Farmer's Market Results #1: Low traffic, but two items sold.

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Blog entry by James posted 07-05-2009 01:42 AM 3080 reads 1 time favorited 16 comments Add to Favorites Watch
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Some people have expressed interest on how much items go for and how to price your projects. I don’t know much about this, but I hooked up with my local farmer’s market and set up some of my projects for sale. It was rather chilly for a summer day here, and not many people turned out, but in 4 hours I did manage to sell two things. Also I had a lot of people picking up my work and feeling them, opening them, and lots of great comments on workmanship wood choices etc. I learned a lot about what people look at the most and which designs and functions make them say WOW.

My first sale was this jewelry box:

Click for details

It was sold for $25. I thought this was a reasonable price. I do woodworking for a hobby mostly, but I do try to sell things to recover cost of materials. I don’t really worry about paying myself too much, because the enjoyment I get from building is payment enough for me. This box didn’t really cost that much to make, the wood was free, hinges were about $1.50, magnets about $.25, felt about $.25. So 2$ in materials turned into a $23 profit. It took me about 2 hours of actual “work” to make it, so on this piece I did pretty good. If I did this “production run” style I could probably do quite well, but I like to make one-of-a-kind items. Also I learned this was going to California for a gift, I thought that was really cool to know my work was going for a long ride.

My other sale was this little box:

Click for details

It sold for $15. I couldn’t believe it sold. It was probably in my opinion the worst project on my table. It was one of the first band saw boxes I made, and was mostly a sawing technique practice piece. I wasn’t even going to bring it along, but my wife insisted. I did line it with some felt before we went though. This wood was free scrap, and the only real material cost was the felt, maybe 25 cents worth.

So all in all trip number 1 to the farmers market was a mini-success, selling 2 items with low customer turn out. I did learn a lot though. Like trays in jewelry boxes are desirable. I hadn’t really put much thought into designing the inside of my items, mostly the outside. I will change gears here. Also I learned that people can’t resist curved wood, or textured surfaces. That crackled bandsaw box I built got a lot of touchy feely action today.

I plan on going back again next weekend, I still have about 15 boxes to unload! If there is enough interest I’ll follow up with more results.

-- James, Bluffton, IN

16 comments so far

View patron's profile


13720 posts in 4426 days

#1 posted 07-05-2009 02:06 AM

good for you james !
enjoying what you do ,
leads to a well balanced ,
and happy life .
if your name is not ,
stratavarious or van gogh
don’t expect to sell your work,
for millions .
the guys that did ,
are all dead !
and didnt see a dime .

-- david - only thru kindness can this world be whole . If we don't succeed we run the risk of failure. Dan Quayle

View Jimmy's profile


44 posts in 4425 days

#2 posted 07-05-2009 02:32 AM

thats great. good job on the sale and great boxes. i am working on fixing up a 1940’s craftsman 12 inch band and am getting a 40’s or 50’s rockwell 14 inch and really want to try some boxes. any tips for beginner? what size blade did you use and any upgraded blocks? there are a lot of local famers markets around where i live and i had never thought of this before. i enjoy working in the shop and like you said a little profit out of it never hurts. thanks for the post and the best of luck next week.

-- 20 year old new woodworker. advice and tools much appreciated.

View a1Jim's profile


118162 posts in 4662 days

#3 posted 07-05-2009 02:56 AM

View PineInTheAsh's profile


404 posts in 4353 days

#4 posted 07-05-2009 03:04 AM

Markets all over are still soft.
It’s turning, though very slowly.
We find, people simply do not have the extra bucks right now.

Having said that, keep on pluggin’ away.

View James's profile


162 posts in 4366 days

#5 posted 07-05-2009 03:06 AM

thanks guys,

jimmy, i have a warning for you, box making is addictive.. but it is great therapy!

I use two blades for the bandsaw, a 1/2” 3 tpi for resawing lumber and a 1/8” 8 tpi for making tight curve cuts. i upgraded my guide blocks to cool blocks, which is a definite must if you dont have bearing guides. I havent broken a single blade since i went to the cool blocks.

For your boxes try to be creative. think outside the box, but also think inside of it also. try to come up with designs that you havent seen or tried before. Experience with different textures and colors. “Feel Appeal” works great. and dont burn or throw away a project you made that you arent happy with.. because someone else might like it!

As patron stated dont expect to make huge amounts of money at this… but do expect self satisfaction when people come to look at your labor of love, and when they like it enough to purchase it.

-- James, Bluffton, IN

View Jimmy's profile


44 posts in 4425 days

#6 posted 07-05-2009 03:27 AM

yea i lovet he therapy. after a funfilled day of stress working for my giant foods deli i need it. thanks for the advice hackman. i actlally know of a little shop here in town that sells stuff made by locals that i just remembered about. might drop inonce i have some practice. so far everything except my “bench” has been made from offcut red oak and stair treads form the local stair company.

-- 20 year old new woodworker. advice and tools much appreciated.

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5400 days

#7 posted 07-05-2009 03:32 AM

Why don’t you just give them away..wait… I think you did!

View James's profile


162 posts in 4366 days

#8 posted 07-05-2009 04:29 AM


without getting into a moral debate i’ll just respond by saying, my work is not driven by greed, rather it is driven by an affinity for the art. I have a regular job, woodworking is something I enjoy. Its not like I’m building $100 boxes, either. I strive for simplicity, as I am a fairly simple person, and my woodworking skills are simple as well. As I become more skilled, I will do more elaborate work, and if people recognize that elaboration, and appreciate it enough, then perhaps more will come my way.

I am a firm believer that you have to put in at least twice as much as you expect to get back, and more often than not much, much more than that. I am on the bottom of the ladder here, just starting out, and will do my climbing rung by rung, step by step. Patience is a virtue, my friend.

-- James, Bluffton, IN

View Scott Bryan's profile

Scott Bryan

27249 posts in 4907 days

#9 posted 07-05-2009 01:48 PM

James, this is a nice post. I am glad to hear that not only are you able to share your talent and love of woodworking with others but also able to recoup a small part of your “investment”. You are certainly not going to get rich doing this but sharing the end results of your love and enjoyment of woodworking is really more important anyway.

I hope you do well on your next sale.

-- Challenges are what make life interesting; overcoming them is what makes life meaningful- Joshua Marine

View miles125's profile


2180 posts in 5091 days

#10 posted 07-05-2009 02:52 PM

I suppose if open heart surgery were a hobby it’d cost about two hundred dollars?

I have a different view of “driven by greed”. Which may likely include those wanting extra pocket change so bad that they’d willingly drive prices down in a marketplace where others feed their familes from.

I don’t mean to insult you sir…well…yes i did. I’m frankly offended by those claiming fair wages for a fair product now falls under the category of GREED.

-- "The way to make a small fortune in woodworking- start with a large one"

View John Gray's profile

John Gray

2370 posts in 4971 days

#11 posted 07-05-2009 03:05 PM

I think you did a great job!!! You shouldn’t have to defend yourself on anything because you are doing what you like and it’s your own business what you charge for your items.

-- Only the Shadow knows....................

View dennis mitchell's profile

dennis mitchell

3994 posts in 5400 days

#12 posted 07-05-2009 03:16 PM

Guess my post came off a little grouchy…Sorry hackman24. I have to agree with John Gray, but those beautiful boxes are worth much much more money. Don’t sell yourself short.

View Russel's profile


2199 posts in 5024 days

#13 posted 07-05-2009 03:41 PM

hackman24, as a place to get your feet wet in setting up shop and interacting with people, I think a Farmers Market is a reasonable place. I’ve done a couple with mixed results. What I found, though is that people don’t go to these places looking for what you’re selling. They’re there looking for farmers’ products. Keep your eyes open for small local craft shows where the audience has someone like you in mind.

-- Working at Woodworking

View James's profile


162 posts in 4366 days

#14 posted 07-05-2009 04:06 PM

Like I said in the beginning of the blog, I don’t know much about this!

Miles, there is no one else in the farmers market selling woodwork of any kind. So I am not trying to compete with anyone or drive any prices down. I am not scraping for pocket change. I live in a fairly small town. I am merely trying to figure out what my work is worth and if I am appealing to the audience in front of me. I’m not out for a living wage, I get that from my regular job. My goal is to at least recoup my investment in materials, and anything extra is a pleasant surprise. The wood I use is most often given to me freely.

I had about 20 items on display. Had all of them sold quickly, I would have scaled my prices upward a bit. I am learning alot in this process so I consider that as income also.

Thanks everyone for your input. I value criticism and compliments alike. Its how we learn, and what makes this a great site!

-- James, Bluffton, IN

View JasmineO's profile


1 post in 4332 days

#15 posted 07-06-2009 08:38 AM

Good for you. And I congratulate you for doing a great job. Selling isn’t simple to do; you will need so much time and effort to convince the person you are selling to. And as well, you will need hefty cash to sell something; this is what we called it as capital. Nevertheless, anyone could use some instant loans every now and again. An instant loan, or a payday loan, is a small, short term, loan to float you until your next payday, and many lenders will take your application online or over the phone. You can also get a payment plan, and use installment loans for your instant loans. Some instant loans can be just what the doctor ordered if you come up against a financial shortfall due to an unexpected expense. If you accidentally over draft, and don’t want to deal with no overdraft fees, and need some fast cash with direct deposit, then an instant loan could be your thing.

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