so you get a jump start for making more money online.

You truly can be one of the few successful online quilt shop owners in just 45 minutes a week:

http://www.QuiltingWebsiteOwners.com

Categories
Quilt Shop Business Quilting Business

Quilting Business Blog Gets A New Voice

Please allow me to introduce myself, my name is Charlotte Colmon and I've been working with Chuck behind the scenes these past few months. In a nutshell, Chuck has  “passed the torch” to me as he focuses on his family. I am very excited to bring a fresh perspective to the business side of quilting. Business is what I am passionate about, and I am excited to share with you my passion for growing your business.

The economy is finally starting to turn around, and now is the time to really give your quilting business everything you can. I've got a lot of great opportunities lined up for you that I will be sharing over the next couple of months. We are going to help you get your business going for you!

Please share with me what you are struggling with, what areas of your business do you need the most help with? Getting customers in the door? Sales promotions? Developing a web presence? Let me know what topics you most need advice in, and together we will make your business run like a well oiled machine. The way you've always dreamed it would.

We are going to be here every step of the way for you.

Charlotte

Categories
Machine Quilting Quilting Business

Q&A: Stay Away from eBay

I received this question from Eileen Keane about selling on eBay and making a decent living…

Good morning Chuck,

Thank you for including me on your mailing list for your ezine! I'm finding lots of valuable information on it.

I've been reading the selling on eBay article and checking out other machine quilters on eBay. I have to admit, I'm very leery about listing there. Most of the longarmers I've talked to have told me that I'd be giving my work away.

If you look at my website, you'll see that I'm reasonably priced for my part of the country/state. I honestly don't know what to do; I want more business but not at the cost of making a decent living.

Thanks and I hope I hear from you,

Eileen Keane
www.DesigningQuilts.com

Over the years, I've found that eBay is a great place if you want to pick up some unusual item – a vintage toy or script from a favorite movie – but I haven't really seen much for selling services that seemed like a good deal for the seller.  It seems that everyone searching eBay is looking for the lowest price, and it can be tough to make enough money to make it worthwhile.  So, here's my answer to Eileen:

Categories
Quilting Business

Part-Time Quilting Business Advice

http://www.flickr.com/photos/mwichary/3403417476/Time to dip into the mailbag again…

I received this question from Lynn May a little while ago (tough to answer all the great questions!), and wanted to get an answer to Lynn and Nina, who both had some of the same concerns:

Hi to all and to Chuck – Couple of things of interest. One, how to fit a quilting business into my full-time job and make a little extra money; and, two, how to price my quilts and small projects like table runners. It is hard to compete with Walmart, Target, Penney’s, etc., with quilts when you can buy one for $69.95. It costs a lot of time and money to make a quilt of excellence as we all know. So, is there a market out there for pricing a queen quilt at $300, $500 or $750? I would be very interested in knowing.

Lynn May

And here's Nina's comment…

I agree with Lynn May, how to begin a Quilting Business while keeping a full time job!

Here's my answer…

Categories
Quilt Marketing Quilting Business

When a Competitor Fails

http://www.flickr.com/photos/gavinbell/1617422579/I received a great question from Karen about how to best handle when a competitor goes out of business.  Here's the question:

Chuck,

The nearest competitor to us closed on Monday. Is there any way we can capitalize on her closing without appearing as over zealous or gloating . How or what should we advertise to capitalize on the closing? Or so we just let nature take its course.

Thanks,

Karen

This can be a difficult situation since  you certainly don't want to come off as happy that your competitor has failed because you want to make their customers comfortable with choosing you as the alternative.  Here is my answer to Karen:

Hi Karen,

When a competitor goes out of business is certainly no time for gloating.  Besides the obvious fact that someone just had to give up on their own dream business, there's the loyal customers who had invested a lot of time and money with this business because they either like the service, the products, or the owners.  Sensitivity is key, but you definitely want to make these customers start to love your business just as much.

Here's what I would suggest:

Categories
Quilting Websites

Using WordPress for a Quilting Website

Quilting BusinessOne of the top questions I received recently was about starting a quilting website, or improving an existing website.  I've been developing websites for well over 15 years, and have spent a lot of time evaluating the best ways to get things done.  I've coded sites by hand, used Front Page and Dreamweaver, and have also looked at various software platforms for websites.

Recently, on www.LifeIsLocal.com, my website focused on helping local businesses get the most out of their online and offline marketing, I posted about why I use WordPress for all of my websites.  You can find the article, “Why I Use WordPress for Small Business Websites,” on the blog, but here are the key points:

  • WordPress is FREE. You don't spend a thing on the software.
  • WordPress is extensible. Lots of people are adding new functionality to it every day.
  • WordPress is easy-to-use. Once it's set up, you can easily add new content.
  • WordPress is interactive. Just like Quilting Business, you can solicit comments from your community.