August 2017

Marketing Your Turnings

Neal Brand

Me at tree dedicationMy first turning project was a walnut lamp I made in junior high shop class.  My second project came 40 years later when I bought a lathe.  When I bought my lathe, I had no idea how to turn wood.  I tried to learn by reading a book, but progress was very slow.  Then I joined the Denton, Dallas and Fort Worth clubs and my learning increased dramatically both from club demos and talking to other members. 

During my talk/demo, I plan to discuss marketing online.  I think most turners at some point think about the possibility of marketing their work, if for no other reason, to help pay the bills from SWAT! About eight years ago while working full time I set up an online shop to sell my turnings.  I had no idea what I was doing, but somehow I managed to sell a few things per month.  I didn’t sell enough to pay for SWAT, but enough to buy an occasional tool.  During my demo, I’ll talk about a lucky break that increased my sales considerably and how I have maintained my sales so that I pay for SWAT (and more) through online sales.

I plan to illustrate marketing strategies with two examples, marketing Tibetan spindles and marketing spin tops.  I’ll discuss (among other things) options for setting up an online shop, photographing and describing your products, pricing, shop policies, wholesale markets, and the role of the web (social media, blogs, web sites, etc.) in marketing.  In the process, I’ll turn a tippe top and discuss the interplay between marketing, material choice, and turning techniques employed.

I live in Denton with my wife Shari. We have two grown daughters and two granddaughters.  I am a semi-retired UNT professor and when I am not working or turning wood, I enjoy hiking.  My brother and I have a goal of hiking at least 5 miles in each of the 50 states. As of the time of this writing we are at 19 and counting.