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full time furniture makers? and how long it takes to become one

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Forum topic by treesner posted 11-11-2016 07:11 PM 752 views 0 times favorited 7 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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treesner

167 posts in 804 days


11-11-2016 07:11 PM

Curious if any of you are full time furniture makers? How long do you think it would take to develop the skill, reputation and clients to be able to live off making furniture (which i understand is much harder than cabinetry/finish carpentry ect)?

I understand it’s a hard questions and varies for everyone but interested in what your personal career path was and what the outline looked like.

thanks,
-chris


7 replies so far

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rwe2156

2717 posts in 1321 days


#1 posted 11-12-2016 03:28 PM

Impossible question to answer but I can tell you custom furniture makers are few and far between.

Everyone has their own path to success, no matter what they do.

Too many variables: how talented you are, how fast you learn, location/potential clientel, marketing ability, I could go on.

I’ve also given this subject some thought and here’s my thinking:

You definitely have to develop some skills so that is what you need to focus on now. Build a portfolio of a few pieces and get a professional photographer to create brochure for you. Watch lots of videos, and build a few pieces just to practice joinery, and don’t hesitate to throw it in the burn pile when you’re all done.

You need potential clientele. This means people with money & people who like historical furniture means they are likely to live in historical houses. Interior designers, real estate agents, and contractors can open doors for you. Being open to furniture repairs and refinishing can get your foot in the door with the right client.

You need exposure. This means marketing. Facebook, flyers, or a display at arts fairs, local markets, etc. If there is a historic section in your town, I would focus on that.

This is just my thinking I have no experience actually doing any of it but I’ve been self employed in business for 30+ years and I know most of your business will come by word of mouth and it takes patience and perseverance to succeed.

Oh, and don’t quit your day job…....

-- Everything is a prototype thats why its one of a kind!!

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waho6o9

8037 posts in 2417 days


#2 posted 11-12-2016 03:30 PM

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JackDuren

341 posts in 799 days


#3 posted 11-12-2016 10:03 PM



Curious if any of you are full time furniture makers? How long do you think it would take to develop the skill, reputation and clients to be able to live off making furniture (which i understand is much harder than cabinetry/finish carpentry ect)?

I understand it s a hard questions and varies for everyone but interested in what your personal career path was and what the outline looked like.

thanks,
-chris

- treesner

You need to work for a company to see your worth. There’s no actual answer for each individual.

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

27122 posts in 2178 days


#4 posted 11-12-2016 10:55 PM

7 years and still haven’t made it full time. Inching forward. Lots of work.

-- Mother Nature created it, I just assemble it.

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jbay

1862 posts in 739 days


#5 posted 11-12-2016 11:09 PM



7 years and still haven t made it full time. Inching forward. Lots of work.

- Monte Pittman

You sure put out enough work to make it seem like full time. :)

-- If anyone would like to see my Portfolio, PM me and I would be glad to send you the link.

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Dabcan

255 posts in 2511 days


#6 posted 11-13-2016 01:06 AM

I agree with the others, pretty tricky to answer as it depends on so many factors. I’ve been working for 5 years at this, I’m up to about 25 hours a week, but less in summers. This suits me fine as I have a young daughter and I spend the rest of my time with her. I’m fortunate my wife earns enough to pay the bills, although I do contribute and we could survive on my earnings, but at this point it would only be survival.

I started out making smaller items: cutting boards, kids toys, and have worked up to making stools, chairs, and some smaller bits of furniture. I find the big trick is once you start with cutting boards, people assume that’s all you can do. But people want to see your portfolio before they commit to a custom piece, so you need to make a bunch of items in order to build up your portfolio. Maybe they never sell, but you get more recognition for what’s possible.

I don’t plan on making custom one off pieces. I’ll do one if asked, but it’s much better money to make small runs of identical pieces. Far too much time is spent on jigs and fixtures to build a custom piece that can be hard to recoup financially. There are customers out ther (depending where you live) but they aren’t as plen idol as we’d all like.

Hope that helps

-- @craftcollectif , http://www.craftcollective.ca, https://www.etsy.com/shop/craftcollective?

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Aj2

1179 posts in 1638 days


#7 posted 11-13-2016 03:55 AM

Chris you have a better chance of becoming president in 4 years.

Aj

-- Aj

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