Starting a new woodworking business #1: new business

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Blog entry by Wayne posted 12-17-2009 04:06 AM 1552 reads 0 times favorited 5 comments Add to Favorites Watch
no previous part Part 1 of Starting a new woodworking business series Part 2: new business »

I’ve been toying with the idea of starting my own woodworking business for literally decades. Now, at age 61 I think I finally have the nerve to do it. I don’t have any illusions about what I’m about to do. I don’t want to go “big time”. I just want to sell some of my work and (probably) use the money I make to buy more woodworking toys.
I don’t really want to do much on a large scale. Little things like jewelry boxes, keychain bobs, hand carvings and the like. Maybe some sculpture, too. Any ideas?

-- Wayne, Utah,

5 comments so far

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 3255 days

#1 posted 12-17-2009 05:20 AM

Wayne, Congrats on starting your new business and good luck. Have you decided on how you’re going to market yourself yet?.........Through galleries, craft shows, on line store, gift shops, etc.? If you’ve never owned your own business, the best advice I could give you would be the advice I was given many years ago and it still holds true. Write yourself a business plan, get a good accountant and attorney and listen to what they have to say. They will get you started on the right track for the business end of it… far as the woodworking goes, I’m sure you can find lots of help here.

-- John @

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3863 days

#2 posted 12-17-2009 05:45 AM

Three of the quickest ways to loose everything you have.

start a restaurant
start a printing company
start a woodworking business

At 61… hat is off to you.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View TopamaxSurvivor's profile


18250 posts in 3646 days

#3 posted 12-17-2009 07:18 AM

You mean business to make a living or you have an income to live off of so it doesn’t have to make a good profit??

-- Bob in WW ~ "some old things are lovely, warm still with life ... of the forgotten men who made them." - D.H. Lawrence

View firecaster's profile


572 posts in 3388 days

#4 posted 12-17-2009 02:22 PM

Topo asked the same question I was wondering about.

Huff had an important question also. Marketing seems the most diffucult part to me. I’d be interested in updates. Why don’t you keep this blog going with monthly installments so we can see how things are progressing and I can read the good advise you are given.

Good luck.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View stefang's profile


15881 posts in 3304 days

#5 posted 12-18-2009 12:18 AM

I have one idea for you. I agree with the others that the marketing is the make or break issue. You can’t build and sell things at the same time. If all you want to do is support your hobby, then if I were you, I would make stuff to sell at Christmas. That way you can work through the year and sell everything in one short time period when sales should be good. People are always looking for some unique gifts as long as they don’t break the bank. They better be salable articles at the right price point though. Of course the disadvantages to this idea are twofold. First you must lay out cash all year which you won’t recover until Christmas time and secondly you might not know if your products will actually sell. Another decision you have to make is whether you will sell your work wholesale or retail.

If you decide to sell wholesale, then you would probably want to limit the number of items you make and get a really efficient production going in order to get the most out of your time and materials, because you will only get about half the price you could have sold your products for yourself. There is also the risk that your retailer goes belly up.

If you are going to sell retail then you will need to spend a lot of time at some location(s) where customers can see and buy your stuff and probably a website too. In addition to that, you will have do a lot of admin. work and probably driving to sales venues, setting up etc.

Another point is, do you have any advantages, such as owning your own forested area where you can get wood cheaply or whatever? I’m sure you get the idea.

There really is no easy way out here. Business is business. I know the above is just scratching the surface, but of course some people do manage to run a small business doing craft work. I’m sure you will get a lot more responses to this blog from folks with experience who can fill in the blanks and also provide a little positive energy and inspiration. Good luck whatever you decide.

-- Mike, an American living in Norway.

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