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Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first? (Read 3,381 times)
 
Chris Gunsolley
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Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Jun 3rd, 2016 at 1:43pm
 
This topic pertains to the thought processes you believe your potential customers go through when considering the purchase of one of your bowls. I'm assuming there's some sort of (often subconscious) hierarchy of criteria that are considered by the customer. Under this assumption, let's say someone approaches you and may be interested in buying a bowl...

In beginning to narrow down which of your many bowls he or she may be most interested in, what criterion do you think they are generally taking into consideration first?

For example, do you think they have a size in mind, then they compare what's available in that size?

Or, do you think they have a price they're willing to pay in mind and they're firm on that, so they may simply see what's available at that price, and perhaps even consider a variety of sizes and forms as long as it's that price?

Or, are they simply looking for that gut feeling that one of your bowls 'speaks' to them, or creates a want desire, and the bowl that they ultimately decide upon could ultimately happen to fall anywhere on the spectrum of form, size, or price? This is kind of like saying "whatever catches my eye" and price isn't an object.

If there are any other strong possibilities I've neglected to mention here, please do mention them. Perhaps first and foremost people have a form in mind, type of wood, or something else I'm not mentioning altogether? If you think so, what is it?

If you don't mind, please offer the reason(s) you believe potential customers consider what you've named first. I welcome you to share your experiences that support this. I also welcome you to share a general overview of the thought process from initial consideration to the actual purchase, that you believe your customers go through.    

All insights and opinions are tremendously appreciated. Thank you. 
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #1 - Jun 4th, 2016 at 4:12pm
 
That's a good question. From what I have seen they seem to like bowls that are unusual and in the 7 to 9 inch range. Also, all gals will feel the inside  wall of the bowl even if they don't buy. I have not sold one salad bowl size. I have been getting away from bowls and sell a lot of "ring and earring boxes with finials, ring stands and mills.
Cheers
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #2 - Jun 5th, 2016 at 4:27am
 
Chris,

My wife and I recently did a show where we sold 16 pieces ranging from $65 - $250.

Only 2 of the pieces were bowls, both were in the 6" - 7" range, one was natural edge and the other was bark edge and embellished with gold leaf.

The rest were either hollow forms or basket illusions. 4 of the hollow forms were burls, 2 were NIP.

In my limited experience, the unusual sells.

Also sold a few bird house & pendants but the clientele at this particular, juried, show were more interested in the medium to medium-large pieces.

We have pretty much gotten away from making bowls unless the wood is "special", we did have several requests for "yarn" bowls, and we will definitely be adding those to our inventory when we do the show next year.

RC
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #3 - Jun 5th, 2016 at 5:37pm
 
Ron, good going. If I may ask,  what was the cost to enter?
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #4 - Jun 5th, 2016 at 7:15pm
 
I just spent quite a bit of time typing a response.  What I wrote was considered spam.  This will probably be the last post I make on this site.  This has happened before and I've never written anything that could possibly be regarded as spam.  I did not reply for myself, but to try to give back to this site.  The site has helped me in the past ... but ....

If you would like to read what I tried to post, please pm me and I will send it to you.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #5 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 5:26am
 
Lee,

It was a Fri- Sat event, entry fee was $125.

RC
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #6 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 7:29am
 
Gary D Baker wrote on Jun 5th, 2016 at 7:15pm:
I just spent quite a bit of time typing a response.  What I wrote was considered spam.  This will probably be the last post I make on this site.  This has happened before and I've never written anything that could possibly be regarded as spam.  I did not reply for myself, but to try to give back to this site.  The site has helped me in the past ... but ....

If you would like to read what I tried to post, please pm me and I will send it to you.



I'm not sure what would cause such an alert. Please either PM or email (if you have the problem sending a PM) and I'll look at it and see if I can figure out what is going on.

Edited:
A thought just occurred to me, and mind you that I'm just guessing at this point, if you double click the post button fast enough the forum software thinks you are speed posting. Do this often enough in a certain time frame and the software will think you are a spammer. I've this happen once before when a person was editing their post. You gotta be a extremely fast typist and proof reader for this to happen or maybe you are copying and pasting your post and accidentally posted twice. The idea behind code this is to prevent a spammer from posting the same message on multiple boards in rapid-fire session.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #7 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 8:34am
 
Chris, it seems obvious to me what you're trying to get at by you post/questions.
The problem is, as usual, there is no easy answer. There really is no answer at all. The root of your question is what do people want to buy. There is no way to tell.
The variables are endless, not to mention every person is different.
You can track trends, see what others sell, get stories from other turners but none of that is constant and none of that can really help you.
This is something you have to experience first hand with your own work, otherwise you'll never know.
If I told you 8" bowl sell great and you show up with a table full of 8" bowls and they don't sell, then what? Whose fault is it that they didn't sell?
I've seen people try to sell things I would've used for kindling and others that price as if their lathe was powered by unicorn blood. Each one of these people would probably tell you a different story about what does or doesn't sell.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #8 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 6:36pm
 
Gary D Baker wrote on Jun 6th, 2016 at 6:19pm:
Ron, Here is the reply to the "what do customers want" question that was regarded as spam.  I wound up sending it via pm.  I'm including his response back to me which I thought was touching.  I turn 500 plus bowls a year and make 300 other items to sell. I don't really don't have this time to waste.


When it comes to turned items, I sell 99% bowls.  I do sell other things that are not turned.  I do only farmer's markets.  The most important thing that sells my bowls is drop dead gorgeous wood.  It doesn't have to be expensive ... but it has to be gorgeous, unique, and with something unusual about it.  Second:  It has to shine.  If it doesn't shine you might as well put it in the fire pile (not a plastic shine, but a deep, soft, luxurious shine).  Third, it has to be so smooth that it is difficult to pick up.  I often spend 5-10 times as much time on the sanding and finish as I do the turning.

Customers don't care if it is thin, if it has ornamental work, that the bottom may not be perfect.  Remember, you are not turning for the show and tell of your turning club.  Not turning for other turners.  You are turning for customers who are influenced (or not) by the total picture of what they see.  They need to have a love affair with it, caress it, hold it.  A few years ago at an outdoor show I had a woman in my booth who had spent several minutes with a small bowl.  She was probably in her seventies, dressed in clothing reminiscent of the Mennonite faith.  Not a person who you would expect to turn to me and say, "This bowl is so sensual that I have to have it."

What you make has to TOUCH YOUR CUSTOMERS AT MORE THAN A TECHNICAL LEVEL.  I don't think there is a formula that can help you quantify that.  I think you know when you've done it and you know when you haven't.  One thing that does help me quantify it is this:  If a piece that touched my heart today is still having the same effect on me a year from now ...  I hit the jackpot.  These bowls are actually never around that long ... because they sell.

Sorry for the rant ... I tend to get long winded.  I think that you build things that sell more through passion and desire for what you are doing than through analysis.  Make it beautiful with passion and desire .... present it with passion ... and it will sell.



If you are wondering, the software would have listed me as a spammer for posting the same text that you claim caused the problem, so the problem is not the text you posted nor is it the forum software.

The only other way I can think that the software will list you a spammer is if you logged on with one IP address then tried to post using a different IP address. If you don't know how to do that than that isn't the problem unless you are on some strange internet hookup.

I'm sorry you think you are wasting your time.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #9 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 7:05pm
 
Chris

I think your question needs to be asked for each selling situation.  I would expect the answers to vary sometimes significantly, and therefore generalizations across all situations won't be helpful.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #10 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 7:19pm
 
Thank you Ron.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #11 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 9:05pm
 
Ron, Very well said. If you have an affair with what you turn, it will sell. if you turn something like a machine it may never sell.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #12 - Jun 6th, 2016 at 9:11pm
 
Ron C, Thanks, just wondering about getting into higher end shows. The art shows are really expensive, like 400, around me but they do draw a different clientele. But to sell 400 to break even is risky and a lot of work.What your cost was for your show was not bad at all for your sales.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #13 - Jun 7th, 2016 at 5:20am
 
Lee,

Up in my neck of the woods, there is a "craft show", festival almost every weekend. We've attended allot of them just to see what is on display. Most of the craft shows are not worth our effort, IOHO, due to the low end type articles that are on display. These what we call the five & dime shows where it's rare for someone to pull a $20 out of their pocket. We avoid these.

You are correct, most of the juried shows run in the $400 range to participate. The upside of the juried shows is that there is usually an entrance fee and the people attending are more in the mood to buy higher priced items, knowing that everything at the show is hand made.

My $0.02

RC

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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #14 - Jun 7th, 2016 at 8:11am
 
CONSUMER PSYCHOLOGY: What do bowl customers consider first?
Ed Weber wrote on Jun 6th, 2016 at 8:34am:
The variables are endless, not to mention every person is different.


Don Stephan wrote on Jun 6th, 2016 at 7:05pm:
I think your question needs to be asked for each selling situation.  I would expect the answers to vary sometimes significantly, and therefore generalizations across all situations won't be helpful.


Now we've strayed into discussing the different types of shows, which is just one of the variables or situations that was warned about. (above)

While the type of show may have a role in potential sales as Ron C mentioned but now you're moving into the mind of the seller more than the customer.
Where should I sell my pieces?
Thais an entirely different discussion.
IMO
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #15 - Jun 7th, 2016 at 10:50am
 
Ed Weber wrote on Jun 7th, 2016 at 8:11am:
Thais an entirely different discussion.


Yes, but entirely relevant
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #16 - Jun 7th, 2016 at 11:56am
 
Ron Sardo wrote on Jun 7th, 2016 at 10:50am:
Yes, but entirely relevant


No doubt, it's definitely essential part of the discussion.

IMO it should be one of the things considered first, since it help to narrow down the choices of what is being asked in the OT.
If you know what you're selling (bowls) and where you're selling,(whether it's craft fair or gallery) the group of customers you're selling to in each venue is usually looking for something different. So although each group is potentially smaller, they are more targeted. This way, you are selecting the customers you want, by selecting the proper venue for your work, rather than trying to "generally" guess what someone might want.

After all that, you never know what people might want, there are always exceptions.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #17 - Jun 7th, 2016 at 6:18pm
 
Ed, I think they are related in some ways. I see the type of show one is  selling in can determine what you sell. The craft shows, I see,  really need  some low cost items. I made a pretty good study of one particular show by watching many booths and fifteen dollars was pretty high end but they could sell. It's pretty hard for a turner to be in that market.
Just my thoughts,
Lee
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #18 - Jun 7th, 2016 at 6:38pm
 
Lee Watermann wrote on Jun 7th, 2016 at 6:18pm:
Ed, I think they are related in some ways.


As I said, I agree they're related and must be considered with everything else.
If you know where you're going to try and sell, you'll have a better idea of who you're selling to.
This is why I say you really need to experience it first hand, just as you did. You didn't have to guess, you investigated and figured out $15 was the sweet spot for that venue.

This is why i think the original question/s are too broad.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #19 - Jun 8th, 2016 at 10:17am
 
I just typed up a reply to this as well and was told it was spam...
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #20 - Jun 8th, 2016 at 10:25am
 
Kathy Jekel wrote on Jun 8th, 2016 at 10:17am:
I just typed up a reply to this as well and was told it was spam...


PM me the text.

What hardware and browser are you using? (ie: pc/firefox)

Also, can you tell me anything about what you were doing, (ie: editing, preview, live preview, etc). I want to see if I can replicate the error.

Has this happened on any other thread?

Or to anyone else? Anywhere?

Edited:
Grasping at a straw, maybe its all the CAPs in the title. There is a function that prevents 20 caps in a row (yes I know there is 19 letters and one colon)
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #21 - Jun 8th, 2016 at 6:48pm
 
I do 4 craft fairs per year and I used to fret about what will sell or not. Same with pricing, is it too expensive or am I giving it away?  Now I have got to the point that I turn for "me" and what I like.  I do like to have a range of different stuff and that suits me because I do not like doing the same thing over and over.
  As a general rule if the customer picks it up and feels it and it feels good to them it will sell.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #22 - Jun 8th, 2016 at 7:57pm
 
Leo, I find that to be true also. Mostly its ladies that do the buying and if they pick up more than one item they usually by one for sure. Thumbs Up
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #23 - Jun 17th, 2016 at 3:16pm
 
Been selling our work for 10 years, have sold over 540 items. We sell only in art galleries. I worked in a co-op gallery for a while, behind the cash register. Overall, I would say that women made up about 90% of our buyers, & would generally ask: "Can I put salad in it?", "What kind of wood is it, & where did it come from?". Virtually all wanted to feel it. Feedback from the galleries was about the same

What bowls sell the best? Really hard for me to say. I think the larger & deeper bowls generate the most interest, but are not necessarily our best sellers. Unique grain configuration, & color seem to generate the most interest, in my opinion, & I think a perfect finish is imperative.

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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #24 - Aug 6th, 2016 at 1:00pm
 
I started bringing  a gouge, and a 16" long, halved piece of wood. Customers  then can see how a bowl starts out.  And i talk alot. If you can keep them at your table your chances of making a sale go up.  Lots of people like to hear about bowl making. This also keeps a crowd around your table, others see this and want to know what the fuss is about.
Some want to know how a natural edge bowl is formed. With a blank you can show them.  I use the same  finish on all my bowls.  People ask how can they be different colors, the door is now open, start talking!
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #25 - Aug 6th, 2016 at 5:35pm
 
I find this string quite interesting and I think several have hit on the type of attendance a given show will bring.  Last fall I attended my first as a vendor and had quite a number of relatively small and quite inexpensive bowls, plates, etc. as well as several higher-end pieces of Cocobolo or other exotic.  Those attending couldn't get enough of the smaller spalted maple pieces while a beautiful 8" Cocobolo bowl didn't receive as much as an offer even at $80.  So for this year, my inventory is weighted heavily towards the six to nine inch variety of 'user' pieces and an even smaller selection of exotics.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #26 - Aug 7th, 2016 at 5:01pm
 
John Grace wrote on Aug 6th, 2016 at 5:35pm:
I find this string quite interesting and I think several have hit on the type of attendance a given show will bring.  Last fall I attended my first as a vendor and had quite a number of relatively small and quite inexpensive bowls, plates, etc. as well as several higher-end pieces of Cocobolo or other exotic.  Those attending couldn't get enough of the smaller spalted maple pieces while a beautiful 8" Cocobolo bowl didn't receive as much as an offer even at $80.  So for this year, my inventory is weighted heavily towards the six to nine inch variety of 'user' pieces and an even smaller selection of exotics. 




And, this year the exotics will sell like hotcakes, and the user bowls will sit.
Such is the life of a bowl merchant.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #27 - Sep 14th, 2016 at 6:17pm
 
I think there have been some really good points mentioned here that I believe contribute to the selling of a turning.
1.  Plan wood, unless it has sentimental value for people will more than likely just sit on the shelf and not sell.  When I say sentimental, an example where I live is that a piece of wood that came from one of the trees that was at the high school that were destroyed by "the tornado" has huge sentimental value.
2.  If it is a bowl, platter or HF it must be smooth and "sensual" to the touch.  This is something Jimmy Clewes talks about.
3.  Aesthetically pleasing to the eye.  People will not buy "dog dishes" or other items that don't attract the eye.  A smooth curve, proper proportions are a must.
4.  Create a conversation with the people in your booth.  I know every piece of wood that I have in a show and am able to tell a story about where it came from, etc.  People like being able to develop a "relationship" with a piece of art.  And whether we are selling a bowl, a HF or a pen, it is a piece of art.
5.  Not all shows are created equal.  If the majority of things that you turn are seam rippers, ice cream scopes, slim line pens, etc. then your market will probably be a craft fair.  As said earlier, people attending a craft fair are usually looking for items around $25 or less.  If the majority of the things you make are bowls, HF, platters and decorative turnings, then you need to be looking at art fairs or art festivals.  And the really good shows are juried.  Which means that they are not just judging your turning skills but they are also looking at how you market your turnings by requesting a photo of your booth as well. So you need to make sure that your booth looks completely different than a booth you might have at a craft fair.  I went to a mock jury one time and one of the judges really liked the pictures of my individual turnings and even wanted to buy one, but said if she saw my booth at a fair she wouldn't even consider going in. Thus, she would not consider having me part of a show.
Just some of my thought on the questions at hand.  Hope they provide some insights to those reading this thread.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #28 - Sep 15th, 2016 at 8:29am
 
i agree with what Mr. Baker said. I've been scroll sawing 23 years, & we make 6 - 10 shows a year. The scroll projects I make are things anywhere from signs to dream catchers. I cut my own feathers for the catchers, the bead work, etc. Other projects that you think folks will buy like wolves, butterflies, crosses, etc., we get compliments on the work, but no sales. It varies from show to show, person to person. You never know what the public is looking for. I use all rough sawn hardwoods in my projects, & very little staining. There are times we sell out, & other times, all we do is make conversation.
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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #29 - Sep 16th, 2016 at 4:25pm
 
Brad Barnhart wrote on Sep 15th, 2016 at 8:29am:
It varies from show to show, person to person. You never know what the public is looking for


That pretty much sums it up, you can only do so much in preparation when you are dealing with an unknown.

Something like 'You can't please all of the people all of the time"
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Brad Barnhart
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Sawdust Haven Woodworking

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St. Francis, Kansas, USA
St. Francis, Kansas
USA

Gender: male

Harbor Freight 12" x 33 5/8"
67" home built lathe
BM-26 Hawk scroll saw
CW-40 Hitachi Scroll Saw
16" Craftsman Scroll saw
12"DeWalt Radial arm saw
8" Craftsman Tablesaw
Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #30 - Oct 31st, 2016 at 10:32pm
 
We attended our first craft show this last week end, & I'll admit, I've been extremely busy working in the corn field for a farmer for the last month, & haven't spent any prep time for the show. But, the vendor numbers were down, the crowd was down because of harvest, & a new organiser.

After reading all the posts again looking for ideas & what to do next, I see everyone agrees on one thing. You can't pull the rabbit out of the hat if the rabbit left! Meaning, as a scroller & turner, folks walk up to our booth, look our work over & some say they'll be back, some say beautiful work, others say our house is full of this on the inside, I'm looking for things for outside. Ok, that's fine.

Next thing ya know, up walks a customer, starts looking at my wifes' beads, then moves to my scroll work & turning. And the conversation begins. She/he wants to know what type of wood,  say a dream catcher is made from. I tell them. They ask how long it takes to make it, what type of saw do I use to make it. Then they get to the bead work & feathers. They are fascinated with the feathers because they look so real. When they ask where I get them, I tell them I cut them on the saw myself. By this time, a small amount of folks is drawing in to listen to my spiel about it. They want to touch & feel them. Hold the catcher themselves. The conversation gets deeper as folks realize that this is all hand made, so to speak. I've got their attention. It amazes me at how many come to these craft shows lookin' for pampered chef, & wind up learning something, & sometimes, I'll sell a catcher.

I've found the hardest thing to do when selling my products is getting to the customers' mind. Going to these craft shows & leaving having learned something is the farthest thing from their thinking. They are looking for certain things, & if it's not there, they are done shopping & leave. I guess that's why I take different things to every show. Folks want to learn about it. Feel & touch it. Ask you questions about making it. Yea, you're going to have a pinhead that comes along & tries to get smart with ya. Keep on keepin' on. It's your inventory, not theirs. Take things one step at a time. Learn as you go. When that customer looks at you, tells you "I'll take it" & grins, you can both be happy! jmo.

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« Last Edit: Oct 31st, 2016 at 10:37pm by Brad Barnhart »  

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Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #31 - Apr 17th, 2017 at 3:03pm
 
Perhaps I'm too naive but the answer to this question seems quite simple...it's visual.  What draws that person to your table from across the parking lot or hall?  I think most of my customers see two things...the pleasant colors of wood and the utilitarian function of the pieces.  Taken together that's what gets them over to my table.
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Brad Barnhart
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Sawdust Haven Woodworking

Posts: 59

St. Francis, Kansas, USA
St. Francis, Kansas
USA

Gender: male

Harbor Freight 12" x 33 5/8"
67" home built lathe
BM-26 Hawk scroll saw
CW-40 Hitachi Scroll Saw
16" Craftsman Scroll saw
12"DeWalt Radial arm saw
8" Craftsman Tablesaw
Re: Consumer Psychology: What do bowl customers consider first?
Reply #32 - May 26th, 2017 at 11:38pm
 
This may get me in deep trouble, but, as a scroll sawyer, & gone to the numerous shows that we have, & seen other "scroll sawyers" work, & a few turners work, it makes me want to clear out our display & go home. Seriously. I've been a self taught scroller for 25 years. No, I don't claim to be a professional, but, when the maker of your scroll saw invites you to the State Fair to demonstrate for them, that should speak for itself.

Gettin' back to the op's subject, the main thing I've learned about the general public & my work, is it has to appeal to them right then & there. If it doesn't, no sale. Regardless of the beauty of it, or the softness, etc. Most of my projects are Native American work, or work centered around that. Some of my prices are higher than others, but, imo, my work is better than others, too. More "showy, & fragile". But I've also learned that if you've got a customer that is sincerely interested in a piece of your work, start a conversation w/them. Find out a little bit about them. Tell them a little abit about the piece they are interested in. Then ask them to make you an offer on it. It may not be what you're askin', but maybe you can meet in the middle. I think lots of folks get greedy. I'm in the wrong part of the world to get rich at it, but if I can make someone smile, & know they truly like the piece they just bought, it makes it all worth it. just my .02 worth.
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