Getting New Customers – Follow Up

In the last post, I had a new quilter asking how to get customers for her business, other than joining the local quilt guild. I asked for comments from you all on how you get customers and there were many excellent responses. Thank you all so much for your suggestions and input!

Here are some of my thoughts about getting new customers.

Join several quilt guilds – you may need to travel a bit to a new area, part of the city, county, etc. (Remember, travel expenses, including gas, are legitimate business deductions. Talk to your CPA/accountant about this.)

If your guild has a quilt show, see if you can rent a vendor booth so you can show your quilting skills to other quilters who are visiting the show. You may even have a “prize” of a big quilting discount, free batting, fat quarters, etc., if they leave their name and contact information – which you can use in your future business mailings.

Talk to the local piecing teachers.  Contact the (piecing) teachers directly about quilting their quilts. You may want to offer a special discount to the teachers. Remember, most teachers teach at several different quilt shops and show their quilts (that you quilted) to many different people in different areas. You can mail a flyer and/or coupons to the teacher if you know their address or possibly call or email them –  again, if you have their contact information. You may even want to think about taking some piecing classes. You can talk directly with the teacher and the other students in the class. Don’t do a “hard sell” but bring some of your quilting to the class for Show & Tell.

Join a Block of the Month (or similar) at your local quilt shop. Many quilt shops have a “Free” or a “$5 Quilt” program where, once a month, you come to the shop for a quilt block pattern. There is usually a free class you must attend and then you pick up your the next month’s pattern. Even if you don’t like the quilt that is being offered, bring a completed small project – tote bag, baby quilt, quilted vest, etc. – of course quilted and bound, using the previous months pattern provided by the shop. Bring business cards/brochures, but again, don’t do the hard sell. Just show your “stuff” and leave some business cards. When you get business from your class mates, you can offer to bring the competed (customer) quilts to the class to be picked up – and shown it off to the class!

Think outside your box/area – You may have to look further than your local area for new customers. (Where is it written that we MUST only get customers from our local area?)

If you live near a tourist/recreation/special event area, try contacting the quilters who may be coming to your area.  Let’s say you live near a tourist area and many people come to your area for vacations.  There are three things you may be able to do –

  1. Have your customer drop off their quilt during their vacation and then send it back to them after it is completed. Make sure to add return shipping charges to your fee.
  2. Have your customer send their quilt to you before their vacation. You can quilt it and have it ready to pick  up during their vacation.
  3. Have your customer drop off their quilt at the beginning of their vacation and you quilt it while they are on vacation. They can pick it up when their vacation is over. (Because this is a “sort of rush” quilting, I may charge a little bit extra for this service. ) This may add extra pressure to you, but, think of the convenience for the customer. If you were the customer, would you tell your friends about how quickly the quilt was finished? I sure would!

Unfortunately, I can’t tell you exactly how to contact the “out of area” quilters. I am sure that, with a bit of thought, you can figure out how to do this.

Market to quilters who are a (farther) distance from you. You may want to think of going to quilt shops, guilds, etc., in other cities/towns in your area. Again, you are going to have to figure out how to do this, but, with the shipping resources available (USPS, UPS, Fed Ex, etc.) quilts can come to you from all over!

If you can think of more ideas on how to get new customers, please leave a comment. Click on the “Leave a Comment” button at the top of this post.