This is the first report of my quest to start a woodworking business.
Background: I've been at this a few years but this year I am taking it seriously. I have a multi-year plan to transition from my current career into a manufacturing business of wood products.
Plan For This Year: I have started to execute phase 1, the Artisan Circuit. I have put in applications for 8 juried craft/art/wine/food festivals. I've only heard back from one so far(the biggest) and I have been accepted. It has over 100,000 attendees. I also plan on attending flea markets, doing road-side stands and "may" try to get some products into the retail channel.
First Experience: I attended one juried show that was being held just across the street from my home. It was a Country Folk Art related show. It was not the best audience for my work and very poorly attended, maybe 2,000 over 2 days. It cost me $400 to exhibit in a 10 x 10. I sold $187 worth of items. I had about $3,500 of inventory on hand. (Case work, Mission furniture, wineracks, shelves, plant stands, cutting boards, mirrors, birdhouses, etc.) See pics Booth: http://www.sonomaproducts.com/Graphics/Pic0.jpg
I don't consider it a failure. It was a great learning experience, I tried out my booth structure and validated my work. Many many positive comments. I also have a possible sale of a butcher block top kitchen island for $475 if I am willing to make one in Oak (I had a Pine one at the show). Then the show would be about break even.
Next Step: I am preparing for a day at the near by Flea Market; a huge, permanent venue that only costs $40 for a 20x20 spot. I'll add in some larger and different items to my inventory such as Adirondack chairs, garden items, etc.
Summary: I'll give more details over time. One last point is my production facility. I have struck a deal with a local cabinet shop. I have full access to the shop evenings and weekends. I pay $250 a month rent and $50 a month for supplies (sandpaper, screws, glue, etc.) If I have a big production run of items I'll supply my own screws, etc and I also always bring in all my own lumber, hardware (hinges, knobs, etc.).