I need some marketing help really badly.

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Well maybe that's not what I need or I do who knows? (G) what I am after is for someone to represent my planes in the various wood shows and demos and such. Maybe someone that goes to them and sells other stuff? I should be doing this like C&W and such but I don't have the time the money and I don't much care to travel. Since it is only me who would make the planes while I was on the road? The only time I had a week off was when I was so sick I could not even walk 20 feet. Not sure what I could pay for this with planes or a percentage or something. I like selling by word of mouth but sometimes it's not enough. Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
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Tue, Dec 13, 2005, 10:27pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@knight-toolworks.com (Steve knight) prety much feels about selling, like I do, and says: <snip> I like selling by word of mouth but sometimes it's not enough.
You could give one away. Say to Jimmy Carter. Making damn sure to put out who it came from, that you make 'em to sell, and how to get ahold you, to buy one. I don't know if George woodworks, but even if h doesn't, giving him one might be worthwile too. Best I can do.
A sacrifice for the Woodworking Gods will do nicely.
JOAT A rolling stone gathers no moss...unless it's a hobby he does on the weekends.
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J T (in snipped-for-privacy@storefull-3335.bay.webtv.net) said:
| Tue, Dec 13, 2005, 10:27pm (EST-3) snipped-for-privacy@knight-toolworks.com | (Steve knight) prety much feels about selling, like I do, and says: | <snip> I like selling by word of mouth but sometimes it's not | enough. | | You could give one away. Say to Jimmy Carter
... or to the Mayor with a request that the spelling be changed to "Planes".
-- Morris Dovey DeSoto Solar DeSoto, Iowa USA http://www.iedu.com/DeSoto/solar.html
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I am with JT on this one. While giving away is not too profitable, in the right hands it could mean great results. A plane donation to high profile or visibility organizations might be a good avenue to experiment with. Certainly cheaper than going on the road and selling. Habitat for Humanity, David Marks, Jimmy Carter maybe. Have you considered putting some planes on consignment at your local woodworking stores or lumberyards?
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"Steve knight" snip

Send some to Robin Lee. Make a deal with him.
Dave
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Send one to me. I'll talk your company up mercilessly.
JC (who's still saving for one of Steve's planes) (and no, that doesn't stand for james carter)
Seriously, good luck Steve. Even with a quality product, what you're facing can be the least fun thing of being in business. At least from my perspective. Takes away from time in the shop.
jc

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You need to save up faster if you do not have one of his planes. I have a few and I do not use hand planes. Well at least I useta not use hand planes. His Smoother plane has become a favorite tool in my shop and it gets me out of all kinds of trouble. It is a great tweak it here and tweak it there kinda plane.
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Steve knight wrote:

Look at the wood show sites. Find the smaller dealers who display and make a deal.
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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WillR wrote:

One other point. Do you want to be a craftsman or a manufacturer with employees? If you raise your volume you will change the nature of your business.
Look at guys like the ones you see on my links page. Many of them could sell your products.
However, if you add sales reps or agents, you may find yourself priced out of the market (unless you change your business -- but maybe not). To see why, calculate/estimate/determine your minimum income for a reasonable (to you) living. Then do a calculation to determine your required sales volume based on your average margin...
e.g -- you want $40,000 USD a year to live on. You sell your planes at 40% GPM -- (A plan costs $60 and Sells for $100 [$60 / (1 - 0.40)] -- that is 40% GPM) Then you can use this info to say -- Gee I had to sell a $100,000 worth of planes to make that money. Your dealers will have to make their profit margin too. Assuming they sell at 40% GPM -- they will sell that plane for $167 -- based on 40% GPM [$166.67 actually)]. ( Cost$ / (1-GPM) ) So you work the problem back and forth. Guessing at what they can sell at -- giving them a reasonable margin -- giving yourself one till you can get a number that appeals to your customers, your dealers and yourself.
Of course you may also have to make design changes and product mix changes to satisfy the sales and profitablilty equations -- as in "sell 1000 cheap planes or 100 expensive ones" question.
Pretty terse -- but that's it in a nut shell. It is essentially the sales training course for someone who sells on profit margin as opposed to selling only based on the retail price.
Having said all this, your equations change when you add employees -- so you may have to contract out parts of your planes to get the volume if you wish to remain a one person shop. Then your suppliers may want volume commitments -- which is pretty tough at the beginning of a manufacturing operation.
Hope this is all clear. If it isn't, you may have a a more significant problem.
If this makes sense and you work the problems through -- and can get some interested parties to sell your planes at a price that works for you and them -- and customers accept the pricing -- then you have a winner.
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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yes that's always something I thought of. I don't really want to be a manufacturer I just want a more reliable sale.

it is more like work (G) but yes I know where you are coming from. I would not mind subcontracting a few things out or maybe a book keeper. but would I be willing to work that much harder to be able to afford it? that's the tuff one. where I have my limits are sanding the planes (that can eat up quite a bit of time but someone can do that for me) and how many planes I can tune up. this is the part that is the hardest of all to do. it took me years to get good at it. so if I had someone do it I would really have to plan on a long term apprentice program. so this is why keeping small is the way to go for me for the most part.
Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
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My folks had a successful country craft/gift business, and they eventually ended up with a wholesale line. I don't know how they found their sales rep, but he traveled regionally and did trade shows ... their company's booth featured several smaller manufacturers. Never having been to a woodworking show, I don't know if there's anything comparable. I wish you luck!
Jim in PA
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If you don't like to travel - that's one thing.
But ignoring that, you have a dilemma.
1) You want to sell more planes.
2) You can't take time off to market your planes.
Either you want to increase your volume, or you don't. You can't have it both ways.
Now I am going to say something that will make others mad at me, but you probably have to raise your price, so you can have more time to market them, and hire some help to make more planes.

How much do you want to grow? Without increasing your prices, you may be limited to 10% growth in profitably.

You may need a new business plan and new slogan.
I don't own one of your planes, but someday I wish to. I may have just shot myself in the foot, but it's my honest opinion.
--
Sending unsolicited commercial e-mail to this account incurs a fee of
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very true (G)) i think more of what I was after is to have steady sales. it's hard when you sell one plane a week for a couple weeks or a month then several in one day and so forth. that makes it tuff to do any budgeting at all.

this is good advice that I have been told often. to do it I need to have something to fall back on while it happens. I may have a part time job with a buddy and that will me raise prices and dump ebay and such as it hurts now more then it helps.

I don't know if I really want to grow much. steady work would be good but I would not want to sell at most 10 planes a week steady. that would be a fair amount of work. 5 a week steady would not be too bad at full price. I'm not looking to get rich just make a living and pay the bills. I want to enjoy it not become a plane manufacture. Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
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wrote:

Steve.. I think the word/person/occupation that you're looking for is "Distributor"...
When my brother & I were building model plane kits, we were spending too much time talking to hobby shops and too little time in the shop..
He did a web search for "hobby shop distributors" or something and got a few hits, but what worked best was to ask the target market.. in our case hobby shops, who stocked their shelves..
He found a well-known distributor that serviced several of his existing customers and away he went..... doubled his sales and more than doubled his profits in about 6 months..
A good distributor will already have your market covered and be experienced in selling custom tools to dealers... hope this helps and good luck!
mac
Please remove splinters before emailing
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Steve,
After my initial semi-humorous response I gave this some thought.
Do you have ads in some of the better woodworking mags? Personally, I go through that section of FWW and FHB frequently and I think you would get a lot of exposure there.
There also must be some industry mags where you could do the same thing.
The same people that would be at the trade shows would be reading these magazines.
How about writing an article for FWW describing the plane making process? That would be sure to generate interest (and they pay for the articles, too).
Just a couple of thoughts.
jc

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way too expensive and not super effective to sell planes from. fww costs 459.00 for a 1"x2" add. that's about 8 planes to break about even or so every month. popular woodworking is far less though. but ads never seemed to help me much.

I could give the info but I sure as hell can't write it. just read my posts (G) Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
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Steve knight wrote:

If you are going to advertise get a copy of "The Art of Writing Copy" by Herschel Gordon Lewis. ISBN: 0133871924 · Published by Prentice Hall
There may be a later edition...
Well worth the money.
His main point is write copy that sells. Don't do "awareness advertising". Instead, offer a specific product at specific price, time and place. ...and make the offer clear.
Hope that helps
http://www.chapters.indigo.ca/item.asp?Item=978013387192&Catalog=Books&Ntt=The+Art+of+Writing+Copy&N=35&Lang=en&Section=books&zxac=1
-- Will R. Jewel Boxes and Wood Art http://woodwork.pmccl.com The power of accurate observation is commonly called cynicism by those who have not got it.” George Bernard Shaw
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Steve -
In addition to the other comments - I would seek out some of the better known woodworkers who demo at he shows. Frank Klaus comes to mind but there are others. I'd contact them and see what they'd require to dome your product.
Another thought is to contact the people who do tool reviews for Wood Mag, FWW,etc. At the least it will cost you a plane to test.
As an aside - I now have 3 of Steve's planes and to those of you who say you're saving up - save FASTER - you don't know what you're missing.
Vic
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O

I have had 5 reviews the first couple helped a lot the last three did almost nothing. including fine woodworking. it was a bit weird. like popular woodworking has done it twice and even has one of my planes with nothing happening. they don't do much on woodies for the most part.
my problem is I do something so uncommon I limit myself (G) there are only a few of us in the world. Knight-Toolworks http://www.knight-toolworks.com affordable handmade wooden planes
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Steve, I know very little about marketing............but having an ebay store might help. Maybe you already do. I did a search for Steve Knight planes and did not get any hits. Another thought that comes to mind is giving one to a woodworking school......such as American Sycamore etc. and of course keeping the teachers pockets full of your business cards. :-) Good Luck Lyndell

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