Saturday, 16 July 2011

Making money


Over the last few weeks we have been putting together our ideas about making money from our future smallholding. Half way through our tour we are very definite that we do want a smallholding!

Making a living from a smallholding seems incredibly difficult. Diversification is the key, and adding value to your harvest, be it vegetable, meat or wood.

Also having a good outlet for your product. At Easterwood they were trying selling their charcoal, honey, pine candles and hand-carved spoons at a car boot sale. The pine candles sold quite a few, but cheaply whilst they increased the price of the honey as people went for their cash before being told the price.

Whilst helping at The Wealden Times Midsummer Fair we saw how you could have a massive markup on a product if you had the correct setting for it. If you had a pretty stall, and your product looked nice, you could make a good price on your products.

If you are selling at a craft fair you need a good range of products. I was discussing with a greenwood carver how you need high value products to make your money, so you don't need many sales and have the right product to work on and chat to potential customers at the same time. Jamie made the very good point that if you have something for two or three pounds you should be able to sell something to everyone who stops at your stall. His take is that very few people will pay even fifteen pounds for a hand carved ladle or serving spoon, which may take one or two hours to produce, but most people would part with two pounds for something pretty that takes five or ten minutes to make.

I don't think I will ever be able to sell the eating spoons I make, as the quickest one I have done still took over an hour. I don't think anyone would pay eight pounds or more for one of my spoons! And after so much effort I would like a reasonable return for my work.

Variants on my jar spoon design, the top one snapped during carving.

I probably need a very simple design for a sugar/stirring spoon to be carved from a small branch. Something I can do whilst the children play before getting upset with each other. Ten minutes might be possible!

1 comment:

  1. Good points dearest!
    I think once we learn to turn, and can have some turned little objects, that would fulfill that aspect of a stall. I also think our 'expensive' stall at a fair would have woodcraft as only part of the stall, with expensive things like your mum's patchwork (for example, not that I'd want to sell any!) and other handcrafts, perhaps preserves or something else. Vintage items seemed to sell- but getting the setting just right seemed really important. If we found a good farmers market- that seems a setting I'd be happy with, whereas I found the superficial importance of appearance at the Midsummer fair uncomfortable. But I reckon that's where the money is!