Dissapointment at the craft mall

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Blog entry by Rustic posted 12-08-2009 07:30 PM 3607 reads 0 times favorited 11 comments Add to Favorites Watch

After being in a craft mall setting for the last 6 months, I came to the realization that I am not going to make any money at it. At least not with what I have right now. I am working on some new ideas. I am going to persue a different style I think. I am really fascinated right now with the routed bowl idea. I may try that and some cutting boards. My wife and I are going to go back on the craft show circut. Maybe that is our venue. I am also going to work on a web site. Maybe that will help. So for now onward and upward. Hopefully the new year will bring us some prosperity.

Keep the sawdust flying


--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

11 comments so far

View Kjuly's profile


308 posts in 3250 days

#1 posted 12-08-2009 07:51 PM

Hey Rick,
Sorry to hear that the craft mall did not work out.
Marc Spagnuolo did a video, on a neat bowl that is made on combination of machines, including the router. Worth a look. It’s a design that you could make in quantities.

Good Luck

-- Keith, Charlotte, MI

View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3857 days

#2 posted 12-08-2009 08:19 PM

We had a craft mall here in Atlanta years ago and I think it lasted about a year. It had a cheezy, country craft feel to it, and I don’t think they ever advertised. I just happened to stumble across it by accident. There’s something to be said about shows where they advertise the event and customers look forward to coming to it each year. There is more of sense of urgency to buy because they know it will be a year before they have another chance.

You may want to look at Etsy before you start off on a web site. I know a few LJs have not had much success with it, but some have. In fact, some woodworkers have done extremely well on it. All it takes is the right product and a little promoting. One of the things I get from Etsy is a lot of custom orders which results in bigger single sales.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View SteveMI's profile


1092 posts in 3259 days

#3 posted 12-08-2009 09:25 PM

I signed up for a 6 month lease for 3’ by 5’ space in February of this year and never made my monthly rent. My stuff, Intarsia and retro banks, weren’t right products and the economy was extremely bad in my area during that time frame. Mall was split in two, antiques on one side and “crafts” on the other. Craft side was overrun by China made resell stuff. I couldn’t buy material, consumable supplies and finish for what people were selling their stuff for.

My new spin is to go for more art and craftsman type items that people can see themselves using instead of wall hangins or nick knacks. Also going to try the craft fair circuit starting this spring. I audited a couple of the fairs this year and saw that you have to have a unique item to grab the people. If they can compare your item to a chain retail store item, they will hesitate and probably pass. It seemed that items that were used outdoors went well or items for entertaining.

I’m an Etsy “zero” person, number of views and no sales. Again, I just thing the products aren’t right. I’ve seen other wood sellers that have quite good numbers for sales. I don’t think there is any downside to Etsy as the cost to list is almost nothing and starting out is very easy. My biggest impediment on Etsy was some of the items size put the shipping to almost the item cost.

My website, waiting for the new items, is going to use Etsy for the actual purchase point.


View OhValleyWoodandWool's profile


970 posts in 3085 days

#4 posted 12-08-2009 11:24 PM

It’s a shame that the craft mall didn’t work. Sorry. Just keep plugging away and you’ll hit on the right venue/product mix eventually.


-- "All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then Success is sure." Mark Twain

View Kindlingmaker's profile


2656 posts in 3491 days

#5 posted 12-09-2009 12:12 AM

Rustic, If you do go with routed bowls and if you have thick woods or can do stacks glue ups quickly then the simple routed bowl takes 1.25 hours from slab to putting on the finish. (That’s with all equipment is place and ready for bowl making. I am working on several bowls right now and so timed myself how long it took me starting from a cured stack up to being ready to put the first coat of finish on.) (I used 2 routers with 1 bit each, drill press with forestner bit, disk sander, bandsaw, powerful shop vac and a drill motor with bowl sanding pads on a 6” extention.)

-- Never board, always knotty, lots of growth rings

View jockmike2's profile


10635 posts in 4211 days

#6 posted 12-09-2009 02:31 AM

Rick don’t give up, you have too much talent. You’ll find the right thing and make a bundle. Just don’t give up. Ya know I’ll be prayin for you. mike

-- (You just have to please the man in the Mirror) Mike from Michigan -

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4125 days

#7 posted 12-09-2009 03:26 AM

fine-tuning your business, that’s all… craft mall for 2009— X
next idea? !!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3561 days

#8 posted 12-09-2009 05:52 AM

I am not giving up Mike. Just on the craft mall idea for now.

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

View SteveMI's profile


1092 posts in 3259 days

#9 posted 12-10-2009 12:55 AM


Well, after whining a bit about my performance at Etsy yesterday on your post, an email came today confirming my first sale. Not going to celebrate with the full $20, but the right direction. Signed up in mid September. I’m in Michigan and the buyer is in Virginia, so no craft show would have connected us. There is almost no investment to list there (etsy) and I had not thought about them in some time until the email.

You can search “sawduststeve” under sellers at etsy to see the remaining stock.


View closetguy's profile


744 posts in 3857 days

#10 posted 12-10-2009 04:15 AM

Congrats on your first sale Rick! It’s all downhill now.

I would throw out and forget what happened during the first half of 2009. Consumers just shut down and quit spending. It affected everyone and had nothing to do with the right or wrong product. Craft shows were horrible for myself and everyone else I talked to. Everything started changing about August and all of a sudden consumers started opening their wallets. As a result, we actually started leaving the shows with money in our pockets.

One of the things I have noticed with Etsy is that when I leave it alone and don’t list new items, re-list old items, and don’t post in the forums, nothing sells. It takes time and effort to promote on multiple fronts to drive traffic to your store. Etsy has become so large that it is easy for stores to get buried. During the year, I would have a sale here and there, but nothing to get excited over. After my last show in October, I turned my attention to Etsy and started promoting. I set up a twitter account, used twitterfeed to update it directly from Etsy, and started making posts in the Promotion forums. I started following a lot of people on their twitter account and they reciprocated by following me. It didn’t take very long for sales to start picking up and I was making regular trips to the post office. Granted, it’s getting closer to Christmas which is driving sales, but I’m convinced that you get out of it what you put into it. When I put nothing into it, nothing happens, but when I start working it, things move.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design

View Rustic's profile


3253 posts in 3561 days

#11 posted 12-10-2009 04:27 AM

That was not me that was SteveMI that sold on etsy closetguy

--, Rick Kruse, Grand Rapids, MI

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