Sew Distinct

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Custom Quilt Artist Business Plan

Strategy and Implementation Summary

I hope that many of my customers, having purchased one quilt from me, will come back to me for more unique gifts; I expect that my long-term customers will thus move back and forth between the two categories. Customers will generally encounter me with only one of the two agendas in mind, and I have developed different strategies to appeal to these different needs.

5.1 Value Proposition

At Sew Distinct, I understand that you are busy, but that your limited time doesn't reflect your unlimited love and caring for your friends and family. I have the time and the skills to turn your ideas and feelings into a snuggly, warm, and beautiful quilt that you will be proud to give as a gift or display on your wall, an artwork which can be appreciated for generations to come. My prices are high because they reflect the many hours of work I spend designing, piecing, and quilting your original work of art. Buying a quilt from me is an investment - in your relationships with your gift recipient, in the value of the artwork, and in your own preferences and personal style.

5.2 Competitive Edge

Sew Distinct fills a unique niche, offering the status and personalization available with a fully custom quilt, without a major investment of the customer's time. I am therefore targeting those busy professionals (the so-called Bourgeoise Bohemians) who see prestige in gifts and purchased artwork not solely in its expense, but by the extent to which it reflects their values. My quilts are:

  • handmade or unique, rather than mass-produced;
  • consisting of all-natural materials, rather than synthetics;
  • made by (and thus funding and supporting) an identifiable small-scale artisan rather than a large corporation;
  • and reflecting sincere feelings of love and caring, rather than commercialized, standardized emotions.

5.3 Marketing Strategy

My marketing strategy relies on word of mouth, an inexpensive, attractive, and fully accessible display space (my website), and a small amount of ad placement.

5.3.1 Promotion Strategy

My promotion strategy is threefold:

  • to locate brochures and ads about my product in areas where my customers normally shop:  high-end organic grocers, artisan co-ops, local bookstores, and the like.
  • to spread word-of-mouth among friends and family working in the kinds of high-tech and high-income, socially-conscious jobs that my customers inhabit
  • to create and promote a website, linked to other quilting sites, to Pacific-area quilting promotions, and to sites about local crafts

In addition to these direct promotions, I have arranged for a selection of my quilts to be sold at a local artisan's fair, where information about the possibility of buying a custom quilt will be prominently displayed.

5.3.2 Pricing Strategy

My pricing is high not only to compensate for the labor involved in creating the product, but to establish my custom gifts as a luxury good, with all the status considerations that involves. My customers are paying for the product, but they are also paying for the prestige of being able to commission an original work of art.

5.4 Sales Strategy

My sales strategies will focus on the personalization process by responding to all potential customers' inquiries in person in the medium they most prefer - emails will be responded to by email or phone, phone calls will be returned by phone calls and by face-to-face visits. I have a large collection of existing quilt designs to show potential clients, so that they can see the quality of the work offered. Ideally, these consultations will take place in the owner's home, where my customers can browse through the fabric library to get inspirations, and can form a personal connection to the owner/designer, and imagine the contract as the beginning of a creative partnership.

5.4.1 Sales Forecast

In addition to the relatively minor direct costs of fabric, thread, notions, etc., used up in each quilt, I have another direct cost for hand-quilted pieces which is paid directly to the independently contracted hand quilters. For each hand-quilted crib quilt, the quilter receives $150; for each queen-sized, she receives $350; and for each king-sized, $400. These additional non-inventory direct costs are listed in the Profit and Loss table. 

Based on current prices for my quilts, and the time needed to complete each one, I am forecasting sales of $45,700 in the first year.

Sales Forecast
Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Unit Sales
Crib quilts - machine 24 18 30
Queen quilts - machine 16 15 15
King quilts - machine 1 5 4
Crib quilts - hand 6 5 6
Queen quilts - hand 4 8 10
King quilts - hand 2 6 7
Total Unit Sales 53 57 72
Unit Prices Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Crib quilts - machine $600.00 $605.00 $605.00
Queen quilts - machine $1,000.00 $1,025.00 $1,025.00
King quilts - machine $1,500.00 $1,505.00 $1,505.00
Crib quilts - hand $750.00 $755.00 $755.00
Queen quilts - hand $1,375.00 $1,405.00 $1,405.00
King quilts - hand $1,900.00 $1,855.00 $1,855.00
Sales
Crib quilts - machine $14,400 $10,890 $18,150
Queen quilts - machine $16,000 $15,375 $15,375
King quilts - machine $1,500 $7,525 $6,020
Crib quilts - hand $4,500 $3,775 $4,530
Queen quilts - hand $5,500 $11,240 $14,050
King quilts - hand $3,800 $11,130 $12,985
Total Sales $45,700 $59,935 $71,110
Direct Unit Costs Year 1 Year 2 Year 3
Crib quilts - machine $40.00 $40.00 $40.00
Queen quilts - machine $80.00 $100.00 $100.00
King quilts - machine $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
Crib quilts - hand $40.00 $40.00 $40.00
Queen quilts - hand $80.00 $80.00 $80.00
King quilts - hand $100.00 $100.00 $100.00
Direct Cost of Sales
Crib quilts - machine $960 $720 $1,200
Queen quilts - machine $1,280 $1,500 $1,500
King quilts - machine $100 $500 $400
Crib quilts - hand $240 $200 $240
Queen quilts - hand $320 $640 $800
King quilts - hand $200 $600 $700
Subtotal Direct Cost of Sales $3,100 $4,160 $4,840