A place to sell work

DKA

Kelly
User
My wife says either we get a bigger house or I get another hobby. With each piece I make, I have to get rid of one. I have given all my family chests, tables, boxes, etc. We have no room left so I would love to try to sell my work, at least for the material costs. I'm sure I am not alone here.
Is there a gallery or some other place where we can do this ? Would anybody be interested in opening such a place?
I live in the central part of the state so I was thinking Greensboro. Seriously, I need to move some of this stuff.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Try Stokes county arts council. They have a nice gallery in Danbury very close to Hanging Rock State Park. I have sold through there for several years and I think a couple other people on here also sell there. Best to go in person and bring several small items and plenty photos of the larger furniture items. They take a 30% commission so don’t be shy about the price you charge.
 

tri4sale

Daniel
Corporate Member
There are probably a lot of boutique stores around you that will sell on commission, usually around 30%, especially in the small towns surrounding Greensboro. But please do everyone a favor and don't price at "material cost" - that kills it for those that are trying to make a profit. I used to make simple wooden monograms, and made a profit, but then another guy came in and was selling at basically cost and my business dried up, he only lasted about 6 to 8 months, but now people want them cheap like he charged.

If you just need to get rid of things, you could also donate to non-profits to sell, not sure of the tax benefits to that nowadays, but it's always an option.
 

Wiley's Woodworks

New User
Wiley
The advice so far is good advice, but it's inaccurate. The industry standard commission of for-profit retail outlets is 50% commission. Non-profit outlets, like the Stokes County Arts Council or civic-based consumer stores might charge less, but don't be surprised if they don't. The standard retail markup is 100% of cost, and just because your pieces are placed on consignment doesn't change the store owners' calculations.

Placing your work on consignment is a great way to solve your space problem. You just have to do all the work and then wait for the sale before you get any money. IMO it's a coin toss whether retailers are going to be more or less inclined to take on new merchandise. It depends on whether their supply chains connected to their summer season orders are functioning. If they are the stores have a season's supply of inventory and no customers. If the chains have stopped functioning, they lack inventory, but then right now they lack customers. Not good odds for craftspeople in every field.

Another bit of inaccurate advice. The crafts industry has gravitated to the internet model of selling. Nowadays store owners would rather receive emails with high quality photos attached. If they like what they see, they will contact you. They do not like someone walking in unannounced assuming their time isn't valuable and they--the store owners--can stop what they are doing for half an hour to listen to our sales pitches.

Now, how do I know all this? I am about to graduate from Haywood Community College with a degree in Master Crafts--Wood. We have been studying marketing and business planning for the entire year. What I am presenting as factual has been hammered into our heads by the faculty, plus I and my fellow students have way too many negative personal experiences to change my opinions.
 

Mike Davis

Mike
Corporate Member
Schools teach theory, I gave real world first person experience. You can denigrate me all you want but I know what I’m saying is true from my own personal relationship with this particular store. Other areas will be different, but he asked about local opportunities and that’s what I know.
 

Wiley's Woodworks

New User
Wiley
Schools teach theory, I gave real world first person experience. You can denigrate me all you want but I know what I’m saying is true from my own personal relationship with this particular store. Other areas will be different, but he asked about local opportunities and that’s what I know.
Mike--No offense or denigration was intended in my comments. There was nothing personal in my comments and opinions, and they are based on real world first person experience too. Clearly you have an established relationship with the art council and can walk in anytime to see an old friend and place new products with him. Kelly can't. The best solution, and the best way to prove me wrong, is for you to go with Kelly and personally introduce him to your buyer. That is the spirit of NCWW! I look forward to seeing Kelly's next post about his success.
 

walnutjerry

Jerry
Senior User
If any of us had the foolproof successful marketing solution we could write a book and be rich selling it. Then all the woodworking would be for pure pleasure. What do you think guys?
 

Martin Roper

Martin
User
Saturday mornings* in Hillsborough we have the Eno River Farmers Market down behind the courthouse. There are fruits, vegetables, cheese and eggs, of course, but there are guys who bring stuff like boxes and turned items. See if your area has something similar.

*Suspended indefinitely due to CV.
 

Oka

Casey
Corporate Member
Ahhh selling your work ....... this is the best advice I got from my mom who was a well known Artist in her day. Create your work, learn to understand what you are good at and why that matters, then begin to start marketing your work based on that. As you begin, little will happen, but on average, it will take 2-5 years and suddenly, you are then known and begin to establish your niche in the market. Like it or not, in order to sell your work you must understand your work and the market where it would be desired. That takes time, planning and being dedicated to the goal.
 

jerrye

Jerry
Corporate Member
If any of us had the foolproof successful marketing solution we could write a book and be rich selling it. Then all the woodworking would be for pure pleasure. What do you think guys?
After more than a quarter century of sales experience, much of that spent looking for the perfect, one-size-fits-all pitch, I can attest to the accuracy of this statement.
 

chris_goris

Chris
Senior User
You could try red collection in greensboro. They consign furniture and artwork etc. Their commission is 40% of sale price, but you try could price your work accordingly. I say try because they set the price and theyre quite knowledgeable in pricing. They also work on a sliding price scale meaning the longer it sits the lower the price based on time intervals.
 

ncfromnc

neil
User
Hi, I'm another HCC graduate like Wiley. The Marketing program there is top notch. I understand the statement about "Schools teach theory" but the teachers at HCC are practicing craftspeople too. They also, bring in practicing professionals as guest speakers etc. Galleries take %50 but they also store, display, promote and take care of shipping and sales taxes....a good bargain. Think of it as %50 goes to the maker and %50 goes to the seller. Sometimes we make direct sales and keep both halves. Sometimes we do a craftshow. We keep %100 of the sales, but there are booth fees, travel expenses, lost time in the shop etc. Having a multiple approach is you best bet. During the Quarantine, My galleries have closed and shows have cancelled. I have turned to FaceBook to sell. Keeping at it is what counts.
 

Dan Bowman

Dan Bowman
Senior User
It's very easy to saturate a limited market with unique items, even those that you assume have broad appeal. I used to make cutting boards to sell at a well-known Christmas craft show, with profits donated to the Eastern NC food bank. The first year I sold nearly $2000 in one day, the next year it dropped to around $1200 and the next to $300. Same boards, but also the same customers. The advice given above is excellent - and I will suggest you target both local and broad markets, and you need to keep updating or adding to your product line.
 

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