CustomMade

CustomMade Staff, MA, US
contributor


CustomMade is the first online marketplace to focus on connecting buyers of custom made furniture, fine décor and other products with the skilled artisans who create them. For consumers and members of the design trade, CustomMade is the primary online source for locating a custom maker. For artisans, CustomMade acts as a highly-trafficked gallery of their work, a local directory, and a marketing resource all in one.

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Contributions

Using Google Docs to Collaborate & Get Organized

An informative  article written by CustomMade guest blogger Doug Turner of Turner Custom Furniture. Doug is a very talented woodworker as-well- as a savvy businessman. Doug...

Furniture Dressed for Success

If you find inspiration in your clothing, you can also express that vision through a fine custom furniture piece for your home.

Preserving the Architectural Past in the Internet Age

The distressed look is a wonderful way for a new piece of custom furniture to gain the appearance and character of an old heirloom piece.

Crafters Create Lasting Legacies in Wood

Woodworkers aren’t merely a group of tradesman toiling with wood. Woodworkers are historians, naturalists, conservators, environmentalists, foresters, businessmen and artists. Just like the life-cycle of a forest, woodworkers bring together the past and present while simultaneously creating the opportunity of new life for the future.

Your Marketing Clean-Up Checklist

    Doug shares insightful and useful marketing tools for woodworkers looking to showcase themselves and their work in order to educate consumers about custom and increase productivity. The following article is written by CustomMade guest blogger Doug Turner of Turner Custom Furniture. Doug shares insightful and useful marketing tools for woodworkers...

"Made by Hand": Celebrating the local maker

Celebrating the people who make sustainable things by hand.

The Importance of Wood is Both Its Form and Function

A humidor will help you store your cigars for months or even years without sacrificing the quality of your smoke. But you have to know what kind of wood to use. Custom Humidor by MWB Studios on CustomMade.com All too often, gift-giving is focused on women and children. Being a woman myself, I tend to like...

The Making of a Chess Piece: Morroccan Style

A Morroccan woodworker casually sits on the side of the road plying his trade. He makes ornate wooden chess pieces using the most basic tools: hand, foot and chisel.

Using Quick Response "QR" Codes to Promote Your Business

Use Quick Response or "QR" codes to promote your business. They're easy to use and provide the consumer a fun, interactive way to access your information and get to know you better.

Rise Above the Noise

In today's competitive marketplace, its important to differentiate yourself from others. Make your clients aware of your entire product offering and utilize different channels to rise above the noise.

Furniture of the Future Inspired by Designs of the Past

    A ghost story from the custom desks gallery.  Take a look at the picture below. Table/Desk by BWTribble.com at CustomMade.com This is an interpretation by Barry...

Is mass customization good for custom artistry?

Today it's possible to have things made exactly the way we want them. Do we now expect everything to be customized? How unique is it if everybody's doing it?

Restore, repair, and renew: Don't let go of cherished furniture before its time

Don't let go of cherished furniture before its time. Consider custom restoration and repair and transform your treasured pieces in the most surprising ways.

Mark Yundt Breathes Life Back Into Wood

What inspires an artisan to create a custom carved sculpture that is not just lifelike but has a sense of vitality in itself? This article is about wood's capacity for life and transformation in the hands of the artist.

Handcrafted Wood Golf Putter

Read about the solid hardwood golf putters hand made by Bearkat Wood which reflect old world clubs with a new look.

Vintage pinball machine parts incorporated into sideboard

Everyday art such as the beautiful panels in old pinball machines shouldn't languish in some warehouse somewhere. Cleverly showcase it instead like in this walnut sideboard.

New woodworking projects made from old wine barrel wood

Check out these beautiful and unexpected uses for old wine barrel wood.

Antique Rocking Horse Design That's Timelessly Modern

  There's something undeniably clean, modern and striking about this rocking horse design which is actually based on an antique German folk toy.   Cherry rocking horse...

Timeless Revolutionary Era Kitchen Remodel

Inspiring before and after photos of a cramped revolutionary era kitchen transformed into an timeless and functional kitchen.

Revolving Bookcases

If you associate revolving bookshelves strictly with stores and waiting rooms, think again. Sure-fire conversation pieces for your living room or study, custom bookcases designed to stand away from the walls can function as multi-faceted room dividers and provide plenty of storage with a compact footprint.

Gadget Camp: Instilling Pride in Manufacturing Amongst Today's Youth

How will the custom makers of the next generation get their start? Gadget Camp in Chicago has young people to put down the arts and crafts and pick up a drill press.

Reinvent Kitchen Remodeling Jobs

For homeowners, the most attention and money is spent on kitchen customization than on any other room.

Young and unemployed? Try apprenticeship.

Technical training with a master craftsman as an alternative to the traditional college experience.

Custom Made Rustic Furniture

Handmade rustic furniture appeals to clients who love the natural woodsy look.

Wow the economy - some positive thoughts

Thoughts on instilling confidence, trust, and a feeling of stability for your clients.

Unpacking material scarcity

Have any of your key building materials become nearly impossible to source?

Seeking more sustainable practices? Follow furnituremaker John Wiggers

Sustainable woods, non-UF glue and low-VOC finish...also learn about some rare woods and their holistic properties.

Interior Designer Kara Angotti on Social Media in our Industry

Kara’s social media work is integrated into her interior design and energy audit business - yours can be, too.

What to Post on your Company Facebook Page

In her Mashable article, Ekaterina Walter, social media strategist at Intel, gives some REALLY handy tips for any business seeking to further their brand through Facebook - what to post, when to post, how to post.

Talking Wood with a Lion - Part II

"I actually think that our greatest challenge is the rising cost of doing business, in the form of regulation, taxes, and illogical market subsidies for competing products. Unfortunately, turning this around requires the wood industry professional to get involved in local, state, and perhaps even federal politics and most of us are in the wood business because we hate that stuff."

Talking Wood with a Lion - Part I

Chuck D. Ray, Associate Professor, Wood Operations Research, The Pennsylvania State University and Contributor to Wood Pro and Go Wood, visits different wood production companies and different types of wood operations all of the time - he talks about wood sourcing,

Wake Up and Smell the Coffee:Time to cut back your business spending

Patrick Kennedy was shocked when his morning cup of coffee cost 10% more today than it did yesterday. Supply costs are rising, which means we all of to find creative ways to reorganize our woodworking business expenses. Here are a few...

Am I ready to make a living from my woodworking hobby?

We understand that leaving your day job to pursue your passion full-time is a big leap and can be a tough decision to make. To that end, we’ve put together a beginning guide to help anyone thinking about making the transition from amateur to professional woodworker.

Going from Amateur to Pro Woodworker? What's Your Niche?

Reaching a niche market is much easier now, thanks to the internet. But you can't just build a website and think,"Build it and they will come". While easier than before, reaching a niche market still requires some know-how and self-analysis.

Made in America - A Woodworker's Opportunity

At a recent town hall meeting in Fairless Hills, PA President Obama talked about how America needs to be manufacturing more products to sell to the rest of the world. To hear the President elevate American manufacturing is definitely beneficial for U.S. woodworkers. Let's seize the opportunity.

Using Communications Media to Broadcast Your Business

Today, it’s time to turn on the TV! We’ll look at broadcasting your business through local and national television networks, taking Artisans of the Valley as an example of a woodworking business that made it happen.

A Paradigm Shift, final installment

Doug Turner looked at big-business advertising and asked the question “How can I sell more furniture?” - He's given tips on Presentation and Branding, and today he gets into some of the juicier stuff...cashing in on trends, selling a lifestyle, and making furniture sexy!

Top 10 Tips on How to Sell

Eric Tozco in Business Development at CustomMade shares his top 10 tips on how to start a sale and make sure you walk away with a closed deal.

A Paradigm Shift, part 2

In part one of this article, Doug Turner asked the question “How can I sell more furniture?”, and looked at how successful luxury brands sell their products. In part two, he suggests some ways that professional woodworkers can employ those techniques without spending a fortune.

Streamline Your Business Spending through Resource Efficiency

Want to save money? Patrick Kennedy shares concrete tips to reign in your business spending through resource efficiency and conservation strategies.

A Paradigm Shift, part 1

Doug Turner asks the question: How can I sell more hand-made furniture? If money - specifically your advertising budget - were no object, how could you sell as much handmade furniture as possible?

Bartering for Free Advertising

The art of bartering goods and services is making a comeback - if it ever truly went away in the first place. In the past, most deals were made face to face. Today, the web is filled with sites designed to facilitate the cash free-exchange of books, cars and even houses. In this post, Doug Turner discusses two ways to get your business noticed without having to spend any money.

Odd Projects and Odder Clients - Tips on Best Practices

At some point in our careers, most of us have come across a few clients and jobs that have left us momentarily speechless. For Doug Turner and most of Atlanta’s furniture makers, it’s the Portfolio Center chairs that take the cake. Here's how I handle these quirky but fun projects efficiently and cost-effectively...

Communicating with Clients

Doug Turner of Turner Custom Furniture talks about...well, talking! Making yourself available through a variety of means in order to stay in close communication with your consumer base.

Explaining Value Relative to Price: V = U - P

In a world of price slashes and 2-for-1's, consumers ask about price first and about what they're buying second... Rather than start the discussion by justifying your prices, start by opening your customers' eyes to the meaning of value.

The Art of Selling

Tips for ways to build rapport with a new client, overcome client objections, close the sale, upsell current clients, and recruit new customers from old ones.

Opportunity Despite Recession: It's All About Consumer Trust

Patrick Kennedy chats with marketing specialist Mop Prime about specific strategies and age-old wisdom: gaining a customer's trust.

Woodworking Lesson Learned from the NFL

Sometimes an encouraging reminder for your business comes in a surprising package - like last Sunday's football game...

From Amateur to Professional: Your Stories, Part II

Most of your stories share a common thread: unwavering passion for your craft, and pulling through those tough transitional years when it feels like there just aren't enough hours in the day...

Marketing in a Crowded Holiday Marketplace

Guerilla (not Gorilla) Marketing helps you stand out this Holiday Season

From Amateur to Professional: Your Stories, Part I

If you starter as an amateur woodworker and over time built a business, or if you are seriously considering making the transition from amateur to professional, then tell us your story! We’ll be featuring any amateur-turned-pro woodworkers with a story to tell or questions about taking the professional leap, so feel free to reach out…

Taking Advantage of Small Business Saturday

Small Business Saturday - November 27, 2010 - an AWESOME opportunity to draw in new consumers and publicize your business

Mining Your Prospective Customer Base: Spread Content, Gather Email Addresses, Stay in Touch!

Generate Content – If you build it (and then spread it), they will come. Gather Email Addresses – Once prospective customers find you on facebook or make it to your website, you’ve gotta keep track of them. Stay in Touch! The emails you gather are a direct portal into a qualified lead base.

Leverage Your Marketing Activity with the Internet

What's your current marketing plan? Do you regularly re-evaluate your marketing scheme to reflect the current economy? In this installment, Patrick Kennedy presents specific tips to leverage your marketing with internet strategies...tell us what has worked for you!

ReadyNow is here!

If you've been following the Pro Shop Blog, you've probably heard of CustomMade and what we are about. In case you haven't yet, CustomMade acts as a marketing tool for woodworkers to showcase their...

What is this Twitter thing I keep hearing about? (Part 3)

  Alas, this is the final installment of my personal list of things to keep in mind on Twitter. I hope you enjoyed it! Leave me some feedback in the comments! 10 Things to Remember When You...

What is this Twitter thing I keep hearing about? (Part 2)

 10 Things to Remember When You Tweet (Continued from Monday)   7. Share unselfishly While we are on Twitter partially to gain a presence, people don't just want to hear about everyones...

What is this Twitter thing I keep hearing about?

  If you don't know what Twitter is, you may want to check it out. Twitter can supplement your online presence in a way that other social media networks can't.

Marketing in a Local Economy (Part 2)

"Let’s look at some specific actionable steps you can include in your marketing plan. Remember that marketing is a repetitive process. Let’s think inexpensive, repetitive, establishing contacts with potential customers and a message that describes the values your products bring their owners – your customers."

Marketing in a Local Economy (Part 1)

"..The truth is that you can create the finest product in the world, but it doesn’t matter if no one knows that fact. When you are an unknown your skills, talents and projects remain secret and worse yet, sales are non-existent. Don’t allow your talents to remain a secret to the world. Let’s take a deep breath and talk about business; specifically marketing in a tough economy..."

Using Google Alerts to stay in the know

  Using Google Alerts to stay “in the know” Have you ever seen a woodworker friend sharing an article on any one of a number of social media sites and thought to yourself ldquohow...

How to Enter Google Analytics' Tracking Snippet to Your Website

You can easily find a few different methods for tracking metrics on Facebook fan pages and Twitter accounts, but tracking your own website or blog may be a little trickier. This is where Google analytics just may be your new best friend!

Sales Opportunities During and After the Job

It's natural to pay attention to the sales process before you've converted a lead into a customer. But there are a few sales opportunities which can be taken advantage of during the building process and after the project is completed. Here are the important sales opportunities not to forget:

A Conversation with Professional Woodworker Doug Turner

Professional woodworker Doug Turner of Turner Custom Furniture took some time out of his day to speak with CustomMade about how he got started in woodworking, what he's learned along the way, and how he's getting through this rough economy.

Using Your Website to get More Customers

Marketing has shifted its focus from outbound marketing in which businesses seek out new customers through traditional media (i.e. yellow pages, television ads, etc.) to inbound marketing in which...

The Price is Right - Or is it?

Product marketer by day, woodworker and blogger by night, Rob Bois dives head first into the always controversial topic of pricing your work.

Is Copying Furniture Legal?

We asked intellectual property counsel to CustomMade, Michelle Rosenberg of Patent GC LLC, to give us some insight into the legal ramifications of creating copies of furniture and home decor.

Elements of a Good Trade Show Booth

Between hotels, plane tickets, shipping, and exhibitor fees, trade shows are one of the most expensive ways woodworkers can market themselves. While there's differing opinions on the effectiveness of...

The Lowdown on CustomMade

You've been reading our posts for the last few weeks, and it occurs to me you may have some questions about what exactly CustomMade is. So, I've compiled a list of the common questions that we...

Social Media 101

For someone like myself who grew up constantly adapting to the latest technology, it's easy to forget that social networks aren't second nature to everyone. While I thought I had everything pretty...

Reflections on my Visit to the 2010 Maker Faire

Last week I wrote about the resurgence of the custom market. Just a few days later, I found myself at the 2010 Maker Faire in Queens, NY, a gathering for people who make things, and the thousands of...

The Status of the Custom Market: Are We Seeing a Resurgence?

We believe the market for custom is making a resurgence, and it’s starting with a new found appreciation for the craftsman in all industries.

Implementing an SEO Strategy

Staying abreast of the changes in search engine optimization is a full time job. But, there are four simple things you can do to help boost your relevancy and visibility in search engines.

Seek First Not to Offend

Just as a doctor's prime directive is to "never do harm to anyone", a salesperson's first objective should be not to offend. That sounds easy - simply avoid calling your clients obscene names. While...

Three Times to Ask for Referrals

Referrals are one of the most cost effective ways to get new customers. Learn the three best times to get them!

Photograph Your Work Like a Professional

Having your work professionally photographed is great, but not always realistic. Make use of these do it yourself photography tips that will help your capture your work in its best light!

Understanding How Internet Search Works

SRogers93 and epirnik commented on another blog post about the difficulty of trying to build a quality website, and how important an understanding of internet metrics and search functions is in the...



Recent comments


Re: The Making of a Chess Piece: Morroccan Style

Glad you like it. We did too. He makes it look so easy. I like the floating ring! I'll share more cool videos when I find them.

Re: a cherry and curly maple dining room

Beautiful piece!

Re: Blanket Chest Book Scores a Home Run with Industry Blog

It's a beautiful book, congratulations guys.

Re: Made in America - A Woodworker's Opportunity

Thanks for sharing the I Make America campaign site, Bill - great example of a grassroots campaign for makers.

Does anyone have any similar local campaign sites to share, or additional info on political mobilization and representation for woodworkers and builders?

Re: From Amateur to Professional: Your Stories, Part II

Your point is well taken, jlluft;the internet does bring comparison shopping to a whole new level,and images present shiny, if not always detailed, info about a piece of furniture. The flip side, of course, is that small businesses that used to only gain local customers can now compete on a much broader scale. At CustomMade we feature makers' bios in addition to their products. Consumers can learn the story behind their purchase, can learn about the maker's techniques, favored materials, and experience. Pictures are the quick sell, but the discerning customer can read the difference...Have you found other successful strategies for educating customers on quality differentiation?

Re: From Amateur to Professional: Your Stories, Part I

Just a side note...These are great posts, comments and stories. Please keep them coming!

Re: Leverage Your Marketing Activity with the Internet

Hey Bill! Do you guys have anything special planned for Small Business Saturday? http://smallbusinesssaturday.com/
It's an exciting time of year for small businesses...

Re: What is this Twitter thing I keep hearing about?

Jeff,

Great point. One thing I try to keep in mind as far as marketing, or anything else in life really, is learn from others. If every major business has a substantial twitter presence, and marketing geniuses such as Gary Vaynerchuk are saying that twitter is key and benefiting off of it greatly, I would say it's at least worth trying. Especially as it costs you nothing but your time.

As far as the phone issue goes, a smart phone can help your business in a number of ways. Getting emails and other updates instantly is HUGE. If you do go the smartphone route, there is likely a twitter client downloadable through your phones app store (typically for free). There are other options however if you dont like that particular application. The same goes for laptops. Search around Google for "Twitter clients". You aren't limited to the twitter.com interface, so find one that suits you!

Re: What is this Twitter thing I keep hearing about?

Hi Don,

According to this study, out of 190 million users, 20 million are participating in productive conversation. The best use of Twitter comes from joining that meaningful conversation and becoming a member of that community.

We believe CustomMade functions as an essential part of your total marketing plan to generate targeted traffic to your profile or even to your linked website. We’re of course not aiming to replace other methods which you listed, rather complement them as not everyone is well-versed in these technologies. Where CustomMade helps: your website, Facebook, or Twitter, though they may be cheap or even free, they can be limited by how many eyes you have on your accounts. A post on the average person’s Facebook, for example, sees 130 friends. CustomMade's posts, which often feature our artisans work, see over 3,000 maker and consumer friends, and the number is growing. This is the great value we bring to any maker trying to market their work.

-Chris

Re: What is this Twitter thing I keep hearing about?

Hi Jeff,

Like any community, Twitter is a world in which a user can only be effective by giving some regular attention and interacting frequently. With the exception of already enormous enterprises, you will find it enormously difficult to gain followers or have your voice heard unless you are an active member.

However, you could find services like Twilert which will update you on twitter activity via email. This way you could regularly interact, yet on your terms. Might this work for you?

-Chris

Re: Marketing in a Local Economy (Part 1)

Stay tuned, the second installment will be going up later today! In the meanwhile, does anyone have any specific tips from personal experience on marketing in the current economy? From talking to woodworkers that live in other towns or even other parts of the country from you, have you found that marketing strategies differ from place to place?

Re: How Do You Explain Your Prices?

This is all great feedback, It seems to me like some of you try to be upfront about price and almost "pre-qualify" clients before spending much time discussing the project as to not waste your time. Don, thats a great idea! Maybe we can make something like that happen in the future.

Re: How Do You Explain Your Prices?

Agreed! From what we hear from our subscribers and our woodworker friends, this is one of the toughest parts of having a successful woodworking business. If the client expects to pay brand name prices for handmade goods, the price tag will often shock the client or could even break the deal because the client has little to no understanding concerning what they are actually paying for. A huge part of marketing any woodworking business is educating the customer and explaining why handmade goods are an investment rather than simply a purchase.

Re: The Price is Right - Or is it?

Hello - I asked Rob Bois to write about this topic because I thought he had a unique perspective. As a product marketer he works with pricing products on a daily basis, but also works as a woodworker who sells his work, so he understands some of the difficulties woodworkers face in this arena. The great thing about comment sections, though, is hearing ALL perspectives. So, I'd love to hear more about how you price your work, why, and what you think doesn't work.

Also, if you would like to contribute to The Pro Shop, I'd love to hear from you! We're looking for people who are interested in contributing.

Re: Is Copying Furniture Legal?

Hi Don - though I'm sure it would be a rousing discussion, we have no authority to comment on ethics; that's up to the individual to decide. We do know that this is a dilemma that people face with their customers, so we can simply provide information on the legal aspects. I'd love to hear what people do when faced with this question from customers, though.

Re: Reflections on my Visit to the 2010 Maker Faire

Hi Jgourlay - that's the million dollar question. Since we weren't selling furniture at the show, I suppose my answer can only be speculative (although a few people asked if the Owl Stool was for sale). But, a few things can happen:

1.) Someone learned about getting things custom made but forgets/doesn't care about the possibility next time he buys furniture.
2.) Someone learned about getting things custom made, remembers next time he buys furniture, but can't find someone he can afford.
3.) Someone learned about getting things custom made, remembers next time he buys furniture, finds someone he can afford, and goes through with it.

My hope is that we did a good enough job introducing the idea of and building the value of custom that people not only remember the option, but also go through with the purchase (even if sometimes it is more expensive). I don't think we induced a tidal wave of new buyers, but I think we got people thinking, and some of those people will turn into future customers.

Re: The Lowdown on CustomMade

We were wondering the same thing! Don, we'd love more feedback. Could you elaborate a bit?

-CM

Re: Implementing an SEO Strategy

Hi CTWoodWkr - Your instinct is correct that you don't want to give people a way to leave your website. Many people have what is called a Media Page, where there are links to relevant press releases, articles, etc. However, your focus in terms of SEO should be on inbound links - other sites linking to yours. For example, if Finewoodworking.com had a link on their website that went back to your website, that would be a good inbound link. That's one reason that CustomMade allows subscribers to post links on their profiles; those links should go back to their own website, providing a good inbound link.

Re: The Status of the Custom Market: Are We Seeing a Resurgence?

We feel that a lot of the challenge is educating a disposable-minded and "use it and toss it" prone society about the benefits of investing in quality that lasts. This is the goal of our CustomMade blog. Separate from the site, the aim is to show consumers the benefit of custom goods. Our latest post, for instance, is about our founder Seth having a custom coffee table made from figured bubinga. He can pass that table on to his kids, who could leave it to their kids, etc. This is almost never the case with a name-brand piece of furniture from a store. However, we make the effort because we see and believe that there IS a growing demand for custom.



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