Holiday Selling Tips for Woodworkers

Written by Chelsea Van Voorhis on .

The holidays are a great time for woodworkers and makers to sell products. However, it can be daunting to figure out pricing, advertising, and an ideal market for your items. We asked two of our instructors, Josh Vogel and Erica Moody, to share tips on how up and coming craftspeople can chart their own courses through these challenges.

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“Be the best that you can be. Don’t copy other people’s work and try to sell it. One of the best things that small shops can offer are unique, artisanal products. Being special and particular is what differentiates us and makes what we do valuable.”

-Josh Vogel

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“For the holidays I keep up on my social media postings to make sure I'm in potential customers' thoughts when they are thinking of holiday shopping.  I continue showing my brand's story, and ideally share values that I think are important to me and my customers. For example I also have a giving campaign every year where 10% of all retail sales goes to the Good Shepherd Food Bank.  To me this seems a great package deal for all involved...marketing, values, community, all wrapped up into one good movement.”

-Erica Moody

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“It never seems as if we have enough time to get through everything before the holidays and the end of the year. Because of this, we find it helpful to schedule well in advance and put a pin in what can happen before and what will have to happen after. Try to create some space for yourself through better scheduling.”

-Josh Vogel

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“I sell in my online store, to stockists/boutiques, at craft and design shows, and in pop-up markets. I like to show at places that provide an inspiring and interesting environment for me and the customer.  I want to be in a show that curates a good solid group of people who are talented in their crafts and at the business of craft.  Many shows seem to be a mix of hobbyists and professionals in a range of talent, trying to cover a wide variety of interests in quality and price, and this feels unfair to everyone involved, as the message of 'value' becomes skewed.”

-Erica Moody

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“Part of our business model is the importance of developing personal connections. Our web site and social media certainly start the ball rolling, but it is far better for us to directly connect with clients when it comes to sales and service. At this point we do not do any craft, gift, or art shows. Shows are exhausting and hard work. I would rather put the same time and effort into prototyping new work.”

-Josh Vogel

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“If you want to make money at your craft, take it seriously as a profession and business, just like any other business owner. Spend serious time on learning the business end and have a goal to eventually delegate that part of it so you can have enough focused studio time.  I try to spend no more than 1/3 of my time on these 'non-billable' tasks.  Expert marketing and financials are essential to success and prevent burnout.  Without that full dedication, you are wasting your time and money, de-valuing craft for everyone, and cheating potential customers of your best and most beautiful work.”

-Erica Moody

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“Consider your pricing. Are you trying to retail or wholesale your work? Learn to price your work so that there is a margin to wholesale - selling a group of work to a store can be easier than selling one thing at a time. Even if you end up retailing everything yourself, investigating the difference in pricing structure can be illuminating and make you more flexible.”

-Josh Vogel

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