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quilterkp

How is your quilting business?

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Finally, finally, I am in a position to get a longarm in January.   HOWEVER, at a recent quilt retreat, I was told by one of our longarmers that our area is saturated and that her business is down a good bit.  She is an established quilter, in the business for 10 years.  I cannot justify the expense of a brand new longarm plus Intelliquilter if I am not going to make any money with it.  I am five to seven years from retirement and the initial thought was that I would spend these years learning my craft and starting out the business.  So, those of you who do this as a business, have you had a decline in customers due to more folks buying their own quilting systems?

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The number of quilters with longarms and mid-arms has risen like crazy in the past four years in my area. If you can spend the five to seven years left to sharpening your skills while taking a few customers here and there, go for it. It hasn't impacted my business, but I do primarily custom and have little competition. My quilts come from those who save the big ones and the special ones for me---I do 4 per month and sometimes struggle to get them done. Mine is a different situation so if you are able to analyse the competition, see if you can figure out a niche market. Are there lots of overall/e2e quilters so you'll be competing with them? Are there Modern quilters looking for a kindred-spirit longarmer? Is the custom market fully covered? Also, would you be happy to purchase a used machine to start out and upgrade to a new w/computer later? Please remember as well, the longarmer who advised you only has her best interests at heart---not yours. Though her advice may be spot-on, don't be deterred until you do some more research.


Linda Rech

Finely Finished Quilts

Millennium on Bliss rails--hand-guided

http://www.topperquilttools.com

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A question regarding your $$ expectations. Will your quilting be your only income when you retire, or simply your vice money (fabric, thread, quilting classes, you get my drift)? I upgraded to my Millie when I retired, paid it off, and added the computer system and have now paid that off. Having said all that, when I started looking to seriously quilt, I joined the LQG and one of the queen bees did everything she and her buddies could do to stall my business. I stayed busy but slow at first. Today I long for those days. I don't have time to quilt for myself. Since that time, five more quilters for others have joined the guild. I am not complaining, I am as "busy as I want to bee".


Cee K

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ffqlr, there are several custom quilters that I know of.   They also do E2E.   I was pondering specializing in modern and vintage quilts.   There is also the Internet, but I have to decide if I want to deal with shipping.

Kueser,  this would be vice money (love that description!).   I will have some money coming in and I don't want to be super, super busy.   I want time to hang out with my friends.   However, I would love to make enough to be able to pay off the machine and then use whatever funds come in for quilt retreats, etc. and anything extra that may pop up.

Initially, I was going to buy a brand new longarm, but the comments about business being down have me pondering that...

 

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Regardless of what you've heard about "saturated", I still think you should follow your dreams and create a business plan. Stick to the plan. Give yourself time now to practice, build up skills, market your business. You will SLOWLY build up clientele. By the time you retire, you should be up on step with a steady customer base.

I will tell you that customers like to try out other/new longarmers. So, don't be surprised once word gets around that you are in business. 

As a business person, it's always good to find your niche in the market and get your name out there. That niche could be as simple as your friendly personality or your quick turnaround time. Advertising is expensive, but spending money on a Facebook page, paying for a blurb in the local longarm newsletters or even in the local advertising newspaper, creating cute business cards and trifold to hand out to potential customers. You have to get your name and face out there. It's who you know that gets the word of mouth moving around. Make quilts and put them in the local fair. Create quilts and DONATE them to charity fundraisers. Donating quilts to fundraisers gets your name out there as a business person. Attend guild meetings or other craft groups and hand out your cards and trifolds. Talk to local shops about displaying your information. Eventually when you can afford it, buy a domain name and create a web site. Customers like to look at your site on the internet. Be creative-- think out of the box on your advertising angles. You'll be surprised that even in a saturated market, you can find your place. Follow your dreams. 


"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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