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Top sellers (Read 1,248 times)
 
William Bryant
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Top sellers
Jan 23rd, 2010 at 7:59pm
 
I am new to the process of selling turnings, but was wondering what is the best product to make? What sells the most or what brings in the most money? Just wondering
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JimQuarles
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #1 - Jan 23rd, 2010 at 8:18pm
 
Hope you have a worm trap, cause you just opened up the can.  What sells best will vary widely around the country, and even from one side of town to the other.  I live in west Phoenix area, and have never sold a bottle stopper over here, but across town I sold 6 in one day.  A lot will depend on your level of skill.  A heavy bowl will sell before a heavy hollow form, but if you have the technique for doing a thin wall HF, you may get much more money for it.  I mostly sell pens and gross a couple grand a year from word of mouth advertising.

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Lee Goehring
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #2 - Jan 23rd, 2010 at 9:01pm
 
The best one to make? My advice would be to start with the ones you enjoy making - you'll probably do a better job and it will show up in the finished product. 
As Jim said, it varies with the show, and a bunch of other things too. If you ever get a good handle on it, let us all know. But then you get into market saturation, price wars,  boredom. I think a variety of items is a good idea, but some turners like to specialize in one or two things. So I guess you could say "it depends"...

Lee
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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #3 - Jan 23rd, 2010 at 9:16pm
 
I think there is a couple ways to go about it.
1. Pick a target market and go specifically for that. It is what I did and it is working for me. It involves a fair amount of research, knowing your market and a strat. for selling in it.
2. Turn a variety of items you enjoy and are fairly good at, then do some test marketing. Be it shows, internet or advertizing. When you find what sells for you concentrate on those items.
What ever you do don't start marketing something you don't enjjoy making, because that is going to be your demand object and you will be regretting it before long.

Brad
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Vaughn McMillan
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #4 - Jan 23rd, 2010 at 9:26pm
 
I'll echo both Jim and Lee. What sells well in one place may not sell well in another. I'd recommend starting by turning what you like and finding a way to sell the results. If you get into the Art/Craft show thing, you'll eventually see what seems to sell the best in your area and can change your emphasis if you see the need.

When I started doing shows, I concentrated on bowls and hollow forms, because that's what I like to make. Those have remained my best sellers (income-wise, not in volume), but the pens and low-cost potpourri bowls have bailed me out at several shows when the more expensive stuff wasn't moving. In the past year or so, the market for artistic pieces seems to have dropped bigtime in my area, so I concentrated on smaller things last year. In the end though, the high-ticket items brought in about as much income as the low-end stuff, so I'm currently back to concentrating on the upper end of my spectrum. That's what I enjoy the most. For me, the big stuff has lower overhead costs, too. I can make a $100 bowl or $200 hollow form out of free firewood, chainsaw gas, sandpaper, finish, and time. But I can easily spend $10 to $15 making a $30 pen.

In the local show circuit I've been doing, there are several other turners, and we all know each other pretty well. Each of us has a specialty, with only a little overlap in products. One guy has 90% pens, another has about the same percentage of small boxes and desk accessories, and yet another does mostly flower bowls with the spiky inserts. I'm the bowl and hollow form guy, even though the other guys might have one or two on display as well. I also usually have a few pens and other lower price point items, too. I'd say we all sell about the same dollars worth at any given show, although the pen guy seems to be more consistent. He is also strictly a production turner who spends three or four months of the year turning a few thousand pens and other pieces, then spends the rest of the time on the road trying to make a living selling them. He does great work, but he's a technician, not an artist. He enjoys the selling, but not necessarily the turning.

Part of the reason for the pen guy's success is because he has also spent the past 15 or 20 years learning which shows his products sell well at. That's another key ingredient. Unfortunately, I've not yet found a tried and true way to know which shows will bring the kind of public you need without actually trying them. And even then, the results can be inconsistent. I've had both my best show and worst show at the same venue, 6 months apart. So far I've not been brave enough to pony up the $400 entry fee to try that particular show again. Wink
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« Last Edit: Jan 23rd, 2010 at 9:33pm by Vaughn McMillan »  
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Dale Gillaspy
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #5 - Jan 24th, 2010 at 5:49pm
 
Make what you love, and find your audience. There is nothing worse than turning just for work and not for fun, and still not selling. I have had good and bad show experiences. Did a show with Jim a couple of months ago, one that he had done great at last year, and neither one of us did very well.Then I did several hundred dollars in word of mouth advertising. Right now, I am working on 2 "commissioned" pieces that came to me via word of mouth.
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TomTunget
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #6 - Jan 25th, 2010 at 4:55pm
 
Ah yes,,,
But enjoy what you do make, or the other way around too!

Even when first starting out people will be amazed at your turnings and you will give many away to happy friends.

KEEP TRACK OF WHERE THEY GO! Sorry about the caps there.
Seriously, when you get better you will want the first ones back so you can give them better ones! Something about  'No proof I was that bad and liked it!' If you are building a name for yourself, your old work should always be good.

Some things you can't get back but then Mom won't show it to too many people. Right!?
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Brad_Mortensen
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #7 - Jan 25th, 2010 at 8:39pm
 
Something about  'No proof I was that bad and liked it!' If you are building a name for yourself, your old work should always be good


Many of the things I proudly sold 5 years ago, would never see the light of day now! But, I don't see this as a bad thing, the historians will be able to trace your progress on the way to greatness. And I want to believe the early ugly one will actually be collectors items worth $$$ . Cheesy

Brad
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« Last Edit: Jan 25th, 2010 at 8:40pm by Brad_Mortensen »  
 
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Robert Harper
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #8 - Jan 26th, 2010 at 11:25am
 
Brad_Mortensen wrote on Jan 25th, 2010 at 8:39pm:
Something about  'No proof I was that bad and liked it!' If you are building a name for yourself, your old work should always be good


Many of the things I proudly sold 5 years ago, would never see the light of day now! But, I don't see this as a bad thing, the historians will be able to trace your progress on the way to greatness. And I want to believe the early ugly one will actually be collectors items worth $$$ . Cheesy

Brad

Quite possible but only after you're long dead and unable to collect the rewards.

I think that in any craft occupation, you have to first love what you do because the term "starving artist" is a reality. I also agree with others that how much you love what you do shows in the final product. Also remember that when you start doing what you love to do for money, it often turns to WORK. The other thing about variety in your display says to me as a viewer is that your skills are better than some who concentrate on only one thing and that is all they do. I assess more value to a varied display than something that looks like you could make a machine that does the same thing.
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Vaughn McMillan
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Re: Top sellers
Reply #9 - Jan 26th, 2010 at 5:26pm
 
Robert Harper wrote on Jan 26th, 2010 at 11:25am:
...The other thing about variety in your display says to me as a viewer is that your skills are better than some who concentrate on only one thing and that is all they do. I assess more value to a varied display than something that looks like you could make a machine that does the same thing.


Although I agree with you, it seems that some of the more successful vendors at the shows I do are the ones who seem to concentrate on a limited variety of styles. This seems particularly true with the painters I've met at the shows, but to some extent, I've seen it with potters, glass blowers, textile folks, and woodturners, too.
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