some advice about trying to sell my work

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Blog entry by eric122 posted 12-13-2010 05:50 AM 1627 reads 1 time favorited 4 comments Add to Favorites Watch

hello to all lumberjocks i am writting this bilog because i,m hoping to reach out to some of you fellow lumberjocks and get some advice that can help me be secessfull at selling my work. i have been woodworking for over ten years and have made several great projects that i have tried to sell with no success i tried to sell my red palm bookcase for 250.00 no success i tried to sell me cedar chest for 350.00 no success and now i,m trying to sell my quartersawn red oak tv stand for 125.00 no success yet any ideas that could help? anything anyone can suggest?
1st let me answer a question i know i,m going to get asked i,m not looking to sell my work full time as a living i know you can not survive in these times today trying to sell your work full time with this economy.i am disabled and on a limited income and i am just trying to sell my work to get some extra money every month and to get my 1st commission sale i,m not trying to get rich . the only paying project i had so far was the stairs i did for my aunt and uncle they paid me 250,00 those steps were made out of full 2in by 6in larch lumber with hand made railing caps and spindles. any advice that any of you lumber jocks could give me thar might lead to a sale and repeat customers would be great, ps if anyone would like to buy my tv stand let me know i will consider shipping it to those seriously interested thanks eric

-- eric underwood

4 comments so far

View Jack Barnhill's profile

Jack Barnhill

366 posts in 3694 days

#1 posted 12-13-2010 06:37 AM

Have you checked out the Sweating for Bucks Through Woodworking Forum yet? I think you will find a lot of advice, comments, speculations, gripes, hopes, ideas, experiences, etc. located in the various postings on that forum.

Good luck to you!

-- Best regards, Jack -- I may not be good, but I'm slow --

View BigTiny's profile


1676 posts in 3216 days

#2 posted 12-13-2010 10:06 AM

You will never get the same money for a ready built piece as you will from a commission, even if the pieces are identical. People will part with more green for something made specifically for them.

Start a very detailed photo album of all your work. This will eventually become your “showroom”. Keep it up to date.

Build some small but nice items you can turn out inexpensively and make a modest profit on. These are your “ice breakers” to get you known in your market. Make them high in quality and do the best work on them you can without getting ridiculous about it. Remember, folks will be deciding on more expensive items based on how they like these. Think of it like someone dropping into a restaurant for a snack before deciding whether to book a party there to see what the food and service is like.

Business cards sell! You can buy sheets of them from the office supply places or WalMart and run them off on your printer. Avery Labels has a couple of free programs on their web site to design nice ones and they’ll let you use photos of your work on the cards.

Hope this helps. I’m in the same boat, being disabled and wanting to add to my income a bit, but my disability keeps me out of the shop too much to make this practical.

-- The nicer the nice, the higher the price!

View Arthur Rollins's profile

Arthur Rollins

43 posts in 3362 days

#3 posted 12-16-2010 03:49 PM

Hey Gang ; Just for the sake of it, I started to sell some of my things at local craft shows , after a bit I started having people call or stop by to see what we had. Now I have a so called catalog that I lay out at shows or fairs. Buiness cards do help . east to make on your PC and printer. I have a couple gift shops now that take my wood things.
And I`m in the boat with you guys that have a disability , My legs aren`t what they used to be. But we get er done ! Today I start on coffee table for my son , they just bought a house so this will make good Christmas present . Agingwood The old guy

-- Art, Arts wood n things

View Jim Jakosh's profile

Jim Jakosh

22314 posts in 3433 days

#4 posted 07-16-2011 12:15 PM

I think you have to get a reputation and have people come to you make things to order rather than try to figure out what will sell. Charlie is right on the cheap furniture out there. You cannot compete with China on furniture, unless you get a customer who appreciates good workmanship and real wood. There is a lot of “pretty” furniture out there made of Composite- (pressed wood) with a vinyl finish on it . They put all kinds of fancy wording in the ads but if you take a close look at it, it is disposable furniture. You have to sell on quality!!!!!

Start out selling things that you can sell for $20-$30 and make money on and then add a few larger pieces into the mix to show that you can build a quality product. Advertise and have business cards telling that you make quality hardwood products to their design. I get all of my big work that way. I don’t make any cabinets or anything that big on spec. The wood costs too much and it may be the wrong species for the buyer so you might get to make another one in a different wood, but you had to make 2.

Make a portfolio of what you have done and use that for advertising. Keep adding to it as you make custom pieces.
It is a hard market out there so you have to find customers who appreciate quality furniture. The Amish have a big hold on hardwood furniture and they seem to keep selling it because it is quality built of good hardwood.
That is your domestic competition .

-- Jim Jakosh.....Practical Wood Products...........Learn something new every day!! Variety is the Spice of Life!!

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