The Mock Ups work

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Project by Thewoodman2000 posted 04-08-2014 03:51 PM 1622 views 0 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

I made these with the intent of firing up some business at different stores in the valley. I brought them into work to show off and now I have 8 to make the guys in the shop. One guy wants 3 of them in walnut (thinking gun stock). So I guess so far the mock ups are working. Now its off the try different shops.

My Brother-in-law took them to work at the local Air Force Base. I hope that goes somewhere for me too!

How do you guys approach a company on carrying one of your products?
What has worked for you and give me the bad and ugly too?

Thanks for looking!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

9 comments so far

View b2rtch's profile


4920 posts in 3853 days

#1 posted 04-08-2014 05:05 PM

I am always surprised to see people making pens.
What do you do with them?
Do you sale them?

-- Bert

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 2775 days

#2 posted 04-08-2014 05:10 PM

I gift some and I do also sell them. The extra money helps support the lathe habit. Anything I can do on a Lathe is fun for me. By far my favorite machine!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View Max's profile


56000 posts in 5078 days

#3 posted 04-08-2014 05:26 PM

Once again an nice looking batch of pens…. As far as selling these to shops, you need to establish your costs to make them including where and tear on your machines, power and such. Then add a profit margin you want to make. Most retail places will double the price you sell them for to them. My two cents worth is don’t under cut your cost or profit….

-- Max "Desperado", Salt Lake City, UT

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 2775 days

#4 posted 04-08-2014 05:57 PM

Max, great words “don’t under cut your cost or profit…” thanks for all the advise! I think a lot of us forget about the cost of wear and tear on the machines.

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View trees2pens's profile


160 posts in 2433 days

#5 posted 04-08-2014 08:00 PM

I sell my pens at craft and festival events. I enjoy the events and sell my pens. Booth space and travel costs all come off the profit. I have pens on consignment in a few shops and get 60% of the pen sale, no rent or travel. I find it a toss up, either way the pen sells, something $$ comes off the top. So best advise, don’t sell yourself cheap, you are doing something that your customers can’t do…make a pen.

-- When All Else Fails ... Hit Delete

View C_PLUS_Woodworker's profile


602 posts in 3712 days

#6 posted 04-08-2014 08:30 PM

Many chain store managers cannot make buying decisions themselves.

Independent store manages …... especially owner-managers can make buying and stocking purchases.

When I lived and worked in a land and time far far away (and not woodworking) lower prices on our stuff meant we needed volume. We made much MORE money on LESSER volume when we could sell our top line stuff at BIG profits in stores that catered to higher-end customers

The lesser priced stuff needed much more volume, and in your case…....even thought YOU may think you are really cranking out a lot of pens, your volume ain’t gonna be in the hundreds or thousands, so I think this point is mute.

Pens of your quality are almost always vanity-dress items for guys making a little money and dressing well.

Or they are gifts to that guy from his wife.

Or they are gifts from the Top Dog to his key staff or even as the gifts many sales guys give to their upper-tiered clients. As in Realtors selling high end homes or large commercial deals or even as gifts to his top sales staff.

And, don’t forget hospital administrators. They give a ton of stuff away like your nice pens. So go see the hospital administrators.

Independent clothiers would be a great opportunity for you if you convinced them on carrying your pens.

I can think of a generations-old woolen men’s store downtown that I think would probably be amenable to having a place for your pens. He would have to make some (more than a little) money to give up key counter space next to the resister or in with the ties and dress jewelry and you would need some profit for your business.

I said “might be” amenable. I know him, but do not know how he runs his business. But his store name would be an implied quality add-on to the quality of your pens. As would other high-end stores.

To get his business (and He is just an example…....a good place to try …..but no guarantees) I would FIRST (so he doesn’t have to envision or even have a glimmer of doubt as to what it would look like) make (and have with you) a nice, locking glass-topped display case that would hold a fair number of pens…..........couple dozen maybe…...lined with a contrasting wood or velvet or frocked background so it showed your pens to advantage…...and this case, or one just like it would be what you give him and he puts in his store.

I would also put a very VERY professionally printed small card (or trophy-shop plaque) in one corner of the bottom inside of the glass that told a little about the pens. Lie like hell if you have to. Who cares?

I would also price each pen(s) differently (not to him, but the retail price) even if they cost the same to you to make. One row at $xxx, next row more $$$, etc.

Remember Vanity-Dress items.

Guys in there buying suits would see your extra-special pens as a vanity-dress item and I think a lot of them would buy a pen.

I would be sure to attach a little tag, (tied onto the pen would be best), that reads “this”pen was a one-of-a kind made of xxx wood found only at the north and south poles, etc.

Back in his office the “buyer” would want to show off or “solicit” comments about his pen from visitors to his office just by using the pen in front of the visitor or laying it out on his desk, etc and he will want to be able to tell how special the pen is, that it is make with wood from the last tree left standing when the dinosaurs were killed off by the giant meteorite, etc.

Just like a Rolex, only this time it is a pen.

I surely would use the VERY BEST pen parts, clips, different ball types, etc. Very best.

So, he will want to know how special his pens is …..for both himself to carry a custom pen, and also to show it off a little. Part of the daily game he has to play.

Duplicate everything I said above but insert ” women’s store” and add “for that special man in your life”. Not necessarily a women’s clothier, just an upper end store where women shop. Those pens would need boxes…...........really good quality boxes as they would be gifts. And if you wanted to charge an obscene rate, make them a few real wood, handcrafted boxes to go as part of the gift.

As I said, I have no idea as to how many pens you can crank out, but if it is in the hundreds, then you will not need many such stores that will display your wares to keep you busy.

A burned-in brand or a “made by” teeny plate or a logo or ??? would also be a good idea…........I think.

So, make a super nice display box of very high quality and give it a try.

That is what I would do if in your shoes.

I think a home run for you would be getting a contract for xxx number of pens which you would consider a real good volume (not sure what your annual production could/would be).

Insider trick: Top Guys always buy their Christmas Cards and Gifts many months (4-6 months) in advance to ensure they have them when needed. Occasionally the TOP GUY would want to have a few gifts as “atta boy” acknowledgements of a job well done through-out the year. I did that. Occasionally I would placed an order for custom Christmas items for my VP’s and other key personnel many months in advance so I had plenty for “atta boys” and/or plenty for Christmas.

And….... I wanted good stuff and I paid a good price for either type of occasion.

In selling to the Top Guys, their secretary knows the Top Guys job as well as her own. She is probably your “customer” 3/4th of the time.

Find the Top Guy’s name, walk in unannounced and show your case full of pens to her. Suggest how they might be used as per my comments above. In this scenario the case is only used as you display case. They would want each pen in a nice box.

She will already know if the TOP GUY needs this kind of stuff or not … she is the one that handles this process for him every year.

I promise you that she has a tickle date in her annual calendar to begin working on getting Christmas cards and gifts, etc. I promise that.

She will know what the Top Guy needs and wants probably better than the Top Guy himself does.

You “get her” got their business.

You may want, in the secretary scenario, to have a “feminine type pen” to leave with her (freebie) if you are getting “buying signs” off of her. Just helps her feel a little obligated…....VERY good sales technique.

I would bet that if a secretary thought your pens had merit as to how they might be used in their organization ….......and if the Top Dog ain’t busy right that second…....... she would go show the Top Dog right then…....and most of the time, if you got that far…..... you would be talking to the decision-maker right then and there.

Freebie goes to him if he is putting out buying signs, and definitely a freebie for him if he gives the go ahead. May not get is business this year, but they ain’t gonna forget ya, so maybe next year you hit them again.

DO NOT go to the Purchasing Dept. Never. Your type of item is one that “makes sense” and is “allowed” to go right into the Big Boy’s office. Even if you are sent to Purchasing, don’t bother. Your pens in Purchasing would be like the 5th Circle of Hell where pens go to die.

Just pounding the pavement, but only into the Top Guy’s office, and to the upper-end men’s stores, or into the any business that has a Top Guy on the premises

With a case full of pens….......sometimes, like in clothiers, they will want/need a case…...... in the Christmas gift or “atta boy” scenarios…......boxes also needed.

Also, and maybe as important….or more important than anything above…...

Acknowledge to yourself that more and more of the time….......and in more and more of the businesses….....

The Top Guy is a Top Gal !!!!!!!!!!!!

So go through the process of switching gender in each scenario above.

My best wishes for your success if you are serious about this. PM me if you want or feel the need to do so.


View Monte Pittman's profile

Monte Pittman

30560 posts in 3143 days

#7 posted 04-08-2014 10:50 PM

Good job on these. Hope you sell a ton of them.

-- Nature created it, I just assemble it.

View Thewoodman2000's profile


822 posts in 2775 days

#8 posted 04-09-2014 03:10 PM

Trees – I plan on doing a craft event this year to get my feet wet. Just hope I don’t drowned.

Bruce- thank you for the great knowledge you provided to myself and the rest of us Jocks!!! I had not thought of the high class shops before. I know I will read your info many times. So again thank you!!!

Monte- Thank you and I hope so too. Doing so will sure help out my family!

-- (the only thing in there she says is....tap on head..........tap..........tap..... saw dust) - James

View Roger's profile


21030 posts in 3609 days

#9 posted 04-29-2014 12:07 PM

Bolt actions are big sellers.

-- Roger from KY. Work/Play/Travel Safe. Keep your dust collector fed. [email protected]

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