Would anyone be interested in buying ready to turn “kits”?

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SecLoSo

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May 9, 2022
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Might start making pre made pen kits, basically a pen kit with a handmade matching blank that would be pre drilled, tubed, cut, and barrel trimmed. Basically ready to turn pen kits with nice blanks, do you guys and gals think they would be well received? I imagine that if someones mewer to turning, doesnt have a lot of tools, hates doing the prepwork, or doesnt reallt have much of an eye matching kits and blanks would really enjoy it.

Kits would include:

Specially selected pen kit
Beautiful blank to match thats pre cut, drilled, tubed, and trimmed
Set of bushings to match the kit

This way people can quickly and easily make beautiful pens! Is this a good idea or nah? If so would anyone possibly want to order a test example at cost?
 
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jttheclockman

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Not to discourage you but read the room.:) This is what we do here. Maybe there will be a few but if you want sales try selling your own work as a finished pen. You probably will do better. The art of pen making is choosing the kits and matching blanks to the kit and finishing them. There are people selling pen blanks and you could add your name to the long list and growing list of blank makers. Maybe if you have something that is odd will sell for you. Maybe others will have different thoughts on this but to me the answer is no.
 

Larryreitz

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Not a good idea for those who sell pens at A&C shows. A lot of the better juried shows specifically forbid product made from kits. I always refer to the parts I purchase as hardware components to avoid the negative connotation of "kit". The product you describe comes pretty close to being viewable by a juror as a kit IMHO. I have to second what John said. We consider options and make decision to arrive at our unique offerings. With the system you have described we only have one decision to make, purchase or pass.
 
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SecLoSo

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florida
Not to discourage you but read the room.:) This is what we do here. Maybe there will be a few but if you want sales try selling your own work as a finished pen. You probably will do better. The art of pen making is choosing the kits and matching blanks to the kit and finishing them. There are people selling pen blanks and you could add your name to the long list and growing list of blank makers. Maybe if you have something that is odd will sell for you. Maybe others will have different thoughts on this but to me the answer is no.
Of course completely understood =) I do this for a living personally (selling finished items) and was just wondering what the community thought thank you for the reply!
 

EricRN

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May 16, 2019
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I would probably pass too, even though I HATE drilling and trying blanks. Still, the less I do, the more it doesn’t feel like my own work. Plus, I like to play with painting the inside of the blanks different colors. Might be something good to get folks into turning though. To me, the commercial success would hinge on where you sold this.
 

Fine Engineer

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Carson City, NV
You might find some customers through more general woodworking or craft stores. As you noted, for someone that wants to dabble and doesn't have many tools, they may like a more complete kit than the ones we start out with.

The main hitch I see is who would have a lathe, but few other tools? Drill presses, vices, and other cutting tools are far more common than a lathe. Now if you could include (or make available) a tool that allows you to turn a handheld drill into a rudimentary pen turning lathe, that might fly.
The concern that I would have is price point. Just how much is someone willing to pay for a kit like this, and would it cover the cost and allow for a reasonable margin.
 

Joebobber

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Sep 24, 2018
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Erie, North Dakota
Yeah I think there probably is a market for someone who isn't into penturning and doesn't have all the tools and bits and stuff but maybe wants to try it. For people on this site I would imagine it's a hard pass, but that's because we are all into turning and have all the bits, tools, jigs, ect. For a guy with a drill press lathe attachment and a few lathe tools that's who may be interested.
 

penicillin

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Feb 27, 2019
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I am not interested. I think that the pool of potential customers is very small. I believe that this hypothetical business will not succeed.

Start with a business plan. In that business plan, you will describe your customers. In this case, your customers will be something like this:
  • The customer owns a working lathe and maintains sharp turning tools.
  • The customer owns equipment for sanding, finishing, and assembling pens.
  • The customer has the necessary skills to use the tools and products mentioned above.
  • The customer wants to have someone else choose blanks to match the available pen kits.
    • Ask yourself how many penturners would prefer to delegate this task?
    • What do you call the person at your company who chooses blanks for the customers? An artist? A craftsman? An expert penturner?
  • The customer wants someone else to prepare the blanks - drilling, gluing, trimming/squaring.
    • In my opinion, it is this last bullet that represents the true "value added" of the proposed business.
  • Edit, added: The customer is willing to pay the premium cost of your service and feels that they are getting a good value.
Ask yourself if there is sufficient pent-up demand for this service? In my opinion, the potential customers would be:
  • People teaching penturning classes. Their students could buy ready-to-turn kits and save prep time. In my opinion, the students would be missing the key early steps in the penturning process.
  • People turning handcrafted pens in bulk. To me, the phrase seems like an oxymoron at more than one level. :-(
  • Naive customers who don't know better.
 

greenacres2

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May 2, 2017
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Northwest IN
I'd tend to fall with the masses--and vote no, especially for the folks here. That said--I can go to the garage shop, grab a chunk of wood and be turning a bowl in just a few minutes. But...if i go to the basement shop and spend 3 hours rummaging through pen blanks & hardware before i go back upstairs and go to bed having not even made a decision on what to do!!

A few years ago i bought 25-30 kits with tubed blanks (ready to turn) from a member here who was taking a different turning/woodworking direction. I did about one of those a week for 6 months or so and enjoyed the heck out of it--just because i didn't have figure out what to turn. Given that, there may well be a "soft-core" market of dabblers. Might even look a bit like the Box Club that Berea does--in fact if they did that quarterly instead of monthly it might be kind of fun.

Good luck!!
earl
 
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