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I'm wondering if I should just give this up

by RussellAP
posted 292 days ago


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78 replies

78 replies so far

View Don W's profile

Don W

14842 posts in 1194 days


#1 posted 292 days ago

Insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Albert Einstein

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View John Obelenus's profile

John Obelenus

23 posts in 828 days


#2 posted 292 days ago

In a similar boat – but I am somewhat gainfully employed and have had fair success in selling my wares through Custom Made website (www.custommade.com) – only issue there is that there is usually shipping involved (major PIA) and you have to make a lot of one-off things, which is fun, but time consuming, so it is hard to price things well because of the time involved. But this year (since Feb.) AI have made 15 jobs with an average price of over $900 – not too bad…started with small things and graduated to larger items.

I tried the craft fair thing in 2012 and spent a lot of money and time for nothing

If you want to look at my portfolio to get an idea – www.custommade.com/by/jhostudios.

Hope this helps

-- If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life... www.jhostudios.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#3 posted 292 days ago

DonW, What do you refer to?

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#4 posted 292 days ago

Russell, I am curious as it wasn’t mentioned in your details, are you renting store space for your wares or are they just allowing you free space? If the latter, I’d just grab the stuff and figure out something different but if you are renting space then you have the leg, right and the say as to how your items are to be displayed.

as mentioned you might try online sales, try ETSY and post shipping as not included in the price.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#5 posted 292 days ago

Blackie, its free sort of, I am charged 22.5% of sales. So no rent. But still, $120 bucks getting them there and back.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#6 posted 292 days ago

I think communication is key too, might try asking them politely and as nicely as you can that you’d prefer nothing be on top of the tables, or maybe just a single item, something very small to highlight the usefulness and how it would look as a display table or in a sitting environment. All of your photos look as though they are using them for their permanent use as to own them, Heck might even ask if they’d be interested in buying them if that’s what they intend them for.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#7 posted 292 days ago

Blackie, I brought some of my bowls to put on the tables, but they are elsewhere. They reserve the right to display my stuff anyway they see fit apparently. So basically I’m being used in place of display shelving.
Live and learn.
I’m marketing these myself from now on. No more retail, or galleries, or any of those art booths.

I have a professional portfolio and I can talk. So that’s the way I’ll have to do it.
Perhaps I can talk to some interior designers and see if they can keep me in mind for things like this.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View CharlieM1958's profile

CharlieM1958

15684 posts in 2845 days


#8 posted 292 days ago

I think you are right that this is a bad presentation of your tables. I wouldn’t necessarily let that completely sour me on retail and gallery situations, though.

It’s all about the setup and the surroundings. In this situation, your tables are in something like a garage-sale setting, surrounded by garage-sale items. No offense, but the setting makes them look like something somebody is trying to get rid of. Now put those same very nice tables in a gallery, with some dramatic lighting, surrounded by other artistic pieces, and they would look right at home as works of art, commanding a high price.

It’s all about getting the potential buyer to perceive your work in a certain way. That setup you’re in right now just isn’t making the right impression.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#9 posted 292 days ago

Hmm seems as though they’d be willing to work with you, if they don’t want to come to an agreement and willing to work with you then that just goes to show their character and bad business if you ask me, myself I wouldn’t want to have any thing to do with them, my stuff would be out of there so fast.

Side Note: My past experience, customers mostly when they walk into places like that are looking for small ticket items anyway, Maybe if you wanted just displaying your small items like bowls etc… only.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#10 posted 292 days ago

CharlieM, my feelings exactly. I can still sell them from there on my own, but I’d have to pay commission. I’ll just have to see what happens.

I really have no say in what goes on there, and you’re right, they seem to cater to the small sales of tea towels and jewelry. One other guy there makes those box lights, so I plan to compare notes with him and another man there who makes metal furniture.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#11 posted 292 days ago

I like what Charlie said, he’s right on track with the garage-sale atmosphere reason I mentioned people in that type of place are only looking for $10 – $20 items. I’ve already been up this road and the same thing applies to the monthly market day events, reason I won’t do them anymore.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Jerry's profile

Jerry

2180 posts in 2174 days


#12 posted 292 days ago

They say if this stuff was easy to do everyone would be doing it. I think with what you are doing online would be one of your best routes. Even in our high end custom cabinetry we get a good portion of our customers from the internet.

-- Jerry Nettrour, San Antonio, www.topqualitycabinets.net

View Don W's profile

Don W

14842 posts in 1194 days


#13 posted 292 days ago

Russell, you do some nice work, but you need to get it to people willing to pay for it. Flea markets and swap meets are not it. At a minimum set your pieces apart. Put some of your stuff on your tables.

Marketing woodworking is tough. The average person just doesn’t understand the difference between your stuff and walmart’s and an expensive table isn’t going to sell with a bunch of low priced nick-knacks on it. If you can sell, you need to sell those setting up the displays that idea.

I obviously don’t have the answer. If I did, I’d be doing it.

Just out of curiosity, why is it so expensive to get the pieces to the store?

-- Master hand plane hoarder. - http://timetestedtools.com

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#14 posted 292 days ago

Jerry, I’m eventually heading there with cutting boards, but not big items. I’m not opposed to a sale here or there that involves some heavy shipping, but I’m not in a position to easily transport my goods to a shipper who will box them for me.
I’m really thinking cutting boards are the thing to do, low cost, easy to handle and keep in inventory, and they sell really well.
If I push anything online it will be them.
No more bowls except as gifts.
I have 4 tables so I have enough to experiment with.
So I think a bit of tweaking and I can make out.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#15 posted 292 days ago

Don, Before I got into this hobby/business I had to buy a car as part of a medicaid spend down of my folks assets so mom could get into a nursing home that was able to care for Alzheimer patients. We didn’t have a lot of time, so I got a car that would spend it all in one chunk. My priority was to get mom taken care of, I could care less what kind of car it was. Now I regret that I didn’t get a van or a pickup. So I have a very nice Nissan Maxima with leather interior and so many extras I still haven’t figured them all out. So transporting 4 tables and a chest is a rental truck for me. Usually a 70$ expenditure each time.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112011 posts in 2204 days


#16 posted 292 days ago

Russ
I agree with Charlie,looking at the photo’s my first thought was the store looked like a Good Will store. Even if they don’t pile stuff on top of your tables you are marketing a custom piece to KMart type shoppers,like Don said they don’t know the difference between your furniture and the stuff sold at Wallmart. At one point I had small furniture pieces in doctors offices ,restaurants and in a florist shop. that worked well not always for the sale of the piece that was placed in all those places but for new commissions. Eventually those pieces that did not sell were used by the places they were in to hold coffee pots and displays for the businesses they were in, this was my fault for not staying in touch with the people that let me place pieces in there businesses in the first place plus not rotating new pieces in and out of those locations so they businesses didn’t view them as just another piece of furniture for them to use.

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#17 posted 292 days ago

Jim, I’m going to let it ride till December, then I will take at least one table out. I have a potential buyer for the curved leg table but not while it’s there. I don’t like taking something out so I don’t have to pay a commission, but I figure that I’ve been kind of used here so that makes it doable for me.
Had I been told what they intended, I would never have brought the tables. My main concern now is that they don’t get scratched up.
I may take them out one at a time using my car over the next couple months if I find any excuse to do so.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View a1Jim's profile

a1Jim

112011 posts in 2204 days


#18 posted 292 days ago

You have to pay a commission to remove items from the store ?

-- http://artisticwoodstudio.com Custom furniture

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#19 posted 292 days ago

At this point no. I have been told by the lady running the show, who has no affiliation with the ‘place’ they are now, told me that I have more stuff there than any other artist so she doesn’t see the problem.

Her perspective is not taking into consideration what my product is. This should have been screened by someone who has prior experience doing pop up stores and is familiar with what sells. Or at the least to realize that the 2” walnut sells the piece. How can they sell if you can’t see them?

So to answer your question, at this point I can go down there and get it all and everyone would probably be the happier for it.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Lee Barker's profile

Lee Barker

2163 posts in 1477 days


#20 posted 292 days ago

Interesting discussion with lots of good observations.

You’ve heard the bromide, “Design around your tools.” It applies here; the fixable situation is that your Nissan is a tool and it’s incapable of doing what you currently need it to do. Either change the product design or get a new tool.

First recommendation: Determine if your tables (and designs, by extension) are marketable. Have they sold? Or led to sales? This needs to be a dispassionate conclusion, not occluded by people telling you what they think you want to hear.

Second: Figure out all the costs involved, from selecting and hauling the wood to your shop to getting the object into the customer’s hands. This needs to include everything from the per mile cost of your vehicle to the Tops invoice pad on which you triumphantly write, on the bottom, “Thank You!” just before you give the happy customer her/his copy.

You can do your own shipping. I regularly make my own cardboard boxes and even shipping crates. UPS and Fedex want to do business with you. Somebody’s going to get paid to do the packaging, and it might as well be you.

Where you are at this point deftly illustrates one of the truths that recurs regularly in my life: There is tuition for every learning. [And I find this reassuring.] Your stuff is too good for these folks to be handling it.

Russell, I have enjoyed your participation in LJ and I’m excited to see you move forward.

Kindly,

Lee

-- "...in his brain, which is as dry as the remainder biscuit after a voyage, he hath strange places cramm'd with observation, the which he vents in mangled forms." --Shakespeare, "As You Like It"

View GOOD LUCK TO ALL's profile

GOOD LUCK TO ALL

418 posts in 354 days


#21 posted 292 days ago

I may take them out one at a time using my car over the next couple months if I find any excuse to do so

Russell, the pictures you provided are excuse enough.
I would go pick them ALL up and find somewhere else to display them.
The owners obviously don’t respect your property.

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#22 posted 292 days ago

Thanks Lee. My cost is very small compared to the asking price. I have a local mill who supplies me with walnut, and another local mill for the 5/4 stock. As an example, the curved leg table shown below cost in materials about 20$. I’d charge more for the tool upkeep though, but I’m asking 950$. So it’s profitable if sold and at that profit, you don’t need to sell many to make out.

Cutting boards are the other aspect of my business and I plan to market them heavily both in retail locations and online. I’m hoping they can give me the leisure to pursue the art work and tables. These tables I make come from inspiration, not a desire so much to make money. Without the passion, I won’t be able to make them anymore. However I’m not passionate about cutting boards, they are an easy buck if you ask me and I’ve sold more of them than anything else I make. I’m hoping they will be the engine in this endeavor.

So I’m thinking over the next month to take out some tables and bowls and replace them with cutting boards.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View poopiekat's profile

poopiekat

3585 posts in 2361 days


#23 posted 292 days ago

Russel: Agreed, 100%

Having been involved in the antiques trade for a long time, it’s a well-known fact to me that a table pie safe or cabinet MUST be cleared and empty if it’s going to sell. If there’s other merchandise on it, the table does not get seen, and even a person shopping for a table will see not the table, but what a cluttered-up mess the table will be in their home.
The gallery manager is clueless about presentation and needs to understand what an adverse situation it is for you for your tables to be used as ‘props’. It’s totally unfair to you. Ask if they’d like to buy some retail fixtures from you, and you will build them. This market is tough enough without getting handicapped by the store you’re trying to sell from.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#24 posted 292 days ago

Russel something to consider, I just did a search on ETSY on cutting boards and Bowls, the results came back as 13,745 cutting boards and 4,873 on wooden bowls.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#25 posted 292 days ago

I’ve been planning to search that out myself. I’ve taken a brief tour of cutting boards on Etsy and most of them are decorative and fairly high priced. Some use face grain and some mix face and side grain.
I think a good solid hardwood maple board will go nicely there for 50$. You just need to market them as boards you can use, not boards you’re afraid to use. I get hard maple for 2.35 a BF here and it’s great quality, so a few cuts, a run or two through my planer, route it out and rub it down and you got 35-40$ profit per board. If you don’t get greedy, you can sell them well at that price, then if someone wants something with more exotic woods I can make it special order.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#26 posted 292 days ago

Ok sounds like you are already ahead in the ball game, I’m doing pretty well on my boxes, I average around $300 a month on sells, at the end of the year it gets much better.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13740 posts in 965 days


#27 posted 292 days ago

If they charge you a commission then you should have some say in how it is displayed. The way they are displayed is terrible for showing products. Their intention is good, but if it doesn’t lead to a good outcome, then it is useless.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View bbrewer's profile

bbrewer

42 posts in 602 days


#28 posted 292 days ago

I think the store should work with you on the best presentation possible, your items should be big, higher profit per item sales. The storefront personnel should be professional in the presentation, they are representing you and your product. If they won’t work with you to present your items properly they aren’t worth the time or frustration it brings you, pull your items and find a sales method that puts proper value on your work.

-- Tom southern MI

View bondogaposis's profile

bondogaposis

2480 posts in 978 days


#29 posted 292 days ago

It looks like you ought to get those tables out of there and then offer to sell the store some display tables that you can make cheaply from plywood or such. The problem is without your tables, they have nothing to display stuff on.

-- Bondo Gaposis

View reedwood's profile

reedwood

869 posts in 1303 days


#30 posted 292 days ago

Hey, what if you re labeled the tables, display cabinetry and sold it to them and other retail stores? they certainly seem to need it to display their stuff…..right? it’s an idea anyway.

-- Mark - I prefer the tumult of liberty to the quiet of servitude. - Malo periculosam

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13740 posts in 965 days


#31 posted 292 days ago

I sell through a couple locally owned furniture Stores. No crafts store. Furniture Stores know how to market it and show respect for it. Just a thought.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View SCOTSMAN's profile

SCOTSMAN

5347 posts in 2212 days


#32 posted 292 days ago

Wouldn’t common sense be the best route,IMHO I would go and talk to the shop owners explain your points of concern and work out a solution with both of you being pleased.I t is definitely better to compromise than lose an outlet which may be fruitful in the future.Don’t get so riled up you need to crawl before you start to walk and eventually to run.Alistair

-- excuse my typing as I have a form of parkinsons disease

View rhett's profile

rhett

697 posts in 2294 days


#33 posted 292 days ago

The internet is a great place to sell woodwork, granted it fits in a small box and can be delivered by common carrier.

Trying to making a living based on quality, while living amongst a throw away society, may very well be the definition of a fools errand. But hey, misery loves company…., welcome to the suck!

High end consignment shops in affluent neighborhoods is where your “empty” tables need be, not at a weekend flea market. Get your product infront of your target market

-- http://planeandsimpleblog.wordpress.com/

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#34 posted 292 days ago

Scotsman, what you mention has already been addressed but it seems they are unwilling to work with Russell and if I read correctly even glad if he picked up, scan up through the comments.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View cabmaker's profile

cabmaker

1306 posts in 1436 days


#35 posted 292 days ago

Russel, you have received lots of well intended tips here but no one seems to want to tell you the real story.

Ok ,I will. Did I read correctly that you had a 950.00 tag on that table ?

Did you actually believe someone might buy it ?

You do not have a truck,van or trailer and your in the millwork business ? How does that work ?

Just a couple things to ponder. Good luck ! JB

View hydro's profile

hydro

208 posts in 378 days


#36 posted 292 days ago

Russell,

I agree with cabmaker’s post above. Asking $950 for that table is way too high, especially in the setting in the photos. Unless you have a name that someone is willing to pay for like Krenov, or Maloof, getting that high dollar is going to be a long shot. In my experience, hand crafted items, even finely crafted wood furniture sells about the same as a similar factory produced piece unless the buyer perceives it as “art” or feels some intrinsic need to buy it. Don’t get this wrong, it looks like very nice work, but those high dollar buyers are very hard to find. Unfortunately the bottom line is that the general public simply will not pay enough to make this type of piece profitable to make.

If you are looking to get high dollars for your pieces, first get them out of the shops in the pictures. Next, market yourself as an “artist in wood”, and secondly, market your furniture to some local art galleries that are willing to display your work. The clientele in that setting is much more likely to be willing to buy, and the gallery management should also be able to help you price your work at a point where it is likely to sell

-- Minnesota Woodworkers Guild, Past President, Lifetime member.

View TravisH's profile

TravisH

221 posts in 562 days


#37 posted 292 days ago

Hate to see your pieces displayed in such a manner and in a location that appears to not help the situation. How much time was spent building each piece, how much money is tied up in materials, how much money spent moving them back and forth (along with your time doing it), etc…Even a minimum wage job might put a lot more money in comparison to what you have spent/lost in building these.

I think you may also have to really look at the buyers and what styles appeal to them and change your style of building to cater to that. Building what you like (while fun) doesn’t always translate to money in your wallet.

View Loren's profile (online now)

Loren

7399 posts in 2275 days


#38 posted 292 days ago

Photograph your stuff. Do mailings to interior designers
and architects. Photo postcards are good.

Maybe you sell one of your tables, maybe you don’t, but
good work samples promoted to he people with the capacity to
spec and buy custom work will lead to custom jobs. Be
prepared to bid casework and outsource.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

View John Obelenus's profile

John Obelenus

23 posts in 828 days


#39 posted 292 days ago

Sorry – just curious if anyone actually saw my post about custom made.com…?

you have the option of doing custom work for folks or just posting your stuff on the site – like I said I have done 15 jobs since Feb at an average of over $900 – That includes a few cutting boards and smaller jobs…..

I have had my stuff out in retail stores before and it has never worked out – Etsy is overcrowded- I have had marginal success there – I don’t have the time to market my own website (full time job and every night in the shop)

Check out custom made….

JO

-- If you do what you love, you'll never work a day in your life... www.jhostudios.com

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#40 posted 291 days ago

Cabmaker and hydro both make good points but I did read where Russell mentioned that he is going to refrain from making anymore big ticket items and focus on smaller ticket items such as bowls and boards.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View RussellAP's profile

RussellAP

2944 posts in 913 days


#41 posted 291 days ago

Loren, that is exactly what i’m intending to do. I just got a professional portfolio made of my big stuff and some smaller post card type pictures.
I am having a meeting with a guy that bills himself as a personal agent. I’m hoping he’ll work entirely on commission to get my cutting boards into some retail locations.

As for bowls, I have few special ones out of the dozends Ive turned, and they will make perfect gifts and perks for customers buying a table. Here, this bowl looks great on this table, I’ll throw it in, $100 value or something of that nature.

-- A positive attitude will take you much further than positive thinking ever will.

View Ben's profile

Ben

302 posts in 957 days


#42 posted 291 days ago

Take plenty of good pictures of each piece and offer them online like ebay or etsy, then leave them in whatever shop you can get them in. If the shop sells it, pull the online listing, if it sells online, go pick it up at the shop. I have things in a few shops here, and I have the same problem. The shop I started selling in just had way too much for customers to look at, so individual items don’t get a chance to shine and be noticed. Try also making sure there is a clearly visible price tag on your pieces so it is obvious they are for sale and not just furniture for the shop. I still don’t sell as much as I’d like, but that did help

-- Welcome to downtown Coolsville, Population: US! --Hogarth Hughes

View Tommy Evans's profile

Tommy Evans

107 posts in 801 days


#43 posted 291 days ago

Loren, that is exactly what i’m intending to do. I just got a professional portfolio made of my big stuff and some smaller post card type pictures.
I am having a meeting with a guy that bills himself as a personal agent. I’m hoping he’ll work entirely on commission to get my cutting boards into some retail locations.

————————
Nice work, Russell. Good luck with finding the right venue as others have suggested.

peace, T

View Blackie_'s profile

Blackie_

3376 posts in 1139 days


#44 posted 291 days ago

I’d be curious where the liability lies if one of your tables were to be scratched due to their (shop)s negligence? If they insist on placing things on top of them then they should except responsibility if anything were to happen.

-- Randy - If I'm not on LJ's then I'm making Saw Dust. Please feel free to visit my store location at http://www.facebook.com/randy.blackstock.custom.wood.designs

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

13740 posts in 965 days


#45 posted 291 days ago

I still don’t think that the people running it know what they are doing. Improper display not only hurts your sales, but theirs as well. I prefer to deal with furniture Stores. Also the right clientèle sees your items.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it. - It's not ability that we often lack, but the patience to use our ability

View kaerlighedsbamsen's profile

kaerlighedsbamsen

456 posts in 340 days


#46 posted 291 days ago

Just a thought: Could an elegant solution be to help the store present your work in a fine manner; make them some stands, backgrounds etc in order to present your work nicer – and perhaps make separate room for the other stuff so it does not sit on your tables?

Another thought: Have you asked the local store that sells fine furniture if they are interested – or perhaps have a hole in their product line that you could fill?

3. thought: Friends, relatives and neighbours are your best ambassadors. Have you made sure they all have some of your piezes and are aware of their qualityes so that they can spread the word?

Your work is spotless and i really hope it works out for you!

Ps: I think Lee Barker is a wise man!

-- "Do or Do not. There is no try." - Yoda

View Tedstor's profile

Tedstor

1369 posts in 1259 days


#47 posted 291 days ago

Out of curiousity- where did you come up with the $950 pricing? I’m not an appraiser or a furniture dealer. I’m just a nobody/schmuck. But:
1- I don’t walk into a pop-up market with the intention of buying a $950 table. If you want to command those prices, you’ll have to get the tables into a bonafide furniture store where folks are actively looking for fine furniture (and your table definitely quailify).
2- Those tables are more decrotive/accent in nature. I could see the average person paying $950 for a functional/daily use item like a breakfast/dining table. Not so much for a sofa/hallway table.
3- I think you’d be lucky to sell one of them at such a price, and only if the right person happened to wander into the store since there is seemingly no other form of marketing. The chances of selling all three is minimal at best. Meaning, you’ll need to have the tables moved out of that store eventually.

If you’re going to keep selling through that shop,I think you should consider making smaller items (like the cutting boards) and use those beautiful tables as props to display your smaller items.

View mantwi's profile

mantwi

312 posts in 523 days


#48 posted 291 days ago

I would pull them from the shop. They are being used in a manner that does make them appear to be props and exposes them to damage. If you are in a rural situation the online site mentioned before sounds good and I would use it along with local efforts to market my products. If you are in an urban setting contact local interior decorators. They are always looking for unique items to set their services apart from the competition and their clients have plenty of disposable income. If not they couldn’t have an interior decorator. Contact upscale privately owned shops about possible consignment deals, they will already have qualified traffic flow and greatly increase the potential for success. Whatever you do go in with guns ablazin, you can’t passively sit back and watch your dreams evaporate. By the way those are very nice looking tables. It looks like your only issue is marketing and hopefully you’ll find the answer to that among these suggestions made by your fellow LJ’s.

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Furnitude

336 posts in 2134 days


#49 posted 291 days ago

Russell, Thanks for raising this topic. Lots of good discussion about different ways of going about selling work. Don’t get discouraged. I’m going to ramble here… I’m getting more and more serious about selling stuff, so I’m thinking through all these things also. I’m definitely interested in Custommade, as mentioned by John. I mean, Custommade got a big investment from Google Ventures, which means search results for products there are placed high on the list. But this leads me to a big question I’ve been contemplating: do I want people to find me or do I want to find people? Like someone else said regarding cutting boards, there are thousands of them out there. Why would someone buy yours (or mine) over someone else’s? Expecting someone to find your cutting board from a google search is like expecting someone to find one particular shell on a mile-wide beach.
The problem I have with Custommade is that I’m not prepared to do one-off things. I’ve got a tiny shop and limited time in it. Plus, it takes me forever to design things. I am honest enough about myself to know that I couldn’t do that efficiently and make any money on it. I’ve started to develop a very small collection of furniture and accessories. I designed jigs along with the furniture so I can make multiples. I’ve applied for Custommade and hope to be able to experiment with it. But that leads me back to my original question: do I want people to find me or do I want to find people? I guess my answer is a bit of both—i want to help people find me. To do that, I’m working on some marketing. I recently built a table that I think has great potential for sales. Through some networking with a very helpful friend, I was able to get a direct line to the editor of a home decor magazine. They are going to feature my table in an upcoming issue. They also have a large presence on Facebook and Pinterest. So when the magazine comes out, it will be in print and online. People will be able to forward it around. I’ll ask all my online friends to spread the word. Hopefully that will result in some people contacting me. (When I was working on the table, I got the idea that I wanted to do an article on it in either Fine Woodworking or Popular Woodworking. I may still try that, but I want to first get the table in a magazine for people who BUY furniture rather than make it.) For other marketing, I’ve got two ideas I’m going to try. The first is to contact design blogs that feature products—there are a million that are cooking-related and might be interested in featuring cutting boards. there are also a million that focus on home decor. Blogs are incredibly influential—they have thousands of followers and they all repost things from each other, so the reach can be quite wide. (As a case study, look at RedOnion Woodworks on Etsy. https://www.etsy.com/shop/RedOnionWoodworks According to the site, the person has made 933 sales. With an average price of about $60, that’s almost $60,000 in sales… These are nice, simple cutting boards—very easy to make because they are one piece of wood—no gluing, etc. They would also be easy to ship. Anyway, how did this person get so many sales? One way of getting exposure is to do a giveaway on a blog. Here’s an example: http://jennyndesign.blogspot.com/2011/03/giveaway-red-onion-woodworks.html . The idea is that people who read the blog go to the Red Onion etsy page, then make a comment on the blog about what they like. In this one, 183 people entered, so 183 people interested in cutting boards went to the person’s Etsy site. She had to sacrifice one cutting board, but got lots of eyes on her products. There are more influential blogs that run these kinds of giveaways and they get over 1,000 responses…)

The other idea, on a local basis, is to put some items in charity auctions. When a nonprofit has a fundraising event with an auction, lots of people with money show up. Yes, you’ll be giving away some of your work, but this is a good way of getting an example of your work in front of lots of people in a position to buy it. I plan to do a couple of these in the next few months. There are lots of them going into the holidays.

Thanks for letting me ramble.

-- Mitch, http://furnitude.blogspot.com Also blog at http://www.craftsy.com/blog/author/mitch-roberson/

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bigblockyeti

1469 posts in 347 days


#50 posted 291 days ago

Just a couple quick thoughts, I agree with some of the earlier posts, the price is too high, but not way to high. I don’t think you should be selling yourself short and giving them away, but maybe cut the price in half. That Maxima, though not made for towing, would have no problem pulling a little 4’ x 8’ folding trailer from Harbor Freight that should be able to haul quite a bit of furniture. As for getting your wares somewhere they can be better seen, I’m struggling with that a little myself. Most of what I do is smaller, especially cutting boards that I don’t make on spec, I make for those who want one and to the dimensions/shape they want. Most of my stuff has been done by word of mouth and the bigger stuff is no doubt more difficult to move and warehouse due to a number of variables, wish I could be more helpful in that regard.

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