Selling Pens - Woodworking Talk - Woodworkers Forum
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post #1 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 08:27 AM Thread Starter
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Selling Pens

I see that Bass just got an order for his pens. Congrats.
I see some of you other pen turners sell your wares.

How do you get you buyers?
Who buys them?
Large quantities?
Custom?

Just curious.......

Learning more about tools everyday
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post #2 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 09:46 AM
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I sell at Craft shows, street fairs, farmers markets and holiday bazaars. I have some repeat customers and have had a few small orders. But I also sell a lot of other items too.

That bowl was perfect right up until that last cut...
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post #3 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 10:22 AM
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I have a friend in KY that ships me wood and he does quite well with his pens. He makes them from everything from snake skin to elephant hide to wood. He has a special briefcase that holds around 100 pens. His prices start around $250 and go up. He has had luck with doctors, lawyers etc. who want an unusual gift. His work is flawless and he targets money people. He does both ball point and fountain pens. He was able to give up his work a day job and now only does woodworking.
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post #4 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 10:24 AM
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I don't do any shows but sell through a jewelry store and a gift shop here in town. I could probably sell more at our farmers market but I spent 45 years in sales and now the less I have to deal with customers the better.
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post #5 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 12:33 PM
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Why kind of Pen kits dose your friend use to sell them for that amount of money?

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post #6 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 12:53 PM
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I sell in jewelry stores, craft stores/shows and online.
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post #7 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 12:58 PM
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If going to get into pen turning, better enjoy making them before thinking about sales. If make enough or break even from your hobby consider yourself lucky.

Many folks forget can cost money selling pens too! Gross sales does not take into account overhead and taxes. Check your local and state requirements for collecting sales taxes.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/f17/what-were-your-gross-sales-2011-a-91201/
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post #8 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 01:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB&D View Post
Why kind of Pen kits dose your friend use to sell them for that amount of money?

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Pen kit shouldn't really enter into the amount of money besides the base cost. I.E, if you are selling a slimline pen kit made from a $2.00 kit, and one from a $10.00 kit. The one from a $10.00 kit should sell for $8.00 more dollars.

The idea is the sell the craftsman ship of the pen itself. (value is in the rareness of the wood, and the skill of the craftier.) You have to sell yourself, and the pen.

Know who you are selling too. If you browse Etsy, you'll see a lot of people selling pens for ~$25. You'll also find some people selling theirs for ~$15 bucks. In a lot of cases you wont be able to notice a quality difference between the two pens. But you'll see taht the $25 pens sell more often. Because people on Etsy aren't value shopping. They are looking for unique hand crafted pieces, and are willing to spend the $10 bucks for something the perceive is better. So good pictures and good descriptions are a must.
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post #9 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 01:42 PM
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I agree with the statements about craftsmanship, selling yourself, local taxes. The rarity of the wood being used and enjoying what you do, I was also concerned about the quality of the kits. I have order several different kits from different suppliers and have noticed some quality issues. I want to make something unique, also some thing that will last the user, not just to sell something, if I sold one and they were happy that would be great!!!
Thanks for the input!!!

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post #10 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 02:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CB&D View Post
I was also concerned about the quality of the kits. I have order several different kits from different suppliers and have noticed some quality issues. I want to make something unique, also some thing that will last the user, not just to sell something, if I sold one and they were happy that would be great!!!
Thanks for the input!!!
Ah. I misunderstood the question. You wanted to know what type of kits was used in the high dollar pens. Not what kits to use to increase your price on the pens.

I'm still working on that question for myself.
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post #11 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 04:18 PM
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My sales started through friends and family and guys at work. Its all word of mouth. I do have a FB page where I post pics of all my work and take custom orders. 90% of everything I sell right now is custom orders. I do hope to expand to an Etsy page and maybe some kind of local market but for the time being, I only get a few hours to turn on the weekend so I do good to keep all my orders filled.

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post #12 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 04:24 PM
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That is correct Evil frog.....
I know there can be a vast disparity between what artists sell their work for and the materials used. Such as in the case of wine stoppers using crome stoppers or say a Ruth Niles stopper that is Stainless Steel and made in the USA......

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post #13 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 04:53 PM
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I do have a question for those of you selling in jewelry stores and such. Do you actually sell your product to the store or do they just let you keep an inventory there and you replenish the stock every so often? I'd love to find some kind of local market to sell pens when I get more time to spend at the lathe.

I went to a consignment shop that deals in high end home furnishings and local art and they wanted a 50% comision to sell anything in thier store.

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post #14 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 05:35 PM
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While 50% seems high for a consignment shop, still not bad, if they move pens. If can leave business cards along with pens may pick up other orders.

You want a simple written agreement spelling out terms both agree too. Besides being paid, pay attention to inventory loss (theft) and responsibility. They must be responsible or do not do business with them.

Would try it on a temporary basis (90 days) and see how things go. You can always negotiate better terms if your pens and other turnings are hot sellers. Do not forget to stop by and check inventory and talk to store personnel occasionally you need feedback on what is selling and what is not.
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post #15 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 06:30 PM
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I personally like to buy bulk of the cheaper pen kits <$2 and sell them for 9.50 at a local market.

I like making a lot of those because you need to realize that the people who are willing to buy a pen for 10.00 will more than likely to buy a very nice quality pen for more money. Also a thing to look into is selling in bulk for weddings and offices. I like to save 10 pens and then sell the group for for 80-100. This works great for offices, and your still making money off of them.

I also wouldn't suggest sites like etsy or eBay there is far to much competition and your unlikely to sell your pens unless you get very creative with the designs.


Thanks,
Jeff
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post #16 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 06:42 PM
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My sales are all consignment. The gift shop gets 25% and I set the retail price which is $35.00 for a Sierra. With the jewelry store I set what I call a wholesale price and they double it and they are higher end pens that they will sell for $75.00 to $150.00.
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post #17 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 07:31 PM
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You also need to take in to account the time you spend on the pens, and other materials( ie finishes, sand paper, drill bits, etc.) You might be able to use them over and over nut they will wearout eventually. 10.00 pens are great, but with a 2.00 kit, time to make, dry, or flat out buying the blank, then the time to cut, glue, and finish, do you really think you are worth less then 5.00 an hour?
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post #18 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by PhilipCollier View Post
You also need to take in to account the time you spend on the pens, and other materials( ie finishes, sand paper, drill bits, etc.) You might be able to use them over and over nut they will wearout eventually. 10.00 pens are great, but with a 2.00 kit, time to make, dry, or flat out buying the blank, then the time to cut, glue, and finish, do you really think you are worth less then 5.00 an hour?
Everything I have sold, I have made $5 to $10 profit. My reason is because for me, its not about trying to make money or get what I think my time is worth. I just really enjoy my time makeing things on the lathe. I'm just selling things to support my hobby. Now, if I go through the effort of selling somewhere else, whether it be online or in someones store, then yes, I'm going to price my items high enough to make a few bucks. Right now, I'm just enjoying a hobby that is paying for itself. I have lots of other hobbies and none of them make money, let alone support themselves.

Where are you from? I am also a Collier.

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post #19 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 07:57 PM
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Originally from Oklahoma..family is from Arkansas. Not that many Colliers around up in the north east where i am now.

I was going to say that about the pens, that selling them is a great way to offset some of your costs..ie support your habit.....same thing i do. Unless your are a superior salesman, you arent gonna get rich from it. Making pens for their beauty, and to show off your skill is in many ways it own reward though.
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post #20 of 53 Old 03-05-2012, 08:04 PM
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Originally from Oklahoma..family is from Arkansas. Not that many Colliers around up in the north east where i am now.

I was going to say that about the pens, that selling them is a great way to offset some of your costs..ie support your habit.....same thing i do. Unless your are a superior salesman, you arent gonna get rich from it. Making pens for their beauty, and to show off your skill is in many ways it own reward though.
I have family in OH, KY, AZ, CO, MO, FL. Not sure about OK or AR.

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