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Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

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  • Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

    Hello There!

    I'm posting here, and apologize if this is not the right area, on-behalf of my dad; he's a retired woodworker expat. About 5- yrs ago he joined us from Argentina, where had been working with wood for about 25+ years.

    He brought along some pieces of furniture to finish thinking on selling these here. Now question is where is the custom furniture market?
    I've looked at eBay and Kijiji but don't believe these are the better way for these custom made tables one of a kind furniture.
    In some cases the wood alone will be rather expensive, since is from South America (red & white oak among other types) and would be consider exotic here. Let alone the hours invested in finishing.


    Below is a Table he finalized last year, as an example. Appreciate your guidance!

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  • #2

    Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

    Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

    Very nice piece of furniture. Custom furniture is a rewarding business if you can establish a base of customers that appreciate your work. I did it for 15 years after retiring from my regular job. BTW, you will never get rich building custom furniture as every unit is a first off unit and you will not be able to establish the repetitive processes that production lines have. The trick is to establish a base of customers that appreciate you furniture and the services you can provide for them. What my customers wanted was well made solid wood furniture. They didn't want the particle board units from I@@a or the far east. They wanted also pieces that they liked and not necessarily what I liked so you have to be somewhat flexible . I ended up with a group of folks that appreciated my work and were willing to pay for it. The majority of business was established by word of mount. To get started, I might suggest finding some place that will take a couple of your fathers units on consignment and advertise with business cards referring back to you. Be prepared to provide detailed designs and written quotes defining exactly what you will provide and pricing. This will involve a lot of in home meetings to meet the customers to establish what they want. Do not try to satisfy the customers that frequent the low end furniture stores as you can not meet their expectations and price points with your custom products. As my wife is into quilting, I knew several quilt shop owners in the GTA and provided such things as higher end quilt racks etc to them on consignment. These are small units but they help to establish your customer base for your better future units. When it comes to purchasing lumber etc, you will have to find a reasonable supplier, likely a mill with the products you need. You will never be able to make any money at all by purchasing your hardwoods from the big box stores. Rough cut lumber is the way to go but you will have to have the equipment to mill it. These are just a few of the insights I can supply. You may PM me if you like and I can answer more detailed questions about how I did my business. I wish your father all the best of luck and I am sure he will enjoy what he is doing.

    Murray
    This wood is all clear between the knots.

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    • #3

      Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

      Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

      Many thanks for your insights Murray. In terms of lumber supply my dad pretty much figured that big box stores were no good at all; somehow he got reference of Century Mill in Stouffville and I've been there a couple of times with him. nice place, very good people too. He does have his shop, and I believe he's quite equipped now - though he always find that tool he's been looking for forever and a day.. He does have some lumber he either bought here or brought with him from South America. That very interesting if we could get the pieces on consignment - I'll PM you to ask for some more details.

      Once more thanks again.

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      • #4

        Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

        Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

        etsy.com is a good place to start.

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        • #5

          Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

          Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

          Thanks Nicholas, I'll definitively have a look at Etsy; never heard/seen it before. Sorry to ask but do you have first hand experience with it? If so, how is the end-to-end experience, I mean from creating a user to posting a piece to selling/delivery etc..?

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          • #6

            Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

            Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

            custommade.com but not for canadians yet..... local craft shows....... I get a good amount of work from my website so I would start on a web site with great pictures.
            Canadian Woodworks - Custom wooden rocking chairs

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            • #7

              Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

              Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

              Skrlok: There are a lot of canadian makers listed. Are they not available yet? Here is the Ottawa listing, for example

              http://www.custommade.com/ottawa/on/us/
              Grant Wilkinson
              Ottawa ON

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              • #8

                Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

                Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

                That's odd I contacted the people from custommade.com and the rep. told me no canadians as of yet - so what gives?!? Seems there are plenty of makers in Canada.

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                • #9

                  Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

                  Re: Need Advice: Where & How to Sell Custom Furniture?

                  I don't understand that either. I found this site some months ago, and even then, there were a lot of Canadian suppliers. I would go back to them and put that to them. It seems like a higher end site to market your furniture; better than either Etsy or Kijiji.
                  Grant Wilkinson
                  Ottawa ON

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