Creating your own products to sell online is definitely a unique way to be your own supplier. A lot of people really love to buy unique items that cater to craftsmanship. If you have good skills you can do well.
Traditionally when you think of wooden items that are for sale, you think of the traditional items you see at crafts sales. It used to be that spice racks, paper towel holders and picture frames were the most common item. This has always bothered me since they are such basic and mundane items that don’t really cater to the skills of real craftsman.
Even in my 11th grade shop class when most guys were making sconces, I wanted to make something practical. So I built a cabinet to house my stereo. To me this made sense. I bought the wood for $11 and ended up with something that we used in our home for years. This is how buyers think as well, give them something they can use and that they cannot regularly find in a typical department store.
Think of who your target audience is when thinking of a product to make. Large target audiences give you a better chance of selling your product on a regular basis. The typical woodworking items discussed above are often purchased by an “older” target audience.
The problem is, they are not a large user of the internet shopping portals. This group is changing and starting to access shopping online, but start out with a better chance to make consistent sales.
Another idea to keep in mind is to do your research. Take the time to look through the completed items portion of EBay. You can find out a lot about what items sell by looking at auctions that already closed and sold their items.
You can do this several ways including accessing the “what’s hot” section of EBay, (go to sitemap at top of page and then scroll down half way down in the middle of the screen) I have found that unusual items sell the best.
Think about this, table legs. Table legs that are handmade and unique, sell very well. Don’t take my word for it, do your research. A lot of woodworkers come online to buy a part of a project they cannot make themselves. Most table legs require the use of a lathe to make them. A lot of shops don’t have a lathe in their arsenal. Woodworkers tend to stock their shops with a limited budget with the die hard basic tools.
You can also use a legacy ornamental mill to make some excellent table legs that will fetch high prices. Most people will wince at the thought of spending the bigger dollars to get the mill. However you can make some items on it that you cannot get or make anywhere else. I call these short cut tools. They make killer projects but cost premium dollars.
The extra dollars can be justified quite easily by making more sales and the tools area tax write off, if you structure your business. I use woodworking shows to get great ideas on what to market. The vendors are eager to help you figure out a unique product that you can make with their tool. Again the key is to think outside the box.