Following on with this subject “How to make money from Quilting”:
Chapter Two – How much money do you want to make from your quilting hobby? (and how hard do you want to work!)
After reading Chapter One, you have decided that you want to venture forth and take your hobby to the next level.
There are several options, I have listed the ones I can think of below. I have listed them in the order of time and effort involved, and potential financial reward.
Please note that these are all personal observations based on the New Zealand and Australian markets.
1. Selling your Quilts and other Hand made items – non professional.
This is the easiest option, if you just love making things, and you would like to get your fabric stash down, and would like to at least cover your costs. Because that is generally all that you will make!
This option is for selling at various ad-hoc craft markets, at co-operative craft shops and quilt shows on a random basis. The time you spend is totally up to you.
2. Selling your Quilts and other Hand made items – Becoming more professional.
Now you are starting to get serious, and beginning to make things that people want to buy, not just what you want to make!
You could be having a regular table at a good craft market and be actively looking at getting your costs down for your raw materials. You are starting to be committed with the hours you are spending, though your income is still tiny compared to your time spent.
3. Producing Quilts on commission and selling Higher Priced Quilts
Another option here is to sell your quilts for a much higher value. For this you should have a brand i.e. “you”, and have an outlet or a means where the customer can purchase your quilts. You should be fully professional and to exhibit regularly at shows and preferably won some prizes.
However, even though you will reach a higher price for your quilts, it will still not truly reflect on your time, and there will be a limit on how many you can make and sell.
4. Tutoring/Teaching Patchwork and Quilting
This option is building up to being a part-time business. Points to be aware of: The time taken to create your classes and to prepare for them and the cost of the class hand outs and materials you will provide. Also think about how will you market yourself? Note also that you will be committing yourself to set dates in the future.
5. Setting up a Machine Quilting Business
You will need to be plan for the space and capital requirements of this business. A second hand set up will probably start around NZ$30,000 and upwards. Typically you will need space of about half a garage and be aware that physically you will be standing most of the time.
It is possible to make a good living from providing this service, it depends on how far you want to go and the hours you want to work.
6. Professional Retailing of Quilts and related items, (other peoples quilts, a quilting shop etc)
You will need a significant amount of capital, be prepared to work a lot more than 40 hours per week, and you are now in business, which just happens to be a quilting business. With all the small business issues.
7. Using Social Media and charging for advertising
This is something quite new, bloggers who get a lot of “views” can easily charge for their advertising.
You will need to have the ability to write good “content” and be prepared to keep it current and new.
This does take a lot more time and effort and creativity than it seems!
Think about how much time and financial resources you want to commit.
Many professional quilters combine teaching and exhibiting and selling their quilts and they enjoy the part-time nature of this work.
Think of your existing skillset, if you start growing into a small business you will need to master many, often new, skills. Such as marketing, distribution, people management and most importantly, how to manage the finances.
As you can see, you have many options going forward. You can always start small and move up, depending on what you enjoy doing.
Remember: If it’s not fun, then don’t do it!
My next chapters will go into further detail on each of the options and give you lots of hints.
Follow my blog and feel free to add comments on this Chapter from your own experience.