Your quilting business niche could be making and selling custom tree skirts for the holidays. Who buys custom tree skirts? People who can't make them themselves.and there are plenty of people who can't! If you are a quilter, chances are that you've made one for yourself or even for a friend as a gift. Maybe you've never considered making and selling them. Making and selling custom tree skirts can be a year around business.
Here's how to get started: First, make a couple of tree skirts to show as samples. Use a traditional quilt pattern in Christmas-themed fabric to make a sample. For another sample, make it truly customized. Use machine embroidery to put a name on the tree skirt or appliqué the name onto the quilted skirt. Another way to show a customized tree skirt is to use appliqué.
If you are making a tree skirt for a fireman, you could start with a solid color cotton background and appliqué onto it designs like a fireman hat, a hydrant, etc. You would use your quilting skills to quilt around each appliqué. Applique is the best way to customize a tree skirt for a business. The base of the skirt is your pallet and the appliqués are your works of art! Don't let the word "art" scare you.
If you haven't done a lot of applique, you might not realize just how easy it is to create a custom tree skirt. Your designs are as close as your clip art collection. If you have a business customer who wants a logo on the customized quilted tree skirt, you will probably need a scanner (or at least access to one). Print out a copy of the business' logo and use it as the pattern for your appliqué. Once you have a few samples, you can sell your custom tree skirts in a couple of different ways.
Advertise and wait for customers to call, or sell them directly to potential customers. In using the advertising method, snap photos of each of your custom designs. Make fliers using the photos. Develop a webpage using the pictures, or place a small ad in a local newspaper. With the direct sales method, you pack up your quilted tree skirts and hit the road. You ask people if they'd like to buy one.
Some of the best places to go (if the offices allow solicitors) include a county courthouse or city hall, banks, schools, and hospitals. While you're there, make sure to ask the top ranking official if he/she would like to buy one for the business, not just for the home. A combination of the two methods is to sell at quilt and craft shows.
This can be tricky unless you have several generic skirts ready to sell during the show. Pick a few traditional patterns, and create a few appliqués for top professions like nursing, teaching, banking, etc. Selling at craft shows gives you a market full of people who want to spend money on crafts. It will also give you a chance to be physically in front of customers without the aggressiveness often needed to be successful in direct sales. No matter which method of sales you choose, always attach a business card with each custom tree skirt you sale.
When your customers get compliments about the skirts, they can refer their friends to you!.
Penny Halgren http://www.TheQuiltingCoach.com Penny has been a quilter for more than 27 years. She enjoys exploring all aspects of quilting and sharing her knowledge with all quilters. If you are looking for an Internet quilting club with a wide variety of resources for all level quilters, check out http://www.TheQuiltingCoach.com .