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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Yesterday, I had reserved a table at a Chicago suburban gun show in an effort to find a way to have face to face sales. Well, it didn't go very well. There was enormous traffic, and a lot of praise for my work; but I only sold one cane. There were also many remarks of "I'm glad I don't need one of those yet." Yes, there is still that stigma attached to canes in this country.
 

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That's too bad it would have been a bit more encouraging to have sold more. I think though walking sticks and canes probably do better at craft shows and if you can put them on a website like Wayne has from wupensticks?
A lot of people don't realize how nice it is to have a stick in hand as your striding down the road or out for a walk. You don't have to physically need one to reap benefits.
 

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Hikers like sticks but most hunters don't carry one-at least not around here. The trouble is you're not likely to find an event where hikers gather and many of them like the super lightweight manmade material ones instead of natural wood.

You do have the stigma of medical canes attached to sticks these days to contend with. We've also mostly lost the style of gentlemen carrying a stick of some sort. Come to think of it, actually getting dressed up enough to want to carry a stick isn't all that common either.

We also have the "I can make that myself" attitude that many people have. It's not actually a bad thing-we do it too, that's why we're here-but most people don't realize that a decent stick is seasoned for at least a year and possibly straighted before any other work occurs like stripping the bark and carving, smoothing, adding tips etc, depending on the style of stick you're making. They just see a stick with a handle of some sort on the end.

Craft fairs are better but even then they can be a hard sell. I know others here have tried them with some success.

I think internet sales are probably the best way to go.

Websites are cheap to buy. A whole year will cost less than renting a table at most events and will reach more people who are actually looking for a stick. The key is to develop a good site that draws people's attention. It can be hard to stand out from the rest.

Another option would be to find a shop that carries handmade or locally made goods or that caters to hikers or maybe something like wading sticks for fishermen and see about either renting a place to display them or sell them on consignment. You can probably get a few sales that way but you won't get the face-to-face you're looking for.

I know Norson just sold a few, I don't remember if he mentioned the venue though. It might be worth asking him.

Rodney
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
There used to be a place like Etsy that was limited to seniors. Does any one know what I'm talking about?
 

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Alot pf people want to sell there sticks . but you have to offer something thats stands out most are a me too. ,the quality has to be right . I spend a lot of time researching them designing and how to mount them.Most of my shanks are two years old straightened.

I have had a few decent offers by people who want to purchase sticks, but wouldnt make a living out of it.

Friends who work rams horn get a decent price on there work but spend hours making them , some get a few hundred pounds for them, but there work is exceptional.

but very few can make living out of it ,Most people like me do it for pleasure but its nice to get something for my time but mostly it pays for itself and tools and I make them for close friends

I think web sites are a waste of time you just don't get the price , but sometimes a web site can build up your reputation then occasionally people will offer a fair price.but the amount you have made before you get to that stage takes a long time . so a social website can pay dividends. .
 

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I had a web site I may have sold 3 sticks in 5 years from it. was a waist of money. I have learned to look for markets. I have a friend in a retirement home who I gave a cane to. That generated about 10 sales last year. I do theme cane and walking stick In the gallery pictures there is a light house cane and a 3 crosses of Calvary. I get request for these type of sticks from collectors and for gifts. I have donated to raffles at church and other events. That will normally generate a few sales. I have never done well at small art shows or craft fairs. I have not had a big inventory or been willing to pay the fees to get into large shows. I do canes for vets. I do not charge a vet. But I have gotten some orders for family members. I a rarely get payed for the time. I am happy If I can make enough to get a new tool now and then.
 

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We travel a lot with a small RV. When we get to a National Park or Forest campground I will put a stick or two out the front of our unit. People that are vacationing in National Parks or Forests are usually looking for a souvenir or memento to remember the trip with. Also these people are outdoor types, usually hikers. We sold all the sticks we took with us and a cpl I made while camping in the National Forest as well as a few small pieces I call a back pack Wood Spirit. With the shops at the parks full of imported crap people were happy to purchase a handcrafted piece.

I also did a craft show at the town's end of summer festival. After that show, I have come to the conclusion that in order to be successful at craft shows I need to have some "smalls" as well as my walking sticks. Small simple inexpensive carvings are more apt to sell and pay for the booth space while the more expensive sticks may or may not attract buyers. Also if possible bring your tools and do some carving while sitting at the craft fair, people get a chance to see what is involved in your work and are more inclined to buy after seeing a piece being made.
 

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I think the comment about carving on a stick, or just "working" on a stick while in your booth is invaluable. Miss Tina and I are fly tyers and fly fisherman and fish from kayaks. We often do static displays of our rigged kayaks for our dealer at his various events. We told him we were thinking of bringing our tying gear and tying to pass the time... He laughed, "Maybe you'll sell some flies."

Funny thing was, as one of us talked about the rigged kayaks, and one of us tied flies, we always had a group around our display. People are fascinated to see "How Its Made." The folks were asking all day long, "Do you sell those." Many didn't fly fish, and asked that we clip the hook barb, they just wanted the cricket, hopper, or fly that they watched appear from nowhere. The fly fisherman wanted a half dozen each after seeing the quality.

If they can watch the work you put into your carving, prepping, or polishing the walking stick, the price might not seem so high.
 
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