Ideas for promoting a small woodworking biz?

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Forum topic by woodworkerforchrist posted 01-18-2015 03:40 PM 913 views 0 times favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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154 posts in 1282 days

01-18-2015 03:40 PM

Just wanting ideas for promoting my scrollsawing/woodworking biz. I make mostly small scrollsawn items. I am starting to do some bigger things and hope to get better at making keepsake boxes and also want to do some outdoor furniture in the future etc; but my specialty and focus right now is small scrollsawn items. I dont do anything real big and detailed as it seems hard to get paid for the work involved, so mine are more simple. I know there is a market out there for small custom work, I would love to find more customers or stores or a store/gallery in another country that would buy my items. Alot of people dont appreciate woodworking anymore, but many do and I want to find more people that do. I give alot away but really trying to sell more and make this a business. Would like to find a source where I could maybe make wood parts or supplies, and then be able to.make my custom work also. The lasers and cncs make it hard for us old fashioned scrollsawers also. I dont have much luck with the craftfairs. Looking more to sell online I guess. I would love to have a small storefront but cant afford it right now. Just looking for more ideas. Your all great and you are the master woodworkers! I would love to be able to learn from you all. Thanks for all the tips, advice, ideas, and encouragement

-- Marty from MinneSNOWta

4 replies so far

View ElChe's profile


630 posts in 761 days

#1 posted 01-18-2015 04:51 PM

In my neck of the woods it seems all stores work on consignment including galleries and thrift shops. Maybe a simple webpage with some samples of what you sell with prices and contact information?

-- Tom - Measure twice cut once. Then measure again. Curse. Fudge.

View Jim Finn's profile

Jim Finn

2391 posts in 2346 days

#2 posted 01-18-2015 04:52 PM

I make and sell small cedar boxes at a local farmers market and at other street fairs and festivals here in west Texas. One has to keep the price point less than $30 to sell much of anything around here. I sell mostly $20 items. I have been doing this for seven years now and still do not earn enough to live on. I am retired with a pension so this is not an issue for me. I can make my stuff much much faster than I can sell it. Selling is the hard part. I find galleries and consignment shops a waste of time. I have sold very little on the internet. In my experience, these small hand made items must be seen and handled by the shopper in order to sell well.

-- "You may have your PHD but I have my GED and my DD 214"

View Puzzleman's profile


411 posts in 2368 days

#3 posted 01-19-2015 06:09 PM

What type of craft shows did you do? I started out doing local craft shows. Made a little money but when I went into this full time, I quickly found out that I needed to be at the biggest crafts and art shows i could get into. Biggest in terms of attendance. It’s a numbers game. A certain percent of the people will buy my product.
So to have that number of sales be bigger, I need to be at a place that has a lot of people attend. I am talking about shows that have attendance over 100,000. Prefer shows that are over 200,000. These are shows where the customer doesn’t pay to get in. On the ones they pay to get into, I am looking for 7,000 and up.

To get to these shows, I have to travel. I only do 2 shows in my town, St Louis MO. The others I will travel up to 12 hours of driving time to get to the venue.

I used to do many shows a year, around 30 -40. Now that I have developed my wholesale side of my business, i do 6 – 8. Developing the wholesale side was a slow and expensive grind but in the end it was worth it as I have over 600 different stores, catalogs and websites selling my products. I also have my own website and etsy store as well.

This whole thing didn’t come easy. I been doing it full time for over 12 years and this is how I make my living.
Concerning your product line, don’t try to compete with the laser people. You will not win. Find a way to do things that they can’t do. Make products that doesn’t look good on a laser. Another way to get attention at the shows is to do demonstrations. There are plans for a pedal powered scroll saw with a seat. Build one of those and work while at the show. You won’t get much work done, hopefully, as you will draw customers in who want to watch and then possibly buy.

-- Jim Beachler, Chief Puzzler,

View huff's profile


2828 posts in 2709 days

#4 posted 01-20-2015 03:44 PM


Effective Marketing will be the key to having a successful woodworking business, but that’s usually easier said than done for most woodworkers. You’ve been given some great information so far, but the real difference will depend on you.

I’ve written a blog series on Marketing and Selling your woodworking; that may give you some ideas.

I’d like to add a few tips that may help you get started on your marketing. Like I said in the beginning; “You” will be the key to marketing and building a successful business.

If you only “hope” to sell some of your woodworking for a little money, then probably any type marketing will work, but to develop and build a successful business from woodworking, then you will need to be committed to marketing full time.

Jim, (the puzzleman) is a great example; he doesn’t rely on just one form of marketing and hopes he can sell a few products. I’m sure if you ask him, you will find he does a lot more marketing than just what he mentioned above.

A few tips that may help to get started;

1. If you want to make money and a profit, then treat your woodworking as a business.
2. Create a business name if you haven’t yet. (keep it simple, yet professional).
3. Get business cards printed professionally!
4. Start in your own community by introducing yourself and your business. A great way to start is introducing yourself and your business to owners of other businesses, church groups, community groups and organizations, your doctors, lawyers, bankers, etc.
5. You should go through your first 100 business cards locally.
6. Marketing is much more than just getting a sale. The more people that know you and what you do, the more chance of not only getting a sale, but the more chance you have of someone else referring you to a new customer.
7. Think of ways your products can sell themselves; Do they make a good birthday present, wedding gift, graduation gift, anniversary, Valentine’s day, Easter, Christmas, something dedicated to Veteran’s, Memory boxes for someone that’s lost a loved one.

Sometimes consumer’s need help, so don’t be afraid to give ideas how your products are perfect……………make it personal!

Over the years I developed a strong marketing strategy for my business comprising of many different forms of marketing, but I always felt that “I” was my strongest marketing tool!
No form of marketing or selling had more excitement, passion, or commitment towards my woodworking than myself!

Good luck with your venture and feel free to PM me if you have any questions or just want to talk about marketing.

-- John @

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