January 19, 2018, 10:59:59 PM

Author Topic: Keeping up with demand  (Read 3418 times)

Scott

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Keeping up with demand
« on: December 13, 2011, 10:00:07 PM »
I'm in a bit of a pickle when it comes to demand.

I've been building and selling spinning wheels for the past year. The response has been terrific. Online sales are great and attending local wool shows has really helped get the word out.

Here's the trouble - I have one product. There are at least four variations and accessories that need to be engineered. With a full time job, i work an hour or 2 in the morning and 2 or so in the evenings. Keeping up with demand is a challenge and there is constant interest in new products. After months of struggling with this I think I have to take a month or two away from building and create these new products. The last 10 sales were initiated by the buyers contacting me, I wasn't offering wheels at the time.

My wife and I intend to move to our 20 acres mid 2012, I would like to have my wheel business built up before we move. I'd rather take a hit on orders now than leave our current jobs with one product.

I hate to leave my products page and etsy shop empty, but expanding the product line seems to be more important. Just not sure how hard it will be to bring traffic back to the shop. One idea i have is to begin blogging about spinning and my development progress. At least the folks that are interested can see that there is forward motion with my brand.

are there any thoughts in this space?
Handmade Spinning Wheels
www.overlandhandcraft.com

David Galloway

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #1 on: December 13, 2011, 10:09:29 PM »
Don't leave your Etsy space completely empty. Make sure you add a note telling customers why you don't currently have wheels for sale and give them a FB page they can follow your progress.

Also, since demand doesn't seem to be a problem, have you considered maybe doing a Kickstartr campaign for the funds to engineer your wheels and take a week's vacation in Jan or Feb to do the gruntwork if your Kickstartr gets funded?

Scott

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #2 on: December 14, 2011, 09:01:47 AM »
Good idea about keeping items in the store. I have some smaller items I can offer.

I'm fortunate enough to have saved some profit for development. Time is the big issue.

In the long run creating these new features will make my business stronger. I just hate that there are no wheels for sale.
Handmade Spinning Wheels
www.overlandhandcraft.com

MT Knives

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #3 on: December 14, 2011, 11:33:36 AM »
I would have to say leve it up and just explain to people your working hard to fill their orders and let them know there is a waiting list on orders people will wait if they know you are working hard and it is nothing for some one to wait 6 mth to a year on custom orders, just don't  take any longer than you say and be sure to set realistic goals. I am going to look at your site.
www.mtknives.net www.simplycleansing.com MT Knives, be sharper than the rest!

ghsebldr

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #4 on: December 19, 2011, 04:23:31 PM »
Scott. Sounds like you have found your niche. If you do leave your Etsy store open and take orders, keep in touch through email every month or so. That way the customer will know you are still working at fulfilling their order. Also, who better than you to start a spinning blog? If you have to come up with original content every day though it does get time consuming.
Making greenhouse ownership affordable to the home gardener as well as the small nursery. http://www.stevesgreenhouses.com

toptec

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #5 on: December 19, 2011, 05:22:57 PM »
Scott, I have taken a look at your page and it looks like these wheels would be simple to produce with some jigs.  With the majority of the time for sanding and finishing.  Have you thought of finding some retired woodworkers to help you out?  You could sub the whole thing out for them to do at their place or you could have an apprentice come in and give you a hand with cutting and assembling.  That would free you up to do some design work.
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Josh

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #6 on: December 19, 2011, 06:17:55 PM »
I'm an evil capitalist but I would add a section to your website that shows all the work you do. Your blog captures a lot of it, but that doesn't have the same impact as one organized page with a link in the menu.

Let me put it this way: You're not selling spinning wheels. You're selling your handmade spinning wheels. You have lots of stuff about your spinning wheels but you need more stuff showcasing the handmade part of it.

That's the page I would build and promote. And then I'd raise the price and contract out the simpler pieces of the spinning wheel.

Seriously, some "behind the scenes" secret spinning wheel crafting photos and video could really increase the perceived value of you and your wheels. I imagine most folks in your field show lots of photos of wood and finished products. You can be the person who lets them "into the workshop."

Crazy idea to keep something in your store: put something unsellable in it. Make a spinning wheel out of some ridiculously fancy wood with some overly ornate carvings on it or whatever. Put a giant price tag on it (fair but very high). If you don't sell it, there's something pretty to look at in the store. If you do, make another one. You can use the description area for that wheel to talk about your other wheels. Just a thought.

Good luck!

Josh

Scott

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #7 on: December 20, 2011, 11:46:27 AM »
Thanks for the great feedback!
Since my site is powered by wp, I can easily turn the home page back into a blog. That way I can be more effective with progress and I really like the idea of talking about the woodworking there too. There are a ton of sites on woodworking but this niche could become another revenue stream.

I met Brian Boggs a few months ago - he's a chair builder in the carolinas. He uses the outsourcing model to make some of his chairs. There is some concern over quality control so I'll stick with slower production for now.

Patrick, the statement about folks waiting 6 months for custom work has me thinking. I'll probably push my timeline out some which should allow me to list more often. There wil be some price increases too. Initially I needed some feedback and reviews so I priced the wheels to move. That worked great but it's time to increase to make room for resellers.
Handmade Spinning Wheels
www.overlandhandcraft.com

Josh

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #8 on: December 20, 2011, 03:45:50 PM »
http://www.thesbb.com/

Have you looked into the Small Business Beanstalk? It's right there in Columbus. I don't know what help they offer, but asking is free.

Josh

msellenk

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #9 on: January 09, 2012, 05:29:04 PM »
Lucky position to be in! Scott, your wheels look wonderful. As a user as well as seller on etsy, I can tell you that you need to have stuff in the "shop" at all times (of course, I am guilty of not doing this, but I know it's important). Is there any way you can ramp up production of and/or/create little items like a diz, orifice hook, and can you consider drop spindles? Good drop spindles are a HOT product — if you know how to make a good one. Do not leave your etsy shop empty.

msellenk

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #10 on: March 16, 2012, 10:06:45 AM »
Saw your ad on Ravelry, that should be really good for you. Nice to see that you've "filled" the etsy page. Looks great!

Scott

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #11 on: March 16, 2012, 12:40:14 PM »
Thanks Ellen! Traffic is back up and I'm taking orders. There were a few people say that other wheel builders wait lists are 3 years long! So I'm much more comfortable with the wait list idea now.

My background is in design and publishing. I'm conditioned to work under tight deadlines. I realized that the wheel business should be structured differently. Once we move to our homestead (in 3-5 months!) the income needs will be much lower so I don't have to rush to get the wheels made.

Handmade Spinning Wheels
www.overlandhandcraft.com

UFAB

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #12 on: March 16, 2012, 01:17:49 PM »
Yeah, I agree with everyone. If I came to a shop looking for something, but nothing was there, and no explanation, I'd think the owner had just abandoned the site. Of course, I'd look elsewhere and probably forget about the first provider.

MT Knives

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #13 on: March 18, 2012, 09:42:42 PM »
My wife has been bit by the bug, two friends of ours have spinning wheels and she really wants one so now just to fit it into our budget. I am on a 1 year plan to quit my job and work from home. But I look forward to ordering one of your wheels!
Patrick
www.mtknives.net www.simplycleansing.com MT Knives, be sharper than the rest!

MT Knives

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Re: Keeping up with demand
« Reply #14 on: March 18, 2012, 09:50:21 PM »
Ok so I was looking for your site and i don't see it listed any where on here. I think that is like breaking some sort of rule or something  ;D you need to have your site easily found for us slow people.
www.mtknives.net www.simplycleansing.com MT Knives, be sharper than the rest!