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Forum topic by nate22 posted 12-16-2013 07:58 PM 1561 views 2 times favorited 23 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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nate22

424 posts in 1525 days


12-16-2013 07:58 PM

I am looking to make more smaller items. What are some items that sell good. Some of the things I was thinking of was clocks, toys, puzzles, and a couple of other things. What are something’s that you guys would suggest.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.


23 replies so far

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Jim Finn

1671 posts in 1571 days


#1 posted 12-17-2013 04:11 AM

$5 toys sell very well and can be made (mass produced) efficiently. There is a liability there that I do not like so I no longer make toys. I make cedar boxes with maple inlays and they sell well for $20 each. Most are 11” x 7.5” x 2” with simple hinged lid. Once you get practiced at it and get a system you can make one in about 1 1/2 hours with $4 worth of materials. That is making about 15 at a time. Not great pay but you may be able to sell them for more in a bigger market than I have here in West Texas. Lettering of sports teams signs I sell for $5 each and stack cut six at a time. Intarsia does not sell as well for me but I do sell a little. I make functioning and decorative fireplace bellows of wood leather and brass but there is a limited market for them. I can just barely sell them here for $30. My most lucrative items has been rubber band shooters, pistols and rifles. I can make 4 per hour out of MDF scraps and sell them for $5 each. Some folks do well making and selling puzzles but I did not.

-- In God We Trust

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Loren

7532 posts in 2297 days


#2 posted 12-17-2013 05:02 AM

I’ve noticed some furniture makers build fine boxes
with dovetailed corners, figured woods, little carved
handles, fine little hinges…. stuff like that – objects
of desire.

Presumably people buy them as gifts.

The more high-endish you go, the less competition
risk at a given venue… things like cutting boards and
bird houses are a bit problematic because there
can be some downward price pressure. Things
involving furniture grade joinery or bent curves
make the work more proprietary, which is a good
thing because it helps you set prices in a sort
of vacuum, as opposed to in relation to the guy
in the next aisle doing something similar.

You could look at shaker boxes, wood baskets,
shoe racks (people ask about those), jewelry
boxes and ring trays, funerary boxes, light
fixtures and candle holders… and so on.

If you are doing un-juried shows or shows with
lax rules, look at buying stuff like fancy switchplates,
stained glass doodads and so forth to resell. The
profit margins can be pretty high. Use the nice
woodworking to draw people in, then sell them
something inexpensive they don’t need to find
a place for.

-- http://lawoodworking.com

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Monte Pittman

14094 posts in 988 days


#3 posted 12-17-2013 10:48 AM

Everyone has to find what works for them. One thing I constantly push is be unique. At shows many jewelry booths complain that it’s slow. That’s because there are 10 of them selling the same thing. Whatever I put in my booth, I want to be the only one who has it.

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

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BigFoot Products Canada

620 posts in 2042 days


#4 posted 12-17-2013 11:07 AM

I agree with Monte. UNIQUE is the KEY to sales.
If it’s already been done don’t do it.
Use your skills and design something NEW!

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nate22

424 posts in 1525 days


#5 posted 12-17-2013 08:20 PM

Thanks for the comments so far. From the comments you guys have put on here I see boxes might sell well. If I make puzzles would 1/2” thinkness be alright. And what thickness should I use to make boxes.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.

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Jim Finn

1671 posts in 1571 days


#6 posted 12-17-2013 10:09 PM

I make my boxes using 3/8” stock.

-- In God We Trust

View BTimmons's profile

BTimmons

2123 posts in 1135 days


#7 posted 12-17-2013 10:13 PM

Nate -

Depends on the box. If it’s small, 1/2 or 3/8 is fine. If it’s something big like a blanket chest, 3/4 or similar would be better.

-- Brian Timmons - http://www.BigTWoodworks.com

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nate22

424 posts in 1525 days


#8 posted 12-17-2013 11:23 PM

Does cutting boards sell good for you guys or not.
Or would it be a waste of my time to make them and try to sell them.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.

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Puzzleman

331 posts in 1594 days


#9 posted 12-19-2013 11:51 AM

Doesn’t everyone and their brother do cutting boards? Sure seems that way. always see one or two vendors at the shows I do having cutting boards. If you do decide to do cutting boards do something different that no one else does.

Concerning puzzle thickness, there are a lot of puzzles out there in the 1/8” thickness. Makes it easier to stack cut and maximize efficiencies.

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

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nate22

424 posts in 1525 days


#10 posted 12-20-2013 10:55 AM

You guys that sell your things did you start with only one product or did you do more than one. I have read on some other businesses where they started with one thing and over time added other products. Should I stick to one product or do 2 or 3 products? Any thoughts or opions.

-- K & N Furniture Middlebury, In.

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coachmancuso

259 posts in 581 days


#11 posted 12-20-2013 11:43 AM

The small items I sell at shows are pens, and bottle stoppers, and trinket boxes. They are small and move fast. With the small things everyone that shows up has 10 -15 dollars to spend but not everyone has $100 to spend . Another idea is band saw boxes

-- Coach Mancuso

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Tennessee

1447 posts in 1164 days


#12 posted 12-20-2013 12:24 PM

For me, I’ve tried to stay with 3-4 things that I can do fairly fast and well. The guitars are in a category by themselves. I can make the quickie stuff around the guitars, which are more high priced and time consuming, with a lot of geometry, hand rubbed finishes and setup time.
For all the quickie stuff, I am currently on wine bottle holders, bandsaw boxes of all types, chimes and very simple clocks. I’ve been asked recently to add simple traditional jewelry boxes, and I am looking into styles that won’t hold me up.
Stick with some core items, and the occasional fun stuff comes along by itself.

-- Paul, Tennessee, http://www.tsunamiguitars.com

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Puzzleman

331 posts in 1594 days


#13 posted 12-20-2013 12:26 PM

I started out with about 10 different items and quickly expanded to 20 different puzzles. Then I evolved to only doing personalized items and dropping most of the stock items. At that time I reduced my items by half to only 10 products. Now I have focused mainly on the personalization with some newer and cheaper stock items that you can’t find elsewhere. My product list is up to over 50 different products.

Product lines ebb and flow. Something will sell for a while and then drop off. Or the cost of the product goes too high for any one to buy it. Or it is a flop from the beginning. I have had all of these happen to me. But if you don’t keep bringing new ideas to the market place, what will your previous customers buy. This dawned on me one day when a good customer came by my booth and said I won’t be buying anymore from you as all of my grand kids are growing up. This lady loved my products, quality and workmanship. It was that her grand kids had gotten older. So I started coming up with product lines for older kids and adults. It has helped sales go up through diversification. I also have more people that are potential customers as I cast a wider net of product lines.

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

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Knothead62

2364 posts in 1611 days


#14 posted 12-20-2013 09:34 PM

Puzzleman, work on the great-grandkids. Each generation is a built-in market.

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Puzzleman

331 posts in 1594 days


#15 posted 12-20-2013 10:27 PM

That is true that you can work on the great-grand kids. However, there is a lag time till the grand kids have their own children. And with so many people waiting till later to have children, you don’t see as many great grand parents any more.

By expanding my product line, I can now sell them items for when the kids are tween, into sports, when they get married, so when they do have kids, I am still in their mind. Am also working on products for the furry children (dogs & cats) that many people spend lots of money on.

You are correct that every day I have a new customer born and we are going through a mini baby boom right now.

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

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