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Consignment shop for wood workers.

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Blog entry by 58j35bonanza posted 01-22-2011 12:54 AM 5393 reads 0 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I have toyed with an idea for some time now and was wanting some feedback on this idea.
I’m sure it’s not original but haven’t seen one either.

My idea is to have a consignment shop for woodworkers to sell their work.
It would be an outlet for woodworkers to sell items for a percentage of the sale.

This would be a store where woodworkers could drop of their projects and have them sold.

Tell me your thoughts on this?

-- Chuck



15 comments so far

View RonPeters's profile

RonPeters

708 posts in 1569 days


#1 posted 01-22-2011 01:09 AM

It’s a cool idea. Kind of like the flea markets you see. Everyone has a 10×10 space on the floor to sell stuff they’ve accumulated. Of course, the net being what it is, one could do it almost for free already, but having a unique place – kind of like LJ’S – would consolidate things….

-- “Once more unto the breach, dear friends...” Henry V - Act III, Scene I

View woody57's profile

woody57

645 posts in 2116 days


#2 posted 01-22-2011 01:15 AM

I have tried it a couple of times. Once I tried selling reptile cages in a pet store and another time I tried selling bird houses and decorative shelves in a novelty store. Both were on a 20% commision. Both had little or no sales. I think the problem was that they had no incentive to make a sale because they didn’t have any cost attached to the item. In both cases consignment was not their primary focus. On the other hand if you’re going to be doing mostly or all consignment and you have knowledge of woodworking and you are a good salesman, it might be a good idea.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

View devann's profile

devann

1735 posts in 1381 days


#3 posted 01-22-2011 01:22 AM

I’ve been dealing with a consignment shop for a couple years now and one thing I’ve learned is the old real estate saying, the tree most important things are, location,location,location. I went a long time and they didn’t sell anything, they moved and it helped. I’ve dealt with a couple of shops and some want such a high percentage of what you need to make a “modest profit” (you’re not gonna make much, figure about half of what you think your piece is worth) that it hardly seems worth the trouble. Then you get the owners that want to mark your stuff up so high that it never sells. It’s a tuff gig, makes the online sites attractive but they have their drawbacks too. Good luck, hope you can make it workout.

-- Darrell, making more sawdust than I know what to do with

View chrisstef's profile (online now)

chrisstef

11135 posts in 1695 days


#4 posted 01-22-2011 01:28 AM

I know a guy that i work with sells his work through a consignment shop of sort, it may just be an antique store. He seems to make a few bucks for what he creates probably not enough to make a living but a little beer money or tool money. If you have a spot where you could get good traffic into the store without paying a ton in rent it may work. If rents $2,000 a month and you are making 20% commision on what you sell you would have to bring in 10K in sales a month to break even without paying yourself. You would need to move a lot of units each month or sell a couple of very high priced items each month to make any money.

Here’s a random thought …

A cheaper option would be doing a craft fair, country fair kind of circuit throughout the summer. The “rent” would be your entrance fee to each show and you could keep inventory way down. Im not sure what it costs to have a table at each event but you could do 50 events at $40 each and end up with the same for one months rent at your stand alone shop. You would reach a greater audience by traveling making more opportunity to find your target market. Whether or not they buy things is another story. So $10,000 earned and the country fair circuit paid for itself .. kinda. You have to sell 2,000 $50 items to break even. 2,000 items 50 events …. 40 per event at $50 each.

Hmm i dunno .. i love the idea of it, being able to showcase some woodworking and help sell it but i just dont know if business-wise its real feasible.

Id love to hear more about your idea though Charles …

-- "there aren’t many hand tools as awe-inspiring as the #8 jointer. I mean, it just reeks of cast iron heft and hubris" - Smitty

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1527 days


#5 posted 01-22-2011 02:26 AM

Actually along the lines of what Chrisstef said, many larger craft/specialty stores do seasonal shows where outside vendors are invited to set up at the show. The store either charges a set up fee or a commission of 15-20 percent. The trick is finding a show who’s target market matches what you sell. OR build items specifically with that show in mind. Ask around to see who has seasonal shows- generally christmas, spring/garden and harvest/fall themes.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View Eli's profile

Eli

141 posts in 1695 days


#6 posted 01-22-2011 02:49 AM

My friends and I have looked into selling through consignment shops and galleries. The problem is that people go to consignment shops to get a deal, so the prices we need aren’t realistic. Galleries, with prime locations and proven customer bases, often take 40% or more. Consequently, though our work is priced appropriately, we still don’t make the money we need. Theoretically, the gallery/consignment idea is sound, but there must be some reason there aren’t any in Boston.

Well known artists sometimes have exclusivity agreements with galleries; the gallery takes a smaller cut knowing fans of the artist will keep coming back.

Eli

View WWilson's profile

WWilson

104 posts in 1752 days


#7 posted 01-22-2011 05:51 AM

Hi Chuck,

Interesting idea. I have had similar thoughts because I can’t personally make enough product / projects in a 40 week to sustain my family on.

I think maybe the bigger challenge is to first understand the demand and your target market. What will you consign? Furniture, cutting boards, bird houses, highboys…?

If you take a deep look at answering those 2 questions (who is my target market and what is the demand) and compare that to what you can / will supply you will be in a better position to answer your question.

I am no biz guru but I have really tried to learn as much as I can about small biz over the last few years and all roads come back to those 2 points when considering a new venture.

Hope this input helps.

-Will

View Manitario's profile

Manitario

2363 posts in 1572 days


#8 posted 01-22-2011 05:57 AM

Great idea, there is an artwork collective in town here that sells work by amateur artists similar to your idea.

-- Sometimes the creative process requires foul language. -- Charles Neil

View 58j35bonanza's profile

58j35bonanza

390 posts in 1381 days


#9 posted 01-22-2011 07:18 AM

Thanks for all the input. You have answered a lot of questions that I might not have thought of.

-- Chuck

View MBeck's profile

MBeck

25 posts in 1379 days


#10 posted 01-22-2011 04:20 PM

Like Devann says, it is really all about location and selling ability. It takes a good distributor who actually wants to sell the product. I live in Lousiville, and there is a great shop on one of the busiest streets in Louisville that does very well selling handmade products from woodworking to jewelry and little knick-knack type things. I think it would help, if you were looking to sell fine woodworking items, that you sell the business as a “gallery”, and not just an outlet or store. There is an art and skill involved in gallery work, whereas people know they get something good, and not an IKEA item they can put together with a few screws. One of the biggest problems with woodworkers today (craftsmen) is that they don’t ask enough for quality work. Besides, most people really will pay more if they get something that really is better. WWilson is right, you need to figure out what kind of shop it is. You can’t put a popsicle birdhouse next to an exotic wood coffee table!
I know this post is random, but that’s what we get when dealing with opinion!

View jerrells's profile

jerrells

855 posts in 1573 days


#11 posted 01-22-2011 10:43 PM

My thought tend to run along those of “bentlyj”. If it is run by the woodowrkers and if, like others say, the consignment fee (or space rental fee) is not so high that you don’t make any money – OK

-- Just learning the craft my Lord and Savior Jesus Christ practiced.

View Blake's profile

Blake

3437 posts in 2563 days


#12 posted 01-23-2011 09:19 PM

View 58j35bonanza's profile

58j35bonanza

390 posts in 1381 days


#13 posted 01-24-2011 04:48 AM

These are really good Ideas and things to think about. I was also wondering, a charge of say $100.00 dollars a month rent, to each person to show/sell his products for a given size space. Of course I see this looking like a retail store not a flea market, so this is another problem. I think it would have to have some type of lease say for 6 months. for each person. The beauty of this is the woodworker would not have to be there to sell his piece, A store employee would watch over the items and answer any questions.

Keep the ideas and comments coming.

Thanks Chuck

-- Chuck

View rivergirl's profile

rivergirl

3198 posts in 1527 days


#14 posted 01-24-2011 04:45 PM

Keep in mind, if you do it that way- then you may have to submit the sales tax for everyone that consigns in the shop. That would, I think be something to investigate. Just a thought.

-- Homer : "Oh, and how is education supposed to make me feel smarter? Besides, every time I learn something new, it pushes some old stuff out of my brain."

View woody57's profile

woody57

645 posts in 2116 days


#15 posted 01-24-2011 05:48 PM

I think that most people on this site would rather build things than sell things, I know that’s the way I am.
Therefore, the idea of renting a space and having someone else do the selling is very appealling. Renting a space is probably a good idea in the right location, but I think that the woodworker is going to have to be involved in the selling to some extent. You could use the space to display your work and have business cards available so people could contact you.

The bottom line is either you have to sell or be partnered with someone who will. The fellow who rents you the space in the store is probably not the one who will sell your work the way you would want. I have been in some of these places and the store emplyees basically just operate the cash registers.

Chuck:
Your store might be great, but where are you going to get the employees, with the right kind of experience and knowledge, to sell the work?
There is a lot to think about. If you decide to do it, I wish you much success.

-- Emmett, from Georgia

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