When Gee's Bend Quilts were hung at the Whitney Museum years ago, African American Improvisation quilts were popular.
When the Infinite Variety exhibit hung at the Armory in NYC...my clients were clamoring for red and white quilts.
Makes me wonder with all the new TV shows featuring Amish life (love Amish Mafia!) if Amish Quilts will be back in fashion.
The point is, if you are going to sell anything, for me it is old quilts and textiles, you have to follow those trends...but even more importantly, where the market goes to shop.
In a few weeks, I will have a booth set up at the NJ Quiltfest at the Garden State Expo Center in Somerset, NJ. I've been vending at this show since it started 9 years ago. I have wonderful customers that look for me at this show. I know my lace lady, my printed tablecloth lady, my lady who loves cheddar colored quilts...you get the picture. I know where my customers will be and what they are looking for, and it winds up being a decent week. What about the other 51 weeks of the year?
Well, there's the website for Material Pleasures, LLC. And while smaller items sell very well, larger items are a hard sell.
Recently, I've done some experimenting. I acquired 5 plastic tubs with fabric from the 1950s and 1960s. A lot of fabric. And it is a little too new for me to want to put on the website. So, I followed my own advice when someone asks me "where do I get rid of this stuff?". I put it on eBay.
A little history if you can stand it. I started my business selling on eBay back in Feb 1999. I did very well there for a number of years, and then wanted to 'grow up', have more independence, and pocket some of those ridiculous fees! Not to mention, my sell through rate went from 100% to 15%. I then opened on an online antique mall...and then made the progression to the independent website. So going back to eBay was a little nostalgic, and I have to admit, I was a little snobby, rolling my eyes...I can't believe I am doing this again.
Boy have things changed over the years! It was like using eBay for the first time!
I am still really cheap on fees, so I only listed 50 items...eBay gives you 50 free auction style listings every month! And after I used that up, they gave me a free week of Fixed Priced listings. Like a drug pusher, eBay gives you those samples for free...and then once you're hooked...BAM! But, I was pleasantly surprised last month with an 80% sell through rate! Whoa! What happened?
Is it the fabric? The cheap $4.99 starting bid on every item? Is this where the market is? I think it was a little bit of everything.
Well, I still had 20% left over...what do I do with this left over 1950s decorator weight cotton fabric? One of my eBay buyers told me she loved the smaller pieces because she was making handbags and totes out of them. Eureka! Etsy! That's where the crafters shop!
I opened a store on Etsy. The first day, I sold 2 fabrics, the next day another 2! That was easy. Etsy is a wonderful community. A nice place to shop, and to sell. I'll list some more items there later this month.
Where else I am trying to find markets? I have the Fan Page on Facebook, and I just added an Online Store to that, so we will have to measure how that does. But generally I am trying to post more on social networks. And here I am after over another year of blog silence attempting to share my lessons learned.
This month I listed more fabric on eBay as well as some fun odds and ends, and lots of aprons! Again, starting most items at $4.99. http://myworld.ebay.com/materialpleasures-nj
Keeping with the Apron Theme, I also have discounted all aprons by 25% on the website www.materialpleasures.com. Remember, free shipping on under a pound or $100 order!
The Etsy Shop has more 1950s fabrics, really fun stuff and very low prices.
And finally, don't forget to Like Us on Facebook! https://www.facebook.com/AntiqueQuilts