Flat Bread Serving Boards…

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Just before Christmas I had an email from an Executive Chef down in Florida.  He was opening up a new restaurant and was searching for flatbread boards.  He liked some of my other products and we worked together to come up with these 10×14″ walnut boards.  The chartreuse edge was requested in order to match some of the same colour accents in the restaurant.  They’ll be adding some rubber feet to the boards to keep them secure on the tables.

If you’re in Delray Beach, Florida, head over to Apeiro and grab a bite to eat on one of these boards!  Remember that we’re always keen to work on custom orders no matter how big or small.

For non-custom orders, head over to my Etsy Site or my Craftcollective.ca for a full selection of my wood products.

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All stocked up for the holidays…

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This weekend is Handmade Harvest in Almonte, Ontario.  I’m all stocked up and ready to go, even have a few new items up for sale.  The “vegan antler racks” have been very popular this fall, I’m tempted to keep one for my daughter’s room.

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Thanks to my new stock of local walnut, I’ve got many new walnut cutting/charcuterie boards for sale.  Things were looking grim for a while as the price of walnut seemed to be sky rocketing lately.

doll crib

Finally, a personal favourite of mine, this doll crib was originally made for my daughter, but was so popular with her friends that I decided to make some more for sale.  Made from birch plywood and walnut plugs.  My daughter insists I remind everyone that the doll (aka Molly the Dolly) is not included.

 

For those not heading to Almonte, all my products are always available online at:

Etsy Store

CraftCollective.ca

And select products are available at:

Patisserie La Toque – Wakefield, Quebec

Hello Yellow – Almonte, Ontario

Goods – Ottawa, Ontario

Kitchenalia – Ottawa, Ontario

McCord Museum – Montreal, Quebec

The Collective Good – Whitehorse, Yukon

 

Busy Week!

It’s been a busy week in the Studio.  I’ve had many prototype ideas going through my head for ages, and I finally had some time to experiment.  It’s always a bit tough for me to try out prototypes as I hate to waste the materials if it isn’t going to work out, and if they aren’t perfect, what to do with it?

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First up was a production run of toy cameras.  Made from Walnut for the body, and maple for the lens, these were a copy of a prototype I made (and gave away to my daughter).  I love the simplicity of these, just the basics of a real camera, viewfinder-lens-shutter button.  They are finished with a light coat of mineral oil, and are for sale in my Etsy Store, as well as in Patisserie La Toque in Wakefield, Quebec.

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Next up, a mid-century modern inspired chair.  Made from Baltic Birch plywood with padauk wedges in the through tenons.  I curved the back using bent lamination and the seat is covered with an upholstery grade corduroy.  I’d like to make these adult size, but for the prototype I decided to build it for a child so as to not use as much materials.  It’s now my daughters favourite chair!  After seeing me taking pictures of it, she yelled at me, “You’re not going to sell my chair are you???!!!”.  She’s hard to please, but I clearly won her over on this one.  These chairs will be custom order only as I don’t have the space to store finished chairs, and this will allow people to choose their upholstery colours.

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Last up was a pyramid shaped macaron tower.  Requested by Patisserie La Toque, how hard could a pyramid be to make?  Turns out this was the hardest project of the week.  Lots of angles made this very tricky, but with some glue, and a ton of brad nails and filler, it got completed on time and made the customer very happy.  Might think twice before making another pyramid though…

Next week I’ve got some canoe paddles on the go as well as a few more prototypes to try out, stay tuned!

Etsy going crazy…

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I’ve learnt a lot about Etsy over the last few years.  I read up as much as I can about ways to increase traffic, how to draw people to your store, etc.  But sometimes I think it’s just dumb luck.  In the last week I have had a ridiculous number of likes and views.  I’m getting more views per day than I would normally get per week.  I’ve had more likes in the last week than all of last year.  The view to like ratio seems to be about 3:1 (ie. for every three views someone likes at least one thing they see).

 

While I’m excited about all the traffic, and I’m glad people “like” my stuff, it hasn’t led to a single sale….. yet.  I’m certainly not an Etsy expert, and it’s week’s like this one that leave me thinking I know far less than I once thought I did about the online craft market place.

 

I’ll be adding a few more items later this week to Etsy, stay tuned…

Craft Sale? Why not!

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So I signed up for a craft sale, I thought it was a fairly small local type of thing that I could get my feet wet in.  Apparently it is one of the biggest in the area and I should be making as much stuff as possible according to some friends who have sold at it before.  After that little kick in the pants, I’ve been working hard all week to get some inventory.  I’m still working on finishing the room divider (pics next week), so I haven’t made as much as I should, but still off to a good start.

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Last post I mentioned my new table saw. I got it half set up, scavenging parts off the old saw, when I realized I needed the cut some wood to make the extension table, but at this point neither saw was operational…. Whoops.  So I’m back on my old saw, after putting a bunch of parts back on it, and figure I will deal with this at the end of the month once I am done the craft sale work.

 

The pics are of my new Rain Drop Bird House, now for sale on Etsy in many colours and wood types.  While they may look fragile, I’ve had two of them hanging on my shed for a year now and they still look great since they shed the rain and snow.

 

My Etsy Shop

Some thoughts on Etsy…

So I’ve been selling stuff on Etsy on and off for 4 years.  Maybe I should really say I’ve been “listing” stuff on Etsy, as most of it doesn’t sell.  The first time I saw Etsy I thought it was an amazing idea, and I still think it is, however there are a few problems which I’ve recently discovered, but I’ll get back to that in a minute.

Lately I’ve been selling cutting boards and some toy helicopters in a local Patisserie.  It’s owned by my wife so there’s no commission charges and it works out quite nicely.  I seem to sell about one thing per week on average, not enough to make me rich, but does give me some pocket money to by more wood and eventually upgrade some machines (or by a dust collector, wouldn’t that be a treat!).  The stuff that sells best is the stuff I like the most, so it seems like my tastes suit those of the customers coming into the shop.  I’ve sold more stuff in the Patisserie in 4 weeks than I have on Etsy  in 4 years…  Not that I’m hoping to make a living selling this kind of stuff as i would like to branch out into furniture, but it’s nice to sell stuff as people appreciate your work.

So getting back to Etsy…  Why do I sell so much more in shop than on Etsy?  Well part of it is lately I don’t update my Etsy site too much, partly because I’m lazy, but partly because I am having trouble keeping the shop stocked.  I think the biggest problem though is shipping and getting people to see your stuff.

Shipping – I had a corporate client in Australia looking to buy 20 cutting boards for their staff as a Christmas gift.  Everything was going well until the shipping charges were figured out.  Cutting boards are heavy, and Australia is on the other side of the world.  Sending stuff from Canada (even within Canada) is quite expensive, and often the shipping can cost more than the item itself.  I’ve been burned a couple of times sending tongs to Europe and losing money on the sale as I misjudged the shipping costs.

Views – Go on to Etsy right now, and search “cutting board”.  I get just shy of 4000 items.  If I was interested and had a lot of time on my hands, I might look back 5, maybe even 10 pages, but all 4000? Not a chance.  I know you can specify say “end grain cutting board” and you narrow your search down to 700, but that’s still a lot of cutting boards to look at.  And herein lies the problem.  How do you get someone to see YOUR item?  Well you can have a nice picture, this helps, but only if they get far enough back to see your item.  You can list more often, then there is more of a chance that one of your items will show up in a search.  You can have a blog, facebook page, website, etc. which can direct traffic to your Etsy site, but in the end, you are competing with a lot of other items, all similarly priced, and most of similar quality (as far as I can tell from the pictures). Another thing I’ve discovered is the tags you use don’t help someone find your item if they use those words in the general search at the top. This search only looks at what is in the listing titles (this is why more and more listing names are ridiculously long!)

So what’s the solution? I’m not going to give up on Etsy, I’ve made sales around the world to people who are not likely to walk into our Patisserie in my village, and I’ve had a few custom orders from people who have seen my stuff and wanted something a little different.  Even after all the listing fees and the paypal fees, I’m still making money, it’s just that I’d rather spend my time making and creating then working on my listings and trying to generate traffic.

I guess this was a bit of a rant?  Next week, off the soapbox and back to pictures of stuff I’m making.