Reply by Peter Oxley

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Posted on So how are we dealing with the new economy?

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Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3902 days

#1 posted 11-05-2008 05:17 PM

Dennis – this is a question that I think all pros and semi-pros are pondering right now. I’ll throw in my thoughts. These are ideas, not answers, so you may want to take this with a grain of salt!

I had a boss once who often said, “Build for the masses, eat with the classes. Build for the classes, eat with the masses.” Now he basically lives on his huge catamaran in the Mediteranian. I don’t think that “build for the masses” means make things everyone needs. I think it means make things everyone can afford. A lot of people will spend up to about $100 on impulse. Is there something you can make five or 10 a day and sell for under $100? Or make 50 a day and sell for under $20? Some guys build several hundered tops a day. Some guys make a living at wine balancers and back scratchers. Maybe it’s not what feeds your soul, but maybe it will keep you in woodworking until times are better.

Another thing that I’m looking at closely is other hobbies and crafts. People will spend a lot of money on their hobby, even when times are tight. The catamaran guy was working 9-5 in his metal shop, until he started making gun safes – not everyone needs a safe, but people who have guns will spend money on them. So what items do other crafts and hobbies use that are built out of wood? Or better, what niche isn’t being filled that could be filled with a wood item?

How about gift-type items? ‘Tis the season! You build beautiful furniture … maybe you could scale it down to beautiful jewelry boxes?

Like I said … they are ideas, not answers.

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