Are you a fan of handcrafting quilts? If so, selling quilts on Etsy is probably right up your alley.
Quilts are one of the most popular items that are sold on Etsy. However, a lot of people believe that making and selling quilts is not for everyone. For one, it is extremely labor intensive and can be pretty expensive to produce. However, there is nothing as wonderful as the feeling you get when you find out that someone has purchased a quilt from your Etsy store.
So let’s take a look at what the best practices are to help you start selling quilts on Etsy.
Great Photography is Essential
Anyone who has ever made a quilt agrees that it requires hours and hours of labor to stitch a quilt. But if the picture you put up on your Etsy store isn’t good enough, nobody will care for your labor. They will just pass your quilt over for a competitor’s.
This is why it is absolutely vital that your exquisite quilt should be photographed in the right way. Here is how you can do that:
Use Professional Photographers or a Digital Camera
High-quality, professional level photography is essential if you want your quilt to sell on Etsy. Remember, the competition is high and it is important that your quilt makes a great impression at the first chance. This means out-of-focus, grainy pictures are a definite no-no.
Having said that, you do not need to spend hundreds and thousands of dollars on professional photography that would far exceed any price you can get for a quilt. Instead, invest in a good digital camera. This will allow you to see instantly how your pictures are turning out. You can also tweak the filter and lighting to get the best visual representation of your quilt.
Make sure the bold colors and the graphic patterns on your quilt stand out and attract the eye of the customer.
Using Natural Lighting
Natural lighting helps you turn out the best photograph. If you live in a sunny area and have nice weather, it is a good idea to photograph your quilt in natural lighting conditions. Using artificial indoor lighting can make your quilt picture look yellow and can also change the colors of the quilt fabric.
If you need to shoot inside, try to find a nice spot near a window or open your doors to let in as much sunshine as possible. If you are shooting inside, make sure you don’t photograph in direct sunlight as it can make the fabric colors look washed out.
Creating a Simple Backdrop
To make certain your quilt remains the star of the show, make sure you add a simple and subtle background that does not compete for attention. You can make your own backdrop with poster board, laminate flooring or even just your wall.
Neutral, solid colors are good choice for a backdrop but if you want to keep things interesting, you can also get creative with patterns, textures, and colors that give a contrasting effect to your quilt.
Calculate the Correct Pricing
This is one of the biggest debates when selling quilts on Etsy. When it comes to pricing the quilts, many sellers remain confused about how much customers will be willing to pay for it. Should a quilt be considered a luxury item or should it be more accessible to the general population? If people are willing to pay thousands of dollars for a handbag, shouldn’t they be willing to do the same for a quilt that takes hours to make.
However, we need to be realistic here. If selling quilts on Etsy is your passion, you may not be able to find many customers who will dish out $10,000 for a single unit. That means you need to find the correct balance of pricing.
As a general rule, the cost of a queen-sized quilt can be anywhere between $300 to $1,500. A baby quilt can range from $150 to $400.
Here is how you can do that:
Calculating the Material Cost
If you are buying quilting fabric, you can expect to pay anything between $7 and $15 per yard. However, the fabric will not even account for the majority of the cost of your quilt. You will also need to account for the backing fabric, the thread, binding, batting, fusible web, and anything else that you will use to fabricate your quilt.
Additionally, you can also factor in the cost and depreciation of your equipment used to make a quilt, including your needles, scissors and sewing machine.
For a quilt that is 86 to 96 inches in size, you will need approximately 6.5 to 7 yards of quilt fabric. If you are using a good quality quilt that is priced at $13 a yard, this can cost you approx. $100.
Determining Your Labor Cost
Only you yourself can decide how much your time is worth. A lot of people are willing to sell their quilts based solely on the cost of the material. However, many quilt sellers believe it is unfair since they should also be compensated for their time.
The federally mandated minimum wage in the US is $7.25 per hour. If you have several years of experience making quilt, you can double this amount for yourself. Then multiply it by the amount of hours spent making a single quilt and you get your labor cost.
However, be warned that since quilts takes several hours to sew, this cost may be too high for people to pay.
Some customers say it takes them an average of 25 to 40 hours to make a quilt. However, the more intricate your quilt the more hours it takes. In fact, it can even take above of 100 hours to make a single high-quality elaborate quilt!
That means your cost can go up to thousands of dollars. You need to make sure there are people who are willing to buy your quilt at that price on Etsy before you do all the hard work. If not, you will need to tone down your pricing.
Compensate Yourself For Commission
Etsy charges a listing fee of $0.20 or an equivalent amount in other currencies. It also has varying transaction and processing fees depending on which country you live in. This means you will also have to factor in the commission and other fees into the pricing of your quilt to ensure you get a decent profit margin.
Pricing Vintage Quilts
If you are selling a quilt that you did not make yourself and instead have historical and sentimental value, it can be hard to put a price tag to it. To find out its price, you can search online for a quilt that has a similar pattern to your and was made in the same time period and find out its pricing.
This can give you an estimate on how much you can price your quilt for.
Keep in mind that people are more willing to pay a higher price for vintage goods so you can price your quilt higher here.
Branding and Product Description
If your customers like your offering, you will need to have a brand name that will once again lead them to you. When you are setting up your quilting store on Etsy, you will be required to name your store.
Make sure your brand name is unique and memorable and features what you sell. Etsy also has step-by-step procedures to add the items you want to sell, give it an appropriate title and a product description.
It is a good idea to carefully fill out all these SEO-related fields so that your quilting store pops up in relevant search results.
Tell Your Story
The best thing about Etsy is that since it is a marketplace for artisans, you have more freedom to personalize your products and tell your story. People buy the artist as much as they buy the art itself.
So let your customers know what makes you unique, and what makes your quilts so special. Did you make the quilt using a secret technique passed down by your ancestors? Did you use any special material to make your quilt? What is your inspiration for making your quilt? All these questions can help frame a story and inspire more people to buy your handicraft.
Promoting your Work
But no matter how inspiring your story is, nobody will buy your quilt if they cannot find your Etsy store. Read this blog to understand how to get more sales on Etsy.
Additionally, Etsy also allows you to take part in their ad service. Although paid advertising can be tough for quilt sellers if your business is new, it is very worth it since you get a huge amount of exposure.
Etsy’s risk-free advertisement will also promote your items across Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, Google, and Bing. If a customer reaches you through these ads, you will be required to pay a small commission. However, if a potential customer doesn’t click on the link, you will not be required to pay anything!
That’s exposure that costs nothing!
An alternative to selling your quilts on Etsy is to sell quilt patterns. If you love your quilts and would rather gift them to your family and friends, all you need to do is to draft your patterns and sell them instead.
This is one of the most popular ways for quilt sellers to make an extra income without making an entirely new quilt for each customer.
A single quilt pattern can sell for anywhere from $5 to $15. Complicated patterns may cost above $50 as well.
Selling quilts on Etsy is a great way to make a nice income for yourself if you love making hand-made artisan items. However, the thing to keep in mind is that your quilts shouldn’t be too pricey unless they are vintage. Additionally, a great photo, some unique storytelling and a little bit of promotion can go a long way to make you quilt selling business on Etsy a success.