QUESTION- for all you tenured craftsman: selling work,where how, what's worked best for you

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Forum topic by WIbadgerFAN08 posted 10-19-2015 12:47 AM 1458 views 1 time favorited 8 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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2 posts in 1191 days

10-19-2015 12:47 AM

I started wood working a few years back and became addicted right away. I have a” 9-5” so I’m not looking to get rich or replace my job, I don’t do it” for the money” I just love it.I sold a few peices by accident, and I’d like to sell a few more if anything to cover part of all the time and money I’ve put into setting up shop.
My question is this, esty and eBay seem like a joke I’m not listing my work with 18,000 other posts.I live in a small town but it a a tourist town. Things like cutting boards, cribbage boards Maybe some small slabs do you guys have any luck selling wholesale to retail locations?
Ever leave your work on consignment?
Showcase work on website? Then comes question of driving traffic to your site, I’m thinking about this, maybe biding on ad words and useing pay per click..

Basically, taking esty an eBay out of the equation, what’s worked best for you all?

8 replies so far

View ErikF's profile


623 posts in 2482 days

#1 posted 10-19-2015 09:49 AM

I have sold a fair amount of furniture that I’ve made through consignment shops. I did the website thing and etsy- it’s slow getting any traffic to a new webpage and etsy was a pain. Shipping anything larger than a flat rate item wasn’t worth the time and effort (to me anyway).

If you’re looking to do stuff on the side then get your stuff into the local consignment shops and put a card on the items. I got a couple commissions off people seeing a piece but wanting a different setup.

If you’re making interesting stuff then it’ll sell sooner or later. I never made enough to buy a Ferrari but I was able to cover my tool and wood expenses.

-- Power to the people.

View JeffP's profile


573 posts in 1630 days

#2 posted 10-19-2015 10:42 AM

I just saw this and wondered if any of you have tried it:

No charge for listing things, but amazon takes a 12% cut (seems reasonable to me).

-- Last week I finally got my $*i# together. Unfortunately, it was in my shop, so I will probably never find it again.

View Tennessee's profile


2893 posts in 2753 days

#3 posted 10-19-2015 12:10 PM

My personal experience is that although a lot of people thrive on the festival/fair circuit, putting up booths, I’ve resisted ever standing under a little tent for three days.

So I’ve done the consignment route – one museum shop and one gallery. I’ve done OK, not paying my main bills but making some folding money. I also do a website and FB, although I am not a lover of FB.

My guitars, started in late 2009, went 11 months before I sold my first one. I had the help of a local guitar shop, website, and FB. First sale was to a fingerpicker in the Smokies. After that, it seemed to pick up, and now I am starting to slow down a bit on guitars, (I’m 66 this year), with #76 on the bench six years later. I gave away about three of them to my church, and two to a band that eventually dissolved. (So much for promotion…)
All the rest have sold and I don’t build one unless someone commissions one. I’ve had at least one or two waiting while I finished the current for almost 36 months straight.

I also do a lot of repairs, setups and adjustments for local guitar shops. I am also getting to have a name locally with other items, so I’ve recently sold a couple pieces to local people out of the blue. (Coffee table and a small bar.)

I finally decided to try etsy two months ago. It is what it is, a jewelry and craft site. I put up about a dozen golf club hat racks, easy and fairly profitable. Sold one in the first week, then went a full month with nothing but “favorites”, where you know people are just copying your work at home. Then, about a week ago, I got an email from a guy in the NE USA who is putting up a wintertime indoor golf simulator, and wanted to know if I could supply him with six racks so customers would have a place to hang their coats?
Of course…and they are on the bench right now, waiting lacquer so I can send him pics so he can pay me.

So it is like anything else, hard work, good products, and a combination of social networking, consignment, maybe you like the festival idea. It all adds up to hours of work, and sometimes you have to decide – work in the shop, or networking on the computer. Sometimes they seem equal in importance.
Also, have a business card, and pay attention to what money you make. There is a limit on how much “occasional” money you make in your state before you have to declare yourself a business. I hit it after year three, formed a sole proprietor company, and started paying all those little annoying taxes, permit fees, business licenses, etc. I also got insurance, since my homeowners will not cover an accident if someone is in my shop when it is operating,(and making money in their eyes) or if say, someone breaks a string on one of my guitars and cuts themselves. So, I have insurance for that.

Good luck!!

-- Tsunami Guitars and Custom Woodworking, Cleveland, TN

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2688 posts in 3160 days

#4 posted 10-19-2015 12:42 PM

I have tried consignments and had zero success. I think my product needs to be handled and seen up close to sell well so I do not try to sell on line any more. I do one day festivals and street fairs here in West Texas. I do not drive over an hour away from my home to these. I sell over 1/2 of my total sales at a weekly farmers market. I sell cedar boxes with images or lettering inlaid into the hinged lids. I also sell a few toys, that I make, using free scraps from construction sites. I started out making toys seven years ago, and find them to be the most lucrative. I have also made wooden vases, fireplace bellows, crosses, and intarsia, but for the time spent making these the price is too high to sell well at these shows. I sell about three hundred boxes a year at twenty dollars each. Material cost is two dollars each and it takes me about two hours each to make when I make them ten to twenty at a time. I am sure one could get more money per box in a bigger city, but I do not want to drive very far and pay for lodging.

-- No PHD just a DD214 Website>

View a1Jim's profile


117417 posts in 3815 days

#5 posted 10-19-2015 01:56 PM

Great ideas guys

-- wood crafting & woodworking classes

View XquietflyX's profile


339 posts in 1199 days

#6 posted 10-20-2015 07:20 PM

I’ve been carving mushrooms, people seem to like them.

-- You can tell a lot about your wife by her hands, for example if they are around your throat she's prolly pissed off at you...

View WIbadgerFAN08's profile


2 posts in 1191 days

#7 posted 10-21-2015 04:45 PM

Thanks for the detailed reply posts, good ideas. This site is great, best one I’ve seen and used for wood working. I’ve toyed around with the cedar box idea but was thinking more of a really nice cedar crate, you ever had any luck with that or seen them around?

I never gave much thought to cutting boards until ny wife asked me to make one, I didn’t want to slop one together so I went all out, I was blown away with all the pattern a for end grain boards honestly I didn’t even know about them till recently, I was even more shocked at the price tags

In have it in my head how that this is the way to go if I want to keep wood working and at least cover my expenses. Am I right or wrong here?

View Puzzleman's profile


417 posts in 3182 days

#8 posted 10-21-2015 09:21 PM

Everyone will market a different way depending upon their situation. I started out doing A&C shows for a few years when I had a regular job. Did local shows in the area. Once my feet were wet, I found local stores calling me to carry my products, so I started doing wholesale with them.

Since you are in a tourist area, I would look into selling in gift / souvenir shops. I would suggest making items that you can put something about the local area in it. Suggestions would be like a cutting board that you can carve the town name or something special about the area into it.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

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