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Custom Furniture Makers

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Custom Furniture Makers

This group is for anyone who makes custom furniture, including art furniture.

Members: 159
Latest Activity: Dec 29, 2016

Discussion Forum

How much marketing do you do?

Started by Will Sampson. Last reply by Will Sampson Sep 24, 2015. 6 Replies

Custommade.com

Started by David Ennis. Last reply by Scott Johnston Mar 14, 2012. 8 Replies

How important is hand work?

Started by Will Sampson. Last reply by David Bray Mar 2, 2012. 20 Replies

Comment Wall

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Comment by Gary Foster on March 1, 2012 at 3:10pm

This is me on the left with Sam. I spent two day with Sam in Sacramento as well as two days at his class at Andersen Ranch in Colorado. He said  "I like the arms on your chair, you took my idea and made it your own, very nice".

Comment by Marc Potecha on October 1, 2011 at 1:24pm
Sorry about that "wear" typo.
Comment by Marc Potecha on October 1, 2011 at 1:23pm
My only regret as a woodworker is that I didn't always were a dust mask. It HAS to be part of the uniform. Somebody has to figure out how to make Ear, Eye and Lung protection cool enough for all of us to want to use.
Comment by Will Sampson on August 11, 2011 at 9:11am
Please check out my latest blog entry about the Pricing Survey. There are great projects this year, and we want maximum participation. The deadline (August 19) is fast approaching so don't wait!
Comment by Ralph Allen Jones on March 14, 2011 at 6:10pm

Hello Friends,

Reading your comments brings back some memories however since I started my apprenticeship under my gand father on my 13th birthday wood working has been the best part of my life and come 16 April of this year I will be in woodworking 63 years and still going strong. I build and sell Arts and Crafts Furniture that has been recognized nation wide from sea shore to sea shore and border to border and mostly by word of mouth.

I write the WOOD MAGAZINE QUIZZES on WOOD ON LINE as well as the MIND BENDERS on the Home Improvement forum and now I am pleased to mention that I am a member of The American Woodworker and now here on this forum. As long as I am around woodworkers and talking about my love of the trade it makes me feel good to be a part of any group.

While in the Carpenters Union in Columbus, Ohio for 17 years and taught the apprenticeship program only to go from there to a trade school to teach Vocational Carpentry and then from there to a correctional setting where I graduated 120 students from my Vocationl Carpentry classes until I retired form the state in 1995. My formal teachng tenur lasted 16 1/2 years and now I teach apprentices out of my home shop. My last one stayed with me two years and now is the foreman in a furniture repair and refurbishing company in Columbus, Ohio.

Sorry to be so long winded but, once I get on my soap box it is hard for me to stop.

Comment by Francis Lemieux on March 14, 2011 at 2:58pm

Unfortunately, increasingly, "qualified" customers are far out numbered by "qualified" suppliers. In other words there are fewer and fewer customers who will pay for quality and service. As I mentioned this applies to many creative occupations. The client depicted in the movie apparently appreciates and understands quality and knows what she wants. She understands what the cabinetmaker is offering. She just doesn't want to pay what it is worth to the cabinetmaker. She does not respect the cabinetmaker.

Is it practical for cabinetmakers and others in creative occupations to spend time "educating" the well healed? Is it possible to change their attitudes? I would say no. The attitudes these people hold have developed over a long period of time. The cabinetmaker in the movie is not selling his work as though it is hardware and lumber. The client understands the quality and the level of service. She just doesn't want to pay for it because she knows she can get it for less and because she does not respect the cabinetmaker. You can be sure in most of these cases as well, that if the project went ahead, the customer will quickly forget the cabinetmaker. He will not benefit from "word of mouth" advertising. To work for these types of clients is a dead end, and if these are the only types of clients, the business is not sustainable.

As cabinetmakers we should be asking ourselves; how did it get to this? Why is it that so many of our potential customers have so little respect for us and the work we do?

Comment by Will Sampson on March 14, 2011 at 1:47pm
Yes, I've seen the other episode, too. Love the comments about bartering custom cabinets for free feng shui sessions! As to your question about what we do about all this, I think the answer is to use business tactics that ensure profitability. As others have said, you need to qualify customers so you don't waste time on people who don't pay. But you also have spend time on educating even the well-healed to appreciate your quality. I've often said that you shouldn't sell custom cabinets and furniture as if you are selling hardware and lumber. The Lexus and Mercedes dealers aren't selling steel and rubber. Sell dreams, problem solving, uniqueness, and lifestyle. That's what people are really buying.
Comment by Francis Lemieux on March 14, 2011 at 1:35pm

Have you seen the first episode? http://www.xtranormal.com/watch/7582361/

I am sure most self employed cabinetmakers have had this kind of encounter. Some have had it many times. The attitude of the client is by no means limited to cabinetmaking. The same would apply to many other creative occupations, such as graphic designer, web designer etc. The question is; what do we do about it?

Comment by Vinnie Scarlata on March 14, 2011 at 10:14am
Been there, especially when I first started out. Now I make no apologies for price. I usually preface a cost discussion by suggesting that a custom price will be comparable to a high end showroom price or better. Your paying for my quality and detail and not mass production. When a client asks for a better price I gladly accommodate them by eliminating aspects of the project and not cutting my numbers. I'll suggest 1/2" cabinet plywood rather than 3/4". I'll suggest using a plywood drawer box rather than solid wood dovetails. When I give them these kind of options to reduce costs they are usually quick to concede. My labor is not negotiable, we are craftsmen. Would they be willing to work for a lessor dollar per hour in their profession? Probably not, then why should we!
Comment by David Bray on March 14, 2011 at 9:16am
I have had several conversations that started this way, they were a lot shorter becaused I excused myself by giving them a quote about twice as much as what I would have charged them.  I currently have one of these people that I gave the expensive quote to and they said they would get back to me.  Not holding my breath.
 

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