Quiltonomics: Should I Sell Quilts? | SEWING REPORT

everybody jennifer moore here with the sewing report i'm working on a quilt

right now and I really wanted to take a few minutes to talk about an issue that

i know people who sew and quilt deal with all the time and that's being asked

constantly if they sell things

now I've been sewing and quilting for about three years and at least once or

twice a week

someone who is unfamiliar with so your quilting asks either if i'm going to

open up an etsy shop or if i sell quilt for some reason people assume that if

you quilt

you must sell them right and i'm here to tell you the answer is definitely not

I've never sold a quilt in my life I don't have an etsy shop

I don't plan to open an etsy shop and i really only sold something I've someone

ones and to be completely honest with you I really felt quite uncomfortable

about it and it was not the best experience for me so I want to talk a

little bit about pricing handmade items and also just the time it takes to make

something like this

this quilt is probably going to take me months to complete

I've got some interesting plans for the quilting while the top didn't take me

very long

I think the quilting is gonna take me months again i only have like a few

hours a day is so maybe so

because I have a full-time job I'm not really able to dedicate as much time so

equally as of course i would like I first sort of became notable to the

quilting scene when i wrote an article last year called quiltonomics the real

price of quilts and I wrote it because during my time talking to quilters and

interacting with people who weren't familiar with the quilting industry at


I noticed there was this real big disparity and pricing like you would see

someone trying to sell the quilt for two thousand dollars and then you would see

someone else selling a quilt on etsy for $75 and I was interested to find out you

know why are these people pricing things solo and why are other ppl pricing

things so so much higher than

those other folks so I talked to a lot of people who were in the quality

industry because it was still kind of new to me i will leave in doing it a few

years and I don't work in the quilting or something industry and i also am not

really in that marketplace

again I don't have an etsy shop I don't really do craft shows or anything like


I only sell things for my personal enjoyment for myself and family and

friends so I interviewed several people

I could not believe they actually we're willing to participate in an article for

someone they didn't even know but several people were and out of all of

the colors i talked to only one of them

Suzy Williams of Suzy Quilts actually sold quilts at the time and I'd actually

kind of singled out Suzy because she made really high quality interesting

quilts and I felt her pricing was a little more in line with the time that

it takes the time and effort that it takes to put into a quilt and actually

since that article was written last year in February she is pretty much stopped

selling quilts

she's more gone the route of pattern designing and also be doing like the

celebrity type of thing which i think is from what I've noticed a lot of so it's

are actually make their money is by teaching classes it's by design patterns

writing books designing fabric that sort of thing

so very few people that are successful in the quilting and sewing industry

actually sell its own good

there's a lot of people who do serve a cottage industry thing where they you

don't have a little shop and they sell they sell things they make but even you

know if you do become more successful in the sewing world

those folks do seem to tend to go towards more more of like a not not full

scale mass production but at that point they're hiring help like the woman from

freshly picked for that other woman

Melissa who founded the company i think maybe

was that Grace & Lace both of the bar on shark tank both of them did extremely

well and of course at this point I'm they don't make every single item by

hands of a cell again it's gotten to the point where if that's not possible

so I just want to talk a little bit about how much time goes into a sewn


this is not like a t-shirt you get an at H&M for five dollars that's made

overseas and it's considered fast fashion and by the way if you have not

seen john oliver's last week tonight segment on fast fashion

i would highly encourage you to check it out i will link it below and also link

and a link to microeconomics article

so you can read the interviews but again if you don't know a lot about so many


it takes so much time so much effort to make even one thing that the price you

would have to set for that item would be a lot higher than something you would

get it like walmart or target

it's just because of the the the manpower in the labor

that's really what you're paying for so if you're offering to pay someone for

the materials

that's kind of like a slap in the face mmm many people might not say that to

your face but that's the reality of it is that the labor cost of making

something by hand is so much higher than just the supplies

so I was kind of thinking about it and the reason I'm talking about this now is

because the other night I was having a conversation with someone and she seemed

to really appreciate quilts and just the art making that goes into it the design

process and i was actually telling her a little bit about Suzy Williams and I

was like you know she kind of stopped selling quilts because if she did she'd

have to sell them for like a thousand dollars and up for it to even remotely

be worth your time and this scale who again I could tell at least appreciated

him anything she's like wow that's really high

so again most people just don't know that in order for someone to sell quilts

and have it actually be a lucrative real business

like if i were to sell this cold after I make it ever have to charge two to four

thousand dollars for it to even remotely be a possibility for me to do that as a

business if i could sell quilts for ten thousand dollars apiece

I would maybe seriously think about doing that as a side business but with

ever with there being such a price disparity

I really could never do that and I think that's sad because i love quilting i

love sewing if it could be a real legit business

you know I would look more into it but it's farmer selling things and again

there are there are some very well-known quilters who are able to command those

prices but here's what's hurting cracks many craftsmen overall and that's the

folks that are undercutting them

now I know a lot of a lot of you who may have an etsy shop may not be in a


you know it could be just a hobby where you're trying to make extra money and if

that's you I would really really implore you to to maybe think about your prices

I a lot of the things i see an etsy I feel like the price too low for what

they are like if I see a quote for $75 they can't possibly be if it was really

have made an item these people can't possibly be covering the time that

they're putting into each project and paying themselves a decent hourly wage

it just does not seem possible so again if that is you

I would really encourage you to think about raising your prices because one

you need to value yourself as a maker and two because when you're pricing solo

you're hurting other people in your industry that are really just

legitimately trying to make a living at it

now again I don't make my money by sewing and quilting

if i could i think i would definitely look more seriously into it but i don't

i'm not so many quilting for money and I think a lot of people who sew and quilt

are not doing it because they they need money or because they're trying to sell

things so I really just wanted to start a conversation about this because i

think it's something that more people need to talk about

I think it's also something that if you're not really into so many quilting

you really don't know anything about it so it's really not anyone's fault or

it's you know not

you know I mean I didn't know anything about it either until I really started

getting into it

so if you'd like to learn more about the quill pricing and more about online

selling of craft

I would encourage you to check out my cool to nomics article and also linked a

few other articles that have inspired me over the years and really fascinated me

and I find very interesting but I think pricing of stone items is a really hot

button issue for folks that are in the industry and for folks like me who who

make things but don't sell them

so just want to take the minutes to to chat and if you like this video make

sure to subscribe so you don't miss anything

maybe maybe i'll do another rant the future who knows but it's just something

that weighs on my heart so heavily I really felt I needed to talk about it so

i'll see you next time i'm jennifer moore