Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Business and marketing a niche product

Ah, the joy of coming up with ways my small business can market it's products. I am currently using the mill to make my own lumber from thinnings and cleanings on the property. The higher the end the end use, the higher the profit I can make. The trees were junk to a luber buyer, the lumber I cut could probably be sold for $2.00 a board foot, or I can make a bench out of about 15-20 board feet and a few hours of my time that sells for $100-$200. The cedars I milled on Monday would have been considered junk by any self respecting forester or logger. They were broken 8-12 feet up, most were standing dead, and they showed signs of insect damage. I could see the diamond in the rough. 100 board feet of beautiful, pink eastern redcedar to make all sorts of rustic items out of. I like to build what I see in the wood, not gather up wood to fit to a plan. A nice leaner had perfect slabs for bench legs or possibly book shelf sides. The smaller diameter logs will yield lots of wall shelves or mini picket fences. All from a few junk logs. I still have several larger standing dead cedars to go that are even bigger, and then I can get started on the hardwoods. The trick is to get the logs cut and air drying so that I can get them in the product pipeline. I need to pay for that sawmill somehow since I want this place to be self supporting. I plan on using Etsy to sell the small items, a local flea market once a month, and my website for larger and commissioned items. I may try to sell unusual lumber pieces on Ebay, but I will post it on the website at first. I should be able to start making items in a month or 2 that I can market as 100% Texan, made in the US, and sustainably harvested.

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