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Forum topic by rozzi posted 10-20-2009 05:27 AM 3367 views 0 times favorited 5 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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323 posts in 2741 days

10-20-2009 05:27 AM

My wife just lost her job of 19 years due to a lost account so we have been thinking of opening some type of business. For several years we have been renting space in an antique mall and selling different items. I always wished that we had a store where I could sell some of my woodworking projects in a similar manner. First I rent floor space and then the store charges a commsion on each item sold. They handle the sales tax, employees and all other expenses. Does anyone sell their woodworking projects in a similar manner. If so I am wondering what the market will bare. Any thoughts or ideas will be appreciated.

-- Duane, Iowa

5 replies so far

View Paul M Cohen's profile

Paul M Cohen

86 posts in 3197 days

#1 posted 10-20-2009 06:46 AM

My wife and I have tried several methods and none are perfect. We have done a flea-market operating on weekends ($30 per weekend) and people generally did not want to pay for handmade work. We did better at farmers markets ($20-$30 a day) May till October but weather made it difficult to sell to predict traffic/sales and over a year I would call it break-even given the required insurance costs, one time setup costs and hours required to attend the booth. Now we have a rental retail space ($200/month) in a store that sell our stuff when we are not their, they make no commission on the sale. Due to the handmade nature of what we sell, mostly we get leads and then meet the clients on the days we work, in doing this for two months we are starting to see results but have not yet covered costs.

I am glad I have another business to pay the bills while this business takes off. You might also want to look into ETSY and eBAY and sell online, overhead is much lower but shipping is an issue.

If you want more details/advice send me a PM.

-- Paul, Beaverton OR,

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 3358 days

#2 posted 10-20-2009 12:10 PM

I think, with the right layout and products, something could work. I’ve sent you a PM with some thoughts.

-- Working at Woodworking

View NY_Rocking_Chairs's profile


507 posts in 3016 days

#3 posted 10-20-2009 12:43 PM

I sell through art and furniture galleries across western and upstate NY. I never pay for floor space but that allows the gallery to display my work in a manner they see fit, which is usually better than what I could come up with anyway, seeing as they are the retail experts.

So the galleries all take a % based commission, which covers their employees, paperwork, insurance for the items there, etc. If a gallery requests a custom piece (usually a customer request) then the commission % decreases since the gallery doesn’t really have to handle and store the piece for more than a few days.

I sell through my web-site but while getting a web site published is easy, generating traffic takes time. Sites like FaceBook and MySpace allow me to use their marketing as well, I have a page for the business on FB and run an ad campaign through FB which has generated increased traffic and revenue.

The craft show circuit is hit-or-miss. This year was better than 2008 and by 2010 hopefully there is even better recovery with people and their spending.

Good luck with whatever you endeavor to do.

-- Rich, anybody want a peanut?

View DustyNewt's profile


671 posts in 3281 days

#4 posted 10-25-2009 06:23 AM

I used to travel and do mall shows all over the country back in the 80’s and early 90’s. My wife and I did really well but you have to keep traveling or you burn out your market. I don’t even know if it is feasible anymore with regulations, codes and insurance being whatever they are.

We’ve had booths at antique malls as well, but unless you are in a high traffic area it is hard to make a living from these sales. Consignment shops are another route but they must be well managed and have a high turnover of merchandise to keep customers coming back. Larger cities are best for places like these.

I now am lucky to have a job that pays the bills, but I cannot give up the woodworking. Most of my stuff is small so I sell strictly on-line now to suppliment our income. ETSY and EBAY are great tools and starting points, but the fees will kill you if you’re not careful. I figure shipping into all my prices so that what the customer sees is what the customers pays. They seem to be drawn to the “FREE SHIPPING” tag.

I have built my own site using Google Sites (free) and pay $10 a year for a domain name. It takes time to generate traffic and you need to dedicate a couple hours a day to networking it, but after two years I am finally starting to see some real traffic without the fees to deal with. Watch out for companies who say they can do this for you, fast. No one knows your product like you.

The most important part of any business is perseverance. If you know you’ve got a great product, keep plugging away and eventually it will find its own niche.


-- Peace in Wood ~

View bruc101's profile


1075 posts in 2961 days

#5 posted 10-25-2009 07:21 AM

We’ve been in business many years and in 1994 we opened our fist web site and about the same time we started working on a dealer network. For us direct marketing has always worked best for our business but it takes time, a lot of effort and patience and money to get everything coming together to work. We’re also going to open our first showroom in our area and very near our shop. We’re fortunate to live and work in a resort area where a lot of rich have vacations homes and come to play The road by us is a major connection to their homes plus art galleries so we feel like we will have a high volume of traffic that will stop in our store. We also designed and built thee “Collections” of Furniture to fit into three different markets several years ago and one of them is keeping us busy when the kitchen cabinetry fell apart during this recession. We have three business web sites for obvious reasons to keep everything separated but linked together and between the three we average 3000 hits a day. Trust me, this does not come over night like Scott posted. It takes a lot of computer time doing your own SEO into the internet and building a clean reputation in here. The more back links you have the more visitors to your sites you’ll have and trust me again,that takes a lot of digging and work to get the better ones. I have a woodworking friend that has a site that draws a lot of hits and he’s building a free plans site ( serious plans ) and going to let other woodworkers such as the ones in here put their links on his site to help draw visitors to their sites off his back links. He and his wife are in another country right now doing an adoption and are suppose to be home Monday. I think he has the site almost completed and any of you that are interested in putting a link to your site on it should be no problem for you. He explains back links on this site and has an email form to complete and send to him so he can add your site. I’ll check with him when he returns and see if he’s ready to go public with the site and let you know.


-- Bruce Free Plans

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