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Curating sewing and quilting talent, techniques, and tutorials, since 1997.

Turning your Quilting Hobby Into A Business

Are you a hobbyist quilter or a part-time quilter looking to
make money from your quilting passion? Are you having a difficult time selling your work? If the answer is yes, then check this out.
Study the market before you begin If you are serious about turning your quilts into money, it's very important that you research the market before you begin trying to sell. Studying the market helps you find what types of quilts are currently in high demand in your area. Once you know this, you may think about making those quilts which are in high demand in your area. This makes it easy to sell your quilts while getting a good price for your quilts. Those who take quilting only as their hobby don't need to spend much time researching the market as the results from the research might end up in a conclusion that the demand for their favorite type of quilts is very low. If your choices are flexible or if you are ready to produce any quilt that the customers might want then there shouldn't be any problems for you to generate a good amount of money from your hobby.
Setting the price for quilts Determining a price for a quilt consists of a few steps, the first one being
market research which you should have already done prior to sewing quilts.
Keeping track of the time spent The second step in pricing should be performed during the creation of the quilt, which is "keeping track of your time". You should write down or keep a record of the time spent on the quilt; this includes the total time you spent on the quilt (from choosing a design to finishing the quilt). First, find out the total time you spent on different steps in quilting (preparing the paper pattern, piecing, basting, quilting, binding, putting your studio back in order after the quilt is completed etc.), then estimate the total time it takes on all these steps and divide it by the size (in sq.ft) of your quilt. Now you have calculated the time it takes to produce one square foot of a quilt in that particular style.
Determine how much your time is worth to you The next step in pricing is finding out the price of your time, or deciding how much the time you sped on making a quilt is worth. If you are a beginner or if you are doing an unskilled job then the minimum wage can be between $6.00 and $7.00 per hour. If you are a seasoned quilter or doing difficult tasks, your time is worth more than that. Something on the range of $10-$15 per hour should be reasonable rate in this scenario. Nevertheless, it's up to you to decide how much your time is worth. The market research you should have done can help you in making a decision about that. You may also contact other quilters in your area and talk with them about this and reach a conclusion.
Quilt appraisal An appraisal is a formally written document about the price and other attributes of a quilt. Things which should be included in a quilt appraisal are, a description of the quilt, a defined price, system used in determining the price, the reason for the appraisal (sale or resale, insurance purposes, IRS requirements, equitable division of property etc.) and the signature of the appraiser.

Selling quilts After your quilt is done, you would likely want to sell or market it so that you can generate money for the time and effort you had put in crafting your quilt. Small scale quilters, new quilters, part-time quilters, or someone doing quilting as a hobby usually find that the promotion of their quilts is tougher than the stitching part. So let's list a few quilt promotion methods which will be very helpful for the above mentioned group.
Quilting brokers and shops It's difficult for amateur quilters and part-timers to open their on
quilt shops and sell their pieces there. For these types of quilters it will be useful to look for other ways of promoting their work. There are quilt brokers and handicraft shops who would be glad to sell your pieces upon paying a cut. It should be easy for you to find such brokers and stores in your area and offer your products through them. Once your quilts become popular and when the demand for your quilts increases you might want to step up to larger scale or full time
quilt work and think about directly
marketing your products to
Selling your pieces at online auction sites Another option available for amateur or part-time quilters is to display their work on online auction sites. There are many of them available on the internet. Online auctions make it possible for a quilter to find a way to sell the quilts at maximum price. Some of these websites even give you options to sell your quilts at a fixed price instead of listing them for auctions. It's up to you to figure out whether you want consumers to bid for you
quilt or just buy it at a price you fixed. Some websites might even allows you to specify a "Minimum Bid" so that you can prevent your work from being purchased at a lower price than you see fit. This is a really efficient way for part-time or hobby quilters to sell their work.
Other quilting related income avenues There are many other ways to generate cash from
quilting related things. Next you'll find two of such ways which require a certain amount of expertise.
Teaching quilt lessons If you are an expert in
quilting and have very little time (just a couple of hours a day or less) to spend on quilting, you might wish to choose this option. You could find some schools offering quilting lessons and contact them offering to teach a quilting class for beginner quilters. If you have a unique quilting technique about which you can give classes, it would be easier for you to get a contract as a quilting instructor. Another option is to
offer quilting lessons at your own place. You might use your spare time like this and you should be able to earn good enough money from this.
Designing brand new quilt patterns If you are good at making new and unique quilt patterns, you can easily make lots of money selling them to other quilters as demand for fresh patterns will always be high. For marketing quilt patterns you design, you could use the same methods described above for marketing quilts. Like in any
business, if you use your time and resources in the most effective manner it's not hard to make a good quilting career or generate good income from quilting.
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Kirsten Stone is an avid quilt instructor. You can find some of her insights here.

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