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Topic: How much should I sell my quilts for?  (Read 11583 times)
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Yojetak
« on: January 24, 2010 03:43:06 AM »

I'm fairly new to quilting, but I've been sewing since I can remember. Currently I'm making a quilt to sell.

I was wondering if I could get some advice on how people price their quilts. What are the deciding factors that help determine the final price?

Thanks!
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anaximander
« Reply #1 on: January 24, 2010 08:57:56 AM »

Well, first you want to figure out what your materials cost - are you going to use higher end fabrics? designer stuff? inexpensive kona cottons you got on sale? - add on top of that thread, needles, binding if you buy it separately, rotary blades if you're using a cutter, and batting. These are pretty well fixed. Include here a bit of what you paid for your machine, even if it's only a few dollars on a cheap machine - you're wearing it out sooner, and you'll need to pay for the replacement. Next, figure the cost of your labour - at LEAST minimum wage, and if you've done the pattern before you should be able to figure out how long it'll take you to do it, so multiply the one by the other. Add all of those up, and then, if you like, you can add an amount that would essentially be profit, either as a percentage or as flat fee. And after all of that, you have your final price. Also, keep in mind the "going rate" for your area - in areas with high numbers of quilters (Like St. Jacobs, ON) this can be higher than in others, where people see a quilt as comparable to something at Target. When a Twin quilt here goes for $600 in a relatively simple log cabin, you don't want to price yourself at either $1200 or $200.
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cjclark
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« Reply #2 on: January 24, 2010 09:22:32 AM »

I am currently trying to determine a way to do this as well. On the one hand I don't want to overprice, but on the other, underpricing would definitely be bad. Definitely you have to figure out the materials cost - fabrics, batting, backing, thread, plus a bit of wear and tear on your machine. For me this can be anywhere from $20 worth of on sale/bought with coupon for a baby quilt up to a few hundred for designer, not on sale, high end quilting fabrics for a queen size quilt.
Then figure out your labor cost. And then, actually keep track (at least approximately) how long you work on the quilt.

I think the other thing to consider is if it is a one of a kind, designed by you, or if it's a traditional (like log cabin, nine patch, etc.) block. If i was selling a basic nine patch quilt, and a quilt designed by me based on a children's book (my current favorite thing to do) the one I designed would have a bit of a premium attached to it.

I frequently look on Etsy and see what people are doing, though I think there are definitely people under pricing there.

Good luck!
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« Reply #3 on: January 24, 2010 12:38:05 PM »

i am an underpricer.  but for me... quilting is hobby.  it is something i do for fun, and to relax with not something i am trying to make a living at.  i make a tiny tiny bit when i make and sell baby quilts.  but i was making them any way (that's  how i experiment with new blocks or colours) so i have them around any way. and <shock and horror> a couple of quilts i have been asked to make for friends. i have kept a log of time in and materials cost and told them to pay what they thought it was worth.
that said i have always heard it was cost of materials x three.
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« Reply #4 on: February 03, 2010 01:58:19 PM »

Well, this is a tough question, and it comes up a lot on a knitting forum I fequent too.

The issue is, there can be a big difference between what something handmade is worth... or even what something costs to make, and what people are willing to pay for it.  Basically, what's the market for a hand made quilt?  Not that great actually.

A lot of the people who understand the value of a homemade quilt, the time & effort & expense that go into it are probably people who are quilters themselves, and could just make one for themselves.  The average non-crafter is going to look at it just as another blanket and while they might think it's beautiful... if they see a $300, $500, $900 price tag, they'll just keep walking... even though those are not at all unreasonable prices for a well made quilt.

So you could do a few different things -

1. You could offer custom designed quilts using the highest quality fabrics & superior quilting and market your quilts to upscale clients... you know you could make quilts to match their interiors.  You'd have to have some samples... but this could work.  (get half the cost up front). 

2. You could go with mass-production, get a relatively simple pattern, stock up on fabrics on sale and churn through enough quilts that your per-quilt cost is somewhat reduced.  These you could bring to a craft fair - maybe around the holidays - and hope for the best. I think this can work really well if you use novelty fabrics or something with an 'Oooooh cool' factor. (Pirates, beer, geeky, anything edgy that someone couldn't just pick up at Target.)

3. You could do what I think a lot of people want to do, which is just make quilts that you like, put them online and hope for the best.  The danger here is underpricing your quilt... which is not just bad for you but it's bad for all quilters because it devalues our craft.  I've seen some baby quilts on etsty for like $80 and I know that unless they found some absolute rock bottom sales, the materials alone must have cost like $50.  They're not getting paid for their time (a 3 hour quilt?  It takes me that long to pick out the fabric!), and certainly not making much of a profit out of it. 

4.  You could go the quilt show route.  Get involved with your local guild and go to some shows... some shows are just for looking but sometimes they have quilts for sale -you can get a feel for what other similar quilts are being priced at, and compare that to your own calculations.  Then put your quilt in a few shows.  It might sell, it might not... but at least you will have gotten to show it off for a lot of people.

I've thought about this... with regards to knitting and quilting... and as much as it would be cool to make a little money off my hobbies, the fact of the matter is it's not easy and it's rarely profitable. So I've decided to only quilt for my own enjoyment or to make one-of-a-kind gifts for people I love.  Maybe someday I'll put something up for sale... but not now.
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ZumaGirl74
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« Reply #5 on: February 03, 2010 02:07:26 PM »

Ok - I went and looked at your etsy (not sure if we're supposed to discuss such things here... or maybe it should be in the business section - mods feel free to move/delete)... you say you put in 80 hours and are charging only $375 for a quilt.  That gives you an hourly rate of $4.68 - that's less than minimum wage without even factoring in materials.  Personally I think that's under-priced, and that's just not doing you or other quilters any favors.   
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sbanks156
« Reply #6 on: February 07, 2010 01:38:26 PM »

I've been asking $250 for a quilt called Springtime (in completed projects forum) and I have still have it after 2 years. It has won a people's choice award and 3rd place in a quilt show.

While other people set up on a street corner and sell quilts all day for $75.

Go figure.? Huh
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SimplySandy
« Reply #7 on: February 07, 2010 05:33:10 PM »

I've been asking $250 for a quilt called Springtime (in completed projects forum) and I have still have it after 2 years. It has won a people's choice award and 3rd place in a quilt show.

While other people set up on a street corner and sell quilts all day for $75.

Go figure.? Huh
After I won a blue ribbon at the state fair for my grandmother's flower garden king size quilt someone asked me how much I would sell it to him for.  I just smiled and said "You couldn't afford it."
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ZumaGirl74
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« Reply #8 on: February 07, 2010 09:38:40 PM »

I've been asking $250 for a quilt called Springtime (in completed projects forum) and I have still have it after 2 years. It has won a people's choice award and 3rd place in a quilt show.

While other people set up on a street corner and sell quilts all day for $75.

Go figure.? Huh

I know... the fundamental truth is that there's a huge difference between what a hand made item is worth and what people will pay for it.
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donniesgirl
« Reply #9 on: February 15, 2010 11:46:22 AM »

I call this the Walmart effect.  If I could go to Walmart and buy a bedspread for $100, why would I pay $500 for a quilt?  Never mind that the quality difference is huge, but it seems like our culture is moving more & more toward a disposable society.   Tongue 
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