Big News!

Amidst all the Christmas craft shows, custom orders, and everything else going on in life, I applied for the One of a Kind Show in Toronto (Spring edition).  I’m quite new to all these craft shows, but at the big Etsy sale in September I was approached by someone from the One of a Kind Show who raved about my stuff and said she would hound me until I applied for the show.

 

It was a very lengthy and thorough application, and I’m happy to say that I’ve been accepted for the spring show.  So anyone in the GTA can come see me March 25-29, 2015.  More info to follow as we get closer, now I’m off to the studio to make more products… I can sleep next year.

 

Check it out:

One of a Kind Show

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Upcoming Sales…

Things have been nuts lately around the shop.  I’ve had several wholesale orders (when it rains, it pours), the last one had me working full out for 3 weeks to get it all prepared.  At first I had trouble with wholesale as I end up selling my products at a significant discount, however when you factor in the time saved not having to go to craft sales, it evens out.  It’s also nice that you know exactly what and how much of each product to order.  I don’t wholesale all my stuff as some of it has such a low profit margin that I can’t really lower the price any further.

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Coming up in November, I’m scheduled to sell at the Gowling Christmas Craft Sale.  It’s a new sale this year with lots of vendors.  Earlier in the month I’ll also be selling on the Saturday of the very popular Handmade Harvest in Almonte.  This sale attracts thousands of customers each year from all over the Ottawa Valley.

 

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I’m still applying for a couple other shows before Christmas, but will keep you posted on where you can grab my products!  Next week I’ll have all the stores across Canada currently stocking my work.

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.

Honestly I make other stuff besides cutting boards…

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So I do make other things besides cutting boards, just seems like that’s what gets posted most often.  The bottom two boards were Anniversary/Christmas presents for my parents and in-laws.  They were both well received, and unfortunately are rarely used “because they’re just too nice”.  The top board was meant to be the same as the bottom two, but since the glue up wasn’t as flat as it could have been, I had a few exciting passes through the planer (read “projectile cutting board”).  Anyways, the rectangular board got smaller and smaller, until it became a square board.  Worked out in the end.

All boards are made from maple and walnut, food safe glue, and some colourful acrylic accent paint.  Finished with food-safe mineral oil.  The small one was put on Etsy and sold a few weeks ago!

52 Create – Hockey Stick Cutting Board

52 Create – my weekly creative output for 2011!  Well last week I promised something new and exciting this week, and here it is!  I was cleaning out my workshop and found a pile of old broken hockey sticks.  I never threw them out as I figured I could find a use for them someday, well that day came last week.

This cutting board is made out of 5 hockey sticks that have been laminated together and then planed flat.  Due to the variations in construction from different companies, you get a beautiful pattern when it is all assembled.  I left the outside edges unfinished to pay homage to the cutting board’s past life.  The board is coated in mineral oil, keeping it food safe and looking great for years to come.

 

This 9×9″ cutting board is already up for sale on my Etsy site, I expect it to go fast as the NHL playoffs finish off in the upcoming weeks!

My Etsy Shop

My other 52 Create Projects