Do you enjoy creating woodworking masterpieces? Have you ever thought about selling those creations to make a little (or a lot of) extra money?
If you are a woodsman, carpenter, carver, furniture maker, artisan, or cabinet maker, be your creation big or small, there is a huge opportunity for income. Take a look at…
- Local Craft Fairs
- Local Stores/Consignment Shops
Whether you are looking to create a substantial business to support you and your family or simply want to share your talent with the world while making a few extra bucks, below we will explore way to make money with your woodworking designs.
Etsy is an online store made up of thousands of small businesses with homemade products. Think craft fair online.
They takes a percentage of each sale (3.5%) and charge you to list your items, starting at 20 cents per listing. Once something is sold, they take their cut. There are no monthly fees, guaranteed secured transactions, automatic deposits, and seller protection.
|Other Factors Rating:||2|
In terms of difficulty, selling your items on Etsy is quite simple. Other than shipping items that sell, you aren’t doing much moving around or in person promoting. Just snap a picture and upload it!
Expenses also receive high marks because the listing fee and percentage of each sale taken are so reasonable. The other options below charge much higher percentage rates!
For the time investment, Etsy is a winner as well. Most of your time will be spent making your creations with a little investment into creating the listing. You won’t be spending a lot of time finding buyers.
Other factors rating takes a hit however.Your items need to be relevant. If people aren’t searching for them, they won’t know about what you are selling. Without some research into what people are buying you may be creating for an empty audience.
Etsy is not only for woodworking creations. From shells to shelves you can find just about anything.
Being as prepared as possible will increase your customer response ratings. The better the ratings your woodworking pieces and business have, the more customers you will gain. What did people do before the Internet?
|Special Ordering allows artists to fit the needs of people directly. Cusomters are much more likely to buy an item when they can make it their own.||With custom order woodworking products, there will be a time lag.|
|If you can build it, you can sell it on Etsy.||Customers do like to receive their products in a timely fashion, so you will need some products preped or on hand.|
|A great way to make your handcrafted merchandise available to people around the world!||You will have to have Internet access.|
|You don’t have to haul your items around to other locations. You simply take a picture and ship it.|
|The website makes it easy to manage, promote, and grow your business as well. Etsy offers a seller’s handbook to get you started. They also have online support to assist you with any questions that may arise.|
Local Craft Fairs
This is what people did before the Internet and websites such as Etsy. They sold their woodworking creations at local craft fairs, and still do! It’s another wonderful way to make money with your woodworking crafts.
Craft fairs are when many small business owners gather in a venue and set up booths with their products on display. People walk through the fair, gazing at all the exhibits, and have the opportunity to purchase items that catch their eye. These are not strictly for woodworking either. Attendees find a wide array of merchandise to look at and purchase. Craft fair season seems to be very popular in the fall and prior to the holidays.
Basically, you pay rent for your booth. That money goes to the venue or organizer. Then, any money you make from the sales of your treasures is yours to keep.
Common items sold at craft fairs are:
- Crocheted items
You are not limited to these types of products to enter a craft fair. The most important thing is to offer a unique product!
Currently, popular wooden items sold at craft fairs are:
- Wooden wine racks
- Laser cut wooden jewelry
- Personalized rustic wood signs
- Wooden rustic mason jar wall sconces
- Wooden ladder shelf
- Welcome signs
- Wood pallet wall art
- Wooden wine barrel chandelier
- Barn wood end tables
|Other Factors Rating:||2|
Difficulty scores a 2 on the chart due to the fact that you have to do a lot of physical work to get your merchandise to the craft fair. You have to set up your booth. Then take down and move everything home once it’s done.
In terms of expense, the rating is average. Each event will have its own fees. Some may be more than others. Compared to the money you can make at each event, the booth rent should be minimal.
Time rating is average also. While it may take some time with the set up and take down of your booth, it’s not an everyday thing. But you will be using your Saturdays for the Craft Fair season to make money.
If you’ve never sold merchandise at an event like this, be sure to start small. Consider going to smaller craft fairs first. Once you’ve made a little money from the first few sales, you can start going to larger events. This will give you a better idea of what people are interested in and willing to buy.
While you are doing research on local events near you, make sure to find out last year’s attendance numbers. Know what type of crowd goes to this particular fair. You don’t want to be signed up for a quilting bazar with a bunch of wooden furniture to sell. You may not get much business at that event.
If you choose to rent a booth at a craft fair, make the most of your space. Decorate it. Have all of your woodworking creations on display in a way that shows off their features and catches people’s eyes. You want your space to be appealing. Give the buyers ideas of what the item will look like in their home.
Make your prices well known. When customers can see how much an item is, they are more likely to purchase it. Having to ask the price can be a deterrent. Make sure your business name and crafts are well marketed in your booth.
Be friendly to passersby, but not too friendly. Greet them, but don’t be overbearing. Consider how you feel when shopping and you have a salesman bothering you and all you want to do is look around.
If your woodworking items are expensive, such as wooden furniture, and each item is costly consider offering some smaller, less expensive items as well. People may fall in love with your work, but not have $3000 to spend on a table. By offering smaller items that you’ve created, you can still make a sale.
|Customers get to see a product in person, rather than looking at a picture online||Fairs tend to be a lot of physical work, because you are moving your showpieces to the venue, setting up a booth, taking it all down, and then hauling any leftover items home with you.|
|People can ask about custom orders. Customers may like what you are selling but want something personalized. You can take orders and get them the finished product later after the craft fair.|
Local Stores/ Consignment Shops
WAIT! This doesn’t mean that you need to go out and lease a building and run your own knickknack shop. Selling your woodwork at a local store who support local artists is a great option.
The store can put your items on display for customers to look at and purchase. When an item of yours sells, they keep a portion of the proceeds and the rest goes to you. Depending on how much real estate your work takes up, Consignment stores may charge you 25%-60% of each sale.
A few things to consider before selling your crafts from stores:
- How much space will you have for your products?
- Will you be setting up the display, or will the store owner?
- What requirements do they have for inventory tracking?
If this is the route you chose to sell your items, make sure to try and setup/participate in any “meet the artist” events. This will put a face to the name and give customers a chance to ask you questions in person and make any special requests.
|Other Factors Rating:||2|
Difficulty rating falls in the average range. You do have to get your items to the store. If they are small, it won’t be too much work.
Expense rating is a bit of an issue with this option. These types of stores tend to keep a large percentage of each sale that you make.
Time rating is a 3 because once you get your items to the store, the manager will take care of the rest.
|This is a great way to broaden your customer base. Choosing stores with good foot traffic gets your projects facetime with interested buyers.||It’s a bit of work moving your woodworks to the store. And switching out what doesn’t sell.|
|People can happen upon your work. Unlike a search engine which requires active interest.||You may have to set up your station and decorate it, if the store owner does not do that.|
|Local shops are usually open year-round. This will help you during the craft fair seasonality.|
|If you choose the right shop, customers will be looking to browse. Consignment shops are always picking up new vendors and often have new products. The store often has new commodities for sale, which tends to draw a lot of traffic.|
|You aren’t going to have the setup and take down work in a matter of a few days like you would with a local craft fair.|
|Consignment stores are generally open like any store and have regular hours.|
Shopify is an ecommerce platform that covers all things retail. Whether you want to sell your projects online, in store, out of the trunk of your car, or all of the above, Shopify has the tools for you to make this happen.
Similar to Etsy, but with a lot more features, Shopify walks you through the process of creating your brand. You have the option of making your own domain name and hosting your own webpage.
If online selling is not your forte, Shopify offers software and hardware for you to accept payments off the web. Whether you have your own physical store, are selling at flea markets, or out of your home, you can process all payments through “plug and pay” electronics.
If online business is your thing, Shopify doesn’t limit you to their website. The will create pay buttons for your website to make easy shopping for your online guests. They will will also help you create a fully integrated Facebook store.
It’s also possible to integrate Shopify and Amazon, making for a very lucrative prospect.
|Other Factors Rating:||2|
The difficulty range is average for this option. If you are familiar with technology, ie plug and pay hardware with a smartphone or tablet, this way of selling your creations will probably be a breeze. If you’re of the generation that is not as familiar with the Internet and all the gadgets, you may struggle.
It terms of expense, the rating is average. There are options to choose from for monthly subscriptions. If you are selling a lot, you can easily make that money back. If you aren’t selling any thing, there’s a chance you could be in the negative.
Time rating is also a 3 due to the fact that it may take a bit of time to create your website, get your products listed online, and learn the pay features for in person sales. Once everything is set up, it shouldn’t be too time consuming, however.
|You get to create your own business website and domain name.||There is a learning curve.|
|There is an interactive dashboard showing you all of your sales from all different platforms, be it in store, Facebook Store, Amazon, or Pinterest.||You will need to be tech savvy, or have someone who is available to help you get setup and run your business.|
|24/7 support is available to assist you.||The monthly subscription fees can add up.|
|You are not limited to one platform. You can list your woodwork pieces for sale on multiple online stores, and also in physical stores, making them more available to more people.|
|There are monthly subscription options to choose from to best fit your budget.|
|There is no 3rd party payment processing. When your item is purchased, the money goes directly to you.|
Tips and Tricks
Now that we’ve gone over some basic ideas on how to make money with your woodworking productions, here are some suggestions on how to make the most money! Because let’s be honest, crafting can be expensive! Supplies are not free.
Before you start, the first suggestion is to consider your investment. Research craft fairs, festivals, and flea markets. Call your local consignment shop. Take a look at online boutiques, similar to Etsy websites. Find out their fees. Consider any travel costs. Don’t forget to figure in shipping costs. Add up all of the costs and make sure you have enough products to sell that will make this investment worth it.
Advertise. Advertise. No matter which way you go about selling your work, if people don’t know about it, they won’t buy it. Post on social media. Are you going to be at a craft fair? Do you have your gems listed on Etsy? Post events for all of your friends to see. Send invites via Facebook. Write a blog post about it. Post pictures of your work. Word of mouth is a great way to market!
Lastly, end with a business card. Whether you make a purchase or end with an interested customer, hand them your business card. Many sales are made after actual craft fairs and events of such because customers have custom requests. Or, maybe they are interested in something you have for sale online, but not physically in your booth at that time.
The most valuable advice for anyone wanting to make money with their woodwork is to have fun. You most likely got into this because you loved creating wooden masterpieces. Make the most of your weekends spent at fairs, or communicating with customers ordering your woodworks from a different country. Enjoy getting to know the excited homeowners that you are building a custom house for. Celebrate your talents!