Fandom Quilts & Etsy Shops

Discussion in 'Make It So' started by turtleDove, Dec 1, 2018.

  1. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    So, I'm planning on opening up an etsy shop to sell fandom quilts. Or at least that's the hope. There's a few things I need to work out first.

    First of all, what's the legality of selling fandom quilts on Etsy, if anyone knows? I sort of recall that selling fanworks is sort of a grey area, with it being easier to sell stuff that's obviously a new creative work that isn't infringing on the company's profits. (For example: selling Pokemon knitwear, probably fine and Nintendo won't care. Selling fanart is iffier.) I mostly just don't want to get my shop shut down or get fined or anything, and since some of the stuff I'm considering is Harry Potter fan quilts, I really don't want to get sued.

    Second, what should I know about setting up an etsy shop? Is it even the best venue for selling quilts? Should I have a redbubble or something? Should I set up a whole website of my own, to sell from?

    Third, how do I go about advertising my wares, once I have stuff to sell?

    Fourth, what's a reasonable price to set for these? I've got a few patterns figured out, and the first one I'm thinking of doing is a Four Card Trick quilt as part of what could be a whole line of Weasley quilts (since that'd be easy to do several of). I could get a few fat quarters, maybe do some embroidery on the cards to make them look like they're sparking ("Exploding Snap Quilt") and make a whole quilt. I don't know how long it'll take me, since this would be the first time I'm making a quilt from scratch on my own; I do have a sewing machine and a walking foot for it.

    Fifth, if anyone has suggestions for this: how big should I limit myself to? Should I not make anything bigger than a bedspread for a double bed, if it's for sale? Should I limit it to queen-sized beds? (I am absolutely not doing king-sized beds unless specifically commissioned for it, those fuckers are stupidly huge.) Should I go with baby-sized quilts intended for hanging on the wall?
  2. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    i can't answer most of it, but! i did almost open a quilt shop on etsy, so I can answer those parts!

    firstly, actually usable quilts are stupidly expensive, unless you can like somehow power through and finish them quickly. in my experience, a single queen sized quilt took about 40 hours of work, from cutting, to piecing, to actually sewing. (though maybe i'm just slow lol)

    get a sense of how long it will take you to make a quilt (again, mine are about 40 hours of work) and price accordingly. even if you only charge ten bucks an hour, that's a $400 quilt, and that's not including cost of supplies or overhead.

    so i'd suggest doing the baby-sized quilts for the wall, at least to get your name out there. if there's enough interest after that, it could be worth it to make full-sized adult quilts. don't do kings. they are stupidly huge.

    my general rule of thumb for pricing was: cost of supplies + overhead (10% of cost of supplies) + 15/hr it took to make
    • Informative x 1
  3. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    otoh i really hope this works out because i for one would love to drop $800ish* on a house slytherin queen quilt, so

    *price suggested based on: somewhere between 750-850 is what i would charge for a queen, depending on the cost of materials (the current quilt i'm working on cost about 180? 190? in materials (because at every opportunity i went for the sensory friendly (and generally more expensive) fabric option because it's for me and the idea of having a quilt that has nobadtouch bits on it horrifies me) so that's 200$ right there, after overhead, plus an estimated 600$ for the time); also, baseline price for a queen quilt starts in the 500-600 range on etsy anyway, and while there are listings that would sell a handmade queen quilt for $200 or less, imo i don't trust the quality of the fabric or craftsmanship for it to be that cheap, and i would advise against undercutting yourself
    • Informative x 1
  4. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    i don't know if you know what the overhead is supposed to be, but it's to pay for things like new needles for the sewing machine, or sewing scissors, or just general paraphernalia that you wouldn't buy new for each quilt (or whatever you're making) but that you still need to replace over time, so overhead allows you to set aside money and pay for those things

    (sorry i don't know if you knew that already, but it was something that hadn't occurred to me until another seller told me, so i thought i'd explain why that "10% of supplies per item" is supposed to be there)
    • Informative x 1
  5. keltka

    keltka the green and brown one

    suggestion: quilted fandom pillowcases
    if you're doing them for those decorative square pillows that usually have a solid back and patchwork front it should also be pretty quick!
    • Informative x 1
  6. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    Quilted fandom pillowcases is a good idea, and would definitely work up faster than a whole quilt. I'm figuring on not actually opening up the shop until I've got a decent amount of stock to work with - 20 quilts (total) and an equal number of pillowcases sounds reasonable? It should give me enough stock to start with, and enough of a buffer that I won't sell out of stock before I can make more things.

    I'll definitely be sticking to baby quilts intended to hang on the wall, until I've got a decent-sized customer base and there seems to be enough interest in bigger quilts. Anything bigger than a double bed quilt is probably going to be firmly in the "commissions only" pile, with king-sized quilts getting an extra 'fuck this' surcharge added on.
    (I would be happy to do a house slytherin queen quilt for you, idiomie, but it's definitely not going to be the first one I make. And it'd need to be a commission specifically, since sensory-friendly fabrics would be a concern and I'd want to make sure I know which ones are going to be bad for you so that I can be sure to avoid them.)
    • Winner x 1
  7. idiomie

    idiomie I, A Shark Apologist

    that sounds good! investing in someone who can take good photos for stock images showing what the finished product looks like is not a bad idea, btw. maybe not initially, but having polished photos helps.

    you might also want to cycle your runs of patterns? make, say, the weasley family quilts patterns available, and then instead of restocking them, switch to a new fandom pattern, repeat. it creates artificial demand when stock of one pattern gets low (oh no! there's only three left, and other person has one in their cart!) while keeping you from being out of stock of everything, and later, you can cycle back and "bring back" a popular pattern.

    (aaaaaaaa thank you so much, it would also have to wait, because while i did just suddenly land a secure job, i'm still struggling to graduate on from living paycheck to paycheck. but like, once you get into a groove with this, and i actually have a savings account to speak of, hell yes :D)
    • Agree x 1
    • Informative x 1
  8. turtleDove

    turtleDove Well-Known Member

    That I can do, or at least get someone to teach me how to do myself. And cycling the patterns makes sense, too - that would also keep me from getting bored stupid doing one pattern or set of patterns, which could potentially be a problem otherwise.

    (And no worries - it's something to plan for in the future, once we're both better set up!)
    • Like x 2
  9. keltka

    keltka the green and brown one

    also! if you cycle the pattern you can tack on a boredom fee an "out of stock" fee if someone commissions one of the ones that's not currently "in". this would cover if you'd run out of the supplies for one quilt and have to go get more
    • Agree x 1
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