To Sell Or Not To Sell

That is the question.

(And no, I’m don’t mean my kids).

I’m talking about my quilts.

Layla with a quilt I made about 10 years ago. It’s still one of my favorites.

I’ve had several people tell me lately that I should sell the quilts I make.

My husband mentions it all the time (although that might be because he knows how expensive material is when I have to buy it).

But it’s hard for me to charge someone.

I put a lot of time, energy, and material (which equals money) into these blankets.

And I give it away.

Why? 

Partly because I give them as gifts to friends and family.

Also because I doubt my work. I’m worried the person spending money will not like what I made.

And because I fear that if I turn my quilts into a source of income I will lose passion for my hobby. Quilting reminds me so much of my Aunt and I don’t want that to go away.

How do I put a price on something I make with my own two hands?

I don’t know. 

It could just be my inner wall of fear stopping me.

Maybe I should just try….

Speaking of trying something, we have a Mint Paddy Martini featured at One Martini at a Time that works for celebrating both St. Patrick’s Day and Girl Scout cookies.

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Hi and welcome! My name is Jessica Torres and I'm a homeschooling mom of two adorably insane girls on the path to greener living. I'm also self declared iPhone addict and lover of all things Apple. When not attached to my kids, my iPhone, or my laptop, you can find me creating cocktail recipes. Subscribe by RSS Feed or by email to join in the fun over here.

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83 Responses to To Sell Or Not To Sell

  1. By Word of Mouth Musings
    Twitter: ByWordsMusings
    says:

    I would totally buy your kids!
    And also several martini’s.
    And would order a lap quilt for my aging bones ;)
    By Word of Mouth Musings recently posted..Wordy or Wordless Wednesday, use your blog for good! 3/14

  2. Handflapper says:

    I understand all those feelings. I have made hand-quilted Christmas stockings for every member of my family. My husband is always telling me I should make them to sale. It’s hard to part with something I’ve put so much of me in, and if I was making something for a stranger, I know I wouldn’t enjoy it anymore.
    Handflapper recently posted..No wonder my septic tank keeps backing up.

    • Jessica Torres says:

      It is hard to sell something to a stranger that you put so much time and effort into. Even if you are getting paid for it.

  3. Alison@Mama Wants This
    Twitter: AlisonSWLee
    says:

    I have this same problem, putting a price on something I love doing. Which is why I can never sell my baked goods. I even have trouble saying yes to freelance writing jobs, for fear that if I get paid to write, I won’t love it anymore.

    This doesn’t help, does it?

    I would suggest giving it a shot. Set up an Etsy store, put up some of the simpler quilts and a price (what’s the market rate?) and give it 3 months. If you decide after that it’s not working, there’s no shame in saying you tried.
    Alison@Mama Wants This recently posted..The Belly

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I don’t think I could get paid to write. It stresses me out even to do product review blog posts on my own site.

      And you are right, it never hurts to try something.

  4. Even if you did open an Etsy shop or something and tried to sell, you could always close it down if you decided you didn’t like it. But I agree that you might not like quilting if it became a “job.”
    Rach (DonutsMama) recently posted..PYHO: Use Your Words

  5. Paulette
    Twitter: LittleMsP
    says:

    I would buy them!

    That aside, it is a very personal decision to decide to sell them. I wouldn’t begin to know all what goes into one and the materials is probably the least of it. Time, planning, energy, time…

    I think it’d be worth checking into and seeing how it goes, as previous commenters have said.
    Paulette recently posted..30 Topics ~ Full Circle

  6. Kimberly
    Twitter: KimberlyAMuro
    says:

    I run into the same problem with my crocheting. I had thought about selling them at one point, but I couldn’t put a price on it. I also thought that if I sold them I would lose the fun and joy I had from doing it in the first place.

    Alison and Rach said to try Etsy, which could be worth a shot to see if you like it. I have a store there and you list items for 3 months. If you decide at the end of those months that you didn’t like it you could always just close it down.
    Kimberly recently posted..Whispers To My Baby

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I would do my own site for the quilts instead of Etsy. I could always take the site down if I didn’t want to sell them anymore.

  7. Galit Breen
    Twitter: galitbreen
    says:

    I love your thought process here.

    Losing passion and enjoyment out of something once it becomes a job is…common, yes?

    (I think it says so very much about your kind heart that you’re thinking in this way.)
    Galit Breen recently posted..Inspired

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I think it is common for people to lose their passion once they turn a hobby into a job. My hope is that if I do sell the quilts it wouldn’t be a job but rather it would help provide some income to make more quilts.

  8. Jackie says:

    Your quilts are beautiful! Why not try to make some money in the process of doing something that you love? You could also make smaller quilts for dolls that match the little girls quilt too!
    Etsy would be a great place to start.
    Jackie recently posted..I see the boy

  9. Kimberly says:

    Now if the kid came with the quilt, I’d buy it.
    Kidding.
    Maybe.
    Girl, you are extremely talented and yes there is no way that you could put a price on your vision, creativity and blood sweat and tears that goes into these masterpieces..but seriously, you need to sell these.
    What about giving a trial run on Etsy? people will love them.
    I do.
    And i’m people.
    Kimberly recently posted..Odd Conversations Brought To You By The Husband

    • Jessica Torres says:

      You are good people. I would sell you the quilt with the kid. But you would have to return the kid every once in awhile so I could see her. ;)

  10. John
    Twitter: daddyrunsalot
    says:

    I live right outside of Amish country — I can’t tell you whether or not to sell your quilts, but I can tell you that what I see pictures of are on par with many quilts that I see for sale in touristy-trap type places, and are sold for a couple of hundred dollars apiece, and I never stop in the same place twice and see the same quilts for sale (meaning that they’re either really good about switching up inventory, or the quilts are moving)
    John recently posted..Where I recount one of the longest nights of my life

  11. Julie says:

    Here’s the thing. When you create something you love, it’s like a puppy. You want it to go to a good home because you can’t keep a whole litter, but you don’t want people banging on your door telling you to breed more puppies.

    So don’t take orders. Create a quilt, do it lovingly, and then either put it up for sale or auction it off for charity. That way you can continue to enjoy your hobby and be sure that your creations all go to good homes.

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I like the puppy analogy. And it makes me think of those cute puppies you showed on FB. I’m a sucker for puppies.

  12. Dana K
    Twitter: TheDanaK
    says:

    My mom has the same issue with her paintings. My suggestion was to just charge for materials (at first). She still has trouble “selling” to friends & family, but she does put prices on some of her pieces.

    I agree with others, keep making quilts YOU want to make, open an etsy shop, list some, see what happens. I wouldn’t recommend taking orders, either. Let these quilts remain your “babies” so the inspiration doesn’t leave. If people buy them, great! You can still give to friends & family but you might make some cash on the side.
    Dana K recently posted..A Lesson in Ordering Magazines

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I understand charging for materials since they can be expensive. I probably won’t take too many orders but it’s hard to get a stockpile of quilts built up when all my friends keep announcing they are pregnant. I need a 6 month break of no prego people.

  13. Ashley {at} My Front Porch Swing
    Twitter: AshleyNAbele
    says:

    I understand where you are coming from, though not with anything I can make (I am terribly not crafty). Maybe you could do them slowly, have a waiting list, etc? Without crazy time constraints, maybe it won’t be so bad?
    Ashley {at} My Front Porch Swing recently posted..Traveling the long road from Nothing to Everything

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I wouldn’t put time constraints on this. I usually work on two at a time and I do them slowly, one to two weeks for completion. If I pushed myself I could finish a quilt in a day or two but then I would be stressed because nothing else in my life would get done.

  14. Elena
    Twitter: elenawollborg
    says:

    Your quilts are adorable! (and so are your kids!)

    This is such a tough thing to decide! I can’t tell you how many conversations I’ve had along this line with both my mom & SIL (my mom we want her to sell her hand-knit kids sweaters & hats & my SIL her cakes/cupcakes). The one thing I will say that is always their opinion when they say no – is that it would take the fun out of it. I think you just really need to sit down & add up all that it will cost you to make them – fabric & your time. Do you make a profit or just break even?
    Elena recently posted..Getting My Facial On

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I don’t even know what to charge for these to know whether or not I would make a profit. I know I don’t want this to be my career but it would be nice to have a little extra income from my skills.

  15. Hazel Nut says:

    Your quilts are beautiful! I think if you are wondering about it, that you should try it out to see if you would like to do it. Etsy is a great place to start, the store is free & the listing fees are very low.

    As a business you could offer your quilts, but you could also offer smaller unique pieces, like wall hangings, napkins, coasters, baby blankets, pillow covers, or any number of things that would add variety to your shop for those who can’t spend the big money but still love your work.

    Good luck with your decision!
    Hazel Nut recently posted..Love

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’ve never thought about making the smaller items like you suggested. Those are all good ideas. I’ll have to look into those. Thank you.

  16. Jennifer
    Twitter: jlweinberg
    says:

    Funny, I was so tempted yesterday to ask you if you sell your quilts because I love them & would totally buy one. So, I suggest you try selling a few and see how it feels. You can always go back to just making them as gifts if selling them takes the joy out of the craft. I definitely think your quilts are of the quality that folks like me would want to buy them.
    Jennifer recently posted..Signed, Sealed, Delivered

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Thank you. If you are interested in a quilt, we can talk more about it through email. After this post I am encouraged to try. If it turns out I don’t like it, I can stop.

  17. Nicole says:

    Your quilts are beautiful – maybe you should think about it!
    Nicole recently posted..Math Geeks and Pi Day and Blowing Things Up

  18. Natalie
    Twitter: corp2domestic
    says:

    My MIL said the same thing b/c a lot of time goes into it and the materials aren’t cheap. I don’t know what the going price is for a quilt??? So I’m no help!
    Natalie recently posted..Goodbye Baby–Hello Toddler Boy!

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I have no idea what the going price is either but I know how much I spend on material when I have to buy it.

  19. Ali
    Twitter: suitcasetricks
    says:

    They really are beautiful and there IS a market for them…but I can totally understand how you’re feeling about losing your passion for it. So you’re not selling the kids?
    Ali recently posted..WTF Wednesday – The "Clearing Out the Baby Stuff Sucks" Edition

  20. MommaKiss
    Twitter: mommakiss
    says:

    I shared some feelings yesterday on Twitter. Was it yesterday? Anyway, yes, some of your thoughts are my own. If I had to take orders or stock a shop, it wouldn’t bring me as much joy {I assume}. I like making things – knitting, paper crafty stuff, I even quilt! Just no room for it anymore. Anyway, I think Julie suggested – make some, with the love and care that you always put into them – and sell if you wish. Give it a try, you really are talented!

    me? I continue to give stuff away. Makes me happy inside.

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Thank you MK. I appreciate your words in the comment and our discussion on Twitter the other day. I like getting insight from different people.

  21. Mad Woman behind the Blog
    Twitter: madwomandiary
    says:

    I wish I had something to add to what your lovely readers have told you. I don’t.
    But I would buy them… as long you you keep your cute kids. My own cute kids are more that I can take.

    I’m with Julie…and MK

  22. Kir
    Twitter: thekircorner
    says:

    If I had your talents I’d sell them in a minute. If we want to give you money for those beautiful pieces you should be proud. You know if the $$$ aspect bothers you, donate half the price to somewhere like St Jude or a cause close to your heart. It would be a win/win.

    Share your gift….your talent is amazing!!!!
    Kir recently posted..The Post Where My Sons Prove They Don’t Know Anything About Sex

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Thank you Kir. I like the suggestion of donating some of the money. Most likely though, I would use it to buy more material because I always have too much fun at the fabric store.

  23. My Inner Chick
    Twitter: krrobi
    says:

    –You must sell those.

    Share The Love!!

    Xxxx

    The kids are cute, too. Xx
    My Inner Chick recently posted..Oh My Gaga

  24. Gina says:

    Okay- just figure out what it costs you to make one. Then take a look at what people are paying out there for something similar. If you can actually make one at a low enough cost that you can make a decent profit- then I would say totally go for it! You don’t want to give them away so make sure it’s worth your time & energy & then jump in with both feet. They are gorgeous- I’m sure if you do decide to do it they will be quite popular.
    Gina recently posted..Peanut Butter & Chocolate Cookies

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Right now I have so much material that it barely have to buy anything to make quilts which is nice so I know for now I don’t have to charge very much. I’m sure it won’t always be this way in the future.

  25. Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful}
    Twitter: SharonPfeiffer
    says:

    I say, give it a shot! If you don’t enjoy it, or it doesn’t work out, then you will know.

    But if you don’t try, then you will never always doubt that decision. What’s the worst that can happen? :)

    I used to have a baby and mom website where I sold a lot of dropship items, but I also sold burp cloths, lanyards, and paci clips that I made. I really enjoyed it, but when my third arrived, it was just too hard to maintain the website and keep up with orders. You could start smaller with etsy!
    Sharon {Grumpy, Sleepy, and Bashful} recently posted..Writer’s Workshop: Disneyland

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’m sure if I had a third child I wouldn’t have as much time to quilt. Two kids keep me busy enough.

  26. Mrs. Weber
    Twitter: laurenweber84
    says:

    I think some gals mentioned this, but definitely look into Etsy and Artfire. You don’t have to have a ton of stock, just 6-7 and see what happens. If it gets stressful, stop. But you are too talented to not share with the world!

    I LOVE Layla’s quilt. So girly and made with love by you! It’s perfect.
    Mrs. Weber recently posted..Disney on Ice presents Treasure Trove

  27. I think people would gladly pay for custom quilts but I completely understand your dilema. I love the creativity of a blog but I agree with some of the readers that when there are expectations, it becomes stressful and not as enjoyable.

    Even easier than an Etsy shop is Craigslist which is local so there wouldn’t be any shipping and to put up an add is super easy and free.

    Good luck with your decision. I love how talented you are, quilts are timeless.
    Marie@feedingfive recently posted..More than you ever wanted to know

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’ll have to check out Craigslist and see what kind of a market there is for quilts. I never thought about selling them there before. Thank you.

  28. Elizabeth
    Twitter: mommonsenseblog
    says:

    When something is handmade, even if paid for, I cherish the creativity…the hard work…and countless hours that went into its making.
    IF you choose to turn your hobby to business, maybe it would help to know that the customers you are likely to receive would greatly appreciate your craftsmanship and the unique beauty you have bestowed upon them. They would be taking pleasure in something only you could have offered them. Because what you create is yours…and yours alone.
    Elizabeth recently posted..Rainbow & Pot o’ Gold Fruit Platter: St. Patrick’s Day Party Pleaser

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Handmade items do have a lot more value even if they were paid for. There is something special about a handmade quilt, it’s very unique from the rest of the blankets that can be purchased at the store.

  29. Missy | Literal Mom
    Twitter: missybedell
    says:

    That quilt is gorgeous. And totally marketable. I’d pay good money for one. People love them!
    Missy | Literal Mom recently posted..5 Ways Blogging Improves Life

  30. Emmy
    Twitter: Emmymom2
    says:

    That is hard- I know I went through some of the same doubts when I decided to go pro with photography. I questioned if I was good enough, I questioned how I could charge so much (when in reality I don’t charge enough). It is hard. But it also got to the point where my time and talent was worth something so I got done giving gifts.

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’ve read many times that women undercharge for their services. But you are right that our time and talent is worth something, now if only we could start charging for what it’s really worth.

  31. When you’re 43, most of your friends will be done having babies and you won’t have showers to attend anymore.

    (Something to look forward to in old age? :-))

    Either way, I LOVE your quilts. They are gorgeous.
    But your gut and heart will tell you what to do…
    julie gardner recently posted..Today call me Bombecked

    • Jessica Torres says:

      But then there will be grandchildren to make quilts for….

      And thank you Julie. Your words are always so kind.

  32. Bridget
    Twitter: Twinisms
    says:

    I think imperfections are what make handmade quilts great. But I also would hate to see your passion turn into work – that would make you love it less.
    Bridget recently posted..The Upside Of A Deployment

  33. Do it, Jess!!!! Your work is beautiful!!
    Runnermom-jen recently posted..Wordish Wednesday

  34. Tonya says:

    Your time and talent are worth something and while it is extremely kind of you to gift your wonderful quilts, I think you should most definitely sell them too. I’d buy one in a heartbeat!
    Tonya recently posted..Connection

  35. Jessica@Team Rasler
    Twitter: teamrasler
    says:

    I concur with several people about giving it a try and stopping if it’s starting to squash your joy. I think one thing I’d worry about if it were me is trying to cater to people’s preferences. I bet that right now you think long and hard about what your friend or family would love and pour your love into it while you make it. If strangers start making requests and telling you how it should look, etc., I can definitely see how it might kill the joy. Perhaps as long as you just designed your own and didn’t take requests right away? Btw, I think the one in the photo is lovely and I’d probably buy one since I have no quilting skills whatsoever!
    Jessica@Team Rasler recently posted..Luck

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’ve realized in thinking about whether or not to sell that over the years I have developed a good idea for the material and the patterns for people. I am going to trust my instincts on what I think will look good rather than let people boss me around in making the quilts if that makes sense.

  36. I think you should try an Etsy shop! You can control how much you put up and how many you decide to make.
    JDaniel4′s Mom recently posted..Oreos Birthday Lunch and a Memory for Muffin Tin Monday

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Several people suggested Etsy. I am going to look into it but I’ll probably end up creating my own site instead since it’s easy for me to do.

  37. Carri
    Twitter: carribrown
    says:

    Just try making two or three and see what happens! It’s worth a shot. If they don’t sell, then give them to a friend.
    Carri recently posted..THINK Before Judging a Mother’s Decision to Breastfeed (Or Not)

    • Jessica Torres says:

      That’s what I’ve been thinking. Now I need to make ones that aren’t already promised to people.

  38. Shell says:

    I love your quilts! Maybe if you try just one with the price being the cost of the fabric? And go from there?
    Shell recently posted..Crafts for the Uncrafty: Easter Bunny Puppet

    • Jessica Torres says:

      The nice thing is that I have so much fabric I hardly have to buy any to make a quilt. But I have one order for a quilt so I’m trying.

  39. Barbara
    Twitter: babspinfrance
    says:

    That is hard. Sometimes when we get paid to do something we love it becomes more of a chore than anything else.
    Barbara recently posted..Mommy style

  40. I think you should! They are so beautiful. But if you want to save them, if they are just to special to your heart, I totally support that.
    Natalie @MamaTrack recently posted..Just My Little Boy

    • Jessica Torres says:

      I’m going to try and if I don’t like it then I’ll stop selling them. It’s not like I’m employed by anybody to make them.

  41. Robin | Farewell, Stranger
    Twitter: FarewellStrangr
    says:

    I think it’s a great idea to try and if it doesn’t work for you that’s fine. They’re so lovely I bet they’ll be snapped up.
    Robin | Farewell, Stranger recently posted..Let’s Go Fly a Kite

  42. Briana
    Twitter: newlyblissed
    says:

    I totally understand not wanting to sell your creations. I crochet on the side and I decided to donate some baby hats to a charity. I can’t seem to charge anyone for them since I doubt my work as well. Etsy.com is a good place to start selling them if you wanted! I am going to try soon as well :-)

    • Jessica Torres says:

      Another person told me that they gave their knitted creations to charity. I think that is such a nice thing to do.

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