7 Keys To Starting A Quilt Shop


You have studied everything, and you decided to open a quilt shop. So, what do you need to do to actually start one? A former shop owner tells all!

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7 Keys To Starting A Quilt Shop

Starting a business is like the old "juggler spinning plates on a stick" act. You get one plate spinning and start several more but you have to keep going back to make sure the other plates you started don’t fall.

7 Keys To Starting A Quilt Shop


So let’s start those plates spinning!!!! Read the whole article before actually diving in. You may need to reorder the numbers on the list.


spinning plates


1. Legals

Contact your city, county and state and make sure you have all the business licenses you need!

(Make a list of all of them, how much they cost and how long it takes to get them set up. Look for details! Things like, does the paper work need to be notarized?!!!)

Get your business accounts set up at the bank, with credit cards, debit cards, checks, business loans etc..

Pay for your business purchases with your business accounts!!!!



2. Name It

Many quilt shops have the owners name in them, are cutesy or are named after a local feature.

As you are looking at this, look at names of stores in a 100 miles radius and ask yourself - can you figure out a name that would be listed alphabetically before all of them? When people search online or in the directories out there, often things are still ABC order and you want your name to pop up first!!!

Make sure that it is easy to pronounce and easy to spell. When people are trying to find you on the web cute spellings can trip them up and make you hard to find./p>

thiking woman


3. Internet Name Check

With your name picked out its time to get your internet presence ready. An easy web address and email address are essential and the name you picked out may already be out there in another part of the country. So go to www.GoDaddy.com and see if your name is already taken on the web. If it is available, grab the name quickly. If it is already taken, try another variation, initials, or a 's' at the end or 'ing', or 'ed'. Try adding another word to the end of the name, center, store, shop etc… If you don’t know how ask the support team on QuiltingHub, or ask for help on Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram and Twitter get someone to help you and be ready to start advertising your opening date.

Quilt Shop Name


4. Location, Location, Location

Affordable needs to be balanced with easy access. The easy access is more important for those just passing through. Today with GPS it is much easier to find you. If you own a building, even if it’s small and not easy to find, you are much more likely to succeed in the early going because your overhead expenses are so much less.

Checking out the interior:

  • Will it be easy to clean?
  • Is the lighting good? Our store invested in the natural light florescent bulbs. We get MANY compliments on how nice and bright the store is and how easy it is to see the colors in the fabric!!
  • Is there room to set up classes?
  • Will samples easy to hang up?


5. Vendors/Suppliers

There are many great suppliers out there. Pick quality and variety. The fewer vendors you work with the easier your billing will be. Places like Brewer and Checker are kind of one stop shops to get notions, patterns, and thread. Look over the items you wish to stock and figure out the cost of stocking the store. Pick items you know and trust. Do add some inexpensive eye candy for the check-out area, the 75 cent thimbles, the $3 little scissors and seam rippers etc.. Remember to choose items for all levels of sewers and for people with and without machines that do embroidery. Don’t just buy things you want to do! You are offering things to others as well. If you only like doing reproduction quilts from the Civil War or 30’s and 40’s still add some batiks and some modern designers and see if you have anyone from your state that is designing fabrics. Adding younger designers like Tula Pink, 1Canoe2, and the Cotton & Steel gals will draw in younger sewers.

quilting distributors


6. Hiring Staff

Find people who are friendly, enjoyable to be around, trainable and have a good work ethic. You can teach them more about sewing and quilting but making your store inviting is a big deal and that has more to do with the staff than it does with everything else.

If you are open on weekends and evenings you have to find people willing to work then.

Most folks in the industry recommend hiring from you customer base. People you have come to know and you have some knowledge about their sewing level. This will be something you can do later as your business grows.

happy woman


7. Sewing Machines or Cabinets or Long Arms

If you are exploring the idea of bringing in sewing machines you’ll need to see which brands are already represented. Do a google search of what’s in your area currently. If your favorite brand is not represented call the company ASAP and ask for information. There will be lots of paperwork to fill out and expectations to meet.

Most of the brands have criteria for how far apart dealers need to be. This may trump your location idea. In larger cities a mile or two one way or another can change your eligibility for bringing in the brand. You will most likely have to go for training on sales and service this can take one to two weeks. Spend some time reading consumer reports on the brands and buy into a brand with good sales history.

You may also want to consider bringing in a brand of cabinets - Horn, Koala, and Unique Sewing Furniture have similar criteria for choosing dealers.

The other part of the sales on high end machines and cabinets is this-you and your employees need to own the items and sew on them. If you and your employees own this and can talk honestly about how much you love it you will sell it. Most of the companies offer employee pricing.

The same is true for mid arm or long arm machines, but space becomes an issue with these products.

sewing machine


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Long Arm
A special quilting machine that is used for machine quilting a quilt. The quilt is held taut on a large frame while the machine arm moves freely to perform a manual or preprogrammed quilting design using free motion. The machine is very expensive, so many owners will rent out time on their machine.
Small sewing supplies such as pins, scissors, rulers, seam ripper, and so on.
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