Going Pro as a Woodworker Part 3 - Developing Your Brand

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Blog entry by Charles Brock posted 03-11-2010 06:27 PM 1794 reads 4 times favorited 10 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Some of the most talented people in the world work in complete anonymity. If they are lucky after death somebody discovers their work and it becomes something of value. A professional should receive re numeration for their work and money too! Ha! How do you make the necessary connections with a qualified customer?

What Is Your Brand?

For years I was a general furniture maker. I built a large number of beds, tables and cupboards. I was a furniture maker with very little identity in a town determined to make price the main issue of any purchase. My plan was to take any (hopefully profitable) job available. Wrong plan!

Specialize! It is a better plan.

What do you want people to associate instantly with your business. With Maloof it was the handcrafted, high-end contemporary rocker. Krenov was known for the small cabinets on a stand. They all had a brand. It didn’t just happen it developed and when they discovered it they were photographed with the piece over and over again. You may have noticed Sam even favored particular angles of his rocker.

First you have to produce a signature piece to develop into your brand. What is your product? What piece of furniture do you make that draws the greatest interest? Is it different? Is it something that will sell as you develop the design? Sam developed the rocker over many pieces. What types of work do you enjoy the most? The piece you are most passionate about is what you will enjoy developing the most.

Once you decide what to build hire a professional photographer to shoot a collection of digital hi-resolution pictures. Have the pictures stored on a disk or card, etc. You will need two of each. One for print (300 resolution) and JPEGs for web use. Don’t skimp! Have shots made with different backgrounds. Lighting and background colors can make most woodwork pop. You have to find the right one though and that will take time and effort.

My big break came from emailing a professionally made picture to a company in hopes of getting a link from their website to my blog. Several weeks later I received a call from the company inviting me to teach the classes that Sam had historically taught at their school. I always lead any print ad or class ad with one of two pictures. One picture includes me, the other is the same picture of the rocker. This picture was chosen because it connects my rocker with the inspiration of Maloof.

Build A Maloof Inspired Rocker with Charles Brock

Next, I will tell you how to get your branded product in front of qualified customers.

-- Charles Brock

10 comments so far

View majeagle1's profile


1426 posts in 3523 days

#1 posted 03-11-2010 07:38 PM

Great blog Charles…............ thanks for taking the time to share with LJ’s and BTW, a big welcome!!!
I just caught this blog, then read your first two. Wonderful information from someonw who’s “been there”....

Look forward to the next

-- Gene, Majestic Eagle Woodworks,,

View Fireguy's profile


132 posts in 3262 days

#2 posted 03-11-2010 07:45 PM

Looking forward to part 4

-- Alex

View jlsmith5963's profile


297 posts in 3375 days

#3 posted 03-11-2010 08:01 PM

So if I understand (please feel free to correct me if I am wrong) your brand is that you do knock offs of Sam Maloof….

-- criticism: the art of analyzing and evaluating the quality of an artistic work...

View Charles Brock's profile

Charles Brock

50 posts in 3034 days

#4 posted 03-11-2010 08:33 PM

You are wrong!

My work is that of a woodworker educator. I teach people to make furniture in the style of Sam Maloof just like one would be trained in or teach Stickley inspired furniture or Krenov style cabinets. My rockers are not copies of any part of any part of his chair. I have a commission I am working on to finish a rocker for a client that he started. I sat his roughed out chair next to mine and there were two glaring revelations. My chair (I knew this) is not a copy of his but what his worked inspired me to build and he is the artist.

-- Charles Brock

View Moron's profile


5032 posts in 3920 days

#5 posted 03-11-2010 10:50 PM

For the lucky few, like Maloof, Krenov, Moser…..........this would appear to work.

I suspect that neither Maloof or Krenov did anything but exceptional work and that their work sold itself and thus “word” spread and now they are somewhat “legends”. Same can be said for Moser. Woodworking is kinda like cooking…......if you make really tasty viddles…........people will come.

BTW… make an awesome chair.

-- "Good artists borrow, great artists steal”…..Picasso

View woodnut's profile


393 posts in 4079 days

#6 posted 03-12-2010 01:58 AM

Another great blog, I look forward to reading the next as soon as I finish the current blog. I don’t see it as building a knock-off. I see it as teaching. Although chair making does not appeal to me I do find your blogs very educational, and hope to be able to apply it to my woodworking. I have not found a signature piece of my own, but maybe someday it will slap me in the face. I’m kinda hard headed that way. Thanks for the great post and keep them coming.

-- F.Little

View RichardH's profile


295 posts in 3029 days

#7 posted 03-12-2010 06:32 AM

I really enjoy your blog posts and hope you continue to share your experiences with the community here. I consider myself much of a novice, but my experiences working with wood have really added to my appreciation of the craft and the people who dedicate themselves to creating and teaching this art. As others have stated, the chairs are truly beautiful.

-- "It's supposed to be hard. If it wasn't hard, everyone would do it...It's the hard that makes it great."

View bill1352's profile


130 posts in 3148 days

#8 posted 03-16-2010 02:48 PM

i think the line goes something like “there is nothing new under the sun”. a table is a table, a rocker, a rocker. the difference comes from the person crafting the item. nobodies eye sees the exact same thing. some woodworkers care more then others. we each put as much effort into a piece as WE chose. thats were the difference is. so unless Maloof invented the rocker all he ever made was a knock-off of the person that made the very first rocker. Thank you for the good direction Mr. Brock.

-- Keep Your Stick On The Ice

View BertFlores58's profile


1698 posts in 2949 days

#9 posted 06-03-2010 04:44 AM

You are really a good teacher! The way I look at it, the more I want to move out from my desk and incorporate the ideas on my class. I’m teaching behavioural skill development Maritime Resource Management, where you need to be aware of the situation firstly and set aside your imagination, skeptical illussions and speculation but concentrate on the REALITY.. Bottom line.. direction is the priority rather than money… I quote LJ Benji Reyes words during our personal meeting, “Money comes later.”

-- Bert

View a1Jim's profile


117120 posts in 3604 days

#10 posted 06-03-2010 04:51 AM

Interesting Blog Charles I’m always looking for different approaches to the woodworking business.
I look forward to you next installment.

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

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