How to Start a Quilt Business

A quilting business translates customer’s ideas, fabrics, and other materials and transforms them into beautiful and functional pieces of art. Through the process of creating the quilt, the quilter and customer decide an overall pattern and color scheme and the quilter then completes the quilt by hand or on a consumer or “domestic” machine.

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Learn how to start your own Quilt Business and whether it is the right fit for you.


Start a quilt business by following these 10 steps:

You have found the perfect business idea, and now you are ready to take the next step. There is more to starting a business than just registering it with the state. We have put together this simple guide to starting your quilt business. These steps will ensure that your new business is well planned out, registered properly and legally compliant.

Check out our How to Start a Business page.

STEP 1: Plan your business

A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. It will help you map out the specifics of your business and discover some unknowns. A few important topics to consider are:

Luckily we have done a lot of this research for you.

What are the costs involved in opening a quilt business?

Most quilters have been making quilts for quite some time and have a space in their home, so renting a space is usually unnecessary. You may choose to rent display space at a local flea market, antique mall or other similar retail shop, in order to market your wares. You should also research to see what forms of business licensing or insurance you may need. These requirements will be different from state to state and sometimes regionally, as well.

As you become more successful and take on more or larger projects, you may find a need for a longarm quilting service, which will add some additional costs, too.

What are the ongoing expenses for a quilt business?

Quilting business expenses are fairly minimal and mostly involve materials costs and care and maintenance of sewing machines. Additional costs may include attending training seminars and trade expos, which are both great investments for the future of your business.

Who is the target market?

Although most people can appreciate the beauty of a good quilt, few understand the time and effort they take. Therefore, it’s critical to focus your efforts on individuals or groups in and around the quilting and arts communities. Those who understand the total worth of a custom quilt will help you drive up the price and demand for your work. Equally, become an ambassador for the quilting community and help novices to understand the effort and ability it takes to create these works of art.

How does a quilt business make money?

Customer special orders and existing quilt repairs will occupy a large amount of the working time and, subsequently, will dominate the revenue stream. As orders are completed and shipped, payments are received and finalized from customers.

How much can you charge customers?

Pricing will depend on the size of quilt and the intricacy of design. It is best to use overall size to determine a base price, and then add cost to the specifics the customer requests. You will also need to determine an hourly rate for labor costs; a fair price for your work and not unreasonable for the clients. Anywhere from $12 to $30 an hour is realistic, but prices can vary, depending on where you live and how intricate the designs are. For a general estimate of cost, you could take your standard sizing rates and add 30%-50% on top of that base price

How much profit can a quilt business make?

Most quilts sell for a minimum of $350. If you are able to produce two quilts a week, this will generate a revenue of almost $37,000 (ongoing expenses not included). If you are able to produce two quilts at $500 a piece, your revenue jumps to over $50,000. Many long-time quilters report creating up to ten quilts in any given week.

How can you make your business more profitable?

To maximize profitability, consider taking as many custom orders as possible. You can charge a higher rate for these pieces, potentially doubling your income and requiring lower production numbers. Many quilting professionals have also found success teaching quilting classes, as well as selling their own patterns.

What will you name your business?

Choosing the right name is important and challenging. If you don’t already have a name in mind, visit our How to Name a Business guide or get help brainstorming a name with our Quilt Business Name Generator

If you operate a sole proprietorship, you might want to operate under a business name other than your own name. Visit our DBA guide to learn more.

When registering a business name, we recommend researching your business name by checking:

  • Your state's business records
  • Federal and state trademark records
  • Social media platforms
  • Web domain availability.

It's very important to secure your domain name before someone else does.

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STEP 2: Form a legal entity

The most common business structure types are the sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), and corporation.

Establishing a legal business entity such as an LLC or corporation protects you from being held personally liable if your quilt business is sued.

Form Your LLC

Read our Guide to Form Your Own LLC

Have a Professional Service Form your LLC for You

Two such reliable services:

You can start an LLC yourself and pay only the minimal state LLC costs or hire one of the Best LLC Services for a small, additional fee.

Recommended: You will need to elect a registered agent for your LLC. LLC formation packages usually include a free year of registered agent services. You can choose to hire a registered agent or act as your own.

STEP 3: Register for taxes

You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business.

In order to register for taxes you will need to apply for an EIN. It's really easy and free!

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You can acquire your EIN for free through the IRS website, via fax, or by mail. If you would like to learn more about EINs and how they can benefit your LLC, read our article, What is an EIN?.

Learn how to get an EIN in our What is an EIN guide or find your existing EIN using our EIN lookup guide.

Small Business Taxes

Depending on which business structure you choose, you might have different options for how your business will be taxed. For example, some LLCs could benefit from being taxed as an S corporation (S corp).

You can learn more about small business taxes in these guides:

There are specific state taxes that might apply to your business. Learn more about state sales tax and franchise taxes in our state sales tax guides.

STEP 4: Open a business bank account & credit card

Using dedicated business banking and credit accounts is essential for personal asset protection.

When your personal and business accounts are mixed, your personal assets (your home, car, and other valuables) are at risk in the event your business is sued. In business law, this is referred to as piercing your corporate veil.

Additionally, learning how to build business credit can help you get credit cards and other financing in your business's name (instead of yours), better interest rates, higher lines of credit, and more.

Open a business bank account

  • This separates your personal assets from your company's assets, which is necessary for personal asset protection.
  • It also makes accounting and tax filing easier.
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Recommended: Read our Best Banks for Small Business review to find the best national bank, credit union, business-loan friendly banks, one with many brick-and-mortar locations, and more.

Open net-30 accounts

When it comes to establishing your business credit, net-30 vendors are considered the way to go. The term "net-30," which is popular among vendors, refers to a business credit arrangement where the company pays the vendor within 30 days of receiving goods or services.

Net-30 credit terms are often used for businesses that need to obtain inventory quickly but do not have the cash on hand.

Besides establishing business relationships with vendors, net-30 credit accounts get reported to the major business credit bureaus (Dun & Bradstreet, Experian Business, and Equifax Business Credit). This is how businesses build business credit so they can qualify for credit cards and other lines of credit.

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Recommended: Read our guide on the best net-30 vendors so you can start building business credit now, so you never have to worry about cash flow in the future. Keep in mind that poor cash flow is the #1 reason businesses fail!

Get a business credit card

  • This helps you separate personal and business expenses by putting your business' expenses all in one place.
  • It also builds your company's credit history, which can be useful to raise money and investment later on.

STEP 5: Set up business accounting

Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business. Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing.

STEP 6: Obtain necessary permits and licenses

Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down.

State & Local Business Licensing Requirements

Certain state permits and licenses may be needed to operate a quilt business. Learn more about licensing requirements in your state by visiting SBA’s reference to state licenses and permits.

Most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide. To learn more about how sales tax will affect your business, read our article, Sales Tax for Small Businesses.

For information about local licenses and permits:

Certificate of Occupancy

A quilt business is generally run out of a workshop. Businesses operating out of a physical location typically require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO).  A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws and government regulations have been met.

  • If you plan to lease a location:
    • It is generally the landlord’s responsibility to obtain a CO.
    • Before leasing, confirm that your landlord has or can obtain a valid CO that is applicable to a quilt business.
    • After a major renovation, a new CO often needs to be issued. If your place of business will be renovated before opening, it is recommended to include language in your lease agreement stating that lease payments will not commence until a valid CO is issued.
  • If you plan to purchase or build a location:
    • You will be responsible for obtaining a valid CO from a local government authority.
    • Review all building codes and zoning requirements for your business’ location to ensure your quilt business will be in compliance and able to obtain a CO.

STEP 7: Get business insurance

Just as with licenses and permits, your business needs insurance in order to operate safely and lawfully. Business Insurance protects your company’s financial wellbeing in the event of a covered loss.

There are several types of insurance policies created for different types of businesses with different risks. If you’re unsure of the types of risks that your business may face, begin with General Liability Insurance. This is the most common coverage that small businesses need, so it’s a great place to start for your business.

Learn more about General Liability Insurance.

Another notable insurance policy that many businesses need is Workers’ Compensation Insurance. If your business will have employees, it’s a good chance that your state will require you to carry Workers' Compensation Coverage.

Recommended: Learn what business insurance for your Quilt Business will cost.

Business Insurance for
Quilt Business

STEP 8: Define your brand

Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

If you aren't feeling confident about designing your small business logo, then check out our Design Guides for Beginners, we'll give you helpful tips and advice for creating the best unique logo for your business.

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How to promote & market a quilt business

As discussed previously, treat your hobby or passion as a business, in order to create a successful business. Be personable and professional and find your niche in patterning, design, or materials. Some other tips include:

  • Manage your overhead costs from the beginning and don’t overwhelm yourself with too many new purchases, gadgets, or unnecessary extra.
  • Communication is key and your customers will appreciate honesty, a solid plan and continued professionalism. Set realistic estimates and follow through.
  • Maintain your passion and continually strive to improve or add new abilities to your repertoire.

How to keep customers coming back

Customer service and communication is your most potent tool for return customers. Not only do you have to create an outstanding portfolio, but you also have to be willing to become the smiling face of your company. Seminars and meet and greets for quilting expos can also give opportunities to connect with the public.

STEP 9: Create your business website

After defining your brand and creating your logo the next step is to create a website for your business.

While creating a website is an essential step, some may fear that it’s out of their reach because they don’t have any website-building experience. While this may have been a reasonable fear back in 2015, web technology has seen huge advancements in the past few years that makes the lives of small business owners much simpler.

Here are the main reasons why you shouldn’t delay building your website:

  • All legitimate businesses have websites - full stop. The size or industry of your business does not matter when it comes to getting your business online.
  • Social media accounts like Facebook pages or LinkedIn business profiles are not a replacement for a business website that you own.
  • Website builder tools like the GoDaddy Website Builder have made creating a basic website extremely simple. You don’t need to hire a web developer or designer to create a website that you can be proud of.

Using our website building guides, the process will be simple and painless and shouldn’t take you any longer than 2-3 hours to complete.

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Recommended: Get started today using our recommended website builder or check out our review of the Best Website Builders.

Other popular website builders are: WordPress, WIX, Weebly, Squarespace, and Shopify.

STEP 10: Set up your business phone system

Getting a phone set up for your business is one of the best ways to help keep your personal life and business life separate and private. That’s not the only benefit; it also helps you make your business more automated, gives your business legitimacy, and makes it easier for potential customers to find and contact you.

There are many services available to entrepreneurs who want to set up a business phone system. We’ve reviewed the top companies and rated them based on price, features, and ease of use.

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Recommended: Find the best phone system for your business; check out our review of the Best Business Phone Systems 2021.

Start A Quilt Business In Your State

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Select your state below for an in-depth guide on completing each of these steps in your home state.

Is this Business Right For You?

For individuals who enjoy sewing or seamstress work, have some artistic talent, or have an eye for patterning and organizing ideas into a tangible object, quilting can be the perfect career. A background in sewing is preferable, although some quilters started because of a love or passion for creating and quickly found their niche in the quilting community.

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Want to know if you are cut out to be an entrepreneur?

Take our Entrepreneurship Quiz to find out!

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What happens during a typical day at a quilt business?

Quilters are often spending some of their time pursuing other ventures, until their business proves profitable. Therefore, much of their time has to be strategically planned to keep the business moving forward, attracting clients and completing quilt orders. Specific duties and tasks may include:

  • Answering inquiries, via telephone and/or email, from potential customers.
  • Collaborating with clients regarding the specifics of their order.
  • Managing inventory, delivering original quilts that have been sold.
  • Shopping and ordering the essentials for each project.
  • Marketing the business and completed projects.
  • Paying bills administrative duties such as sending out invoices.
  • Researching new techniques and industry trends.

As the business begins to mature, it may be necessary to hire an assistant to handle administrative tasks, allowing you to focus solely on the duties that inspire you most.

What are some skills and experiences that will help you build a successful quilt business?

A successful quilting business usually blooms out of a passion for the art of quilting. This love for creating and sewing can be parlayed into a thriving business, but needs a few extra steps from the business world to really take off. Here are a few things that will help you succeed:

  • Charge a reasonable price, which customers will agree to pay, but also make sure you’re charging a fee that’s worth your time. Underbidding your own work will undermine and potentially destroy your business over time.
  • Give reasonable estimates for time, materials, and overall design before beginning a project and stick to your estimates as closely as possible. Again, like pricing, don’t promise what you can’t deliver.
  • Consider yourself a business, just as any other retail or commercial business would. Respect your ability and art and those feelings will translate to customers. Too self-effacing gives some customers the impression you’re not professional or capable.
  • Communicate with your clients extensively, both before, during and after the quilt project is completed.

What is the growth potential for a quilt business?

A successful quilting business requires strategic marketing and specific customer relations, often generated through quilting seminars, quilt shows, and online quilting communities. Since it is a popular, yet niche market, it is important to network your wares and skills and become interconnected with all things quilting. Setting a budget and financial/business plan, and sticking to it, is also a key for growth and success.

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Take the Next Step

Find a business mentor

One of the greatest resources an entrepreneur can have is quality mentorship. As you start planning your business, connect with a free business resource near you to get the help you need.

Having a support network in place to turn to during tough times is a major factor of success for new business owners.

Resources to Help Women in Business

There are many resources out there specifically for women entrepreneurs. We’ve gathered necessary and useful information to help you succeed both professionally and personally:

  • Funding
  • Events
  • Guides
  • Support

If you’re a woman looking for some guidance in entrepreneurship, check out this great new series Women in Business created by the women of our partner Startup Savant.

What are some insider tips for jump starting a quilt business?

As discussed previously, treat your hobby or passion as a business, in order to create a successful business. Be personable and professional and find your niche in patterning, design, or materials. Some other tips include:

  • Manage your overhead costs from the beginning and don’t overwhelm yourself with too many new purchases, gadgets, or unnecessary extra.
  • Communication is key and your customers will appreciate honesty, a solid plan and continued professionalism. Set realistic estimates and follow through.
  • Maintain your passion and continually strive to improve or add new abilities to your repertoire.

How and when to build a team

Quilting is often a singular or small group activity. When thinking as a business, though, profitability has to be factored in, as well. As your business begins to grow, you will have to determine the tipping point for orders coming in versus finished products going out. If the former outweighs the latter, you will always be playing catch-up and stand the risk of losing customers. Add employees who you believe in and see as sharing your passion for quilting. Eventually, a solid team will generate substantially more profit than salary out.

Next Steps

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