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run an ad in the paper or website... UPDATE

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I started LA'ing in Sept. and was relitivly busy until mid-December and now have nothing on the shelves. So I'm a little nervous. I'm thinking about running an add in our local newspaper, maybe offering a discount 15% for the months of jan and feb.

But I'm also considering a website....not sure how to go about doing that.

Any tips or thoughts on any of this. I'd really like to drum up some business. Those pesky bills don't stop just 'cause business is slow!


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillippians 4:6

Michelle Beckman

Log Cabin Quilting

Teutopolis, IL

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Don't panic yet!! I was the same way. "I'm Gettin' Nuttin" for Christmas", but then just a couple hours ago, a lady emailed me and is sending 3 quilts and has more after that!! YAHOO!!! :P :P I'm excited to be "working" again!:D:D


1B3534BF41043F3B69B8C0B1C537B688.png
APQS Millie aka Big Baby
www.linneamariequilts.blogspot.com
Sew Batik Associate #1361

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I'm just curious how all of you get the majority of your business. I assume word of mouth but I just wonder which methods work best. Ads in the paper, websites, promos..... I hope I get a call soon!


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillippians 4:6

Michelle Beckman

Log Cabin Quilting

Teutopolis, IL

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Wish I had a good answer for you. After being "in business" for 3 years I just this year had a back log of quilts and now only have 2 left on my shelf and am a little panicky too. I got all of my customers just word of mouth.

I will be very interested to see what the people who have lots of business and have been doing this for a while have to say.

Hang in there. we can hold each other up


068AE7983835931B5513447E68ECA1B3.png

Bekah

Shepherd's Garden Quilting

APQS Sales Representative

APQS Millenium

www.shepherdsgardenquilting.com

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I have a couple quilts and my cards at a quilt shop/sewing center in Holmes County (the REAL Amish country, largest Amish community in the world). A lot of people travel there for the shops and scenery. I've got a lot of business from there. I've also got a few from word of mouth, and some from my quilt guild.

The story I getting is with this economy a lot of people are piecing but not having the tops quilted just yet. Does that mean we will be swamped in a year (or whenever things get better)?? I don't know. I sell quilt shop quality fabrics at low prices and still can't get rid of it.:( I think a lot of people are using the stash they already have.

Good luck, I hope things pick up for us all real soon!!:D:D


1B3534BF41043F3B69B8C0B1C537B688.png
APQS Millie aka Big Baby
www.linneamariequilts.blogspot.com
Sew Batik Associate #1361

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Part of my problem is that my LQS has an employee who has a LA in the back room. The employee rents the room off the owner. I still leave my info there, like many others do, but displaying a quilt isn't any option. Plus the employee who does the LA'ing kinda took me under her wing when I started and I don't want to step on her toes.....


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillippians 4:6

Michelle Beckman

Log Cabin Quilting

Teutopolis, IL

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I hear ya! Almost all of our local quilt shops have closed. The one I do use in Amish country is 90 miles away. See if you can get the local/townie new paper to do an article on you?? They did that for me. Although, I did not get one call from it; they did not put my phone number or email address in the article! But it was free, so who am I to complain?? YOU might get a few calls, even if just from curious lookers.

Websites are expensive, and you have to keep updating them. WHy not try a blog first and see how that goes?? Google has a free one and there are some others that are free. I put pictures of my customer quilts up on my facebook page. (I always ask permission first) In fact, a long lost grade school friend saw them and wants me to do a quilt for her. You never know where the next customer will come from! And we don't care; as long as they come!:P:P:P


1B3534BF41043F3B69B8C0B1C537B688.png
APQS Millie aka Big Baby
www.linneamariequilts.blogspot.com
Sew Batik Associate #1361

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Typically January and February are slow months for almost all quilters....I said almost. Just relax....they will be back in full force. In May you will be worried that you can't get all the quilts out fast enough.


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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If this is your first year in business, you should be fair to yourself and give yourself a year to establish your name, reputation and get the word out that you are in business. During that year, focus on improving your skills, taking classes, getting educated, etc. That's what I did. I took it slow and let things happen. I do not advertise and get my business through word of mouth. In fact, one day out of the blue I recieved an email from a stranger -- she lives about 350 miles away and wanted me to quilt her quilt. She saw my quilts hanging in the Alaska State Fair this summer. It's funny how we get our business. Are you networking with other quilters? Do you belong to a quilt guild? Longarm machine guild? I belong to both and I sometimes get referrals from my longarm friends here in Fairbanks. Show your quilts in the local fairs and art shows. Donate your quilting for charity quilts and raffle quilts. Hang your quilts at your office or husband's office or friends places of employment. Sometimes even places like schools, public libraries, or other public places where your quilts might be seen by a lot of people. Teach quilt top piecing classes? Think outside the box to get the word out. Bottom line, take it slow and easy. You won't step on any toes if you do this.


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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Of the 9yrs that I quilted I had a website payed for good placement on the net, did several newspaper ads, listed in a craft magazine that covered most of CA and NV. AND honestly I didn't get ONE quilt from any of these sources. So do your research and choose wisely I just don't want you to throw your money away. Word of mouth and the LQS were my best plan of attach.

And yes the first months of 2010 could be slow it's usually slow in Jan and Feb as Mary Beth said.


Bonnie Botts

APQS Sales Rep - Certified Service Technician

APQS Millennium 2006---MJ

APQS Millennium 2004---Lucy

405-533-1025 home

518-935-3832 cell

"Absolute rules are about as useless in making quilts as they are in raising children" Carter Houck---1992

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Thanks for posting your question - since it's one that I have as well. I notice that Intuit (software company, http://www.intuit.com/) is offering a free website for 30 days and $4.99/month thereafter. I'm thinking of testing a site out for the month of January.

Bonnie - I appreciate your input. So far all of my business has been word of mouth. You have to tell everyone what you are doing - and ask them to pass on the word on.

Lynn


Lynn Founatin

Fountain Fiber Arts, LLC

fountainfiber@bellsouth.net

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Shana has lots of good advice, most of my business comes from local guilds and my LQS and word of mouth. I do actually have a repeat customer from cards that I left at my local cleaners...go figure...I leave them everywhere...

I remember someone saying that they ran a special during one of her slow months where she would offer to quilt any quilt at a low price and only did meanders...advertised that it was a good way for customers to finish those UFO's and price was only good for the one month. I remember that she said she was quite busy...

just some ideas...


aedc2cc10e0045c5397509e8f6b74d4d.png

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewmanyquiltssewlittletime/

Proud Millie Owner!

Sew Many Quilts - Sew Little Time

Custom Long Arm Quilting

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Are you a member of you local guild. If so I would advertise in your guild newsletter.

I advertise in the guild newsletter and try to show a quilt every month at guild. I have been doing some of my pickup and drop off at guild. Every time I have done a drop off at guild the customer has shown the quilt during show and tell,. It is the best free advertising move I have ever made. Other quilters will stand there and wait for my customers to come in so they can see the quilts.

Another thing that has worked well for me is doing the mystery quilt at my LQS. I took mine in quilted to the reveal party and walked out with one to quilt. Since then I have quilted 3 more which is a great percentage since there were only 8 of us at the reveal party. Add to that all the other quilts I have gotten off that group and the price of the fabric for that quilt has more than paid for itself. I find that the more active I am in the quilting community the more quilts come in.

How far is the next closest LQS to you? The one that I have samples in is not the closest one to my current house. I actually pass 3 to get to it. I also have a friend that has samples in a different state. It is about 1.5 hours from her house but they are willing to actually take quilts in for her and she does drop off on a schedule. So that she only have to drive the a couple time a month.

When I started quilted for hire I decided to start a blog. It has been well worth the time and it was free. Every time I have thought no one is reading it someone mentions something I have posted up there. I don't post every quilt I do, but I try to feature a couple I have done each month. I know I have gotten 1 customer off of my blog, she found my blog by doing a google search for local quilters. I am working on getting content onto my new website, but have not had a lot of time to work on it recently.

I am just not sure about advertising in the local paper. Maybe because I don't even subscribe to a paper. I get all of my news online. I would be worried that I would not be getting a big enough return on my advertising dollars. I might consider advertising in something like the County Register since it is more craft based.

I really hope that you find a way to bring in more customers. I have seen an upswing in the number of people that are starting to get some of their tops quilted and I hope you do too.


Angela Clark

Thread Waggle Quilting
APQS Sales Representative
APQS Certified Service Technician

APQS Raleigh Showroom

8521 Cantilever Way, Suite 101

Raleigh, NC 27613
www.ThreadWaggle.com

919-576-9897

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Think it in reverse.

Pretend you are a quilter who wants something longarmed. What would your first step be?

Maybe you would call or visit the local shops, ask the clerks for their opinions, or look for a holder with cards from the quilters.

Or you will join a guild and ask for recommendations from people whose work you admire.

A web site is a great place to direct potential customers, but it will NOT generate cold-call customers. Only someone who has found your card/seen your name/or gotten a recommendation will visit a site. They can get a feel for your pricing ( really, there is not much difference in pricing regionally) and see finished work.

I totally agree with opinions posted above about word-of-mouth advertising. It's hard when you start out, but showing your work EVERYWHERE will get you customers. Go to the LQS with a gorgeous quilted top that you are "shopping for binding fabric" for. Lay that beauty out and let them ooo and ahhh. Modestly mention that you quilted it yourself, etc. Be sure to buy some binding fabric though! Those clerks are smart cookies!;)

Good luck! If you are diligent, practice your craft, and get the word out, you will have a customer base to keep you very busy.

Also--get a magnetic sign for your vehicle--it's amazing how much interest it will generate.


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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My best investment was my business cards and a doodle pad!!! Everywhere I go, I draw.

If I'm at a doctors appt. I Doodle.

Dentist appt, doodle.

Waiting for a hair appt? I doodle.

You get funny looks, but someone always asks what I am drawing.

I tell them I am planning for my next quilt project and Bingo!

I always have my Business Cards with me and gladly pass them out.

Everyone rushes to get their tops to us before the Holidays, But it seems as though they forget

they can book into the next year.

Most of my regulars wait for this time of year and load me up with their stash. They know I won't have a long turnaround. But before you know it, you'll be booked out again.

Be patient, they will come!!!

Take this time to practice and hone your skills. Make a presence at your Local Quilt Shops and Quilds. Let people know what you do.

Laura


Laura Farnham
APQS Rep, Colorado
Sales ~ Service~ Education

www.whisperstitchstudio.com

719~510~0599

laurathelongarmer@gmail.com

  

                                                          Whisper Stitch Studio, LLC

                                                                                                                          every quilt tells a story.......

                                                                                                                                               .....you just have to listen

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Like most have already stated "Word of Mouth" is your best advertisement.

Plus you just started (just a few months ago) it usually takes a solid year to establish yourself and for the word to get out.

In 2010 I will be in business for 5 years and so I started telling all of my customers the past month that were dropping off quilts for Christmas that I will be starting a new special for my anniversary in January. My phone has been ringing off the hook this week with customers old and new wanting to get on my appointment book for drop offs.

Do you remember that old shampoo commercial that said "and they told 2 friends, and they told 2 friends and so on and so on..." Well they were right, if you have the right price/ promo or whatever, good quality, they will come, all you need is to spread the word.

Also I too have had my website since the begining and it is a big hit with my customer base (they love to see all of the quilts and look through the pantos that I offer) but I have never gotten any new customers from it, the new customers always come from referrals from other piecers or from the LQS.

My busy season is usually Oct-May (because of all of the snow birds) then it drops off to half the rest of the year with usually one month (July) with little or no customers.

Hang in there, it's too early to panick just yet ;)

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Everyone gave you good advice. If you try the intuit or homestead 4.99 website, they are easy to use and set-up. However, the 4.99 site will not be "google available". You have to pay more for it to be seen in the "web search sites". People would have to be looking specifically for your web address.


Connie
Port Huron, MI   48060
APQS Sales Rep and Educator
Millennium with Intelliquilter (IQ)

"Be a good listener, your ears will never get you in trouble" Frank Tygr


sewsweetgator@aol.com
http://www.yoursite.com
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Another idea...if you have other LA'rs in your area, try to "specialize" in something that they don't do...maybe just pantos, or be really good at custom...? Something to make you "stand out" from the others...


aedc2cc10e0045c5397509e8f6b74d4d.png

http://www.flickr.com/photos/sewmanyquiltssewlittletime/

Proud Millie Owner!

Sew Many Quilts - Sew Little Time

Custom Long Arm Quilting

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Thanks so much for all of your advice! You gals are the best and just a wealth of information.

I do have business cards and stick them on every freakin' cork board I can find!!! hahaha! Even got the hubby to carry them!! And I pass them out to anyone who is interested. I'm going to enter a quilt this year in our local fair and maybe even our yearly quilt show. My town has a gazette that ran a free article a few months ago, which did get me a few calls, so I'm going to have them run a little ad with my special for Jan & Feb (15% off any top (excluding custom work)

I would LOVE to belong to a guild however with my young children (and a hubby who runs a dairy farm) that's going to be difficult to do. But I am going to see if I can...

And I do have some really unique pantos that no one else carries in this area so I will try to play them up.

Sorry I didn't mean to sound whiney but as we all know, moneys tight this time of year and making that darn payment each month leaves me a little winded!! :)

But you all have given such great advise and words of encouragement! I can't tell you how much I appreciate it!! :)

Blessings!

Michelle


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillippians 4:6

Michelle Beckman

Log Cabin Quilting

Teutopolis, IL

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You don't sound whiney at all. Almost all of us have been where you are. Making that machine payment can be a little daunting and can make you wonder what in the world you were thinking. Just know, the business will pick up, things will get better. Having patterns that are unique in your area is a good thing. Business cards are good and getting them out there even better. Some of the best customers I have had were those I met in quilting classes I have taken at LQS. I know you said there is a lady there that quilts and was your mentor, so I can understand that would be a bit sticky. But, if you take a class, seems they always want an introduction, that is when you can mention that you are a machine quiliter. You don't have to flaunt it, someone will ask for your card. One person that was on this chat a long time ago, when I first started, said that she joined local guild meeting, but would not go in saying she was a machine quilter, because whe knew there would be machine quilters already involved. She would just sit and listen to the meetings and after she had gone a few times, then she would join in with the show and tell by showing one of the quilts she had quilted. She would just show the quilt and when someone in the crowd would ask who did the quilting, then she would say she did. I always thought that was a great idea.


Mary Beth 

Powered by 2009 Freedom

Future winner of the Millie Sweepstakes

http://marysnutshell.blogspot.com/




 

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What about an ad on Facebook? I'm not an ad-clicker, but I've done several on FB and even ordered embroidery designs from one. You seem to be able to target them to a particular audience. I have been getting ads from smaller local companies, so I don't think it can be too expensive.


Linda

PATCHogue, NY

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Just thought I'd update you all....I ran a small add in 2 local papers, cost me $75. I had a 2 month special, 15% off any top....I now have about 10 quilts to do and most are new customers!!!

Well worth it!!

I've also been asked to quilt a charity quilt (no charge) and they will display my business info at the various sites where the quilt will be displayed to sell raffle tickets!


"Don't worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done." Phillippians 4:6

Michelle Beckman

Log Cabin Quilting

Teutopolis, IL

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Hi Michelle! That is wonderful news. I am happy you took this risk and it worked out. That's what business people have to do some times; weigh out the options, take a risk and see what comes of it. :)


"Of all the things a woman's hands have made---The quilt so lightly thrown across her bed---The quilt that keeps her loved ones warm---Is woven of her love and dreams and thread." excerpt from The Romance of the Patchwork Quilt by Carrie A. Hall
 

:rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes:  :rolleyes: 

Shana in North Pole, Alaska ---- The Farthest North APQS Sales Rep  
 Always quilting with her faithful friend, Mademoiselle Madeleine Millennium, Bliss-fully skating gracefully...and having lots of fun with IntelliQuilter

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