Many quilters dream of someday selling their work and turning at least some profit, however small, from the hours they spent creating a one-of-a-kind work of art. While the market for homemade quilts is not large, there are several ways to go about starting a quilting business. Quilters who are serious about selling their work generally market their work in more than one place.
Selling On the Internet
One of the quickest ways to reach a national, or even international market, is to sell your work online using one of the many auction, crafting or quilting-specific websites. These sites generally charge slight fees to list your products and sometimes charge commissions. Also, standing out among the hundreds of other craftspeople using them requires some skill. At a minimum, listings should include photographs of your work and well-crafted descriptions. Successful online quilting shops generally do marketing of their own.
Several quilt stores and galleries will also sell qualified work on consignment. When you ask another business to sell your work, you will have to agree on the pricing with the consignment seller. The consignment business will probably ask you to pay any expenses associating with selling your work and will always take a percentage of the sale price as a commission. When you sell a quilt on consignment, you get the benefit of the consignment shop's reputation in the field, ability to draw a wider range of clients than you could on your own, and expertise in determining the correct price for your work.
Quilt and Art Shows
Quilting associations such as the American Quilter's Society and The National Quilter's Association publish lists of upcoming quilting shows where you can rent a booth to display and sell your work. Selection for these shows can be competitive, and you will have to submit photographs of your work and written descriptions of your products and your company in order to be considered for a booth. You can sometimes access customers from a broader audience at a local art show displaying work from a variety of media, which have a similar application process.
Quilters can also market themselves by handing out business cards at local art events, posting fliers at local craft stores, creating a website for their work and even blogging about the business. Self-marketing requires constant updating, but with time such efforts can attract new customers to your products.
Elaine Severs is an award-winning journalist who has been writing professionally since 2001. She has written about politics, health, education, travel and general interest topics for several newspapers and travel guides, including the "New York Times" and Insight Travel Guides. She has a Master of Science in journalism from Columbia University.