selling hobby pieces

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Well it's happened, LOML has put an allowance cap on my spending -- so that simply saving would take me at least a year before getting a decent bandsaw. It's time -- I've got to start making this hobby pay for itself.
Has anyone else been in this boat? How did you get started? How did your first sales go? Have you been able make your hobby self-sustainable? How much experience did you have before making pieces marketable?
I'm mostly concerned with HOW to get the items sold. Is eBay really the way to go? Does anyone here sell through eBay, and if so, do you consider the prices you get enough to compensate you? I can't see myself with the time to do big shows. What about local boutiques? Would small stores carry my items and sell things on commission basis? I just have no idea how this kind of thing works....
I'm mostly into making small jewelry boxes. So I started brainstorming and came up with a neat design for a locking false-bottomed secret compartment jewelry box. I figured something like that would attract attention over other pieces if I go the eBay route.
I've seen books that would appear on-target but they seem to be directed towards people who want to make a living woodworking. I am doing pretty good with my day-job, so I'm fortunate in the making-a-living arena. But I do want to get some decent tools and work with some good wood....
Sorry for the bombardment of questions like this. I'd appreciate any stories, suggestions, or possibly even some encouragement.... URLs would be good too!
david
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"D K Woods"

At the Scott Phillips demo, he told us about a box that he makes. First one took him 8 hours, now he knocks them out in about an hour. They sell for $200 in a craft store and they sell all he can make. The potential is there.
There are craft shops that sell on consignment. You provide the merchandise, they provide the shelf space and collect the money. I don't know the details, but you can do some asking around locally.
That said, are you sure you want to do this? My wife had a wonderful hobby. She turned it into a very profitable business. Problem was, she then had a job, not an enjoyable relaxing hobby. If you can enjoy making your box, go to it. If, however, the local shop needs six of them by next Friday and you have plans to go away, will you still enjoy the hobby?
If you are selling them for say $20 made from maple and some special order want one from plywood and painted green, will you still enjoy making it?
I sincerely wish you the best of luck and hope you make a fortune, but what I said if from first hand experience. Don't put pressure and deadlines on what should be a relaxing hobby. Ed snipped-for-privacy@snet.net http://pages.cthome.net/edhome
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My wife is getting let go from her day job this Friday. She's known for several weeks and started this notion that she was going to sell crafts. Her problem is that she's a perfectionist and "wood" take five days to make one item that sold for $3.00. Regardless, I supported her and we looked into various ways to market the crafts. All the consignment shops that we checked required a monthly rental fee and a commission. The monthly rental fee was based on the booth size.
I've since talked her into something that might be a little more practical, Doll Houses. Doll houses can range in price dependent on the quality of the piece, so she can invest the time to make things perfect.
One suggestion that I'd have for you is keep track of your costs. I've been toying with selling wood train cars should I be next in the corporate layoff game and have an excel spreadsheet with the cost of material for each individual car. I've tried to take into account waste from goofs, defects in wood and come up with a fairly decent plan. No sense selling things if you aren't coming out ahead enough to make it worthwhile.
As for Ebay, that might be a good way to start out. I hate BUYING on Ebay, but selling could be a different story. You could always do a price check to see what people would pay for your jewerly box on Ebay and use that as a guideline for a base price to start.
As far as losing interest in the hobby, do you think that's really possible? :) I've only seen a few people in this world do things for a living that they truly love. Most of them are chefs. The rest are woodworkers...
In any case if you do go ahead with selling your boxes, I'd love to hear about the process you follow and how it works out.
Best of luck
Thomas
Edwin Pawlowski wrote:

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On Sat, 09 Aug 2003 08:39:04 -0400, Thomas Mitchell wrote:

Thanks for the advice, Thomas. I've been learning about the cost-tracking the hard way as I've been developing my own business (my 'real' job). You really have to keep track of EVERYTHING.... (G)
I've got the same problem as your wife, I tend to be a perfectionist. But something I've learned from my 'real' job is that it's just as important to perfect the process. So my plan is to build a few boxes the hard way, and perfect the process, and keep track of exactly how I do everything. Then I can start making them in quantity. With the process down, I can make the items to nearly my ideal level of perfection, but at a fraction of the time committment! Hopefully this will help me with productivity....
I'm definately going to try to avoid places that require a monthly 'rent' cost! That sounds like a good idea ONLY if you're big scale. I really want to stay smaller. I'm also having second thoughts about eBay. As somebody else pointed out, people are just looking for deals there. Probably not the best place for a good price.
Thanks again! And I hope your wife's endeavour meets with great success!
david
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D K Woods spaketh...

I have a saying, "It doesn't have to be perfect, it only has to look perfect." There is a difference and when you get a feel for the difference you will save a lot of heartache.

It's a good idea if your stuff sells. The shop owner pays rent whether your stuff sells or not, so if you set the minimum price too high, the piece takes up valuable space but doesn't sell.

You want to market to the right people. Johnny Average buys his jewelry boxes at Wal-mart for $29.95 and you will never convince him that yours are worth $299. Know who your buyers are.
--
McQualude

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Fortunately here in Kansas City, especially in Johnson County over on the Kansas side, there is big money. A lot of businesses are headquartered here: Sprint, Hallmark, Harley-Davidson, etc. If I can just figure out a good way of *reaching* this crowd, it might be a pretty *good* place to sell upscale items....
david
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A neighbor and a couple of her friends needed a BUNCH of stuff cut so I used that need to outfit my "shop". Another friend had 2 spaces for reselling garage sale items and many needed repair, another source. And word of mouth helps widen the source well.
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If only I had that name recognition! (G) I also wouldn't mind knowing that craft store he sells from...

I was hoping it would be something like this. The problem is that I would have to calculate not just a direct price for my items, but overhead as well. I've been thinking about this, and have come up with two possible ways to make this agreement. 1) you could tell the shopowner that they take 15% of the price (or whatever percentage...I have no clue what is normal) and let them set it -- since they know their customer base they'll know a limit for the price, and since they're also able to name *their* profit they won't stiff you with a low low price. 2) you can set a fixed price that the shop will pay you when an item is sold, but allow them to set whatever price they want over that, all profit for them.
Any comments on this thinking??

WELL noted, Ed. I've been struggling with a similar issue for years. My 'real' job is a web designer and programmer, and I run my own business from home so I have the work/home life boundaries to watch out for too. But I'm still so much in love with what I do that I still do it for fun, too.
I just hope I'm never in the circumstance where the demand is TOO high. After all, I'm just trying to fund the hobby, I'm not interested in making it rich or anything. I just want to be able to afford good tools, and hopefully enough money left over to buy good material so I can build things for *me*.

Thanks MUCH for the encouragement, Ed, and for the excellent advice!
david
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that
Back when I was building furniture I would build 2 or 3 identical pieces, keep one and sell the others. It paid for the wood and my time and let me slowly build up a decent shop. Fortunately I was making high-end Shaker reproductions and lived in Maine, so the tourists snapped them up. -- Ernie
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itself.
your
How
pieces,
me
In Maine I just put a picture ad in "Maine Times" and I had to fight off potential buyers. I even picked up several commissions from disappointed would-be buyers. If KC has an upscale magazine or weekly newspaper, that's the medium to use. -- Ernie
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"Digger" <DW> wrote in message

with
well.
It can sometimes be cutthroat at these craft shows. My friend, Bill, went to a large craft show in Reno. I liked an item he saw and proceeded to take out his tablet and sketch it. The 'lady' in the booth came up to him grabbed his sketch and said, " you can't do that." Bill grabbed the sketch back and said, "Oh yes I can." The 'lady' gave him a shove with both hands. Now Bill wasn't going to be her competition but she didn't know that.
Larry
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I read in another post that you are in Kansas City. That is where my parents live, and the shows that they attended. When they lived further north, they had a little better luck in the craft shows, but said that the mall shows in KC is where they had there stuff copied. I live in Des Moines, and also work in the computer industry. I do some web work, but mostly network, wireless, medical and business support. Perhaps our paths will cross some day.
Digger
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In His Name, be Blessed,


E-Bay: I would avoid E-Bay. Most people there are looking for bargins and
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On Mon, 11 Aug 2003 22:54:09 GMT, "Mike Zuchick"
Zoo Chick, you silly bitch!
Please stop creating new email address for all of us to have to filter out, eh?
I drop trou and turn both cheeks to you.
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In His Name, be Blessed,

And just think some do not believe in miracles.
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On 12 Aug 2003 02:56:38 GMT, snipped-for-privacy@cs.com (David Hall) pixelated:

What, are you religious or just dense? Oops, I'm being redundant, aren't I?
Plonk away, sir.
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On Wed, 13 Aug 2003 03:27:37 GMT, Dave Balderstone

Bueno idea, seor. That would take care of those who quoted him, too, wouldn't it? Doh!
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wrote:

Because he is an intolerant dick who doesn't really want to filter him out, he just wants to post anti-religious blather.
Dave Hall
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Larry Jaques wrote: <snip>

NOBODY expects the Spanish Inquisition! Our chief weapon is surprise...surprise and fear...fear and surprise.... Our two weapons are fear and surprise... and ruthless efficiency.... Our three weapons are fear, surprise, and ruthless efficiency... and an almost fanatical devotion to the Pope.... Our four... no... Amongst our weapons... Amongst our weaponry... are such elements as fear, surprise...
-Bruce
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pixelated:

And to that I say... S H R U B B E R Y !
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