|Forum topic by farmbeet||posted 01-15-2014 02:29 PM||4540 views||9 times favorited||39 replies|
01-15-2014 02:29 PM
This is my first post to these forums. I’ve worked 25+ years in the building trades. Back in the 1980’s-1990’s I wrote several articles for Fine Homebuilding magazine and three books for The Taunton Press. Over the years, I’ve pursued several different entrepreneurial ideas and most of them related in one way or another to woodworking.
My latest idea, which I started to develop back in the spring of 2012 is making and selling wooden clothespins. The common torsion-spring clothespin was invented in the United States back in the 1800’s, and US manufacturers made millions of clothespins over the years. But the last American clothespin manufacturer went out of business several years ago as a result of cheap foreign imports.
The problem with the foreign imported clothespins is that they’re junk. They are made out of Chinese-mystery-wood with wimpy springs. They don’t hold clothes on the line and they fall apart easily. My wife brought this to my attention. When I went to the internet to check it out, I found that there is widespread discontent among the clothespin users of America because they can’t buy a good-quality clothespin (like used to be made in America).
So I put a LOT of effort, a LOT of time, and a fair amount of money into this idea of making and selling high-quality, handcrafted clothespins. I call my business Classic American Clothespins and I have a web site where I sell them (ClassicAmericanClothespins.com).
The clothespins I make are crafted from ash and have heavy-gauge, full-coil stainless steel springs. They are made to last a lifetime…. and then some. I just started selling the clothespins back in November of 2013. I’ve sold thousands of them. People who use clothespins love them. One person who bought some wrote about them at the Mother Earth News blog… Craftsman Brings Back Classic American Clothespins
My reason for posting here is 1.) to inspire and encourage anyone who reads this to pursue your ideas. The fact is, after pursuing various creative ideas (some good and some not so good) since 2002, I was finally able to develop and build my home business to the point that I could quit my factory job in early 2013. 2.) I’m trying to let other woodworkers know about this clothespin idea, and encourage any who are interested to consider making and selling “artisan”clothespins too. There is no way I alone will be able to supply the demand once the word gets out that it’s once again possible to purchase a “good ol’ clothespin,” and there is no way I want to.
For now, I’m making clothespins using a table saw and router tables. It is tedious work. In the spring I will upgrade my equipment to a shaper with a power feeder, and some other tools/jigs. I think I can cut my production time to less than half of what it currently is.
So that’s my “sweating for bucks through woodworking” story.
If anyone has questions about crafting clothespins, I will do my best to answer them here. I’m not posting about this at any other woodworking groups for now. This is kind of a test to see if I can generate some interest in a new-old idea.