Selling your work???

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PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
I'm looking a retiring fairly soon and will want to try and market some of my woodworking. I know some have sold their work through Wood and Stone Gallery in Davidson. Are there some other outlets around?

Also, any input on generating some extra income working wood would be appreciated.

pete
 

lwhughes149

New User
Lorraine
What all do you make Pete? I make furniture and at the moment I am only makeing for family and myself. I have a friend who makes furniture on commission, it seems that his business grew from word of mouth. I have a few flyers out but haven't had any bites.
 

Jon

New User
Jon Todd
I make end grain cutting boards and a few places around sell them for me.
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
Make puzzles and I'll sell 'em for ya :D
I have made and sold some puzzles - jigsaw that is :wink_smil
I don't have the precision setup needed to do your kind of puzzles.
The wooden jigsaw puzzles do sell fairly well though. Seems they have quite a following on ebay.

"What all do you make Pete"
Flat things - no spinney stuff :gar-La;
Check out my photos if you really want an idea of what I do:
http://www.ncwoodworker.net/pp/showgallery.php?cat=500&ppuser=581

I also do some refinishing and repair.

pete
 

rhett

New User
rhett
Furniture, cabinetry and all around quality built items are getting harder and harder to sell due to the "overseas" competition and a throw away mentality. That being said, there are always people with disposable income, which is a woodworkers target market. I try to market myself to interior designers,architects and high end retail stores. Their clients are already pre-approved so to speak. Another idea is to get some nice post cards made with a pic of your nicest work and do a small mailing. Word of mouth will get you the most work though, so don't sell it if you wouldn't buy it is what I think.
One more thing, once you start woodworking for money, you are not only the craftsman, but you are the accountant, secretary, salesman, bill collector....... What was once a nice relaxing past time can quickly become a job. Don't get me wrong, I still enjoy woodworking and take pride in a nice finished piece, but after a few years hustling wood, I like being my own boss more than being a woodworker.
Good Luck
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
I make end grain cutting boards and a few places around sell them for me.
Hey Jon - Think you could elaborate on that? :wsmile:
What kind of "places"? Gift shops, consignment shops, Galleries????


"What was once a nice relaxing past time can quickly become a job"
Rhett - I've owned and run my own business so I know what all is involved. I don't need to "make a living" this time. I'm just looking for ideas on various outlets for some of my work. I will not be looking to do any cabinetry or production runs. I do like the idea of marketing to interior designer and architects. I will definitely look into that. Thanks

pete
 

DaveO

New User
DaveO
Pete I have sold many of my pens at a wood specific gallery/shop in Wilmington called Baroke, http://barouke.com/index.php I stopped making pens for them after experiencing a lot of frustration with their sales staff (owner and husband). They didn't know anything about wood, or how to market it well. They have told me several times that they just couldn't sell a segmented pen because people thought it was veneered. If they understood the process of pen making, and what veneer really was they could sell that product.
You are going to find your best sales at places that understand what it is that you make or selling it on your own. If you have the time to deal with it, consignment is a much better way to sell than wholesale. I wholesaled my pens for the convienence factor and got about half of what I should have for them, but I didn't have the risk and hassle.

MTCW,
Dave:)
 

christopheralan

New User
Christopheralan
I sell most of my work. I only do custom jobs for people; no mass production. I use www.vistaprint.com/ and get all kinds of free stuff, from business cards, post cards, car door maginets, hats, shirts, and pens to start. Every time I make a sale, I offer the "refer-a-friend" line, and offer a discount or cash to them. I attach my cards to everything I make, even if it is a gift for a friend.

I am lucky being around a military base with a high turnover of people. Sales can be awosome or totally suck. Neither last too long.

I have a good website that I use mainly for showing people what I do. The line, "...well I just kinda burn a picture onto wood..." doesn't sound all that cool. People have to see it. The "...worth a thousand words" thing applies. Check out my site to see what I mean.

www.projectwoodworks.com/


I am also careful who I market to. I am with Dave. It sucks trying to sell something if the potential buyer is a moron. Sorry to say it but, alot of people don't know what goes into these projects. I am not Walmart, so don't expect to pay Walmart prices. I actually doubled my prices a while back and sales also doubled. Go figure.

I do alot of word of mouth and keep up with events around the area. If a new high-ranking guy shows up, for example, I try to make him something. No charge. Just a congrats, and here is my card. The rest just falls into place.

I read somewhere: ABM. Always Be Marketing.

Good luck.
 

cubicdissection

Eric
Senior User
Pete - the precision is just a matter of jigs and knowhow. I could probably show you how it's done if you're serious. FYI 90% of the items that hit my website sell out in a matter of hours, and I have added 3 other artists in the last couple years. If you're interested, PM me.
 

ScottM

Scott
Staff member
Corporate Member
Whatever you do stay far away from street fairs and flea markets. You can try to find a juried show in your area. Atleast people that attend those know the true value. Also take lots of pictures and create a photo album that you can display.
 

Jon

New User
Jon Todd
Hey Jon - Think you could elaborate on that? :wsmile:
What kind of "places"? Gift shops, consignment shops, Galleries????


"What was once a nice relaxing past time can quickly become a job"
Rhett - I've owned and run my own business so I know what all is involved. I don't need to "make a living" this time. I'm just looking for ideas on various outlets for some of my work. I will not be looking to do any cabinetry or production runs. I do like the idea of marketing to interior designer and architects. I will definitely look into that. Thanks

pete
Snob shops mostly. The problem is they want to do 100% markup. So if I want 60 they want to mark it 120. That kind of sucks But I still make money.
 

Gotcha6

Dennis
Corporate Member
Have you thought about some of the emporium style places around CLT? The Black Lion in P'vile comes to mind. There's also a place in Mint Hill I think called Miss Vicki's Emporium. These places usually offer booths with various sizes at a base cost and percentage fee on sales.
 

adowden

New User
Amy
Pete,

I'm not familiar with places to sell your work, but I do have a few suggestions. I started my part time woodworking business two years ago when my youngest child started preschool and I love it.

My best and only form of advertising is donations. Many of my customers were a direct result of seeing my work at the auction. I would also recommend you make some business cards and/or fliers that you can display at the event. I also have gotten several jobs from my neighbors. It seems like when people hear that you are a woodworker, everyone has something they want built. Once you start building things, word travels fast.

Also decide if you want to build custom pieces or if you want to make lots of the same piece. I like the challenge of custom work. It keeps me on my toes, but it is hard to estimate when it is something that you have never done before.


I would also recommend getting a few books about woodworking as a business. Some discuss the business/hobby advantages and disadvantages as well as alot of other good stuff. They also give case studies of sucessful businesses. A CPA can also help you decide what kind of business would be best.

Also I require a 50% deposit at the time of the contract. This usually covers most of the materials costs.

Good luck!
Amy
www.dowdenwood.com
 

farmerbw

Brian
Corporate Member
Pete, lots of good advice has already been tendered by a lot of knowledgeable folks. We're just now trying to get started our selves and have been looking for outlets as well and have encountered quite a bit of everything mentioned here. Our biggest problem has been determining pricing in order to make some money with out scarring people away and we're still struggling with that some.

Scott is right about the flea markets and low end craft fairs. The flea market environment lends itself to "haggling" cause people think that if your product was really good you most likely wouldn't be selling at a flea market and others just like the "challenge" and aren't really looking to buy.

We've done 1 juried arts and crafts fair to date and it was an educational experience to say the least. While we didn't make an extraordinary number of sales we did get approached by a local gallery to sale some of our game boards on commission, 30% OUCH, and also were later offered a spot at an upcoming 25th annual invitation only arts and crafts fair.

We heard comments ranging from the following.
"wow, I've got a wood burner at home and could easily do that". I'm betting the average joe can't get anywhere near what they're looking at with the Michael's or whoever's cheapo burner they paid 20 bucks or so for.

"You can buy those at Wal-Mart/Target/insert mass marketing catalog here, for x dollars less than that." Well, if you want factory mass produced garbage, keep on walking cause I'd rather burn my stuff and let the kids roast marsh mellows over it and take the loss on materials and labor than sell it to you at a reduced price. Our stuff isn't all that special but we're not giving it away either.

We're hoping that our upcoming juried fair/show will net a better/larger turnout since it's more established and also that we'll have a better response to our stuff. If not I'm not sure what we're going to do with the inventory we've been working on building up. Guess everyone will be getting game boards and plaques as b'day/x-mas/wedding/....... gifts for a while.:gar-La;

Sorry that was so long winded and turned into a random rant dude.:eusa_doh:

Brian.
 

Jerome B

New User
Jerome
I am about to take the leap into the world of selling my pieces. I'm attached to some of my pieces, but there are three blanket chests in this room. Something has to go. What is it like to work with a Interior decorators and Architects? Do they take a large commission. I went by a gallery today and they want 40% ouch!:eek: I'll do that as long as they hike the price up there so that I get my original asking price.

I try to market myself to interior designers,architects and high end retail stores. Their clients are already pre-approved so to speak.
Good Luck

Jerome B
Mebane, NC
 

PeteM

Pete
Corporate Member
Jerome - That quote came from "rhett". He might not be following this thread any longer so you might want to PM him.

BTW: I checked out your website. You have some nice work there. Good luck on future sales :icon_thum

pete
 

rhett

New User
rhett
Jerome-Interior designers as well as architects will usually add-on money to the price you quote them. These numbers should all be worked out prior the beginning a project, depending on the scope of work. Keep in mind, when building someone elses idea, it no longer becomes yours and you are at this point just working wood for profit.
One more thing, if you find yourself wanting to take the leap into "proffesional" woodworking, please do not sell yourself short in the beginning to try and get work. It is very hard to raise prices once you become the guy/gal who will built it cheap. It also undervalues all the other woodworkers trying to make a go at it.
 

dancam

Dan
Corporate Member
For what it's worth, one of my buddies sells his work here in WNC at the Grovewood gallery (behind the Grove Park Inn) and they get 50%. Granted they get a lot of high rollers coming through the GPI but 50% is still a heavy hit.

Dan C.
 
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