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post #41 of 53 Old 03-08-2012, 05:48 AM
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“BassBlaster, bottom line, have both full and fractional cost to make one pen. Everyone is different on how to compute actual cost to make his or her pens. Whether a hobbyist or full time pen turner how you figure cost and price what you sell entirely up to you.”

If going to start selling pens advise joining IAP so can view marketplace thread. You will find a lot of information on selling wholesale, consignment shops, on-line, and going to shows. Method you use to sell pens entirely up to you, but lot of tips on additional equipment or information you need to get started.

http://www.penturners.org/forum/

Yes, a few people over there make and sell pens for $250.00 or more. Majority pen turners over there just sell enough to cover expenses or break even.
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post #42 of 53 Old 03-08-2012, 08:02 AM
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Well I get back here and see this post has taken some twists and turns. I also see someone must have been on line when I made my last post and yes I reread it and thought someone will get the wrong message with the wording I used so I deleted it. I have gotten in my fair share of disputes over wording so I try to be careful.

I will make some posts here and will leave them here.

Wilwood you keep pushing the IAP site. They are not the Holly grail of the pen turning world that some may think. If you read any of the posts that you refer to you are reading what that person has done or is doing to sell their pens. You can read that on any forum about any thing. What works for one may not work for you. As the OP of this thread stated he was looking for options as to where to sell his pens and who was buying??? I think we need to try to answer his questions here and not send him to another site. This is about this site not IAP.

I will start and say I have done craft shows for over 25 years selling my scrollsaw work. I have over the past 3 years incorporated my turning which includes pens. They have not been huge sellers and the reason is the market is soft right now and also people with throw away cash like I call them do not come to craft shows. Craft shows are a dying breed. It is just not the same as it was 25 years ago. I made some good money doing shows. The internet has taken away most of this and it just is a different enviroment today. I have resided to set up a web site but I started last year with the help of someone but my Mom got hurt and with her dimentia it has been a handful so my time is limited to do anything. I will pursue the net avenue though. I will not sell pens on etsy or ebay because of the competition. I feel people undervalue their work just for the sake of selling a few pieces and it has a negative effect on all pen turners.

There are many places to try selling your pens and a few have been mentioned here already and that is jewlery stores, consignment stores, and shows both craft shows and highend artsy shows. How well you do depends on alot of factors and luck is one of them. You need to get your name out there so advertising is key. If you sell wholesale or do consignments there is different things that need to be taken into consideration but the bottom line is know the bottom line. You need an end game. You need to know who is responsible for theft, breakage, taxes, shipping and all sorts of things. You need to know the terms of the agreements and what your end responsabilities are which can be trying so you need to be able to make those commitments. I have been there and done that.

Now there is the sell to friends thing and hope word of mouth takes you places and that rarely does unless again if you are one of the lucky few. Meeting that right contact could mean profit but not everyone this will happen is my point.

Fairs and shows or farmers market will bring low end clients and if that is what you feel where you want to be then that is for you and may not be for anyone else.

Highend gallery shows maybe an answer if you sell highend quality work and let me tell you I have seen what some people call highend stuff and are proud of their pens that really need to have someone with a little more experince bring them back to earth.

Now one of the things I deleted when I made the post was the fact that so many people talk about doing this as a hobby and giving pens away. I commend you for doing this and giving pens to servicemen is great but you don't have to let the world know about it. If you want to give your pens away then do so with less fanfare but us that want to sell our pens and yes want to make a profit don't want to read about your giveaways. Heck I have given away more things that I have made than I can shake a stick at. Not only pens.

Yes this is a hobby to most and all they look to do is recoup a few bucks to keep up the hobby. But unless you are loaded with throw away cash this can be a very expensive hobby to say the least. So giving away pens is not an option for me because I do not have that throw away cash. As far as $2 pen kits I would not touch them with a ten foot pole. I have and never will make a slim line pen of any kind. Like I said if you want to take this hobby serious you want to make a name for yourself and using inferior products that plating wears off and or break within a few weeks of sales is not the way to go. Now with that said anyone who does this more power to you and go right ahead doing so. Good luck.

Figuring out how much to charge for your pens can be as simple as looking at going rates from others to some safisicated formulas. But I do know if I sell a pen my labor charge will be in it. The intangables will also be incorporated. Everyone has their method and has tweaked it over the years I am sure.

Advertising is another subject. People find doing business cards to be enough. Or just word of mouth or some go as far as pounding the pavements and knocking on doors. This all has to do with the individual and how far they want to take it or not take it. Some people are fortunate to work in an invorment where thay can make sales to fellow workers. I work construction and iI am not selling pens to construction workers.

All that can be said is everone is different and we all have different goals. Now I will get off my soapbox and I will leave this post so if you want to throw arrows I am here. But these are my thoughts.

Lets make some pens and show them here.

John T.

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post #43 of 53 Old 03-08-2012, 11:15 AM
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Wildwood you keep pushing the IAP site.
Wildwood Why are you pushing so hard for the IAP site? It's not just one time it's over and over. Your point has been made on that and anyone interested has got the idea, so please move on. We have a good forum here and it's getting old hearing you try to send people over to another forum like your a recruiter.
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post #44 of 53 Old 03-08-2012, 12:05 PM
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Woodworking, or woodturning in this case, is unique in that it can be self supporting as a hobby, which isn't all that common. I think once you take it from self supporting to actually profitable is great if you can do it, but I think many enthusiasts are just happy to have something that will help them regain a bit of what they put in. I don't think there are any right or wrong answers, just different levels of experience and involvement that you as the hobbiest can choose to be.

Myself personally, I don't have the time to invest into building up a supply of retail goods between family and work, so I tend to give away or sell cheap what I make because I enjoy making people happy with what I make more than working to make a profit on what I make. There are a lot of options out there that I have explored, and used some already. For selling pens, trade and craft shows are nice, but you run the risk of not making enough profit to cover the booth cost, set up, etc. Making contacts at consignment stores is good so long as you are happy with the arrangment and are protected under some sort of agreement on theft, damage, etc. I've actually had my Mom, who works part time at a bank, set up displays for me at her desk, no prices, and as people ask about the pens she tells them they are for sale and I've had good luck selling them that way. I guess the key is to search around in your area for what will work and try and be creative about marketing. Good luck!

I want to die quietly in my sleep like my grandfather, not screaming in terror like the passengers of his car.
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post #45 of 53 Old 03-14-2012, 10:47 PM
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Ok so I have tried to sell pens before at craft shows and on e-bay, with very little success. I never thought of the jewelry store thing so a few questions: What sort of jewelry stores are we talking, just any store or the more independent type? any preference? Secondly, to my understanding one requires some sort of licence to do business with stores in this way correct? In case anyone wants to know I sell my pens for fairly low prices, generally 10 for domestic material, 15-20 for exotics, or something in between for a mix or something. This is actually pretty fair profit for me for several reasons: I buy the basic slimline kits, I generally can make the pens fairly quickly, and most importantly my material cost is non existent because I work at a cabinet shop so I just scrounge little cut-offs from the garbage at the end of the day, either than or I use little scraps from whatever I build for fun on my own time, also I only graduated HS like a year ago and I got a ton of cut offs from the garbage in shop (and have been given the self induced title of Scrounger because of it.) At this point I have literally hundreds of blanks that I didn't pay a cent for, mostly maple second highest quantity being cherry. I basically gave up on this months ago but I like this jewelry store idea so details, please!

I would be a simple man, but that would be too simple
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post #46 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 12:26 AM
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Artisan Your basic slimline pens with plain Maple, Cherry or whatever is not the type of pens I would sell in a jewelry Store. Second you have to find an Independent Jeweler that wants to sell them and have an agreement to cover both of you under any circumstance possible.

I sell high end kits for the most part with burls both exotic, domestic and or some dyed. It's not for everybody but it helps if your a good salesmen of you and your pens.

I looked in your albums and no pictures here's one that I made and sold.

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post #47 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 07:14 AM
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I agree with Rich. Slimlines are not the kit you want to sell in jewlery stores. Especially the cheap plated ones which you seem to be making if you are selling at $10 and making a profit.

Selling wholesale or consignment is not easy. You have to have all your ducks in a row. You need to make a decision as to how you are selling, wholesale or consignment. You need to have a written contract to protect both parties. You need to know how the taxes are handled, how theft is handled , how breakage is handled, and what selling prices will be for that store and all others so that carry your product. Can it be done, yes and some people do well. Your first thing is step up your game on quality of kits and fit and finish. You want to play with the big boys, come prepared. When you are seriously selling to the public and not giving them away as trinkets or gifts you need a good quality product. Don't get me wrong slimline pens can be a fine pen to sell because of the size and some women like the thiness but plating, plating, plating is key. You now put your name out there and quality will help keep it there. Make a cheap product and the next guy takes his shot at your spot. Good luck.

John T.
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post #48 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 10:39 AM
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I agree with Rich and John on this. The jewelry store I deal with is locally owned and the pens are all high end. I am fortunate living in a small town where we still do business with a handshake and no business license is required on my part, no sales tax collecting or paperwork. I do though report my income to the IRS at tax time.
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post #49 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 12:40 PM
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I agree with Rich and John on this. The jewelry store I deal with is locally owned and the pens are all high end. I am fortunate living in a small town where we still do business with a handshake and no business license is required on my part, no sales tax collecting or paperwork. I do though report my income to the IRS at tax time.
Just incase the IRS is viewing. Screw the sales tax collector though.

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post #50 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 02:00 PM
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Just incase the IRS is viewing. Screw the sales tax collector though.
😄😄😄😄
There is no sales tax charged when you are selling to a retailer for re sale. Sales tax is paid by the end user.
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post #51 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 03:37 PM
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There is no sales tax charged when you are selling to a retailer for re sale. Sales tax is paid by the end user.
That could change by area. Businesses pay state sales tax on things for resale in some cases but no parish tax (County Tax for the other 49 states)

The state sales tax is deductible by the business.

And if you didn't get it I was Joking around.
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post #52 of 53 Old 03-15-2012, 03:46 PM
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That could change by area. Businesses pay state sales tax on things for resale in some cases but no parish tax (County Tax for the other 49 states)

The state sales tax is deductible by the business.

And if you didn't get it I was Joking around.
Figured that you were. like you say the rules vary a lot by area.
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post #53 of 53 Old 03-17-2012, 02:12 PM
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Alright thanks for putting that into perspective guys, I figured there was more to it, I may or may not go for this but if I do I'll have to do my homework plan it out well and I'll try to stick to the higher end kits and blanks (like I said I do have some exotics.)

I would be a simple man, but that would be too simple
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