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Forum topic by Bill posted 2747 days ago 2126 views 1 time favorited 31 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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Bill

2579 posts in 2765 days


2747 days ago

This may be related to another topic on selling, but I thought it would be good as a separate topic.

How does everyone sell their products? Are these placed in local stores, offered online, work in cooperation with architects, or what?

While I am in my start up phase, I have focused on the products specific customers want. I now need to expand my business and am interested in hearing how others sell their products.

Any thoughts?

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com


31 replies so far

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 2918 days


#1 posted 2747 days ago

Probably as many ways to sell as there are woodworkers. My creative stuff is almost impossible to sell. I would love to find an outlet it. The other side is I’ve made a good living doing woodworking. Many of my jobs have come “word of mouth”. Yesterday I went to give a woman a price to cut down her countertop.(I did everything in my power to convince her it was a bad idea! Some salesman!) I ended up giving her a price for a 9 foot custom bench/box thing I would love to build. I’ve had some furniture in some log/rustic stores that would sit for 2 or 3 years. Yet in that time the store would have a slightly different piece custom built based of the piece that didn’t sell. I worked for a fellow who based his buisness on building kitchens. We did job after job after job for people who all went to the same church. The guy I worked for had never gone to that church…he just did good work. Sales is NOT my strong point…this is just what has worked for me.

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2840 days


#2 posted 2747 days ago

I sold a pay phone to the Church I attened for 15 years, so i decided that I could sell ice cubes to Eskimos. I just need to be able to convince them that they “Need” ice cubes, because their frozen water isn’t as good as mine.

Problem I’ve found is that a lot of people have a “Wal-Mart” mentality and they want Custom furniture for a particle board price. To get them out of that mental attitude takes an Act of God.

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2764 days


#3 posted 2747 days ago

an idea for the the “creative stuff”
You might go to a “classy” restaurant and ask if they’d like to use a piece in their decor. They win: getting a creative piece of art for free rental; you win: free display/promotion of your work – and it is going to be shown to the clientele who would buy it; and the clients win: sitting in the presence of great art AND learning about a woodworking artist that they hadn’t heard about before. All the restaurant has to do is post a card stating the name of the piece, your name and contact information.
Another place might be a spa / salon

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2931 days


#4 posted 2747 days ago

to continue on Debbies, train of thought….

I’ve been to a couple B&B’s that had all sorts of art for sale, from cards to paintings… (just don’t pick any in my neighborhood!)

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View frank's profile

frank

1492 posts in 2809 days


#5 posted 2747 days ago

Hi Bill;
—-’I have a want to sell’ and ‘if i do’ and then comes ‘when i do’ sell is an equation that Einstein never figured out and is probably more along the lines that are now being written concerning the use of quantum physics. What this means in plain English is, a lot of hard work combined with being in the right place, at the right time, and meeting that right person. I’m not trying to be funny here by my answer, but will just tell you that the answer probably will never be found from what others tell you, and that you will have to go and find your own way. We, as others can give you much good advice, but you will have to walk that road by yourself and find your own avenue of expression.

A lot has to do with what you are trying to sell, ‘one of a kind’ or ‘many after the same kind’. What is the price range you are going after, ‘high end’, ‘middle’ and then there is ‘affordable to the many without breaking the bank’.

I have found that it is best to get this all decided before you start trying to sell, as one of the hardest things to do is change your canoe sitting position and direction in the middle of the river. There is nothing harder then getting a following because of what you are selling and then changing your design of style or price range. Folks will tend to say, “talk to you latter”, which means I’ll call you and no need to call me. And of course they don’t call anymore, so you start over.

Plan to spend long hours marketing yourself or be ready to pay someone else to do this for you. Plan to start looking into doing shows and spending some money long before you start getting results, unless it is your time and ‘you are in the right place at the right time and meet that right person’! Websites are not the end all anymore as you need to look into getting a blogsite and then start blogging, and I mean blog, blog, and more blog even if you think no-one is reading. ”If you will set a pattern, then that pattern will become a habit and that habit will lead you to success!” Again as you sow, so shall you reap—-just remember that that seed you put into the ground, first goes out of view and dies before it springs forth out of the ground bearing good fruit! Again yes, expect that the idea of what you are doing may die many times over before the fruit comes into view and don’t give up!!! And yes, besides being a worker of wood, my wife and I also do berry fruit and vegtable raising here in the summer time.

You might get to knowing architects and interior designers in your area and then go on the internet and find more. Start emailing to them, with photos of your work and then the next month send them a brochure of yourself, your company and your current work. I have found that current work is best as that way you don’t overload them with a massive pile of what you did back when. Short and to the point is best. Then follow up with monthly updates on what you are doing and where you are going. Sound like a lot of work, well yes it is and I have talked with folks who market artist and they tell me that the number one reason why artists fail, ”is because they fail to market ‘themselves’, did you hear me”? Not because of failing to market their work, but becaust the artist fails to market him//her-self! You see, every artist is a story in themselves and most artist are so busy making art, that they forget to tell their own story! And so remember, when one buys your piece of art, they are not just buying the art, but they are buying a story of the artist also. All you have to do is research the stories of all those past famous artists.

What else can I add, well I will just say that what you make ‘is you’ and what you sell ‘is you’ and so don’t sell yourself for small change unless small change is what you want.

Thats all for now, and
GODSPEED,
Frank

-- --frank, NH, http://rusticwoodart.tumblr.com/

View Don's profile

Don

2599 posts in 2780 days


#6 posted 2747 days ago

Frank, I couldn’t agree more.

In fact, until there is a personal story about the artist, the intrinsic value of the art is somewhat obscure. Your comments are so “on the money” if you pardon my pun. A person is a non-entity before you know his story. And there is nothing more compelling than the story that is each of us.

I always hate the question, “What do you do?” It’s frequently asked as an opener when people first meet. But I think it is crass and irrelevant. I am not “what I do”.

It would be so much better if we asked, “Please tell me about yourself”.

And we need to learn how to tell our story. Write it out, refine it, read it to friends. And make sure that it reflects you and not who you would like to be, or think people would like you to be. Tell your story.

-- CanuckDon "I just love small wooden boxes!" http://dpb-photography.me/

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2764 days


#7 posted 2747 days ago

perhaps the “what do you do” is the unfinished sentence “what do you do to express yourself?” or, “what do you do to feel fulfilled?”
I’m liking this and will be using it in the future. I never thought of the “what do you do” controversy before. Thanks for the pondering!!

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2931 days


#8 posted 2747 days ago

Thanks for that insight…. know that I have (technically) two jobs after 12 years of doing the same thing, there is no way I can simply answer “what I do”.

I am a (in order) son, creative, brother, husband, father, who is interested in varied subjects (mostly creative), I just happen to make a living as a graphic designer and home renovator.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View MsDebbieP's profile

MsDebbieP

18615 posts in 2764 days


#9 posted 2746 days ago

good answer Scott; good answer.

I am a woman, mother, partner, thinker, creator, who tries to express mySelf through photography, my Life Guiding business, my writing, and hopefully woodworking

-- ~ Debbie, Canada (https://www.facebook.com/DebbiePribeleENJOConsultant)

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2765 days


#10 posted 2725 days ago

Isn’t it great, we can get technical advise and a lifestyle philosophy in one place.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

View Obi's profile

Obi

2213 posts in 2840 days


#11 posted 2725 days ago

I take big sticks and make little sticks… then I take the little sticks and make big sticks again. I once dated a woman that told me three thngs:
1) Everything isn’t as funny as you think it is.
2) You’re 28 years old, you can’t go around acting 12
3) I’m leaving and Im not going to see you anymore.
To which I replied:
Everything IS as funny as I think it is…to me.
And I can act 12 years old better than anyone else my age
Don’t let the door hit you on the ass on your way out.

Don, what you do isn’t who you are, but people don’t know how to say “So, Don. What’s your story?”

I love the story, and I love pictures

View scottb's profile

scottb

3647 posts in 2931 days


#12 posted 2724 days ago

Be who you are and say what you feel, because the people who mind don’t matter, and the people who matter don’t mind.

- Dr. Suess

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- http://blanchardcreative.etsy.com -- http://snbcreative.wordpress.com/

View gizzard's profile

gizzard

45 posts in 2756 days


#13 posted 2724 days ago

For high end (priced) creations, visit, email, etc., to all the interior decorators in a 100 mile radius of your shop. Those folks network constantly and if you get your so called “foot in the door” with one of them there’s a good chance you may not be able to keep up with the demand.
My wife told me that. I just don’t want to work that hard. ; )

-- Dennis, Tennessee

View TonyWard's profile

TonyWard

748 posts in 2931 days


#14 posted 2724 days ago

My story is about the same, to survive I employ a number of different opportunities, e.g. direct selling, galleries, craft shops, tourist venues and my web site. In addition to selling the finished product I also sell boxes in the raw (a DIY for those without machinery) and plans via the Internet.

Over time I have become disillusioned and mistrustful with trying to work with shops and galleries, if only for the fact of not having a direct relationship with the client and the vendor’s excessive markup.

At the end of the day I sell more, per volume to fellow woodworkers, closely followed by that small band of wood lovers who provide the bread and butter income. The cream is the elite end of the market (twice a year) for whom price is not an issue.

So against all the best advice I continue to produce single objects that challenge technically, rather than producing to attempt to satisfy the market. I know I’ll never grow rich with this approach, but what the hell I am enjoying the challenge.

Someone said why don’t you write a book, whilst that sounds attractive I think that focusing on such a task diverts/distracts from the opportunity to develop and be creative and explore!

t.w.

-- Bandsawn Box Plans available at ~ http://www.tonyward.org

View Bill's profile

Bill

2579 posts in 2765 days


#15 posted 2724 days ago

Thats for the info Dennis. I will have to see what we have in this area.

Tony, that is an interesting breakdown of your customers. I would not have thought of other woodworkers as being my customers.

-- Bill, Turlock California, http://www.brookswoodworks.com

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