Reply by Loren

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Posted on A sign of the new economic times?

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10371 posts in 3641 days

#1 posted 11-02-2008 10:09 PM

“I saw on the news tonight about how China factories are shutting down and thousands are out of work because American companies are not placing orders for toys and appliance parts. Before it’s all over, we woodworkers may be the only source for gifts in town this year….one can only hope.”

That’s interesting – the custom furniture business has taken a big, big hit from Chinese factories
producing nice looking antique reproductions that retail for less than we custom builders could wholesale
them for. I don’t think it’s good stuff usually – but if you’ve seen the stuff coming out of China –
well, there’s a chain of desire:
1. affluent wife wants new decor
2. hires designer
3. designer brings out design magazines
4. wife picks out the style she likes
5. designer shops around and comes back with a bid to get the work done.
6. wife’s jaw hits the floor.
7. designer starts shopping for wholesale millwork from China to keep the client, turning to local woodworkers only for installation.

Chinese woodworking is no friend to the American woodworking industry – because the availability
of cheap (some of it not bad) stuff from Asia has turned American buyer’s into price-shoppers.

I’m no economist. It’s a complex issue obviously. But if you’ve ever quoted a $6,000 price on
a custom vanity and watched your customer run for the furniture store you know what I
mean. Custom furniture has always been a “sticker shock” business – even in the old days
in Europe custom shops had a hard time staying afloat.

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