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: Are You Building Your Business?  ( 727 )
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« #15 : February 16, 2019, 11:08:21 AM »

Boats versus furniture - there are a lot of similarity of the two industries in the market place.  That is;
What will the consumer will buy - we have seen that in the higher end furniture issue. 

Regarding boat interiors (like furniture the older classics that are lower volume in the market place) -
well that is a rather unique piece of the market and boat owners well, Mike could answer how rewarding.  What is the rewards ($$) in that example?
$$ ?  Is it for a great craftsman in todays market using older techniques?  Technology in every thing has and will continue to change.  I have expensive interior work coming in that the original reproduction parts (OEM) are available from China - why?  Simply because they have the modern digital technology (China that is)
and can ship anything needed for the boat(s) on hand already at a price the small shop (like we know)
can't compete with on matching/price.  I get boats in this category that have seating for many, 15 people or more and the customer can get one seat or many seat upholstery shipped in for less than I can buy the materials/freight for -- these are examples of jobs I get the installation work. 

Need Mike (I know about him) and that lady that did all the interior/exterior/enclosure requirements to
chide in) - Both were working in their basement rooms or kitchen.  Don't know what happened to the lady or mike as far as that goes but pricing just some time ago was an issue.  Easy work?  They commented on the heat and challenges of doing patterns/and all for those big boats.

If going in that direction today, I would incorporate the analytical capability of taking photos, then
work with computer assisted capability of patterning/cutting/sewing  (like China does) and try to
meet all the business challenges to making a profitable living.  That capability is known by the tech
experts in photography mensuration and computer facilities available today.   

Right now, my only competition to profits is the installation of the modern seats replacements.  BTW,
don't think the installation is simple.  It isn't easy to get a competitor to jump in - the seats to say the
least are very convoluted.  Repeating, they are available in OEM matches - like the wealthy consumers likes .  I am focusing or including
in this conversation the complete replacement seats from China (not their OEM products) which are cheap - but btw do also sell well because of price - just like the furniture cheap market!

The general bottom line is-- for the small shop (at home shops) life isn't as easy as it might look.

I too install cheap boat covers and note the lack of quality and proper fit - did some last week and
the boat owners (rather wealthy contractors type) all commented "I know but saved 50% on these
covers - "I can buy two or three compared to better stuff made in this country".  They can buy direct so - it isn't something we smaller guys even want to get into(remind you of the newer cheaper furniture?).

There are parallels of marine to furniture and we have seen the accounts of both business sectors.

Changes - it is in almost everything --  Where is the small carpenter today?  If you can find one and
is the money there?

To grasp what I say, well it takes a good trade backgroung plus at least a Masters Degree covering
all the technical endeavor I reference/allude to).  I have that and frankly have enjoyed both the practical and theoretical background related Mathmatics/photogrammetry mensuration/ Statistical
probabilities/ all assisted by scientific programming to gather/understand/compute/and execute the
craft side of this big issue.


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« #16 : February 19, 2019, 08:35:34 AM »

I think there are a number of different ways to look at this market and the ability to be profitable. I am sure I don't have all the answers, but I am looking to apply the logic I have learned throughout my career in the IT industry around technical sales, marketing, and demand generation.  Basically breaking down really big numbers in smaller ones and selling somethings to make the big number.
I agree hand down that you can get as much stuff out of China as you want, but we all know you get what you pay for.  I believe there is a large enough customer base to be successful selling a quality product at a reasonable price to be profitable and make a living. I also believe that you need to have multiple revenue streams that complement each other to be successful.
Going down this path we have also looked at technology, which is great but you quickly realize it is not useful without the skill of a craftsman who can do it by hand to envision the outcome.  Which is about the other reason why we are involved in this, teaching would be next generation of craftsman how do to this stuff.  Without that this is no future and everyone could just expect to by stuff from China.
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