I began making wall quilts in the fall of 2010 and quickly filled up our house. Within a year my husband noticed that all the other art we had collected over the last 20 years had been relegated to a closet and walls were covered with quilts. He suggested slightly less production…OR it was time to sell. Less production was not an option as the ideas and fun were just beginning. It was a challenge to get the ideas swimming in my mind down on paper before the next ones appeared. There were many many more quilts to be made!! I spent another year exploring new designs and creating quilts in varied sizes and colors, trying to determine if I had a specific style that I wanted to pursue or if a more open creative process was going to be my calling card.
Turns out I think I am a more creative process kind of person. From 2011 through 2012 I was sewing about 30 or more hours a week in my sewing studio.
My ETSY shop opened in September 2012 after I had sold a few quilts privately and I felt ready to jump into marketing and selling on-line. Sales through ETSY have been good but I have supplemented on-line sales with personal and festival sales. As of September 2014 I have sold 95 quilts and donated about 10 quilts to charity auctions. I try to maintain an inventory of about 45-50 quilts. I am still figuring out how much inventory is enough and how many festivals I can or want to attend annually. ETSY is working well but I’m still at the bottom of the learning curve with on-line marketing, effective tags, and maximizing ETSY opportunities. I’m always eager for tips from other successful ETSY sellers.
I would love to hear from other quilters who are part of the festival circuit on what works for you. In 2013 and 2014 I attended about a dozen arts festivals in Pennsylvania, New York and Virginia. The opportunity to speak with other quilters and get their feedback is delightful and constructive. Sharing ideas and seeing what the buying public is drawn to helps guide my creativity but I still wander off in whatever direction the fabric, colors and ideas take me. In 2015 I hope to try some additional festivals near Philadelphia and Washington DC to sample a more urban market.