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Forum topic by poopiekat posted 09-20-2011 04:29 PM 2323 views 3 times favorited 44 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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poopiekat

3630 posts in 2388 days


09-20-2011 04:29 PM

Topic tags/keywords: marketing strategy online retailing knockdown furniture craft selling

Like most Lumberjocks, I’m not a fan of IKEA. Yet they are a force to be reckoned with if you produce furniture for the homeowner market, that is for sure! I saw a fascinating article in the business section of the paper, which shed light on why IKEA is what works for most people. According to the article, researchers from Harvard, Duke, and Tulane Universities discovered that by increasing the amount of labor required for a product by the consumer actually increased the owner’s appreciation for it! ”In some cases, people value their handmade creations five times more than when the same items are given to others pre-assembled. They refer to this as ‘The IKEA Effect’, referring to the Swedish retailer.” The article went on to use examples also, such as ‘Build-A-Bear” and instant cake mixes, both of which give the consumer a feeling of extra satisfaction, having contributed their own labor to the final product. The positive value of the consumer feeling a great sense of accomplishment through participating in the creation of a product should not be ignored. ”The researchers’ message is that labor isn’t simply meaningful…it’s marketable” according to the article.
NOW… my bubble is burst! I now have a way to explain my penchant for buying a distressed antique piece of furniture, refabricating, restoring, refinishing, and then getting too attached to it to sell it! AHA! But, the principle point I wish to make is this: For all the highly motivated woodworkers that hit the brick wall when it comes to marketing big woodenwares only to find it impossible to ship their products economically, why not consider designing your creations to be ‘knock-down’ construction? Then you can ship in flat boxes, and your customers would love it! p.s. please don’t use this thread for venting your spleen about IKEA. I posted this in a forum offering a constructive suggestion for craft marketers! Quotes are from ‘Postmedia News’

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!


44 replies so far

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poopiekat

3630 posts in 2388 days


#1 posted 09-20-2011 04:32 PM

Here’s a link that woodenware retailers might find helpful: http://hbr.org/web/2009/hbr-list/ikea-effect-when-labor-leads-to-love
Hope you find it interesting!
I now have a better understanding of those unfinished furniture stores, and I’ve seen the proud faces of people who stained and poly’d their purchases, and I dared not comment on the quality of the finish because they were so PROUD of what they did! I never made the connection, the consumer adding value and ultimately enhancing his/her self-image by being part of the creative process. I also recall, back in the late 60’s, the so-called Nomadic furniture designs, furniture meant to be easily knocked down and transported from place to place, (mostly in VW buses but that’s another story another time). The concept works!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Brit

5148 posts in 1497 days


#2 posted 09-20-2011 04:52 PM

I for one would buy furniture flat-packed that had half-blind and through dovetails and that came with a little pot of glue and I had to assemble it myself. What I mean is self-assembly furniture for the thinking man/woman who has a mallet and an ounce of intelligence. The furniture would cost less and so would the delivery, but I’d still end up with a solidly built piece that would last for years.

-- Andy -- Old Chinese proverb say: If you think something can't be done, don't interrupt man who is doing it.

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poopiekat

3630 posts in 2388 days


#3 posted 09-20-2011 05:01 PM

Thanks, Andy! Well-said. For sure there is an untapped market of apartment dwellers, condo residents and others who want the feel of hand-crafted furniture with their own hand in the creation of it. To have furniture in your home without the expense of a fully equipped shop and oodles of time, what’s not to like? Who is out there, making high-end, pre-machined components that a crafty homeowner can glue up and tap together, and finish with their chosen stain?

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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andy6601

79 posts in 1122 days


#4 posted 09-20-2011 05:01 PM

That is really intertesting I always love to hear about these sorts of things, as it is something that you would not think of. However it hits you like a ton of bricks, because people are people no matter how “advanced” we think we have become. By finding new ways to market goods we are still playing off of the old dusty human nauture! Times change but people do not. Great find!

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Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2089 days


#5 posted 09-20-2011 05:55 PM

I understand and appreciate the concept and agree that there are some who would take delight in assembling and finishing a piece of “furniture”. However, I think that as a one man LJ shop you would have to be very careful at what you do and offer. Most LJs are very creative and spend a lot of time making different items and regard themselves as craftsmen, not manufacturers. The difference is stark, you either create a variety of items that come out of your head for pleasure or you make the same thing over and over again ad infinitum.

To offer “kits” for an LJ would involve tooling up and “dry” assembly of each project to make sure all goes together well. Then you would have to disassemble and pack the pieces and ship, this is a HUGE labor and time consumption. On the other had, tooled up manufacturing plants with CNC equipment would not have the need to test fits, and their “parts line” pieces would go directly to packaging and shipment areas.

I agree there is a good market for assemble and finish your own furniture, but as an independent LJ you have to be prepared to become a “factory worker” and come up with some items that are not critical of fits.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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Sawkerf

1730 posts in 1723 days


#6 posted 09-20-2011 06:13 PM

Rex & Kat -

Yes, there are “some” who enjoy assembling and finishing furniture, but from a business perspective, are there enough of them to justify that business model. Several years ago, there were several unfinished furniture stores around here, but now I can’t think of more than one or two. I don’t think that the market was untapped – it was never really that big from the start.

I do quite a bit of custom furniture for apartment/condo dwellers and few of them have any interest in a DIY piece. Most of them enjoy the design phase where they get to determine many of the parameters of the finished piece, but they’re quite happy to have me make it happen. At best, they like getting pictures of their stuff as I build it.

As far as Ikea goes, they used to have some pretty decent products, and their pricing was unbeatable. Their model is mass production of well designed pieces that are easily assembled by anyone smart enough to use an Allen wrench and screwdriver. I’ve sent several prospective customers to an Ikea store to see if they could sell them what they needed. If Ikea couldn’t, I had a paying customer. – lol

-- Adversity doesn't build character...................it reveals it.

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Cosmicsniper

2199 posts in 1813 days


#7 posted 09-20-2011 06:24 PM

There might be some psychology at play there, but make no mistake about it, people buy knock-down, particleboard furniture (Ikea, Walmart, or otherwise) because it is cheap. I doubt very seriously that “some-assembly required” appeals to a whole lot of people.

Ikea is popular because it’s cheap and it looks good, despite its cheapness. In other words, if you do charge 60% for a version that needs end-user assembly, you will selling them because they cost less, not because you get the satisfaction of finishing it yourself.

In the U.S. in particular, we poison our bodies by eating fast food because we are lazy…I doubt very seriously that people enjoy assembling all their kids’ Christmas toys.

-- jay, www.allaboutastro.com

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CharlieM1958

15696 posts in 2872 days


#8 posted 09-20-2011 06:31 PM

I think I just might start selling photos of my boxes packaged along with a few scraps of wood, and call it a kit.

-- Charlie M. "Woodworking - patience = firewood"

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poopiekat

3630 posts in 2388 days


#9 posted 09-20-2011 07:03 PM

Hope everyone took a moment to visit the link posted above. The concept of the value-added benefit of customer labor is a tangible marketing strategy. Though not specifically stated, I was thinking of upscale furniture, not flakeboard goods peddled by mega-retailers. I’m attracted to things like muzzle-loading kits, wooden handplane kits, flyrods and other high-end products which the hobbyist can make at home. The experience of putting together an heirloom artifact from provided materials, while admittedly not everybody’s cup of tea, is a tradition which could be extended easily to woodworking. The clientele, of course would be a different element of the market than consumers who simply want to furnish their condo. And yet, if IKEA is only a mail-order option, the stuff arrives disassembled.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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poopiekat

3630 posts in 2388 days


#10 posted 09-20-2011 07:15 PM

Charlie: There is merit in what you say, but as Brit mentioned, if the wood was pre-machined so that a customer, perhaps lacking machinery at home, could assemble the parts into a nice dovetailed jewelry box, hey, why not? No, of course the average joe sixpack just wants to snag a gift and give it to his wife… but there are others who are looking for a rewarding pastime, and pre-dimensioned, pre-machined components in a flat parcel package would be of interest to that type of buyer who is willing to put his/her own stamp on it by assembling and finishing it to one’s own tastes. From the git-go, my point is how the concept of home assembly might be of benefit to online furniture crafters trying to find a way over the hump of those deal-breaking freight costs, and capitalizing on the glow of buyer-supplied labor. Yee-haw!

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2089 days


#11 posted 09-20-2011 07:24 PM

Poopie:
Do I see your “vision” as a veiled marketing ploy to recruit new LJs. ? :-)

Call it “Poopie Carrot Marketing” lol

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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poopiekat

3630 posts in 2388 days


#12 posted 09-20-2011 07:43 PM

Roger,
I’d be delighted to know what you thought of the linked article, and whether reading this thread was useful, or a waste of time, my friend.

-- Einstein: "The intuitive mind is a sacred gift, and the rational mind is a faithful servant. We have created a society that honors the servant and has forgotten the gift." I'm Poopiekat!!

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Puzzleman

332 posts in 1598 days


#13 posted 09-20-2011 08:38 PM

Poopie, I like the premise of the article. I agree that having customers put their labor into it is an idea worth pursuing. By being able to enable shipping and delivery through UPS & FedEX, you have dramatically increased the amount of potential customers.

Several of my products are shipped broken down to facilitate shipping. I have not had any complaints from my customers concerning putting the pieces together as I send explicit directions, all hardware and have how-to videos on my website. The only problems that I have has are the normal ones of very infrequently having shipping damage. However, one must be able to duplicate a part to send the replacement instead of another whole piece.

I think that might be the problem for most people as they do one off’s with no way to duplicate the pieces exactly. Perhaps using jigs would help.

As far as manufacturing mentioned above, if we are working for money, we are a factory. Maybe a small one but we are a factory. If you are not, then this is a hobby and that is a different kettle of fish. You are not as dependent on making sales to keep your income up.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler, http://www.hollowwoodworks.com

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Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2089 days


#14 posted 09-20-2011 08:42 PM

Poopie,
I am not all that a fan of articles, especially those posted by “bliss experts”. Mostly they utter opinions and articles from the wrong part of their bodies – their bowels, not the brain.
During my teaching career I was astounded how many “professors” had no concept of how things are done in today’s world, they were 50 years behind the times and their teaching of subject matter was not valid anymore, they were out of touch with reality, they were long haul “professional” teachers. I refer to higher education levels, not to junior education where I know the teachers try hard to be current – bravo.
Yet, if you see some item of concern being investigated on your TV news, it is stupid that they (TV news) seek out and interview tenured College and University num-nums who have no experience in today’s world ways and have never got their hands dirty actually doing the task the questions are about.
We should not need to select articles that agree or disagree with your own point of view to prove what we as individuals feel. Nobody is completely right, but you as an individual are the closest, trust your own instincts, then you don’t have anyone else to praise or blame, only yourself.
Take everything with a pinch of salt.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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Roger Clark aka Rex

6940 posts in 2089 days


#15 posted 09-20-2011 08:53 PM

Puzzleman:

I think most LJs consider themselves as “Artistes”.

They have the same vision of their work as a sculptor, portrait painter or custom jeweler might have, heaven forbid they be classed as a factory worker.

I produce sweat and urine, but don’t consider myself a factory worker.
I understand what you are saying, but I don’t think skilled or hobby woodworkers would be thrilled to be known as factory worker, unless you called it a love factory where their labor brings them great joy – and money too.

-- Roger-R, Republic of Texas. "Always look on the Bright Side of Life" - An eyeball to eyeball confrontation with a blind person is as complete waste of Time.

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