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Small start up needs help with rescued / reclaimed wood7/30
I am starting a new small business and I'm looking for advice on the marketing aspect of it. The concept is to focus on rescued and reclaimed wood as well as products derived from such. This is not an industry I have experience in and would like to get suggestions, advice, ups, downs, links or contacts. Because this will be an on going small business and recovering a lot of this stuff will be done by 1 or 2 people, I need to be able to maximize my earnings. Any help is greatly appreciated but in particular I would like to know how to valuate the following offerings that I currently have.
I am selling some River recovered cypress. Strait and Tight grain 15-20 rings per inch. I have about 400 board ft milled to 1 x (varying widths from 6 to 16) dried in a solar kiln, with a lot more to come. This is old growth river cypress with dark green colors.
I'm also selling wood from deconstructed plantation homes, tobacco barns, wagons and other old structures and great finds. Thousands of board ft. With more deconstruction projects under way and more prospected.
In addition, I am also representing an artisan in my area who converts some of this old growth wood into the most detailed and beautiful rustic furniture I've ever seen.
I'm in north Florida and I am willing to deliver as far north as Indiana for the right buyer(s).
You should be able to have your product shipped anywhere un the US. Post them on woodplanet.
Document as fully as possible the process by which you reclaim the lumber you use to make the products you sell. Also document the process of making your products. The images don't need to be definitive. They need to be visually exciting.
Almost no matter what sort of material you reclaim, it will be more expensive than to buy similar material new. Don't allow your customers to be motivated by thrift or even value except the value of talking about their purchases and who they believe themselves to be... at very least people of refined taste. Still photos and more importantly video contribute to or create the cachet they want. The most profitable use of the video you commission will be your website and little video players at the trade shows where you present your products. You might even be able to sell discs of your video or include them as a thank you gift to your customers.They'll end up loving you for it.
Believe the observation: "If you don't have pictures, it didn't happen". In this case, if you do have pictures, movies to share with your potential customers, the whole process is something they feel they participated in and a part of who they have become.
You should be aware of the environmental conflict concerning harvesting sinker cypress. Dredging river bottoms is not generally considered a responsible activity, and has the potential to take some of the value out of your product if you're not careful.
The deconstruction industry is growing daily so you're in a 'niche' that has a strong upside. Mark is right, however, some folks don't see dredging river or lake bottoms as environmentally sensitive...so target your audience accordingly.
I'm in the midst of starting my own rustic furniture biz here in S MO, using spalted maple, cherry, cedar, hickory, black walnut, ash & sumac from my own land & neighbors' fencelines. I have an Amish sawyer 15 mins from my door who runs a Woodmizer LT 27 & consistently undercharges me fer milling my timber, ( a problem I've never before encountered here in the Ozarks).
Marketing the main aspect of a business to grow and marketing should be firm, quick and adherent to the customers request and now a days you can start up with the local packers and movers to deliver the product and you can use advance payment methods for your company products.