Some Marketing Thoughts

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Blog entry by Stephen Mines posted 11-04-2013 03:04 PM 1498 reads 3 times favorited 2 comments Add to Favorites Watch

On 10/31/13 5:31 AM, Howard G. wrote:
Hi Stephen, I like your style. I currently am building Adirondack style outdoor furniture. I need get my sale way up to stay in business. How did you find folks to help you in your business? I have been doing home style show flea markets and consignment shops but that way of doing business is not profitable for me. What should I be doing at this stage? Any ideas would be greatly appreciated. Cheers,Howard.

Hi Howard,
I’m not really knowledgeable about outdoor furniture…don’t know the market or marketing. Jumping back a bit, these are tenants that I followed when I first started; find out what sells and make it. BUT make it unique… uniquely YOUR work (you must add a touch or twist, a ‘branding’ that isn’t being done by others. Try to make your added feature as difficult to produce as possible (for others) and become truly expert at it. ((examples that come to mind: special material such as teak wood; monogrammed; foldable (for storage?); iron, brass, stainless, or aluminum accents for distinctive ‘look’ or functional, monogrammed metal inserts for center slat/stave, your company monogram… BE BOLD! or a personalized, ;made exclusively for: customer/outlet store’)). Make the deluxe version, the very best of the best for that market. Don’t worry about pricing yourself out of the market, create your own market (that only the very well off need/CAN buy the best… aim at that market). Create great samples of the best, most unique in your genre and get expert photographs,
Then begin marketing. Approach only the best stores, and be discreet. When negotiating/approaching one customer DO NOT be negotiating with another. It’s a small world and these guys have lunch with their competition. Neiman Marcus Hammacher-Schellemer, LL Bean, (that market HIGH End Leader type of store; best would be to have a top showroom in a professional setting…check out the Pacific Design Center).). Send your specs with your introduction brochure: delivery time (NOW to 4-6 weeks for special orders) PRICING: (usual actual cost of mat/time/overhead plus your profit) When it comes to pricing in the high end sector, again, be bold. Those big guys will judge you by how you judge yourself. If your cost plus profit figure is way ‘up there’ and your photos represent the best of the best they’ll see an appealing product for their admittedly snobbish clientele. Remember,rhe very high end sector WANTS to have their buy outpriced for the average giraffe, If the figure that you must get for your individual piece is,$237.60, your LIST PRICE would be $660. That’s the figure you furnish your showroom/outlet. You must tell them that it is price-based for the 50/20/10 formula common in the business. $660 less 50% = $330.00 less 20% = $264.00 less 10% = $237.60. The showroom/outlet that you deal with uses that formula to their best advantage: they’ll rarely get the list price, rather they’ll give trade discounts commensurate with their clients strata (designer/decorator/specifier/end user/etc). You must WANT your outlet to make money! (you want them to make bundles of it!...then they’ll push your product over others) They might suggest a higher figure for you to up the end price for them. Do it. Charge more! Maybe give better product/service if you can, or just make more profit. ALWAYS act affluent with your showroom. Woo them with your power base, and your desire to have an excellent relationship with just ONE good customer that has a good client base.
Enough to think about for now? Think on it, lemme know what you think. I have to get to my shop and make ‘stuff.
\Best regards, Stephen Mines’

-- Stephen Mines ([email protected])

2 comments so far

View Arthouse's profile


250 posts in 3625 days

#1 posted 11-04-2013 10:54 PM

Dear Howard, Steven is right in alot of ways. Unique is the key . Something no one has ever seen whether you copy someone technique and put your spin on or come up with something new. It does not come easy . For me it is always being attentive to things , nature , an art’s fair or mesquite festival. Something to fire the imagination. Arts and craft fairs are good but fine art shows are the best. In college I made swings and sold them on the side of the road because I had to sell to put myself thru Architecture school. Put your idea’s in your head or hopper as I call it and when all the answers are ready your idea will drop thats when you make it. I started making these fan planes just six months ago but it started by finding a fan at a junk yard looking for Steampunk parts . I took it home and two weeks later I put a sickle blade on top and it resembled an airplane and it took off from there. I like to say I can make anything but selling is a whole other world that is why they have advertising firms to guide a product thru the proper channels. Good luck all this and Heaven too.

-- "The hand is the cutting edge of the mind but the wind and sun are the healing factors of the heart

View Kittu's profile


9 posts in 3116 days

#2 posted 11-13-2013 06:36 PM

Very valuable insights for anyone thinking of making a business out of their passion.

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