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Forum topic by paulcoyne posted 1593 days ago 1900 views 0 times favorited 14 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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paulcoyne

133 posts in 1622 days


1593 days ago

Topic tags/keywords: question

Hey guys i am interested to know how many people actually make a living/income/wage from their craft work,
myself i usually do two craft shows at xmas and its a nice xmas bonus for me i always had my construction job in the family business but due to the recesion (which ireland is severly strangled by) i lost my job, so i am considering doing this full time the question is will i make enough to pay a morgage ect i know every market is diffrent but generally how many here mke a living from craft work…

slán
Paul

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that


14 replies so far

View hObOmOnk's profile

hObOmOnk

1380 posts in 2629 days


#1 posted 1593 days ago

This is my tenth year in the craft business.
Each year gets better.

Éirinn go Brách

-- 温故知新

View mynoblebear's profile

mynoblebear

722 posts in 1609 days


#2 posted 1593 days ago

All of the shows that I have attended I have been offering high end furniture and as of yet I have only sold one eight hundred dollar table at a show that was fifteen hundred dollars to attend. I have relatives that sell at flee markets on a regular basis and they make in the range of thirty thousand dollars a year. What they say is that the average person that comes to the market has forty dollars in their wallet. They want something for lunch leaving no more than twenty five dollars to purchase something. So if you want to do well keep the majority of your items for sale under thirty dollars and you should do well.

-- Best Regards With Personalized Rocking Chairs And Furniture On My Mind, http://mynoblebear.com

View KayBee's profile

KayBee

980 posts in 1748 days


#3 posted 1593 days ago

I don’t earn a living from woodworking anymore, but used too. I worked a while for a guy that did craft shows. He earned enough to pay me, taxes, health insurance and had wife and kids. Learned a couple of his lessons.

Pick your show very carefully. Every one has a different customer base. Many are a complete waste of time and money. Ask the promoter for NUMBERS. They can usually give them about number of customers,booth averages and types of vendors. If it’s a church run type thing that doesn’t track as well, try and find out sales tax generated at the show. Don’t know if that applies as much in Ireland.

Some shows are just for advertising, not direct sales. This is really true of high end and trade shows. You’re there for contacts, not immediate sales.

Don’t be afraid to offer some customization to get a sale. We made a bunch bud vases that were laser engraved with the customers logo once. Often did different woods to match someone’s decor or favorites.

Hope that helps and good luck.
Karen

-- Karen - a little bit of stupid goes a long way

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paulcoyne

133 posts in 1622 days


#4 posted 1591 days ago

thanks for all the replies so far, mynoblebear i agree with you about that about the small cheaper items they sell so well this year, most of what i make these days are under €20 but still managed to make €500 in 7 hours at a show…

so i guess i shouldnt read too much into this that only 3 members out of 14000 odd make a living from craft work ;)

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

View JasonIndy's profile

JasonIndy

186 posts in 1937 days


#5 posted 1591 days ago

Well, just so there’s no confusion, I definitely do NOT make a living at woodworking. In fact, I’ve been losing money hand over fist since I picked it up as a hobby.

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Puupaja

307 posts in 1602 days


#6 posted 1591 days ago

I have had own company 10 years and tried to do everything… I have work enough but it´s true that you will not get paid every hours you spend in workshop otherwise I would be an millionaire. Also I have dream to have own collection of furnitures but it takes so much effort that I have´t have money and time for it.
Mynoblebear is so right, get money from cheap items a lot easier to sell than real handcrafts..
Matti

-- http://www.facebook.com/pages/Puupaja/357028681017482

View Bob Kollman's profile

Bob Kollman

1791 posts in 1692 days


#7 posted 1591 days ago

If you have something the customer wants… he will buy.

-- Bob Kenosha Wi.

View Todd A. Clippinger's profile

Todd A. Clippinger

8699 posts in 2601 days


#8 posted 1591 days ago

My business is actually based in remodeling. I get the custom work because of the opportunities available when I sell a job.

-- Todd A. Clippinger, Montana, http://americancraftsmanworkshop.com

View ShopCat's profile

ShopCat

48 posts in 2081 days


#9 posted 1591 days ago

Depends on what you mean by making a living. Artisans throughout history have ‘made a living’, few, if any, ever, make a lot of money at it. I’m old/retired from a completely different career (IT systems), so can pick and choose what I make and sell. That’s sort of fortunate, otherwise I would be much leaner than I am (which might not be a bad thing). It’s also given me the time to reflect and research on exactly this problem, since this is now my choice for second career.

My main mentor on this (Peter Korn of www.woodschool.org) taught us to pick something easy to make repeatedly with jigs and set-ups to generate cash flow at the low-end events, and then pick very carefully what we wanted to offer at well researched high price shows. He is a major award winning designer, well known author, heads an internationally renown school, and told us he lived for years on a large jar of rice. When the amount of rice in the jar fell to a low enough level, he would phone home to his father for money to buy more rice. But he ‘made a living’ at furniture design.

That grim message delivered, I still think there is potential. I see a lot of low-end crap for sale at flea-markets. The right custom made product, priced well, at the right place, seems like it should give you some breathing room. No, I have not found my product, but I have seen, and own a few, pieces of custom art that command a moderate but fair price. Flax traditional graphics and carvings from Maori artists in NZ, soap stone engravings from native artists in Belize, water colors from painters in the Bahamas, Intarsia from wood workers in Spain, marquetry music boxes from Italy. It can be done. My suggestion (and plan) is figure out what is distinctive, and local and become the artist that produces that.

-- ShopCat

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paulcoyne

133 posts in 1622 days


#10 posted 1589 days ago

thanks guys for all your expierence and knowlage, only time will tell how i do..

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

View closetguy's profile

closetguy

744 posts in 2394 days


#11 posted 1589 days ago

Like Shopcat says, “Making a Living” is all about your reference point. Kids, college, mortgage, and food drives the reference point. Some can live on a little, some need a lot more.

I have read about some who sell wholesale and do high volume business with small gift shops and online stores all over the country. But these guys are turning out low-end stuff like wine balancers and oven rack pulling sticks. I read a story a couple of years ago about a guy in Virginia that makes 9000 of these things each year and grosses $200,000. Personally, I would shoot myself if I had to make 9,000 of anything. I wonder how he is doing right now?

Most everyone I have met at craft shows have other forms of income, whether it’s a full time job, retirement check or a working spouse. I have not yet been able to “Make a Living” at craft shows. I did 12 shows last year and it brought in a good 2nd income, which is better than going out and working a second job, but if my wife didn’t work and have medical insurance, it would be a tough road in this economy.

The perfect scenario is to be young, single, and living with your parents. I would then say yes, then you can make a living in the craft show business. I personally look at it as a good retirement 2nd income.

-- I don't make mistakes, only design changes....www.dgmwoodworks.com

View ShopCat's profile

ShopCat

48 posts in 2081 days


#12 posted 1589 days ago

I read a story recently (might have been FWW but then again maybe not) about the guy who does the wooden bookmarks for LL Bean. He does thousands every year. His whole shop is optimized to do nothing but book marks. Does a different scrollsaw pattern on different batchs, but otherwise everything is geared to producing numbers. Even has multiple saws set up so he doesn’t have to change anything. It said he had to put a TV next to his bench to keep his mind occupied…

-- ShopCat

View pashley's profile

pashley

957 posts in 2219 days


#13 posted 1589 days ago

Interesting topic.

In our local paper, we have a “Local Artist” feature, in which you can submit yourself for consideration. Well, I did, and boy, DID I EVER. I have been getting, on average, a $400 order every other day or so. Not saying it will last forever, but advertising rocks! It’s all about getting your product in front of other people’s eyes. They can’t buy what they aren’t aware of. This income is a supplemental; my wife brings home the bacon. Going to try my hand at a few craft shows this year; I have an item in mind that I make quick, cheap, is for the outdoors, chicks would dig it, and sell it for $20 – hopefully, a good recipe. We’ll see.

-- Have a blessed day!

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paulcoyne

133 posts in 1622 days


#14 posted 1589 days ago

shopcat that sounds very sad i would hope to enjoy my work as i am doing it i know house payments have to be made but you cant put a price on sanity and i know i would go a little crackers at that kind of repetition. pashley congrats on all the exposure, $400 every couple of days doesnt seem like such a suplemental income, you are so right tho you have to get your products seen and when talking to customers be passionate about what you do..

-- thats not a mistake... i ment that

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