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Right place at the right time (Read 190 times)
 
Richard Beecher
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Right place at the right time
Jun 10th, 2017 at 10:11pm
 
You just never know when something will come out of the blue and land in your lap.

I live in a beach community and attempt to sell my peppermills and cutting boards at weekend markets in other beach towns nearby as well as my own. The big problem with that is that the tourists who come to the beaches on vacation are usually budget minded and aren't looking for anything other than cheap trinkets and 'beachy' souvenirs. While small cheese boards usually sell well, peppermills and end grain cutting boards do not. It's almost not worth the effort.

Back in March I set up for a 2 day weekend art show. This is yearly event that is always well advertised and well attended. I had attended a few times in past years but only had cutting boards and I managed to do very well as far as sales go. This years event included my peppermills as well as my full compliment of various different types of cutting boards. By the close of the first day I had sold fully half of the 70+ cutting boards I had including the two biggest and most expensive end grain boards I had. I just knew that I'd be taking them home at the end of the show. The peppermill sales started slow but took off late Saturday and continued through sunday. In the end I sold 21 of the 46 mills I had. It was a long time in coming to recoup a lot of the $$$ I've invested in all that wood.

But, that wasn't the best part of the show. On Saturday a lady had showed a big interest in my peppermills. After a lot of questions, did I make them, did I have an outlet to sell them, etc, etc. she said she would be back the next day. On sunday she came back with another woman. She introduced herself as the owner of a high end gift shop and art gallery in town which I was familiar with. After looking over my mills and the remaining boards she asked if I would be interested in setting up retail space in the store? She told me they had been looking for a craftsman that made both cutting boards and peppermills for some time. I made an appointment with them to meet at the shop the following day and discussed all the pertinent details.

Not only did they offer to bump me to the top of the waiting list, they waived the $200 jury fee required when someone initially applies for space within the store as they had seen my work. They regularly run both local TV and radio ads, advertise on all the social media platforms and their website and feature different crafts people within the shop on a rotating basis and, it's a regular destination for tour busses. It's also very close to all the other upscale shopping areas, gated golf communities with McMansions. You know, those people with a pocketful of folding money.

If there was ever a 'no-brainer' this was it. I signed a year long contract the following day and set up shop by the end of the week. Because it is so upscale bumping up the prices on everything doesn't seem to have been a problem because everything is selling better than I thought.

I guess I was in the right place at the right time.


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Glenn Roberts
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Walworth, NY, New York, USA
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Re: Right place at the right time
Reply #1 - Jun 11th, 2017 at 6:32am
 
Rich, do you rent the space, give a cut to the store, etc? If so, did you raise the price of your products?
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Don Stephan
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Cincinnati, Ohio, Ohio, USA
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Re: Right place at the right time
Reply #2 - Jun 11th, 2017 at 8:52am
 
After subtracting the cost of materials and gallery costs, what do you expect to make per hour of your time to turn and apply finish?  It is a blunt question, but often I hear of turners who are surprised and disappointed when they calculate what they actually make on their time.  And this still is treating tools and equipment as free.
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Richard Beecher
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Re: Right place at the right time
Reply #3 - Jun 11th, 2017 at 11:28am
 
Yes, the space is rented. Every space is well lit and tastefully laid out and, security cameras up the wazoo. Rent varies based on size. My space, which is big enough for now, runs $150 plus a 10% commission on all sales. My foot is in the door so to speak. The good part is I don't have to be there, except to restock. All sales and questions are handled by the store employees.

Considering the amount of traffic through the place, the amount and type of advertising they do, credit card fees, etc, etc, on the surface seems well worth the price, so far at least. I'll have to see how well it goes through the summer season. If it looks as though it will be successful over the coming year I'll probably consider a larger space.

I did raise my prices considerably from what I was selling for at the local weekend markets and so far it doesn't seem to have hurt what sales are being made. It is in the upscale end of town after all. I would love to be able to command some of the prices I see on websites that offer custom peppermills and maybe some day that might happen, although I am not underselling by any means.

At this point it would be hard to calculate costs vs time/profit. I'm under no illusions of turning huge profits. I've had a Cornhole board business now for 9 yrs and while I have been very successful in that endeavor, the time spent doesn't always equate to more money.
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John Cepko
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Re: Right place at the right time
Reply #4 - Jun 15th, 2017 at 6:15pm
 
Maybe leave a stack of cards at the store offering custom mills on commission...
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