2009 in Review, Craft Shows, Farmers Market, Internet Sales, Work in General. Just my view.

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Forum topic by TreeBones posted 12-30-2009 09:42 PM 1947 views 1 time favorited 4 replies Add to Favorites Watch
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1828 posts in 4635 days

12-30-2009 09:42 PM

Topic tags/keywords: 2009 money selling craft show farmers market work business sales marketing yurt sawmill lumber internet website web site advertising

A good starting point is a brief overview of my experience as a bench mark to use as a gauge . I have been self employed in the woodworking trade for over twenty years working on and off for other contractors now and again. I don’t do lots of large jobs but rather a wide variety of small projects. The largest chunk of my income comes from my portable sawmill service.

This past year has been hard on most everyone and the trickle down effect has not passed up all of us woodworkers. For all of us who make luxury items the consumer cut backs have hit hard.

Craft shows
These are not one of my main stays but I like to do a few each year and when talking to other craft show people it’s clear that business has dropped off a large percentage. People just aren’t spending like they used to. Unless you have a fair stock of items priced from $1. to $5. there just hasn’t been the buyers spending on the high end items.

Farmers Market
This past summer I attended the larger of our local Farmers Market each Saturday. My main goal is to hand out business cards to increase exposure to my Portable Sawmill Business. I make a unique line of rustic furniture and this is the main theme of my booth space. I always have a selection of walnut burl and other wood for the local woodworkers. Each market has brought in a steady cash flow to cover my expenses but I would certainly go broke if this is all I did. Past experience has proven that giving out business cards will bring in sawmill jobs and custom furniture orders, but this may not pan out for many months or even years. I have had customers call me five years later and ask if I remember giving them a card at a show or market.

Internet Sales
I sell some of my furniture and wood on the Internet but the greatest benefit from having a website is for advertising and educating potential clients. Over all my web sales are down but that is partly because I have not been pushing to generate more products that are well suited for internet sales. Just having a website isn’t enough. You can have a fantastic web site that is very professional and informative but it will do you no good if there are no visitors. Over the years I have seen a direct benefit to advertising my site using other means such as creigslist and other local web site classifieds and bulletin boards. The more I run ads that direct people to my site the more positive results I have, both furniture, wood sales and sawmill jobs. Lumberjocks has been real good for helping to get higher search rankings by using the link in my signature.

Work in General
We all know things are slow and if you depend on woodworking for all your income I hope have a well established shop and reputation to stay afloat during these tough times. There are a lot of out of work contractors looking to make extra mony doing all kind of woodworking. Over the years I have spread myself out doing most any kind of work I can just to keep up with the bills. This past year I have seen a dramatic slow down in the work available. It’s just plane tough. No one is spending more than they need to.

I have seen a lot of questions out there asking “what are the hot sellers” or “what am I doing wrong”. In today’s tough times these are hard questions to answer. I know there are a few things that people will always be spending there hard earned money on and that will be; food, shelter and the essentials of everyday living. If it is not essential, sales will be tough. Woodworkers that will be successful are the ones who can provide functional items of necessity that fit into the needs of today’s conservative spending consumers and have the ability to advertise and deliver them abroad.

This coming year I will be focusing on refining the construction of my custom built yurts that can be used for cost effective shelter, advertising and marketing along with providing services that focus on saving money for the average consumer.

I hope we all have a prosperous New Year.

-- Ron, Twain Harte, Ca. Portable on site Sawmill Service

4 replies so far

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4526 days

#1 posted 12-31-2009 01:32 PM

Hi Ron.

We are already into the new year here in NZ and so far it is pretty good :)

Just a thought, there is a growing ‘tiny house’ movement out of CA and your yurts could get good exposure with that crowd, especially if you focus on your smallest product and perhaps play around with some interior layouts that pack the most into the round space. It seems many people forced out of their homes are looking for alternatives, or even people who are looking to get into their first home but are finding funding to be tough or the many people who are just saying no to having a mortgage around their necks for the rest of their lives

Here are just a few sites:

Just google ‘tiny house’, pick your favorite and send an email with some info and pics of your yurts and it may get picked up and provide some exposure for this part of your business.

Even Lloyd Kahn is coming out with a new book on tiny houses so the momentum is building and 2010 may be the sweet spot for interest in smaller forms of housing.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

View firecaster's profile


574 posts in 4031 days

#2 posted 12-31-2009 02:34 PM

Thanks, Ron. That was interesting and informative.

-- Father of two sons. Both Eagle Scouts.

View Innovator's profile


3589 posts in 4026 days

#3 posted 12-31-2009 02:50 PM

Thanks for the update Ron, very insightful.

-- Whether You Think You Can or You Think You Can't, YOU ARE RIGHT!!!

View daltxguy's profile


1373 posts in 4526 days

#4 posted 01-01-2010 05:18 AM

Recent article about yurt living in the NYT. These can give you an idea of the types of people who are attracted to yurts and why- should help with your target marketing.

-- If you can't joint it, bead it!

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