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One of the local shop owners says she wants to get a LA for her shop. Her reasons: people have asked about renting time, and, that she has to pay too much to have her own samples done.

I posted to several lists and asked them for some suggestions, and returned the call to the shop. Option a: 25% discount, they put a tag advertising that the quilt was done by me or Option b: Free shop quilting, but they recommend me exclusively.

Teachers could get a discount on samples done for the shop only.

She's not interested at all in Option B.

What do you do?

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I do the samples for free for the local shop. It may average out to 1 or 2 tops per month. Probably 2/3 to 3/4 of them are panto or some type creative meander. I have set aside 5 spots each month for quilting for her customers. Occasionally I can do more than 5 for her depending on what the customers want. If all 5 want custom, that's all I can do but if 3 or 4 want meander, I can squeeze in an extra one or two, depending on my schedule.

She gives me a hefty discount at the shop. She refers customers to be but she also gives out names of other longarmers. I'm about 35 - 40 miles from her shop in one direction and there are other longarmers the same distance going the other direction and they are her customers too.

The shop collects the quilts for me, I pick them up, deal directly with the customers, set my own fee, collect the money and deliver the quilts back to the shop. The shop doesn't charge anything for collecting the quilts for me.

This plan has worked great for us for several years.

I wouldn't worry a whole lot about her getting a longarm for the shop. I think by the time most people figure out how time consuming it really is to master the skill, and by the time they pay to rent the machine, most would rather pay someone to do their tops.

I think the beauty of renting time will apply to those who want to say they did it ALL themselves *once*, or to those who think they can do just as good as those of us who have been quilting for years and again, they'll probably do it *once*.

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Guest Linda S

Hmm. Very interesting. I like Judy's arrangement. While I hate to give my quilting away for free, a nice discount at the LQS would be really nice. And, if it brought new customers my way, that would be great. I can understand why the shop owner wouldn't want to recommend you exclusively. I know how sad it would make me if I were the new kid on the block and the shop owner refused to take my cards or brochures. I'm taking a class in machine applique at the LQS this weekend and was going to ask if they had any class samples they would let me do for them at a disount.


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Linda: Initially, the idea of giving my quilting away wasn't at the top of my priority list either. I started out offering a discount to the quilt shop. Then she had a fantastic quilt that just needed tons of quilting. I thought of all the feathers in the insets and borders and my price was something like $450. Even with a discount, I felt that was a lot for a shop sample so I told her if she'd let me do anything I wanted to do on the quilts, there would be no charge. Of course she agreed.

Another good thing about doing them for free is she doesn't have any idea how much I charge so when someone comes in with the same quilt, if she gave them my price of $450, I'd never ever hear from them but when they send me their quilts, I give them a price for meander, panto, semi-custom, custom or heirloom. I usually give 3 prices because not all quilts fit into all price categories. So, if someone wants a quilt done and is willing to pay $100 for the quilting but all they hear is *$450*, they automatically think I'm too expensive.

I'm not the only longarmer who shops in her shop so I'd never expect to be the only longarmer she recommends.

In fact, we have a group that will be meeting there to work on QOV quilts and I'll try to get other longarmers in the area to come so we can get more quilters involved.

Here's an example of what free quilting did for me: The shop does several large shows across our side of the U.S. She took the quilt I mentioned above and had kits for it. I ended up quilting SIX quilts . . some had been purchased at MQS, some were purchased at Quilt Odyssey when it was in Gettysburg, and I can't remember where else she went. Not only did I make about $2,700 but I have repeat customers for several years just because of that one quilt. Each of those 6 quilts were customers I would not have gotten had it not been for that quilt. If I had done something less expensive on that quilt because she was paying for it, people would still have probably bought the kit but they would probably not have bothered sending it to me to quilt.

Another positive is that the LQS owner does fantastic work, always does the newest patterns with the newest fabric and it's nice to be able to show those pictures . . when I remember to take pictures!:o

No matter what type relationship you try to work out with your LQS, why don't you agree to do it for six months or a year and then re-negotiate. If it works for you, stick with it. If not, no harm done.

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Cynthia: You might also want to consider reserving a few spots per month for her customers. If you have a long waiting list, it is nice for the shop and her customers to know they can get their quilts done pretty quickly.

I reserve five spots per month for the LQS. Every now and then they have more than five and I have to give up my Fridays which are reserved for working on my own quilts. Or, I could say . . nope, you have five spots and the others have to wait til next month.

A whole lot of it boils down to how much you spend at LQS yourself. For those who only spend $100 or so a month there, even a 50% discount isn't worth a whole lot but for those who spend $500 or more per month at the LQS, a 50% discount pays off.

In fact, I was at our little retreat a few weeks ago with the LQS lady and she was showing me some new Bernina scissors and a couple of other things that were really cool. I had not even seen those because I'm usually only looking for fabric. Wednesday I received a little package in the mail from her and she sent me all the goodies I'd been drooling over.

Another idea to get you (not necessarily just you . . Cynthia!);) in the door with your local shop: I'm setting up a "last Saturday of the month" come and sew type day where we'll be making quilts for the wounded soldiers project. The LQS is going to donate the fabric, I'll quilt the quilts and hopefully enlist some other local longarmers if we get a bunch of tops done. Anything that gets your name out there and gets you on a personal relationship with the shop owner and her customers could be worth your time.

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  • 9 months later...

Here it is months later, and I wanted to give you all a heads up on a new trick. LQS owner wanted one quilter to refer customers to. Can I bring samples, etc. to the shop (July 2005). I did, one large quilt and photo's of samples done for other customers, price list, business cards. I call several times checking up, "how are things going, do you need me to come pick up quilts, meet customers do demo?" No things are slow (customers hand quilt everything), but I sure am booking alot of log cabin classes from that sample. So I had a friend call the shop to ask if they could refer her to a quilter. OH,YES! We can do that for you here for $80. Come see our sample! Bring your quilt with you. We have a longarm machine in the shop! (HQ16) (When she opened the shop, she told me they were "selling the HQ16).

I had UPS pick up my quilt, notebook and business cards the next day. And guess what? Not one single card was missing from the box. It was still sealed....

Cynthia, no sour grapes, just "heads up".

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(Big sigh!) What can you say about that situation? She was deceitful and unprofessional to say the least! How to rise above that? It sounds like you have a great attitude and I am happy to be warned!

You know about that goes-around-comes-around thing.......unfortunately, sometimes that takes soooo long to happen!!

Warm thoughts to you.

Linda Rech

Lovin' my Millennium in Oly Wa.

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I do a professional discount it is 40% off, but it is not a exclusive to quilt shops. I do it for the gal who runs a ceramic business, my hairdresser,( she has even displayed my quilts in her shop), my avon lady, there is not a huge list, but my avon lady took the quilts for while to her other customers. And I have gained a few customers this way. I found too much competition with the local quilt shops. So I got the word out this way. Also my Quilt guild had a quilt show and asked me to be a vendor, I have gained new customers from passing out my card and flyer through this avenue. I am competing with 3 other longarm quilters.

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I am a firm believer in Karma (what goes around comes around), and if everything is a cirlce, who did I "do wrong". Yes, I'm keeping a happy outlook, but I can tell you that the large QOV I did for one of her customers was never sent to the Military Hospital we gave her (remember, quiltmakers add the binding and label). I don't know, maybe she's using THAT for her class sample, now...

Shaking my head in disbelief...


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You know I don't know what it is about some people. I just recently heard a local shop was out of the LA business becase she bought a machine of her own and started her own business. Well I go in there to ask if they would mind handing out my cards and I was told that he knows for a fact I have been bad mouthing his shop to other customers. Well I looked him straight in the eye and said "did you actually hear me say the bad things and if so what were they?" His response I heard it from a reliable source, in other words 3 hand info. Well His next response to me, which he did in front of about 6 customer in the middle of his store, was to say just that, what goes around comes around. Now I've been in there before and I have had nothing but bad service. I've told people of my experince however, he used to be the only quilt shop in town. I'm also not the only one to ever comment on bad service recieved. Now I know I said nothing wrong. In fact I work in a fabric shop and have sent many people his way for sewing machines, etc. Just not for service of my machine because he set my 1/4 inch off just enough to make it noticable when I quilt. So I readjusted it myself and tell people to be careful and do their homework before trusting just anybody with their machine. I never specifically said don't take it to his shop, but I have said I haven't had very good, nor pleseant service when in their shop. Well word of mouth hurts and now I know why I've been having problems with shops.

Anyhow my point is, shops are not the only place to get business. In fact if you think outside the box there are lots of things a person can do to brind in business. Just don't get discouraged by one unprofessional person who by the sounds of it can't succeed on their own merit and therefore must use deceit to run their business.

Stick to your guns ride the wave and keep at it. When this happend to me yesterday I was heartbroken and I was ready to sell my machine and give up. Then I thought what the hell am I doing. I worked to hard and long and love what I do to let one person dictate how I feel, and try and push me out of business, because he did say that as I was on my way out, that his goal is to put me out of business. Well the world is a big place, and I know I do good work, and I'm starting to enter competion to earn recognition this will help me to stand out from others.

So good luck, keep fighting the good fight.

Yours in Quilting


The Quilt Lady

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  • 1 year later...

Besides word-of-mouth and networking, has anybody ever had any good

results from: local advertising (we have Pennysaver here), or church bulletins, or local community papers, flyers on bulletin boards, eBay advertising? Other thinking-outside-the-box?

As hard as it is -- advertising is something that must be done continually.

To have any advertising be successful -- you have to do

advertising over and over again.


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