I am trying to make a little income on the side and eventually turn full time with my furniture making. I would like some advice from people who have been successful doing so – all advice is welcome. Some have told me getting commissions first is key, others have said to start with galleries and others say crafts stores.
(Furniture Making Forum)
From contributor R:
This is a difficult question to answer. I've been able to acquire a few commissions. There is a gallery not too far away from me, but with their markup and sort of low advertising and traffic, I'm skeptical of their usefulness in my case. If you live in or around a tourist area, especially if your area has a craft tradition, there may be stores worth looking into. Really, it is a matter of networking and getting the word out - publicizing yourself in local papers, participating in a local guild, that sort of thing.
I was able to get one commission for a harvest table from a woman I met at an antique store. She was comparing tables in the shop and none seemed to quite fit her vision. I gave her my card and we chatted for a few minutes. Use some creativity and imagination and you can build a network of folks who know of you in your area, and they can begin referring you. But it does take some time.
In my experience craft stores are for candles - not expensive furniture. If anything I would rent a space (only if inexpensive) in a store located in an area with a median income of at least $50,000 per household. Make a few smaller pieces and see. Make clear you are available for commissions. When advertising trade work to women you have to be clear about everything. Don't assume they will assume because they will not. To get commissions you have to get at prospects.