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Blog entry by Jordan posted 08-03-2010 12:14 AM 2136 reads 6 times favorited 34 comments Add to Favorites Watch



34 comments so far

View MsDebbieP's profile


18615 posts in 4184 days

#1 posted 08-03-2010 12:23 AM

a good blog Jordan.

it really does take a “mind shift” for many of us to think that what we do is worthy of financial abundance.

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (

View Jonathan's profile


2608 posts in 3074 days

#2 posted 08-03-2010 12:39 AM

Well said Jordan!

Although I certainly do not consider anything I have made to-date, a “fine piece of art,” I hope to someday have the skills and techniques down to produce such pieces.

I know exactly what you’re saying about people with more than enough money being out there. Working in the wine industry, I have met some of them. And like you say, some of them don’t flaunt it or talk about it until you get to know them. When it comes down to it, they’re people just like us. Some of them have good taste and some of them have bad. Some of them have manners and are friendly, while others don’t possess such an attitude.

Find a way to connect with them. Yes, you’ll ultimately have the art or woodwork or furniture (whatever you produce) in common with them, but find other passions or interests… it will only help grow your relationship.

A lot of them just want to be regular members of society (at least the ones I prefer to interact with), even if they do make more money in a year than most of us will ever have in our entire lifetime.

-- Jonathan, Denver, CO "Constructive criticism is welcome and valued as it gives me new perspectives and helps me to advance as a woodworker."

View Richforever's profile


757 posts in 3744 days

#3 posted 08-03-2010 12:53 AM

Thanks for the shove.

Years ago, SRI, Stanford Research Institute, found that approximately 13% of consumers fit into a psychographic profile of Achievers. This category wanted to buy the feeling of uniqueness. They had lots of money, and they wanted to buy what others could not buy. If prices are too low, they will not buy the items because it does not make them feel unique when others besides themselves can buy them. Seems like this concept applies to arts and woodworking.

Jordan, thanks for sharing.

-- Rich, Seattle, WA

View Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)'s profile

Sheila Landry (scrollgirl)

9231 posts in 2944 days

#4 posted 08-03-2010 01:31 AM

Thanks, Jordan for the encouraging blog. I go back and forth so much about this with my painting. I really love to do it, but can I afford to take the time to paint when I have to make my living working on my pattern business? It has been a struggle for me back and forth for quite a while. I sold some high quality prints of my paintings at the market here in Nova Scotia. It attracts many tourists and we were out there on Saturday mornings and got to talk with many people. It even amazed me that people bought note cards of my paintings at $4 each (and lots of people did!)

Once a man came up and told me that my prices for my paintings were way too low and I was devaluing myself. I was then charging about $150 each with $300 on my favorite, The Cheetah. He said I should ask ten times that much and people would KNOW they were worth something. I never got brave enough to do that, but you got me thinking too – maybe you are right. I am thrilled to hear you can get $10,000 for your incredible carvings. It does show me that there is some justice in this world, as you are a talented artist. There are so many others here at LJ’s that are unbelievably talented and I would love to see each and every one of them get what their work is worth.

Thanks for the wonderful pep talk. It really was a nice boost and got a lot of us thinking in a good direction for sure!


-- Designer/Artist/Teacher. Owner of Sheila Landry Designs ( Scroll saw, wood working and painting patterns and surfaces. "Knowledge is Power"

View a1Jim's profile


117115 posts in 3601 days

#5 posted 08-03-2010 01:47 AM

I think your in a league by yourself Jordon not to say there are not other fine carvers on Ljs but you subjects are very unique and one of a kind works of art. I understand what your talking about when you speak of people with what seems like unlimited funds. I’m afraid I don’t travel in those circles and frankly many of the people I have met, perhaps not as wealthy, I usually don’t like and don’t wish to business with. I know this is a weird type of prejudices and doesn’t help me financially. I use to restore antique cars in the Newport beach Ca. area and many of my customers were well to do. The only reason I sold out was I was fed up dealing with those jerks. Most of them just wanted what the wanted and they wanted it NOW. Restoring cars does not work that way either does making fine furniture. So instead maybe they could just send Money not bother me LOL. I am so impressed with your work Jordon just keep raising your prices THEIR WELL WORTH IT.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View Wolffarmer's profile


407 posts in 3262 days

#6 posted 08-03-2010 02:16 AM

Reminds me of a couple I know of that ran a jewelry store in Sun Valley ID. They had a supply of good quality goods at a very reasonable prices. They just could not sell enough to make it go and in desperation raised the prices to try and make something. Then they goods started to sell. They had priced them to low.


-- That was not wormy wood when I started working on it.

View LittlePaw's profile


1571 posts in 3102 days

#7 posted 08-03-2010 02:16 AM

Jordan, I really needed that pep talk and a good kick on the tush. You hit the nail right on the head! I do believe that some of my carvings are excellent, with appeal to those with special taste, definitely unique and one of a kind in the world. I was toying with the idea that I could custom design a cane for an individual after talking with him/her about things that are important or significant to them such as likes/dislikes, hobbies, achievments, passion etc. I was going to say on my card that what I make for that person will not be duplicated for anay one else. Do you think that is a good idea, Jordan?
What you said is so true, I am glad you said it. Coming from you, it has credibility and value. Thank you.

-- LittlePAW - The sweetest sound in my shop, next to Mozart, is what a hand plane makes slicing a ribbon.

View Amcarver's profile


48 posts in 3035 days

#8 posted 08-03-2010 02:27 AM

These are inspirational words, to say the least. I used to sell Carousel Horses, that I mounted on to rockers and probably made less than minimum wage after all was said and done. It knocks you down. To the point that you don’t want to share your work with people who think it should cost as though made in China. Who knows, maybe I can find some of these people as well. Thanks for the encouragement.

-- E.R. Bunn,

View Woodenwizard's profile


1331 posts in 3067 days

#9 posted 08-03-2010 03:00 AM

Thanks for the encouragement. You not only have a great talent but are able to motivate others in a humble sort of way. I turly appreciate following your art and hearing your words of wisdom. Thanks for not only sharing your work but also sharing your thoughts.

-- John, Colorado's (Wooden Wizard)

View mgb_2x's profile


180 posts in 3093 days

#10 posted 08-03-2010 03:03 AM

Brings to mind the story of the old country boy that sold beagle puppies to the city slickers. When asked how much he would always say 15 bucks except for the one with the ribbon around it’s neck, which was 25 bucks. The prosective buyer would bite and ask why the premium, he would state that the puppy with the ribbon was the pick of the litter. Invariably they would not hesitate and pick the puppy with the ribbon. As he took there money he would remove the ribbon, before they were out of the driveway there was a new pick.

-- "aim small miss small" m g breedlove

View David Craig's profile

David Craig

2137 posts in 3132 days

#11 posted 08-03-2010 05:09 AM

Thanks for the pep talk Jordan. I think the bottom line to this is that if you are dedicated to your art, eventually they will come. I entertain the thought of someday being able to sell my work, but I think that will wait until the quality of my output matches my expectations for a sale. I think it is a good thing that you addressed this to masters of the craft, but I do think your modesty sometimes blinds you to the brilliance of your own work.

Reminds me of a story of a high school baseball coach. He would harp on his players for being unable to hit the pitches he threw at them. They would complain that he threw too hard and his thought line was that they were just being a little on the lazy side. It wasn’t until he went to an open tryout for the professional league that he found out he was pitching nearly 100 mile fastballs at the kids. He was at a higher league and didn’t realize it and the reason why he players couldn’t hit the ball was because they were literally receiving pitches from a pro level pitcher who was blind to his own talent.

I think your words inspire us to feel that we should all pursue our own art at the best of our own abilities and if the market is there for the art we create, they will come if we are true to what we attempt to accomplish. But do understand, Jordan, that while much of your work might seem quite natural to you, your artistry is a rare gift. I am just glad that it is in the hands of one who is so prolific in using it.


-- There is little that is simple when it comes to making a simple box.

View Jordan's profile


1400 posts in 3148 days

#12 posted 08-03-2010 06:13 AM

I absolutely agree with ALL of the pros and cons stated here. I too have dealt with the games and eye rolling of some with abundant wealth – and those episodes turned me off to the point of not wishing to do commission work or attend high end shows where they are the majority. I have felt the insecurity of original art against China knockoffs, I have seen art better than mine and wondered if mine would measure up in larger circles, I have seen the fancy CNC 3D routers who could produce a real looking item faster than I ever could and sometimes wonder if one day I won’t have a job.

And in the case of my style of wood working versus the majority of LJ’s the products, it’s like comparing apples to oranges. I could no more produce Eye Candy art box, or Impossible II wall hanging or a bandsaw box, or a wood turned vessel, yet after experiencing a number of shows, I think I can be confident of what people would buy if they saw it.

David, yes, I am sure there are folks here who are just starting and who do things not for sale, however when the time comes, I was just hoping that they do not get discouraged by those they consider better than they or who can produce items they cannot – there’s always someone better – even the Made in China products can be such good replica’s of art, I shudder to wonder who would be willing to pay the price for the real thing.

You know my western magnets? I looked into having them made in China and the price was $1.00 each – fully painted!!! They sent me a sample and I surely could see no difference from mine. They told me they require a minimum 5000 item order so I said I would follow up on an order like that if they sent me 100 samples. They were absolutely crap, yet suitable for a dollar store. I would’ve been embarrassed to put my name on them at a show. Further research led me to the people who make Hallmark items – man, they are so good! Bottom line – order 40,000 and you will get quality assurance. But you will not get assurance that someone else there will not copy a substandard version and still they would end up in the dollar store – without your name!. Thus my very little stock pile of magnets – Handmade in Canada! However, at every show I attend, even the little ones, I always have them on hand because the majority of attendees are looking for cheap souvenirs or stocking stuffers and generally, we sell more $10 items than $10,000 ones but it’s insurance that we always get our booth paid for and the cost of the booth is the cheapest advertising I have ever found! (Sorry, I drifted away a bit there.)

Rich and mgb, I have seen both of those scenarios too often and it’s soooo true.

LittlePaw – it never hurts to say your works are one-of-a-kind. The canes of MMH are vast, yet I’ll bet no two are the same.

Thank you all for your input, please know that this was not meant to be a put down for those who are not interested in selling, but rather an addition to other blogs I’ve seen asking who does or does not sell their work or make wood products as a living.


View Rick's profile


9708 posts in 3056 days

#13 posted 08-03-2010 06:19 AM

A Lady in Vancouver is an Artist, Oils. There was a group of them that got together socially and to sell their paintings at shows etc. Their Paintings were mostly “Fine Art” of Canadian Scenery.

One of their Husbands suggested they were selling their work for WAY to LOW prices. BUT! He knew they were selling at what they HAD to sell at because that was the ONLY Market available to them.

He was in Marketing and his Company had set up a number of Websites for their Clients. He suggested they do the same BECAUSE the exposure is World Wide.

He also did some resaerch and found that MANY types of Art & Handcrafted Items were in HIGH Demand, especially from the European and Asian Countries.

Quality and Uniqness were two of the Factors sought by the Buyers. Also PRICE was of very little consequence. Canada was their Number One Choice for purchasing. (NOT saying the US isn’t or couldn’t be). His Company set up a First Class (VERY Important!) Web Site for them. NOT a “Template” type of web site.

ALL of the Paintings, Sculptures etc. thay put on there were “One Of A Kind” or “Numbered Limited Editions”. Paintings they were selling before at $400/$500 Dollars were now selling at $5/$10/$15 Thousand Dollars and they were sold as fast as they were displayed on their site. 90% of their work made the Journey across the Atlantic Ocean and they couldn’t keep up with the Demand.

Their “Little Group” of Artists expanded from 10/12 to about 80/90 (a year ago). The Artists that were MORE than pleased to do what they Loved to do and pay a 15% fee to have their work displayed and SOLD on that Web Site.

As mentioned above there are a number of KEY factors invoved if you want to sell on the WWW and there are a Great Many People, all over the World with MEGA BUCKS wanting to SPEND IT!

Where do YOU have your Sights set? What kind of impression does YOUR Web Site create? How are YOU presenting YOU and YOUR Product. MsDebbie hit the Nail Directly on the Head ….Is it time for a “Mind Shift?” “If you keep on Doing what you’ve always been Doing …You’ll keep on Getting what you’ve always Got.”

ALSO: A long time ago I use to subscribe (by mail) to an Investment Newsletter from New York City operarted by ONE Guy. He was GOOD, VERY GOOD! I paid $85 Dollars per year. Once a year he HAD TO state the number of Paid & Free Subscribers that he had. I saw one issue and said to myself “What! He only has 25,000 Paid Subscribers?” Then I did the Math. Got a Calculator? Be my guest!

He phased his Mail out and now has a Web Site with 2 different levels of Subscriptions, one is $250/Year, the other one is $450/Year. It sells all over the World. I have no idea of how many Subscribers he has. Hundreds? Thousands? More? I do know that He and Two Assistants run it all from his Penthouse Condo on 5TH. Avenue.

The ONLY Limits WE have, are the ones we place on OURSELVES. Maybe it’s time to replace the Automatic with a 5 Speed Manual.

If you’d care to have a look at an “Exclusive” Type of Site, this is “Patek Philippe Watches” from Geneva. While you’re there see if you can find “Complicated Watches” Model 5159J. Fits Very Nicely.

-- LIFE is what happens when you're planning on doing Other Things!

View hObOmOnk's profile


1381 posts in 4151 days

#14 posted 08-03-2010 12:56 PM

Hobbyists don’t embrace profit as a good thing.

My pricing is now about five times higher than it was a few years ago.
My purchasing habits now yield a materials cost of a half to a third of what I was paying a few years ago.
My quality is now much higher – higher prices allow for higher quality.
Sales are at a max.
My typical client is evolving to those that will support my profit margins.

-- 温故知新

View longgone's profile


5688 posts in 3332 days

#15 posted 08-03-2010 05:02 PM

I just started making the sculpted boxes back around March or april this year and never had any thoughts of selling them…I just have a heck of a lot of enjoyment making them. Everyone who sees them keeps saying I should sell them…and in fact several friends ended up talking me into selling them one of my boxes.
A few weeks ago my wife and one of our friends talked me into driving down to the local once-a-month art market to see what was being sold. This show was outside in 95 degree heat and the artists and craftspeople were so sweaty that they looked miserably uncomfortable. We were there for about one hour and although I was enjoying the displays I had to get out of there because of the heat.

I realize this is not representative of all art shows but it sure seemed to give me the impression that a good show where a woodworker can make money must certainly be in a better situation make money or contacts. I have never been involved in a show before with retail sales, but from what I understand all sorts of sales tax permits, sales tax reporting, credit card acceptance equipment, tents and who knows what else is required. This info came from vendors at the show that I spoke with and my impression was that they tried to discourage others from displaying their work through their lack of a positive attitude and discussions with a total stranger of how slow business was.
It would be enjoyable to meet other craftspeople and display my work if the conditions were more positive.

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