Quilting for Customers: “How To”

Longwood quilt

Longwood Gardens Quilt  2010

Quilting for customers, yes this is a specialty that I was successful doing for approximately 10 and half years.  I loved it and quilted some 3000 quilts through this livelihood.  Are you considering expanding your quilting to the next level? If so, this is a wonderful way to make that goal a reality.

Trust is a HUGE word, and one of the best feeling in the world is when your customers embrace your talent, and depend on you to bring life and beauty to their quilt.  What does that feel like? I cannot imagine giving my quilts, which I consider my babies, to someone else.  Speaking for myself I pour my heart and soul into the quilting process and have no doubt it would be painful letting another individual take charge temporarily.  For me that’s one of the aspects of this profession that I find so rewarding, each piece is one of my client’s babies.

Calle boys

All three of my boys… back in the day…

To Be or Not to Be: What about this business appeals to you? Is the idea that you simply love quilting or are you looking for additional income? These are two significant questions to consider.  For those individuals choosing to quilt as a hobby, kudos to you! I say quilt away and surround yourself with all the creativeness you can gather; but please be mindful of those that do quilt for monetary reasons.  Being a professional quilter becomes very challenging when a customer declares my cost expensive compared to that of Quinn Quilter.  What my customer does not realize is there is a difference between Quinn Quilter and Lisa Calle.  Quinn Quilter loves this craft as a hobby; Lisa Calle not only loves this trade but also has made a career out of quilting.  If you feel that this a business you are aspiring to become a part of then I can only offer this piece of advice; I quilt for the purpose of making both my clients and ME happy. I must remain true to the fact that this is a business and income for my family.  Therefore, the ability to lower my costs to meet the prices of those that are fortunate to quilt as a hobby is not something I can justify.  Yes, possess an attitude! If you have committed to making quilting a business then you are worthy of owning your quilting ideals,  methods AND prices.

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It’s All About the Money: Begin by setting an hourly wage that you feel will be advantageous of your time, and materials.  YOU need to be satisfied with the price you are charging, and obviously this might be different for everyone.  I am not a low-priced quilter, as a matter of fact I’m fairly certain that I may have ended up being the most expensive in my area.  However, I knew what I wanted to make monetarily; I was realistic that I had other responsibilities that also demanded my time.  I was comfortable putting those obligations aside in order to run my business AND I was also comfortable putting those considerations into my quilting price.

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The AH HA Moment: Retail and I have always been united, “Customers Come First” was my motto and I went out of my way to ensure my customers were more than satisfied.  Did I make everyone happy?  Heck no, I would never please everyone.  Boy, I definitely had my share of those clients that undoubtedly could not be appeased in any way possible. On those work days happy hour felt like it would never arrive!  Even enduring sweat and tears there were some partnerships that dissolved.  Quickly I would come to terms with the understanding that there were going to be professional relationships that would find me and my client parting ways…and Ah Ha… that’s okay.

Next Up: Mastering feathers, I always wanted to conquer this technique.  I could be found, pencil in hand, quietly doodling for hours and hours.  My dedication paid off and gradually I was feathering away!  Now did every customer love my new gift of feathering? No way, as I stated before there was, at least, that one customer who shuddered “Oh no I’m not fond of feathers”.  For the sake of feathers people quit bursting my bubble,  feathers are my thang!  My advice, don’t let anyone get in the way of your thang!

It Needs a Price Tag:  Well friends that is a post in and of itself!

Lisa

13 thoughts on “Quilting for Customers: “How To”

  1. Your quilting is amazing…. love how the feathers indicate the wind disturbance from the flying birds…. you are a wonderful influence with me

  2. Thank you Lisa, I have just begun quilting for others and I dread the client who won’t be happy, good to know it even happens to the best.

  3. Dear Lisa I am so appreciative of everything you wrote in this article. It all needed to be said and you did that beautifully. I am a hobby quilter who sometimes quilts for others. I do not try to beat the competition. I estimate how long it will take me, I set my fee and I am not cheap. I have won awards, locally, nationally and internationally. It took countless hours of practice, playing around with designs, patience and the willingness to rip out stitches when I was not satisfied. If someone wants a quilt quilted like my own quilts are, it will be expensive. Win Brampton, Ont

    On Wed, Nov 2, 2016 at 3:11 PM, Lisa H Calle’s Blog wrote:

    > lisahcalle posted: ” Quilting for customers, yes this is a specialty that > I was successful doing for approximately 10 and half years. I loved it and > quilted some 3000 quilts through this livelihood. Are you considering > expanding your quilting to the next level? If so, t” >

  4. Thank you for your words of advice, Lisa. I can’t hear them often enough. I am building a quilting business and want to make a decent living wage. I am raising my prices in the new year but I do have to admit I worry about whether customers will still hire me. But I have decided I am NOT running a charity, and YES I am a good quilter and worthy of the price! Check me out on Facebook at F55 Quilting Studio.

  5. Love this post. Many people do not realize how much time goes into a quality piece of craftsmanship. I am a retired graphic artist. When my local library needed to update it’s logo, I volunteered my time; charging only for the materials involved.
    Later the library director heard from another library how much it cost them to have it done by a professional service; a difference of $3000 (yes, 3 zeros). She was shocked; she had not realized how much money I had saved our library.

  6. I love how you put quilting as a business in perspective…I’m slowly trying to make my quilting into a business…it’s a big step and leap of faith when you’ve had a steady job all your life. Dreams are worth making them come true…so I press on to pull my star out of the sky🌟

  7. Oh thank you for this…I struggle competing with another low cost; poor quality service, in my area. I have my die-hard clients…who absolutely love my work, and are more than happy to pay. Reading this post was refreshing.

  8. Lovely post. I have been quilting professionally for 9 years and I think I am finally at the point where I feel happy and comfortable with what I charge. When I call on the services of a professional plumber, electrician etc I expect to pay ‘professional’ prices, not mates rates. Anyone can plumb in a toilet, wire in an oven, anyone can quilt a quilt……….but what is the ultimate end result/ look you are after?

  9. Lisa –
    Those two custom quilted pieces are absolutely jaw-dropping!
    Your talent is the envy of all! Thanks for letting us admire .

  10. Lisa thank you for these wise words. I am doing my best to get a business going. I love doing custom. However most want custom but do not want to pay. They want meandering prices. Ha

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