So there might be a slight problem with my business plan.

Dear friends,

I spent some time Saturday working on the Magpie Quilts product line. Here’s a photo of an idea I had for quilted key rings:


Each has coordinating fabric on the front and back with free-form, rustic stitching, and a one-word affirmation. (The bright green “love” ring is tongue-in-cheek given that the fabric features tennis balls.)

I spent about two hours working through construction problems. Now that I’ve figured out most of the issues, I estimate that I could produce them assembly-line style (rather than one at a time, as these were) and crank out 20 or so in about an hour.

There is 75 cents of materials in each and I’m thinking of selling them for $6.50. Too much? Imagine admiring a quilt, priced between $200 and $300 and thinking you’re not quite ready to pull the trigger, so you grab a $6.50 keyring on impulse.

Yes or no?

Whether you think my marketing approach is sound or not, the “slight” problem with my business strategy is that none of the keyrings I sewed on Saturday made it into my inventory closet. I mailed them all to friends. I couldn’t help myself. In the business, I think this is known as inventory “leakage.” If I were any kind of boss I would fire myself.

I think the point is that the revenue from Magpie Quilts is supposed to fund the Unaquilter’s postal habit. I might have to hire Mr. Mom as head of security.  Either that, or I need a product line that’s harder to pilfer.

So I’m off — to the factory dining room table right now to work on a framing idea. Frames are a pain to mail. Maybe they’ll stay put in the inventory closet.

With gratitude {for faith, joy and love — and the keyrings that proclaim them},

Joan, whose skeptical husband thinks $5.00 is the right price and encourages his favorite entrepreneur not to be greedy


  1. I’m thinking you are headed toward a medical model: quiltician with a fabric healing practice. Either that or a foundation model: grant-making quiltanthropist (although you might need a fabric endowment for that…).

  2. Cute idea! Inventory leakage? No… excellent inexpensive advertising! If you have an embroidery feature on one of your machines, you could try sewing the words on the fabric. You can always adjust the price if the rings don’t sell depending on how fast (or not so fast) that the item moves “out the door”. Also, I can’t tell the size of the heart, but my keys always go to the bottom of my purse, so you could make the hearts large enough to been seen easily in a larger purse. Just a few ideas.

  3. I think they are adorable! I would charge 10.00. It’s a round number with no change involved.

  4. Sandy Shoes says:

    If I hadn’t been at Lowe’s the other day and saw the cheap crap they sell for keyrings going at $5.00 or more, I would have balked, but since this is a handmade item, I think your price is about right.

  5. Bonnie Pruett says:

    Hi, Joan! This is one of your former neighbors, Parker will remember me as Scott’s mom! I would love to buy some of these as stocking stuffers for my girls and I would really love to see them with an initial. Just an idea!

  6. Hi Bonnie — good to hear from you. I like the initial idea, too!

  7. Great way to get your product out there. Not leakage, that’s marketing! I think they are very cute and $6.50 is very reasonably priced. Good luck with them!

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