Selling you work                                                                          

Here are some ideas about selling from some of the discussion groups.

Subject: [proscrollers] Food for thought
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 22:21:09 -0600
From: "Dirk Boelman" <>

I want to start a conversation here, sharing a couple of ideas I have heard from other scrollers who have been quite successful selling their products: these are just tidbits, but maybe they will be helpful to those of you wishing to increase sales of your scrollsawn projects.

I want to start with a little of my own philosophy..."You never bump into anything unless you're in motion"! If you want to try to make sales, you have to get out and try to make sales. Get out and see what you can "bump" into!!! 
Try to think of every way and everywhere you might possibly make a sale..and go for it!!! 

Here's a couple examples:
I know a guy who visits various businesses, takes a couple of his projects in to show off, and asks if he can make the Secretary a desk name sign..which he gives her for free. He then leaves his business card with her, when he drops off the project, and asks her to tell others about him, and takes orders for more desk signs, etc. Each time he drops off a sign, he shows off his photo album of other projects..and makes more sales... and pretty soon "word of mouth" spreads among co-workers, family & friends...and this guy is doing all of the sawing he can handle. "Just by bumping into the right Secretaries, who are really impressed by his work"!!!

Here's another neat idea: We know a guy in Iowa, who made and sold several mini clock projects to a lady from Minneapolis, Minnesota. She works in a large office building, and often took her projects to work with her to show her friends. Soon her friends were asking her where they could get one for themselves, so she started taking orders for various projects..and then passed them on to the guy doing the sawing. They worked out a deal where she got a commission for each item she sold..and now she has started going to other office buildings...taking more orders..and our friend in Iowa now has more sawing to do than he really wanted to get in to. "Just by bumping into this lady from Minneapolis at a craft show in southern Iowa".

And..then there's craft shows...some people do fantastic at these sales. I understand that you need to have a variety of projects available at a variety of prices. Some people are going to spend $5.00...some are going to spend $10 to $20, some are going to spend $30 to $50, and a select few are going to spend bigger dollars. But, there is also the opportunity to take orders for special projects., and to make important contacts for future sales.
"Who knows what you might bump into"! Most importantly, I think you need to be aware of the type of show you plan to participate in. If you can check out a show prior to the time you participate, and see if there are other vendors showing and selling projects for up to several hundred dollars...maybe you can do good there, too. But, if a show is mostly selling Aunt Betty's handmade popsicklestick dolls for $1.99 and knitted toilet paper holders for
$ probably can't expect to make any big money at such a sale. We hear that people are much more successful selling steam engine and tractor mini clocks at Antique Power Shows...or motorcycle mini clocks at motorcycle shows/gatherings. There are a lot of good shows out there, you just need to put a little thought into who attends the shows...and plan to sell projects to them that fit their pocketbook.

So...just some seed for thought. Hope these help some of you to start thinking "creatively" about who you might sell your projects to. I will do some more searching for more info from people who have already made some success.
Perhaps some of you also have some tried and true methods to share with the group,too. I can honestly say that there isn't anything better than making a busines from doing something that you absolutely love to do...and I  definitely hope that dream can happen for all of you, too!!!

Dirk Boelman 

Subject: Re: [proscrollers] Food for thought
Date: Wed, 21 Feb 2001 21:46:19 -0800
From: "The Lumberlady" <>

Dirk -

Your advice is excellent. I have a customer who makes a woodworking  project partly scroll, partly lathe, partly hammer and nail...a very cute little candy machine. He takes one everywhere he goes. If he goes to  the restaurant, he plops one up on the table near his elbow, orders his coffee, and ends up selling one to everyone in the restaurant without even saying anything. It is an adorable product and practically sells itself. someone says "Oh my, isn't that cute? Where did you get that?" He answers, "Made it myself in my little workshop out back. You want this one? It's the only one I have, I'll let you have it for $20.00", and he smiles a great big friendly grin. And sells the bejeebers out of those candy machines.

He goes to the bank, plops that thing up on the counter while he does his deposit, and sells one to every one of the tellers before he leaves, and takes orders for more. The upshot is, he has sold over 4,000 candy machines this last year and has received orders from friends of friends as far away as Florida and Denmark...all without a website or a business plan, no craft shows, not even a business card...just carries it everywhere he goes. His price is reasonable ($20.00 for regular wood, $40.00 for Ironwood or mesquite).

Judith Mattart - THE LUMBERLADY

Subject: Re: [proscrollers] Food for thought
Date: Thu, 22 Feb 2001 17:44:52 -0500
From: "Tom Wahl" <>

I'm glad Dirk jumped in with this thread, it's a perfect example of where I'd like this list to go. 

I sometimes have a hard time getting started, trying to create a sale potential, and it's especially important right now because I have just moved half way across the country. As Dirk pointed out, you have to get moving somewhere if you want to make any sales, and I like the examples he gave.

My dad is an excellent example of word of mouth sales. He works for the county and knows a lot of people in several offices. First it was some cabinetry type work, but then as he get into scrolling and took things to show...well, he sells quite a lot. When I moved back here, we took some of my butterflies to a couple offices and I sold nearly all I had. When people have something different, they will show it off. Word of mouth is very powerful.

On shows, my limited experience, the quality of the show is very important. Most of us have significant investments in our tools, most of us hand pick our materials, yet we expect big results from a $20 show. I once did a show in an Air Force NCO club, cost me $25 to get in. I did a little over $100 in sales, most of it from bookmarks at $1.50 each, and butterflies priced from about $5 - $10. Nothing big sold, and I think I did as well as or better than at least half the exhibitors. There was very little traffic and it was from 10 in the morning until 6 pm on a weekday. I guess I got my money's worth. Then a mall show that cost me $225 to get in returned a little under $1000. Again mostly small stuff, but I did sell a "Kelly's Dragon" at $95 and a "Kelly's Dragon II" at $70. I sold some of my light boxes at $30,
actually sold out, could have likely sold about 10 more than I had. I was told there by a lady that makes her living doing nothing but shows around Texas that with the proper inventory (quantity of what I already had) I should have no problem doing $4000-$5000 in a show like that. Her further advice went something like this:

Do "pay to get in" shows, if people have to drop $5 to come to the show, they are quality customers, they came to buy things. Display is half the battle, make sure you have plenty of lighting.

personally at shows I *know* I have made sales as a direct result of having the saw there cutting something. I don't intend to really get much done, because you have to talk to people. They are fascinated. The big dragon I sold, it was funny. The family came by, this kids freaked on the dragon, wanted it bad. When his Dad saw the price, I could see the look on his face: he thought I must be smoking crack or something. But I was on the saw, and he watched me make about 4 interior cuts, and said "You have to change the blade over like that for each one of those holes?" I explained that I did, and handed him the piece I was working on. He asked how many cuts were in the dragon, and his eyes got a little bigger when I said "about 230". They were back by in about an hour and bought the dragon. I'm
actually planning on getting around to ordering one of Rick's foot powered plans because I think that will draw even more attention than the powered saw.

Business cards are also important. The show I did last September is kind of considered a preview show, they have another show at the same place in November, with mostly the same crafters. Many people I talked to, both crafters and public, made it clear that not a lot sells, the people get ideas and come back in November to buy. I always hand out business cards, nothing fancy, just what I'm able to print myself with cheap software. Since we were
moving in November, I couldn't do the show, but right after the show date I started getting e-mails from people that saw me in September and couldn't find me in November, so they hit the web site. And they ordered. Not huge, but I had to fit into my moving schedule a couple hundred dollars worth of stuff for people that picked up my card in September. 

I think this needs a prerequisite discussion --- pricing! I've mentioned a couple of my prices here, loosely based on number of cutouts. I know that Rick will do one of something strictly for the clock so he knows what to price an item. How about anyone else? Dirk, are the prices I charged for the dragons in the ballpark?