Pricing a Stump

Woodworkers get a good laugh out of chunks of hardwood log, sold in catalogs as two-hundred-dollar furniture. February 11, 2009

Imagine the value stream map for this one!

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Forum Responses
(Business and Management Forum)
From contributor J:
Talk about marketing. That price is bad enough, but I near choked on the paragraph after it. "Fallen logs naturally gather." What? They have feet? Is this like around a campfire? Or are they the campfire?

From contributor B:
The price seems reasonable to me. It’s difficult to get a reliable supply of dry rounds like this, then a fair amount of hand sanding and then finishing. Plus you've got those experts in the field scouring the Argentinean fallen log gathering places - you have to pay them something. These things are deceptively simple. There’d have to be some proprietary material handling systems.

From contributor A:
I bet they get a premium for spalted maple.

From contributor T:
Since I'm just a cabinetmaker and not a Lean/Six Sigma kind of guy, I think the price justifies what I see as the material and labor output for this item, perhaps factored also by a dose of "what the market will bear". For those of you who can't get past that, I'm curious at what price you would retail this item for.

From contributor D:
Don't forget we are talking Pottery Barn, so the price is the absolute lowest that the marketer thinks the market will support. In fact, once these logs are picked over, they will disappear from the catalog, and those pickers will have to find other work in this global market.

I have seen similar items go for an easy 10 to 15 times what PB is listing, and certainly not through a catalog. They call it marketing. A non commodity item like a log (as compared to a box kitchen) has no established value in a home accessory market, so its value can be placed anywhere, regardless of the real costs involved. That log is no different than many of the things sold by mass marketers.

From contributor S:
Imagine the value stream map for this