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Forum topic by TCCcabinetmaker posted 06-09-2014 05:05 PM 1313 views 0 times favorited 17 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1818 days


06-09-2014 05:05 PM

Topic tags/keywords: question

Ok, I have a few extra pieces made from spair parts left over from commisioned customers. I am trying to figure out however, how to get those pieces out into the market, and sold. Most of the local furniture stores are selling distressed furniture, which, well mine is definately not. I would rather make a good looking piece and let it get distressed for the next couple hundred years or so….

My question is this, does anyone have any success in the furniture market, and without giving away trade secrets, what works for you? I am gathering that my pieces my be way too expensive for craigslist, and not too sure about etsy.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.


17 replies so far

View Buckethead's profile

Buckethead

3140 posts in 1332 days


#1 posted 06-09-2014 05:08 PM

Haven’t done it, but gaining an ally in an interior decorator/interior design firm seems like a good means of finding prospective customers.

-- Support woodworking hand models. Buy me a sawstop.

View SamuraiSaw's profile

SamuraiSaw

513 posts in 1427 days


#2 posted 06-09-2014 05:26 PM

Etsy can be a good avenue, it is certainly worth the try. Talking to decorators and designers is a good choice as well, probably better than etsy. Biggest problem is marketing “custom” pieces to a general market. As you know, your pieces are more expensive than production pieces plus they likely have a narrower appeal than production pieces.

I have a few “leftovers” in my shop office and, while certainly for sale, use them as samples for potential clients.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

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TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1818 days


#3 posted 06-09-2014 05:28 PM

I am mostly trying to figure out how to fill my down times, so that I keep making money, I have a lil lul at the moment, and I’d rather make something and sell it than that time be totally wasted.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View JAAune's profile

JAAune

1642 posts in 1780 days


#4 posted 06-09-2014 06:32 PM

If you just want something to earn cash for downtime I’d not suggest custom furniture. It’s one of the harder markets to sell to effectively and I’m not sure that attempting to do it on the side is going to result in many good sales. Searching for a small product line you could make might be better.

The best furniture makers I’ve met seem to enter competitions and juried exhibitions and a few work with galleries. It’s a significant commitment in time to do any of those.

An alternative to making and selling things during downtime is to overhaul your marketing for your primary source of income. Whenever I get the opportunity, I try to search for new prospects and upgrade the website.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1818 days


#5 posted 06-09-2014 06:41 PM

Ah but custom furniture is part of my primary, as well as cabinets and trimwork ;) Just trying to figure a way to keep my main focus going all the time, and no I am no sam maloof, nor thos moser, but…. I don’t really want hundreds of employees at this time at least…. not til a different political climate exists maybe, too complicated to have employees right now.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View SamuraiSaw's profile

SamuraiSaw

513 posts in 1427 days


#6 posted 06-09-2014 09:27 PM

See if there are any design galleries in your area. Sometimes designers will form a group or perhaps flooring and tile folks will have a design showroom. These are good places to put custom pieces with a high traffic volume.

-- Artisan Woodworks of Texas.... www.awwtx.com

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runswithscissors

2187 posts in 1488 days


#7 posted 06-09-2014 10:37 PM

As for “distressed” furniture, the proper way to make anything seem like an antique is to pass it down through several generations, until it is 100 or so years old. And be sure to let the kids play with it and on it. Anything else just looks fake, because it is.

Can’t help wondering if particle board furniture will ever make it to antique status. I’m guessing it will have disintegrated before then.

-- I admit to being an adrenaline junky; fortunately, I'm very easily frightened

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JAAune

1642 posts in 1780 days


#8 posted 06-09-2014 10:53 PM

Ah, my mistake. My assumption was that with a name like yours, you’d be running a standard cabinet shop and most of those businesses don’t do furniture at all.

My market is pretty niche so it’s tough to translate what I do into the residential furniture market. I’m also in the process of testing a lot of internet stuff and haven’t ironed anything down to specific that works the best so I’ll wait to say anything about those experiments.

-- See my work at http://remmertstudios.com and http://altaredesign.com

View Dave Carlisle's profile

Dave Carlisle

57 posts in 1618 days


#9 posted 06-09-2014 11:29 PM

Selling a ton of adirondack chairs on the FB sale sites in the area. We are in the suburbs of Memphis and there are 25 or 30 sites—-Arlington Resale, Bartlett Resale, etc. It’s free and thousands are members on various sites. Check it out in your area….....

-- Woodworking Principal

View huff's profile

huff

2828 posts in 2748 days


#10 posted 06-10-2014 02:00 AM

TCC,

What type of custom furniture and cabinetry do you make and how do you market yourself, your company and your products now?

I did custom cabinetry and furniture for 28 years, so I may have a few ideas for you.

Do you have a web-site?

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

22007 posts in 1801 days


#11 posted 06-10-2014 03:19 AM

In general, what you do probably won’t sell on Craigslist. If it does, it’s because you are taking a beating on the price. Hopefully you have some furniture shops that sell to your type of clientele that will let you display. Etsy requires potentially expensive shipping. Hope it goes well for you.

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

View TCCcabinetmaker's profile

TCCcabinetmaker

930 posts in 1818 days


#12 posted 06-10-2014 03:51 AM

word of mouth Huff, which unfortunately does not seem to be spreading quickly enough.

-- The mark of a good carpenter is not how few mistakes he makes, but rather how well he fixes them.

View CTM2012's profile

CTM2012

9 posts in 1626 days


#13 posted 06-10-2014 03:57 AM

I have recently found myself in a similar situation. Found nothing helpful online, but I have been working on something that will hopefully be of some help. I am working on putting together a podcast with interviews from people who are selling their furniture/woodwork. I have a couple episodes currently up. Its new, and as such its still something i am working on to improve. None-the-less I think you will find some helpful information on how some people are selling there projects and how some are getting commissions. Anyways here it is www.craftsmansroad.com I would love to hear what you think, and what you would be interested in hearing in future episodes. Good luck, its a tough road selling your work. I wish you the best.

View Puzzleman's profile

Puzzleman

411 posts in 2407 days


#14 posted 06-10-2014 04:19 PM

If the stores are selling distressed furniture, try selling pre-distressed furniture or distress-it-yourself furniture. Discuss with the customer how this will be distressed in 50 – 100 years and then be around for another 50 – 100 years. This is why you don’t have to distress your furniture as it will last that long to be naturally distressed.

As far as word of mouth marketing, you are putting all of your eggs into one basket. You need to have at least a couple of different advertising avenues for when one doesn’t work, the other one does. The worst problem that can happen is that both are successful and you have to turn work away.

My suggestion is to set up or have someone set up a web site. It’s easy and cheap. Set up a store on ETSY. You don’t have to ship to every where, you can limit how far you will ship to. Remember that shipping costs are paid for by the customer. Also have business cards and always (not just when you are slow) be talking to everyone about what you do and hand out cards. I give out at least 10 business cards a week, most times more. They don’t make any money for me sitting in my wallet or on the shelf. You never know when someone will buy from you. I have hasd people look me up from meeting me up to 2 years ago.

Create a different product line for the slow periods. This product line can be smaller and shippable. Work on these products when times are slow and they are on hand when you are busy. This is how I created one of my lines of product. Now i have gotten busy to where I have little if any down time, so now I have to create time to make those products as they continue to sell. What a problem of working extra for more sales!

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

View huff's profile

huff

2828 posts in 2748 days


#15 posted 06-11-2014 12:45 AM

Tim,

Jim (Puzzleman) really gave you some good information. Business cards; professionally done, can be one of the best marketing tools you will ever invest in. And like Jim said, they do no good if they stay in our wallet or in the office. Hand them out like candy.

Web-site; Not so much to sell from, but it’s the best way to get a portfolio of your work to a prospective customer.

Personal PR; get out and introduce yourself to people.

Craigs list; stay away from, not unless you just want to give your furniture and cabinets away.

I’ll send you a PM later to talk a little more in depth.

-- John @ http://www.thehuffordfurnituregroup.com

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