Need your advice, tips and ideas

hohumhollowFebruary 7, 2011

Hello All!

I am trying to start my own quilting business and I think I need to start with figuring out a name. So drum roll please....

Providential Quilts

What do you think? I like it because providential means heaven sent or heavenly and I think that gives a good impression of the quality of the quilts that I make. Also, I live in Providence so I think that this is a nice play on words.

The only bad association I have with it is that I feel like it might sound stuffy.

I am open to any other thoughts, ideas, feedback. Please be my sounding board and help me get my business off to a great start.

Thank you so much in advance!

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Jay, you might want to check with your local business bureau or with SCORE, the group that connects retired business people with beginners.

You've asked a couple questions here but you never come back and respond. Maybe if you interacted a bit more you might get more responses to your requests for help. I'm sure people would be happy to offer advice but we don't even know what type of quilting business you want to have: fabric sales, sewing, art quilts, longarm quilting? Mostly, we quilt for ourselves and our friends & families. Really, its for the pleasure of the sewing and the fabrics.

    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 3:08PM
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Jay - that may have come across harsher than I meant it to. Sorry if it did. I just meant that not very many of us quilt for profit and I wasn't sure if you understood that.

The name is cute and works with your locale.


    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 6:27PM
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I like the name, but it doesn't say what it is you're offering relating to quilting. If you've had quite a few return customers, maybe they can offer some suggestions, too. Good luck!


    Bookmark   February 7, 2011 at 11:53PM
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Sounds like you sell quilts. But, otherwise, good luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 12:53AM
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In my opinion, the name Providential Quilts doesn't quite have a ring to it that says "quality, comforting, cute/attractive, one-of-a-kind quilts."

You ask for our "advice, tips, and ideas" in your post heading, but all you really want to know in this thread is what we think of your name. It seems to me that you are sending us mixed messages in your posts.

There are some members here who do sell their quilts and make quilts on commission. We don't churn them out weekly in a workroom somewhere, but we fit in home, family and work with our passion for quilting, in the hope that we sell something from time to time to support our fabric addiction and, in my case, to fund my quilting retreats and trips.

If you are a beginning quilter (and you really have not told us anything about yourself) then it may be sometime before you have the expertise to make quilts that people want to buy. We learn with every quilt we make and our skill (hopefully) improves with each quilt also.

We can help you with quilting tips and advice if you will just be more specific. Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 7:08AM
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This is only the second time that I have posted on this forum and both times I have been very upset by the responses that I have gotten (although not all). This is why i didn't respond to the first thread after being tols that a real quilter wouldn't even attempt to make a memory quilt from clothes. I feel like without knowing (or really even asking) mucha bout me people have posted to make it seem like I have no skill level and now that I am just doing this for the money.
The truth is that I have a huge passion for quilting and no funds. I cannot quilt for the fun of it because all of our money goes to pay off school loans. Our loans are so high that it is preventing us from starting a family. So in order to quilt and to earn extra money so that I may one day be a stay-at-home Mom I was trying to develop a business that I would be able to continue when the little ones do come along.
I'm sorry if I have bothered anyone with my posts. i had just read alot of the posting here and had respected your opinions.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 8:58AM
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I am sorry if you have had your feelings hurt, OP - but we are trying to be honest with our opinions when it comes to learning to quilt and starting a business of making quilts to sell. You are not bothering us at all, in point, this forum is very encouraging to beginners and those posters who seek help learning new techniques and improving their skills.

Since you have not indicated your experience or skill level, I would recommend that you read up on the art of quilting by getting books from the library and reading online at places sites like

We do understand the no funds part of your post. Many of us have been there at one point in our lives. Any home business is going to entail some costs up front. But you probably do not want to start off making quilts where the customer provides their own fabric - that could be a nightmare for you the quiltmaker. And honestly, we were trying to spare you the frustration of trying to make a quilt out of clothing - where many different types of fabrics are in the mix. There are reasons why most quilters stick to 100% quilters' cotton fabric. These are the things you learn when beginning.

While we want to know more about you, where you are in your quilting experience, what kind of business you want to have, etc., you have to do your part and tell us these things about yourself.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:04AM
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I don't really have a problem giving out personal information such as my skill level or anything like that, but the truth is is that you all assumed alot about me and never asked. It might be more helpful to 'newbies' here that if they don't proveide the information that you don't assume that they are 'newbies' to quilting either.

I have been quilting for a few years but I have made lots of quilts during that time (including t-shirt and memory quilts). I don't feel that anyone needs to be talked down to because they haven't stated what their skill level is. I didn't feel the need to post my skill level because it really didn't have much to do with the topic of my post. I knew that I could handle the projects that I am taking on and was just asking for anyone's opinion on the business side of things because that is where I don't have experience.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:15AM
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Have you looked into starting an Etsy store? You could let your current customers know and they could spread the word. Plus there are various forums who allow you to put up the link and therefore spreading the word further. @:)


    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:31AM
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Here is how I started my home business making quilts:

~ I first made sure that I showed my quilts (gifts) to family, friends, and neighbors who could see the quality of what I make

~ then a neighbor commissioned me to make about 6 quilts for her grandchildren, children, etc. over several years time

~ I exhibited my quiltmaking where I could and had flyers and cards made up to pass out to those interested; and I was a vendor at a holiday craft show

~ next I developed a "shop" on etsy, a site for individuals selling handcrafted items - my best year was in 2008, but now I am working to re-stock my shop; I've got about 6 baby quilts in the works to accomplish this. Etsy may be a very economical place to start your business.

I work full time and only have weekends to devote to quilting. I also teach quilting classes through guilds and have conducted classes here on this forum.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 10:39AM
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Please don't be offended that we want to know more. Many of us have been where you are now and survived somehow. We ask only because it helps us know better how to help you. We'd feel silly giving very basic skills information to someone only to find out later they've written the books.

Get used to us and let us get used to you. This group is a great support network for each other.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 11:52AM
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Although I am not in the business of selling my quilts I have in the past done so on a small scale with some succuess. I never found it very profitable but did enjoy the outlet that helps pay for the supplies.
HoHum I have the feeling you are a bit senitive to the comments made here unjustly. The people on this forum have always been very considerate to those of us who venture here for help. Please understand that there are all levels of experience here and all are welcome but it is difficult to know ones area of experience without input and understanding. There are good tips offered so good luck and welcome. Jayne

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 11:57AM
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Geezerfolks - I have although that would take some upfront income to produce products to photograph and put up on the site. I am hoping to get more local and customized orders first to help me build some equity. Thank you for the suggestion. have you ever dols on Etsy?

Teresa - Thank you so much for your comments. I am exploring all of the options, which is why I need a name. I need something to put on my business cards and postcards. I want something good that will stick so that I can continue to use it in the future for an Esty shop or website as well. Did you find that the craft shows were proftiable or was it more of an investment to continue to market yourself? Do you currently sell most of your products through Esty? How has your expierence been? My biggest fear is that when/if I can post products on Esty that my shop won't get the traffic needed to actually generate interest. How do you charge for your quilts (by hour, flat rate, design)? Thanks again for all of your input!

Toolgranny - I am not offended to be asked, but the situation that you seem to have wished would have been avoided is exactly what has happened. Nobody really asked any questions but made many assumptions as to my skill level and knowledge. That is what I was offended at.

Jayne - Thank you for your welcoming. It is the first that I have recieved. Maybe I am being too sensitive, I just wasn't expecting all of the assumptions and for people to comment on my skill level and knowledge versus what i was actually seeking advice on. Thank you though for welcoming me.

I have been talking with some of my friends about a name as well. Here are some of the ideas that they threw out:

Providential Quilter (some have commented that they would think that I sold only quilts. I do make practically anything, placemats, runners, purses and bags, etc.)

J. Lynne (this is from my name but I am concerned with it being close to J. Crew and J. Lo) (one friend is really into fashion and swears that the best designers use their name, my fear is that this is very vague and unless you have been explained what the business does you would bypass it)

Other variations on my name: Jay Lynne, Jessica Lynne

Any thoughts or other suggestions? Feel free to ask any questions that would help with ideas.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 1:42PM
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Again, I'm sorry if you misunderstood the comments and questions. If you go back to your first post and also read the responses here, I think you'll see that no one has said "that a real quilter wouldn't even attempt to make a memory quilt from clothes". We said it would present some challenges and that you should consider those. We offered advice on fees, as you requested. We asked questions to get a better idea of your goals and ideas for your business. If you choose to be offended by that you can be, but I don't think anyone meant to offend you or discourage you from asking questions.

Your skill level isn't important - even the experienced quilters here take on new techniques and challenges, asking questions as they need help. Continue to ask questions and you will continue to get answers. If someone asks a question back or requests clarification, it's not a challenge to you. It's just done to make sure the answers are relevant.


Here is a link that might be useful: Your other post requesting input

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 1:59PM
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I also want to add that some cultures have a tradition of making quilts out of the deceased's clothing. I have saved various articles of my parent's clothing for that purpose. It is understood that these quilts would not look like an expensive item one might find in a shop.....but that is not the intent of the quilt. The purpose is when one wraps this quilt about them, it's the same as having your loved one hug you again. It's a memory jogger for future generations. "This plaid is from a shirt your gramps wore fishing". This is a piece of your g'grandmother's wedding dress". It's done all the time and the resulting item is priceless to the person who wants it for that purpose.

I would make one of those quilts, expecting to be paid for it of course for inspection by the family who wants it. Then if they give their blessing proceed. You are not out one thing and neither are they.

I shall not give you one modicum of quilting business advise, however. I have a home business but am not qualified like so many of the other gals are. I do know however, that successful businesses often arise out of filling a niche market no other person thinks can fly. That's how I started fill a need......and it's still surviving twenty one years later.

Good luck.

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 2:18PM
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I started out calling my business Custom Quilts; in my 1 page flyer I listed my background in quilting, my quilting philosophy, what I make (no bed sized quilts), color/style selections, prices (and deposit amount), plus my contact information. I charge by the item, not by the hour. Scrap quilts are less expensive, handwork and machine applique are more expensive. Pieced quilts are somewhere in the middle.

What about J.Lynne's Quilts? Or Quilts by J.Lynne? Which name are you called...Jessica or Lynne? J.Lynne sounds modern, Jessica sounds less modern and more romantic.

The one craft show I did was not very profitable and I haven't done them again. As for my Etsy sales, I did have some good luck and repeat business. But my shop has been empty for some time and I'm working at getting some more quilts in it. The nice thing about costs very little to list each item and only a small amount to Etsy when you sell an item. No charge for keeping your shop available to you even when empty.

Etsy is very user friendly and low cost to list and sell. You do need a photo site to upload your photos to and put them in your Etsy store. I use PictureTrail, there is also photobucket, smugmug, others. I've decided not to use PayPal in the future due to spam emails I got from a site pretending to be PayPal. And I have learned not to take checks unless the buyer clearly understands there will be a wait for the check to clear. So moneyorders are the safest route for me.

My shop on Etsy is Bungalow Stitches - I live in a 1910 brick bungalow and I stitch. Sometimes I have aprons and other non-quilted items in my store.

And word-of-mouth/repeat business is another way I market my quilts. That's why I show them off whenever I can.

Hope this helps,


    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 2:32PM
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Hello, Jay, and welcome.
I've been mulling over your question r.e. how to charge for your work. There are so many different factors. Have you considered offering a basic (or not so basic) menu of choices?

For example, the first step in your menu "tree" might be based on the cutting and fabric charges. There could be different rates based on whether you're using the customer's fabrics or whether you are including them in the cost of the project. Another price point could be whether you're cutting from flat goods vs. from clothing (more time and hence, a surcharge).

Then, make up a lot of different block patterns and time yourself as to how long each takes. (Joining our block lotto each month is a real eye opener as to working with different patterns. But, I'm prejudiced as the moderator!). Then you can price based on the complexity and number of blocks. So price it according to the pattern, rather than the hours (customers really like to know what the final price will be before they commit).

The next price decision from the customer would be what type of batting they want. This you could determine with some practice blocks with different thicknesses and types of batting. You may find that you really have a problem achieving a fine finished product with lofty polyester (I do) vs. a flatter cotton batting, or even a flannel batting.

And finally, for the quilting, you could charge by the square inch with the price varying according to the complexity and density of the quilt pattern chosen.

By making all of these choices, the customer will see all the work that goes into your product, and will know up front what the cost will be. And you'll know that you won't have to slash a price at the end because you didn't anticipate the number of hours it would take for that project. Fairer to both parties and, I'd think, a better way to grow your business.

Good luck with it! When I look at what's available locally by so called "quilters", I see huge patterns to cut down the seaming, with very widely spaced quilting. Definitely not my taste. But some of these quilters charge a lot for their product. You may need to do some shopping (or have a friend do some) to see what's available in your area and how the services/materials are priced.


    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 2:45PM
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Another point of view about pricing:

I looked at baby quilts for sale on other web sites, to see the construction and the quilting. Some wanted $75-85 for simple block to block construction (no pieced blocks)and simple tieing of the quilt sandwich. Those are not the kind of quilts I want to make. Mine are pieced blocks, some with machine applique, some with hand embroidery, all with machine quilting done by me. Many are my own designs and I don't repeat too many quilt designs. My bindings are all sewn down on the back by hand and I will include a personalized label if desired.

Lap quilts (throws) are bigger than baby quilts and cost more. Wall quilts and table runners are smaller = cost less. I don't offer different kinds of batting, I use the ones that I like to use and that will give a nice drape to the quilt. If we charged by the hour, no one could afford our quilts. ;o)

But... and this is a big but! I want my quilts to be affordable so they will sell. If I charge very low for them, I demean my time and skill as well as that of all the other quilters out there - just my opinion. If I charge too much, they may not sell. Because I have sold my work, I think I am on the right track. There has only been one perspective customer that did not place an order and that was because her husband controlled the wallet. I very much doubt that she found anyone to make her a quilt from her mother's aprons for less than what I quoted her.

Just passing on my opinions and experiences,

    Bookmark   February 8, 2011 at 3:30PM
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Thank you very much for your help. I love the pricing 'tree' idea and think that this will be a great visual for customers to see exactly what they are paying for. I will add it to the 'portfolio' that I am making of single quilt blocks of my standard designs.

Now, I have really been leaning towards J.Lynne. I love the way it sounds and am hoping that I can design a logo with a small decription under it.

To answer your question, Teresa, I go by Jessica. After 25 years though and having no nicknames, I kinda like the thought of a new 'name'. I've always wondered why I never had any nicknames...

Anyways, thank you all again for your help. I am hoping to order my business cards and postcards by Friday (vista print has offered them for free), but please continue to send me any ideas that you may have.


    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 9:00AM
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Welcome! I don't comment often on here, but would like to encourage you with your quilt business. As someone who loves to look at quilting sites, I've found that the ones that draw me in do so with their enthusiasm for what they are doing. You probably already know about Bonnie Hunter and her scrap quilts. She has had a wonderful website for many years offering ideas/patterns for quilts from clothing - mainly shirts from thrift stores. This has led to her just publishing her second book. I found another couple blog sites that are really cute and their emphasis has been around recycling items for quilts such as vintage sheets, baby clothes, etc.

I think enthusiasm, passion, and a confidence in the product are what really draw me to these different sites/blogs. I think with making a quilting business, incorporating what your style/purpose is in the name helps give it a unique feel/flavor. Like Bonnie Hunter has called her's 'Quiltville'. If your focus is on using clothing for memory quilts, maybe incorporate that somehow into the name; or if your focus in on being frugal by using clothing or vintage sheets - same thing.

Please remember that as you read our comments, that it can be hard to inflect warmth and friendliness into typed words. (I know that what I write comes across cold - which is not how I mean for it to!)

You have a beautiful name and I like the word 'Providential'. I think if you go with your gut feeling, you will find a name that will portray what your passion is. Good Luck! The goal of being frugal, thrifty, out-of-debt, and a stay-at-home mom are wonderful! Believe in what you are doing!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 11:22AM
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........ Providential Quilts

I love the ring to J.Lynne-it rolls off the tongue so easily.
My advice - do not rush into any decisions, including a business name.
I have been in business for a very, very long time. You need to get a solid business plan and timeline worked out. Your products you wish to sell are the easy part of operating a business. Establishing a mission statement and detailed plan how to achieve your goals is essential to survival. Visit your library and read every thing you can about operating a small business.
Good Luck!

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 3:24PM
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Best of luck J.Lynne, not just for the business end of it, but also for being able to eventually be a stay at home working mum. I've been working at home doing graphic design since my first was a year old (he's now 21). It's worked out great for the whole family. I don't bring in as much $ as I would working full time, but the time I've been able to spend with my 2 kids as they've grown is more valuable than any pay check I'd ever receive--Best wishes in making your dream come true.

    Bookmark   February 9, 2011 at 5:51PM
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I like Jessica Lynne Quilts. It sounds young, romantic, and more personal than Providential.

    Bookmark   February 13, 2011 at 2:03PM
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I think I saw in one of the about posts, that you mentioned you will be selling other things in addition to quilts. You could have something like "Quilts and More" included in your business name. That would indicate that you are not only selling quilts.


    Bookmark   February 14, 2011 at 12:24PM
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I think both J Lynne and Jessica Lynne have a ring to them.
J Lynne Quilted Creations...

My concern with selling quilts is that they can be so time consuming to make that I have always just assumed it would be hard to even get minimum wage out of it. I could be totally wrong about that, I just have this "idea" in my head that there aren't enough people out there willing to pay hundreds of dollars, sometimes over a thousand, for a quilt.

If you're looking to do this as a business to make mney and pay off loans, I'd calculate what that mateirals cost, plus how long it takes you, to make a good quilt. Then go online and find pricing for similar items, see if they are selling, and see if it could be profitable for you.

If you could make it work, it would be a wonderful way to be a stay at home mom and still contribute financially!

    Bookmark   February 15, 2011 at 3:19PM
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