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The Great Box Sale Adventure #3: I Didn't want to Do it...

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Blog entry by maplerock posted 08-25-2015 04:30 PM 1253 reads 2 times favorited 15 comments Add to Favorites Watch
« Part 2: Day 2 Part 3 of The Great Box Sale Adventure series no next part

My last (and only) attempt at a Craft/Art show was not a huge success. Other than good company and a festive atmosphere, it was a lot of work for little sales.

You guys all know that woodworking is an expensive hobby (or business for you talented guys) and if you don’t make some money, you are limited in what you can do (or what the wife will allow you to do.)

I have been placing a few boxes in boutiques and galleries instead of at shows. I’ve had the same lackluster results, but with a whole lot less effort on my part. :-) One of the gallery owners that carries my boxes approached me and asked me to set up a display and sell (I hope) some boxes at her annual art fair. I didn’t want to do it, that’s why I didn’t apply and let the entry deadline pass. She kept insisting and I gave in. So next weekend I’ll be chewing the fat with folks at a big art fair.

I still have my shelves, and am set up to accept credit cards. I needed a tent, so I borrowed a nice one. As a few of you know, I have been building boxes and accumulating them like Star Trek Tribbles.

My box building has been improving, and the variety has been growing. I am taking all kinds of boxes, and I am offering some smaller, less expensive boxes along with the more advanced ones. I am thinking my most expensive would be around $300, and the least somewhere in the $75 range.



These are examples of some of my best boxes.
Here are a few of the less expensive ones:



I am taking about 30 boxes. It’s only a half hour from home, so I can bring more if I sell out the first day :-D
My wife is a great help and will be there with me. She is a people person and adds charm to my booth. I am not looking forward to it, but I really need to sell some boxes. Sandpaper, glue, hinges, leather, lumber, tools, and all the miscellaneous things are costing money. I need the hobby to sustain itself a little.

If you guys have any suggestions, lay them on me! I’ll keep you posted.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana



15 comments so far

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

384 posts in 677 days


#1 posted 08-25-2015 04:53 PM

Informative blog for I am in a similar situation. The co$ts of my hobby and getting it to a bussiness; I am trying to be different by using metal coatings to make my “stuff” different or nicer than Deft. I wish you well.

-- Desert_Woodworker

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22005 posts in 1801 days


#2 posted 08-25-2015 05:29 PM

How long of list do you want?

1. IF you sit at all, DO NOT SIT IN A CANVAS CAMPING CHAIR! No low chair at all if possible. Standing or higher stools are preferred. Camping chairs keep you low, hard to get out of and give an immediate impression that not much is happening in your booth. Standing or stools makes it easier to be seen and looks better to greet people from.

2. Dress to the mid-to-upper level of the people who you will be dealing with and want to attract. If you dress like a pig, you are not going to get any high-end customers to stop. Same goes if you are in a tuxedo, they assume you are too expensive anyway.

3. I do not like high pressure sales. Greet people as they come and offer information. SMILE!

4. Refer to your products as what they are. For you, if your boxes have specific purposes, the refer to them as a tea box, jewelry box, valet, etc.. DO NOT REFER TO YOUR PRODUCTS AS “STUFF” or other slang terms. It sounds like you don’t respect your own items. if you don’t love them, why should they?

5. Emphasize that your products are unique. Nobody can go to Walmart and buy another one. point out solid construction. Make them feel special if they own it.

6. Treat everyone that comes in as possible customer. This is really difficult sometimes. The lady with green, orange and purple hair dressed in bumble bee spandex gets the same respect as the guy in a leisure suit.

I could go on for an hour. This is just my opinion of what works for me. If others have different approach that’s fine. I am not throwing this out there to start a fight.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View maplerock's profile

maplerock

525 posts in 1262 days


#3 posted 08-25-2015 06:01 PM

DW… I’d dlike to seee that metallic finish. I looked at your project page, and for me… I’d hate to think any finish would last only 10-15 yrs. I want my stuff to last a long, long time. Good luck to you too.

Monte, thank you for the great tips. I have a tendency to sit back and get comfy. I know I need to be up and attentive. I will also can the short shorts and tank top I was gonna wear. ;-)

I really love my boxes, so talking them up won’t be a problem. All suggestions are considered. Thanks!

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View robert triplett's profile

robert triplett

1566 posts in 2567 days


#4 posted 08-25-2015 06:05 PM

I just LOVE doing Art shows- talking to people about my work. I like selling my work even more, but some times that doesn’t happen. I scratch that show off of my list and try again. Good luck at this show. Your work is nice. Not sure about that last box though!!! Robert

-- Robert, so much inspiration here, and now time to work!!!

View maplerock's profile

maplerock

525 posts in 1262 days


#5 posted 08-25-2015 06:12 PM

Thanks Robert. That last one is a low priced box modeled after a Japanese tool box. It costs only time to make. No hinges, chain, etc. They are handy for chisels, drill bits, candles, etc. I’m asking 60 for those. 95% of the boxes I’ll take are like the 2nd and 3rd I showed above.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Desert_Woodworker's profile

Desert_Woodworker

384 posts in 677 days


#6 posted 08-25-2015 06:34 PM

DW… I d dlike to seee that metallic finish. I looked at your project page, and for me… I d hate to think any finish would last only 10-15 yrs. I want my stuff to last a long, long time. Good luck to you too.

First we have to listen to Pitman above and my Mom and not call it “stuff” :) I only use “stuff” amongst the guys out there in the world it is “art” , fine wood working any adjective that sells a dream. The life span for outdoors is 10-15 years and longer depending on UV care. vs indoors -which could last forever or until it is destroyed. The products that I use are from http://www.sculptnouveau.com/ they have GREAT products and free how to videos. You can also see more of my works at http://jlt2014.com/

-- Desert_Woodworker

View leafherder's profile

leafherder

897 posts in 1415 days


#7 posted 08-25-2015 07:11 PM

Do some research – find out what other artists will be at the show, what they are offering, and what their price ranges are. Should not be too difficult since you know the show organizer.

Make sure your products are in line with the other vendors at the show. Lots of jewelry artists selling gold and silver gemstone jewelry – showcase your jewelry boxes (1 and 3 above). Lots of painters, sculptors – showcase your more decorative creations (2 and 5 above). Lots of ceramic vases and bowls and kitchen/bathroom accessories – showcase your recipe boxes.

Make sure your prices are in line with other vendors – You won’t sell much if your lowest price is $75 and everyone else has a top price of $40. On the other hand if customers are expecting to drop $1000, they might dismiss your lower priced offerings as “unworthy” of their attention.

What is the show’s theme? Does it cater to professionals looking to invest in fine art, families with young children, pre-holiday shoppers? Adjust your product offerings and prices accordingly.

Good luck and let us know how it goes.

-- Leafherder

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22005 posts in 1801 days


#8 posted 08-25-2015 09:41 PM

Good points from leafherder.

Behavior, preplannig, attitude, appearance, etc doesn’t sound like woodworking. Exactly. You are not just a woodworker at that point in time. You are a salesman. You should be your best salesperson.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Roger's profile

Roger

19867 posts in 2266 days


#9 posted 08-25-2015 11:41 PM

Dude!!! Jerry!!!! WowZa man!!! You’re not gonna have any problem selling your wares. Those are all very awesome!

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. Kentuk55@yahoo.com

View Boxguy's profile (online now)

Boxguy

2174 posts in 1730 days


#10 posted 08-26-2015 02:26 AM

Jerry, nice posting. I am looking forward to your summary of the experience. Where is the art fair you are doing? I agree with Roger. I think you will do fine. Your stuff should sell well…so should your woodworking art.

-- Big Al in IN

View Kiwib0y's profile

Kiwib0y

89 posts in 485 days


#11 posted 08-26-2015 06:21 AM

What great looking boxes, People don’t appreciate a great item when they see them.

-- "It is only a silly question if it is not asked" Don,New Zealand

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22005 posts in 1801 days


#12 posted 09-02-2015 11:21 AM

How did it go?

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View maplerock's profile

maplerock

525 posts in 1262 days


#13 posted 09-02-2015 12:05 PM

It went pretty well. The weather was nice and there was a good crowd. Saturday was weak in terms of sales, but Sunday was much better. I will write it up when I get the time. I just hate typing on my phone… my fingers are too big!

Thanks for taking the time to help me Monte.

-- Jerry... making sawdust in the Knobs of Southern Indiana

View Frustrator's profile

Frustrator

61 posts in 512 days


#14 posted 09-15-2015 05:50 PM

Looking forward to the next part :)

View Frustrator's profile

Frustrator

61 posts in 512 days


#15 posted 04-13-2016 07:39 PM

Still no part 4? :(

Im eagerly awating the next part :)

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