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Handmade Quilts Business Idea

On a cold night there’s nothing quite like snuggling up in a nice, warm quilt. Why not turn your passion for needlework into a handmade quilt business?

The nice part about this business is that with the internet you can sell to customers across the country as easily as across the street. Make, stock and sell a standard line of quilts.

Additionally, offer custom, handmade quilts based on your customers’ design input. You could also sell quilting supplies and offer quilting instruction.

Quilting is your passion, so much so that you have tossed around the idea of building your life around it and starting a quilt business. What’s holding you back?

Building Your Quilt Business

The problem is you don’t want to make the investment in opening a shop and working seven days a week. So how can you have your cake and eat it, too? Here are a few ways!

  • Custom-make quilts to order. Let your friends and family know that you are starting a quilt business—especially the ones with upcoming marriages and births in their circles, as quilts make wonderful heirlooms.
  • Market your quilts to gift shops. Identify shops that sell “home-spun” items, as quilted items will fit right in. Smaller items may be big sellers.
  • Find furniture stores that sell country-look furniture. They might be able to display your quilts on beds, walls, quilt racks, and may take them on a consignment basis.
  • See if any local antique stores would like to display some of your more heirloom-style quilt designs alongside their nicer pieces of furniture.
  • Attend craft shows. Have a way of hanging a quilt behind your booth to draw attention from across the room. Bring along cotton gloves for you and the customers to handle the quilts, so that you not only protect them, but also convey that they are very valuable.
  • Have your own quilt show. See if your town hall or public library would allow you to use a large conference room for little or no cost. Put up flyers around town, and mail post cards to your friends and family. Have a guest book available for attendees to write down their names and addresses so that you can establish a mailing list for your quilt business.

In addition to the traditional quilts you make, think about making other items for people to purchase for themselves or as gifts for others, such as:

  • Kitchenware: potholders, place mats, table runners, oven mitts, bread baskets, napkin baskets, small appliance covers, grocery bag holders
  • House wares: wall hangings, pillows, shams, lap blankets, throws
  • Fashion and travel accessories: totes, purses, checkbook covers, glasses cases, toiletry bags, diaper bags, baby-changing pads
  • Items with a local motif, such as a church, a fruit that is grown in the area, team mascot, etc.
  • Clothing items, such as vests and jackets

Additional Product Ideas

If you are very creative, consider making some of the following:

  • Quilted picture frames
  • Quilted memo boards
  • Covered footstools
  • Greeting cards with miniature quilt swatches attached to them
  • Dollhouse-sized quilts for sales to hobby shops
  • Kits with patterns for something you have designed

If you are a quilter with the heart of a painter, you might make quilts of landscapes or famous landmarks. You may even decide to take commissions for custom quilts of people’s houses, summer homes, and boats.

No matter which direction your quilt business takes you, be sure to consider yourself a businessperson as well as a quilter. Keep good records of your costs for filing tax returns.

Maintain a record of sales to individuals and shops, and get a signed inventory sheet from shop owners who have your work on consignment. Check with your state Department of Revenue to see if you need a seller’s permit, and to see if you have to collect sales tax on anything you sell outright.

You can have your cake and eat it, too, with a little creativity and determination. And perhaps someday you will open that shop, or even have a web-based shop—you can pay someone to ring up the fat quarters while you enjoy quilting pieces to sell in it.

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