Even though we kept ourselves busy traveling back and forth to Ireland, John and I still looked for creative things to do. John had been a full-time woodworker and I played around with antiques and crafts. To continue with our hobbies, we decided to sell antiques and handmade furniture.
When John and I were first developing our brand, we sought out local shops to consign our products. Initially, we found a couple of antique and collectible shops and sold our vintage sewing machine tables and the treadle machine cabinet drawers.
I made the rounds every few weeks to check up on our sales. I admit, I was too impatient and thought sales would happen quickly, but, the reality was different than my wishes. It took forever to sell something, a couple of consignment shops decreased the price weekly for their sales. Eventually, the agreed sales price did not result in significant profit fo us.
After a year, I began to take note of our supply costs and compare them to our sales figures and got an upsetting dose of reality. We were in the red!
No more consignments, I did find a woman who charged us a small rental fee for the use of an area in her shop. We began to make more substantial items. John made four beautiful tables from scratch. He used all hardwoods and professional joinery techniques: no screws or nails, no composite wood or imported rubber woods.
We painted and stained the tables. Then we went out looking for antique chairs for the tables. John did find a significant set of ash chairs in a french country style. He cleaned, refinished, painted, and reupholstered the chairs to complete the table sets.
Our landlord liked them so much, she went out and bought other tables to sell; thus undermining our sales. A few of the tables she got from popup furniture stores that sold Asian rubber woods. This wood is from fast-growing trees in the southeast continent and is not as excellent quality as American and European Hardwood. A problem for us was the costs again. Her tables were cheaper, and again, our sales suffered. When I attempted to sell the tables on my own, she got quite upset; so we left that establishment.
That left Etsy and eBay. To make a long story short, Etsy was not the place to sell our furniture. We did sell a few pieces to people who loved them and were willing to pay shipping cost nearly as high as the items. Because we continued to travel back and forth to Ireland every three or four months, we could not have a local brick and mortar store.
I moved all our stock to our downstairs family room. John has a woodshop off the family room with his power tools and I have a craft room set up in the kitchen area off the family room. Our craft and antique tiles hang from the walls and I have set up a table and rack of John’s wood boxes. Oil paintings from Irish artist John J Kehoe are on the gallery wall waiting for sale. I placed the farmhouse table upstairs in the dining room. We eat at the counter or in the sunroom so it is undisturbed. And I placed the treadle tables and French Chairs in various rooms throughout the house
If you look carefully in the picture backgrounds, you will see other stuff for sale in the room- :-))
Wondering how to continue the business, John and I decided to keep the furniture business as bespoke furniture and local pick up feature only. We would no longer sell large items online. I began to expand my craft business, and John designed smaller handmade wood items. He created three different styles of exotic wood keepsake boxes. They are beautiful, versatile, and shippable!!!
So as a last resort, I went to a website development company called Cast Haste and hired them to design a website and online store. We are now in the final stages of launching our webstore.
Would you do me a favor and go to the site and give me your honest opinion of what we have online? Any constructive criticism is appreciated.
Thanks for listening and please let me know what you think
Meanwhile, take good care- talk soon