Humor for Woodworkers
#16
  Re: Humor for Woodworkers by Ohio Mike (Custom furniture mak...)
LOML and I were convinced to do a craft show in a small southeast Kansas town.  Might have been 10 years ago, maybe more.  We loaded up the SUV with the wife's baskets and I took a selection of bandsaw boxes; did about $375 of business by selling four boxes, IIRC.  Wife sold a couple baskets,  Didn't make back our expenses, but we used the event to visit a cousin and overall was not a bad weekend away.

Most people took a look, and passed when they saw the prices.  One guy bought two boxes as gifts for his wife, and he encouraged me by saying he didn't think I was charging enough.  The guy said he understood the retail game and the value of time and labor (he was a local business owner, very generous with his community.)  He was definitely an unusual customer.

Others, though, BAH!  One woman was looking at the boxes and the wife's baskets.  She pointed out the boxes to her husband, presumably.  His response was, "Harumph.  I could probably do that if I had a shop like his."  Most people viewed LOML's basketry as an expensive version of the $4 baskets that could be bought over at the Walmart.

The real payoff came about a month later.  My cousin told us that the business owner had died suddenly from a heart attack.  Those two bandsaw boxes were the last things he gave his wife before he died.  Cousin said the wife told her those two boxes were the most precious physical belongings she owned.

I might occasionally take on a commission piece, but it's only if I want to do it.  That's not often.  I'm happier when I'm making stuff for family and friends.  The highest value piece I made lately was a cremation urn for a dear friend who died from cancer.
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#17
  Re: RE: Humor for Woodworkers by WxMan (LOML and I were conv...)
(01-11-2020, 11:25 AM)WxMan Wrote: LOML and I were convinced to do a craft show in a small southeast Kansas town.  Might have been 10 years ago, maybe more.  We loaded up the SUV with the wife's baskets and I took a selection of bandsaw boxes; did about $375 of business by selling four boxes, IIRC.  Wife sold a couple baskets,  Didn't make back our expenses, but we used the event to visit a cousin and overall was not a bad weekend away.

Most people took a look, and passed when they saw the prices.  One guy bought two boxes as gifts for his wife, and he encouraged me by saying he didn't think I was charging enough.  The guy said he understood the retail game and the value of time and labor (he was a local business owner, very generous with his community.)  He was definitely an unusual customer.

Others, though, BAH!  One woman was looking at the boxes and the wife's baskets.  She pointed out the boxes to her husband, presumably.  His response was, "Harumph.  I could probably do that if I had a shop like his."  Most people viewed LOML's basketry as an expensive version of the $4 baskets that could be bought over at the Walmart.

The real payoff came about a month later.  My cousin told us that the business owner had died suddenly from a heart attack.  Those two bandsaw boxes were the last things he gave his wife before he died.  Cousin said the wife told her those two boxes were the most precious physical belongings she owned.

I might occasionally take on a commission piece, but it's only if I want to do it.  That's not often.  I'm happier when I'm making stuff for family and friends.  The highest value piece I made lately was a cremation urn for a dear friend who died from cancer.

The wife went to a huge semi annual ag show. They have animals, foodstuffs, craft booths and the like spread over a twenty acre pasture.  She took her all natural soaps, some crochet items, and because she had room, a half dozen of my custom boxes.  I made up a nice card for each box describing the construction techniques, types of wood, and finish.  I set the prices.  The boxes were spaulted maple, brazilian cherry, black walnut, mahogany, curly cherry, burled oak... All highly figured.  You get the idea.  Some dovetails, some fingerjointed, some splined.  Prices ranged from $100 to $250.  I told Tina the prices were firm.

People made offers in the $25 to $75 range.  No
Tina said a custom cabinet maker came by and told her if anything, the boxes were underpriced.
They didn't want to buy the soaps, or crochet items either... Unless she was selling at dollar store prices.
Upset

Meh... You have to have the right crowd.
I gave a couple of those boxes as gifts, raffled a couple.  Crazy
Still have some around ...
Jim in Virginia
You can tell a lot about the character of a man -
By the way he treats those who can do nothing for him.
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#18
  Re: Humor for Woodworkers by Ohio Mike (Custom furniture mak...)
My wife found it less hilarious then I did, particularly on the second showing. My favorite part was the scene where the client asked him to cut all the parts so the client could assemble them himself for a lower price, and the guy's response was "Let me write you some directions... to Ikea."
Math is tough. Let's go shopping!
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#19
  Re: Humor for Woodworkers by Ohio Mike (Custom furniture mak...)
(01-10-2020, 07:13 PM)Ohio Mike Wrote: Custom furniture maker William Douglas pokes a little fun at the questions he gets from potential customers.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=K9bVfkSg...ploademail 



Mike

Mike, my sides still hurt from laughing. That video rang true for me, my aunt had black walnut trees on her 66 acre property in West Virginia. 
Before she passed in 1999 she would sell one or two trees each year to supplement her income. She was offered $8000.00 for each tree or $10,000.00 if the mill considered it a veneer tree.  If I recall she also harvested the nuts each year. An Amish man bought the nuts , I think more for    making an oil stain than for the nuts. She and my cousins loaded buckets of nuts into a skid steer, then dumped them into bins. I recall there were 5 bins about 4'-0" square and about 3'-6" high. They were empty when I was there in the spring. 

mike
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#20
  Re: RE: Humor for Woodworkers by mike4244 ([quote='Ohio Mike' p...)
I've never had any problems selling my work.  The key for me was to never make something and then try to sell it.  That's a recipe for frustration, as others above have noted.  I only make things that people ask me to make for them, things that they can't buy at a furniture, cabinet, door store, etc., that solves a problem for them, that matches something they already own.  In other words, a custom solution.  I've only had two people ask if I could do the work for less than I quoted, to which I said no, and still got the job.  I had another guy say that the price was too high, to which I said that's the price.  He came back a year later and asked me to make it, which I did for the same price, and then gave me two more jobs after that was done.  

I don't deal with Joe Public.  The people who give me work find me from a friend or colleague I've done work for already.  Most of them are so happy to find someone who will actually make something specifically for them, to solve a problem they have, that price is almost never discussed.  I give them a firm quote up front and collect at least 1/3 down if I haven't done work for them before.  I always show people a finish sample before proceeding with the finish.  That alone has prevented several problems.  Most people don't really care about the wood, even fewer about the construction, but everyone cares about the finish, so that part has got to be right.  And just doing the simple things like doing what you say, when you say you will, and being neat and respectful when in someone's house, go a long way towards good customer relations.  

John
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