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  1. #1
    Senior Member Strapped-4-Cache's Avatar
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    Talking So I'm a vendor now???

    Before my daughter went on a trip with another family a few weeks ago, I grabbed a bunch of my cheap WM ripstop and created hammocks for all of the kids on the trip, along a double-layer version for the mom taking them.

    My wife just called me to let me know of a comment passed on to her by the mom who headed up the trip. There are several people in Michigan that have seen my DIY rigs and want to know how much I'd charge to make some more.

    These hammocks are very simple Traveler-style knockoffs, but theyíre nothing as nice as Brandonís rigs. The whipping is done with cheap polyester cord, the suspension is made of the inexpensive Harbor Freight straps, and the adjustment for the suspension is the original cam buckles for those straps. Not graceful, not light, but easy to hang and adjust.

    Iíve just gone through another several yards of ripstop creating shells for a couple of UQs, so I guess Iím going to have to get some sources for more fabric online. My local WM no longer carries fabric and I cleaned them out when it all went to 75% off.

    Like a said in an earlier thread I started, I donít see how any of our forum members make money on the products they sell. By the time I factor in the cost of all the bits and pieces, and charge for the time to make it, the cost of the items exceeds what people would be willing to pay. Iíve got to admit that I was flattered that other people would want some hammocks like the ones I made, but Iím pretty sure that when I give a price for one they may reconsider having me make one for them. They could probably get an ENO cheaper.

    Just figured Iíd share. The comments I got made todayís workload (at my real job) a bit more bearable.

    - Mark (S-4-C)

  2. #2
    Old Gorge Rat Hawk-eye's Avatar
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    Feb 2007
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    DIY projects ... at least for the average guy are seldom cost effective ... but it can happen. Most of the joy comes from just making it. If you can do it for a savings of any kind ... even sweeter.

    The group cottage industries work hard for their profits I'm sure ... and while I like making my own gear when I can or have the time ... I appreciate good gear from those guys and gals.

    WARNING: Will discuss Rhurbarb Strawberry Pie and Livermush at random.


    "A democracy is two wolves and a small lamb voting on what to have for dinner.
    Freedom under a constitutional republic is a well armed lamb contesting the vote." ... B.Franklin


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  3. #3
    Bubba's Avatar
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    May 2010
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    Ontario, Canada
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    Any pictures of your work? You must do good work and I'd love to see it. Its nice that you received such a response.

  4. #4
    Senior Member GvilleDave's Avatar
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    Feb 2009
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    Greenville SC
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    I know what you mean. When you count all your costs for materials even using the WM fabric that leaves a precious little room to recoup any labor. When I compare that to what Tom Claytor charges for his "No Net" - $40, I am blown away.

    DIY for me will remain a hobby that I enjoy and I don't count my labor as a cost, rather I chalk it up to recreation so for me DIY is a savings.

  5. #5
    Ramblinrev's Avatar
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    Cottage industry is a tough way to make a buck. Eventually, if you are any good, you reach a point where you need to make a decision between doing it in your spare time... which becomes non-existent.. and taking the leap from the "real job" to jump into the depths of trying to make your living solely from the industry you love. It's scary and it needs a certain mindset and products. There's nothing wrong with the hobbyist selling a few items to his friends and cohorts. But to really make the cottage industry go you have to believe that what you are charging is not only fair to everyone but worth the expenditure. IMO trying to compete with the "big boys" leads only to frustration and bitterness. But if you have something unique and of value to offer, then knock yourself out. Set the price just at the choke level after expenses and start slow and small. (IOW can _you_ quote the price without choking? If so.. you are priced too low. A little gag is not a choke.)
    I may be slow... But I sure am gimpy.

    "Bless you child, when you set out to thread a needle don't hold the thread still and fetch the needle up to it; hold the needle still and poke the thread at it; that's the way a woman most always does, but a man always does t'other way."
    Mrs. Loftus to Huck Finn

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  6. #6
    Senior Member Strapped-4-Cache's Avatar
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    Nope, Iím not planning on making gear on a regular basis, other than for myself. I almost turned a hobby into a business once, only to have all of the fun sucked out of it. Not gonna happen again. The main thing that initially tempted me about selling a few is that Iím going to need to replace my laptop soon. Thereís just not enough profit in the venture to make that happen, though.

    I imagine I can make a limited run of hammocks for the people that are interested, IF the work can be done without losing any money. Breaking even is fine, and making a bit on the side is even better. I imagine, though, that when I price everything out and give a quote that most of the interest will disappear.

    Thatís fine. Itíll give me more time to work on the sleeve for my IX UQ. Iíve created a rough copy of Macís design on InsulBright, which is NOT the same as IX, but the steeply discounted material from the WM stock reduction made it worth picking up. Itís allowed me to have an UQ for both my wife and myself at a fraction of the cost. Once the sleeve design is worked out Iíll be able to have reversible material to cover the white UQ, depending on need. Breathable ripstop on top, DWR on bottom, various colors, etc. I have plenty to keep me busy with my own gear without adding other stuff to the mix.

  7. #7
    Senior Member
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    Increasing profit on an item to the point of coming close to "worth it" is an interesting exercise. Buying in bulk, having a repeatable process and getting skilled enough to lower your production time are all key. AND maintaining or improving quality! Nothing new to the crowd here.

    I occasionally buy in bulk to reduce costs and do a local "group buy" type thing with a few Scouting organizations in the area as well as some of my normal clients.

  8. #8
    Senior Member NCPatrick's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strapped-4-Cache View Post
    I almost turned a hobby into a business once, only to have all of the fun sucked out of it. Not gonna happen again.
    I have turned two hobbies into "work". Not so much fun anymore after that, so good point.


    "Civilization is the limitless multiplication of unnecessary necessities."
    - Mark Twain
    ďI go to nature to be soothed and healed, and to have my senses put in order.Ē
    - John Burroughs

  9. #9
    Senior Member ShadowAlpha's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by NCPatrick View Post
    I have turned two hobbies into "work". Not so much fun anymore after that, so good point.
    same here

    was making wooden arrows & stopped the mass product & just make them for myself when I want to tinker with them

  10. #10
    Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by Strapped-4-Cache View Post
    The comments I got made todayís workload (at my real job) a bit more bearable.
    That's always a nice thing, huh? Congrats and good job!

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