|Selling Handmade TreasuresBack to Press Releases
|PARKERSBURG, W. VA. – If you’ve ever strolled through a local crafts show you’ve probably been envious of the talents of artisans who sell everything from hand-carved bowls to furniture pieces. Along with being a rewarding personal hobby, woodworking can also be financially beneficial for many people --- even novice woodworkers.
“With several classes and the right tools, anyone can launch a profitable woodworking business,” according to Liz Matheny of Woodcraft Supply LLC “We know of many people who specialize in pen turning. Once they’re good at it, they can turn a pen in under 20 minutes with about $5 work of supplies. Then they sell these pens for $25 - $35 at local craft shows and to stores. That’s a great second source of income for a person who enjoys woodworking.”
Other popular selling projects that are inexpensive to create, use minimal tools and require simple woodworking skills include scroll sawing holiday ornaments, coat racks and shelves. “A coat rack or shelf may sell for $20 or more with only $5 invested in materials,” says Matheny. “I’ve seen scroll saw tree ornaments sell for anywhere from $5 to $25 each depending on the intricacy of the work. These handmade treasures are one-of-a-kind pieces that the general public is eager to purchase for themselves and for gifts.”
Christina Casto and Jim Morrison are two woodworkers who know that their passion for wood can be turned into cash. At the annual four-day 2005 Mountain State Arts and Crafts Festival in West Virginia, Casto sold dozens of her original hand-carved designs of Santas, Vikings and native Americans. Her fireplace mantels, a mainstay of her business, also sold well at the show. “I participate in three shows a year and then work on special orders the rest of the time,” says Casto, of Kenna, W. Va. “This profession allows me the flexibility of hours I need to be home with my son, use my art background and have an income doing something I love.”
Jim Morrison, a resident of Belpre, Ohio, sold 80 lathe-turned wooden bowls at the 2005 festival and made more than $2,000. “This was my best year ever,” says Morrison, owner of My Lord’s Woods. “I’ve been participating in a few craft shows each year since 1990. My passion for woodworking started as a kid. Now I enjoy sharing my talents with others.”
What other woodworking pieces sell especially well at craft shows? Hand-turned bottle stoppers and vases made from unique woods. Carved birds, wildlife and boxes. Home identification nameplates and number signs. Seasonal yard decorations, bird houses and bird feeders. Desk clocks, barometers and walking sticks. “It used to be you’d go to a craft show and primarily see quilts, painted pieces and jewelry --- not anymore!” says Matheny. “Today at craft shows you’re seeing finely-created wood pieces that promote more than ‘oohs and aahs’ from attendees. Woodworkers are getting big dollars for hand-crafted items.”
According to Michelle Hall, co-owner of the Woodcraft store in Seattle, peppermills are a terrific and fast-growing item that sells well at arts and crafts shows. “We have several customers who specialize in peppermills,” says Hall. “They’re highly unique and because of people’s interests in cooking and The Food Network, there’s a growing interest in peppermills. Our store has seen a distinct growth in selling parts and kits for peppermills, so we know this product is swiftly gaining in popularity.”
Woodcraft Supply LLC is the industry’s leading retailer of top quality woodworking supplies, materials and tools. The company sells products through direct-mail catalogs, an on-line web site store (located at www.woodcraft.com) and at more than 75 retail stores located nationwide. Woodcraft specializes in providing educational support to woodworkers at all skill levels via www.woodcraftuniversity.com, educational seminars and demonstrations, a technical assistance call line (800-535-4486) and in-store experts. For more information on Woodcraft and the store in your area, call 800-535-4482.