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RE: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: sharing and competition

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  • Mike Jones
    I feel somewhat rich from my flutes. Oh, no, I haven t made much money but certainly have met some valuable friends and have been able to keep my own sanity
    Message 1 of 60 , Jul 31, 2008
      I feel somewhat rich from my flutes. Oh, no, I haven't made much money
      but certainly have met some valuable friends and have been able to
      keep my own sanity (open argument, though).

      Last October at the OK flute festival was my own foray into sales of
      flutes. I made about 16 flutes, was comfortable in taking 12 of them
      to the festival and brought all 12 back home with me. Looking back on
      it I did not really feel good inside while trying to sell the flutes.
      I had hoped to break even in my trip from Houston but that didn't
      happen. Please note that none of this should reflect on the festival
      at all, it was great, it was simply how the Creator chose to teach me.

      Before the festival and since the festival I have made many flutes. I
      tend to make a flute or two at a time, carve a totem that feels like
      it goes to the flute and then put it on the shelf (except when it
      calls me to play it myself) until I find its owner.
      An example of finding its owner, I had several flutes already made
      back in November. My daughter is in a substance abuse recovery program
      and we had a parent and teen social that was a talent show that
      everyone was expected to participate it. I took 2 flutes with me. When
      I was called to the stage I explained in a couple of sentences how in
      some Native cultures the flute was used for courtship, then I played
      from my heart a short song that was dedicated to my wife who was in
      the audience, next I picked up the other flute and briefly explained
      that is some Native cultures the flute is/was used for ceremonies and
      healing, then dedicated the next piece from my heart to all those in
      the audience that needed healing of any sort.
      The next week I was approached by one of the teens that raved about
      my playing and the flutes. For those who have heard me play you can
      stop laughing now (I am a much better maker than player)! Anyway, he
      explained that he was using meditation to aid his recovery and that
      sometimes he listened to NAF music. I asked if he was interested in a
      flute and he simply lit up with excitement. The next meeting I brought
      him one of my flutes and a printed set of papers that gave a brief
      description of how to play. The next week I heard from his parent as
      well as from him that he was playing it often during the week and had
      gotten good enough to try playing along with some CDs! Every time I
      bumped into him he let me know how he appreciated the flute. He has
      since graduated out of the program and has done very well in his
      continued sobriety. I can't claim that my flute had anything to do
      with his courageous work for healing but it sure didn't hurt.
      This may not quite compare to the deal that Kuz and Dusty made with
      a couple of great kids but this is similar to how I have found homes
      for nearly all my flutes. To be honest, I have sold 3 or 4 flutes, to
      a coworker who really wanted them and would not allow them to be given
      to her for free (ironically, she gave one to her grandson and son for
      free) and so the value was set and exchanged (I really could use the
      money at that time so maybe that was still the work of the Creator). I
      feel much better finding the owner of my flutes and gifting them and
      everyone is happy with the deal.

      Mike Jones

      -----Original Message-----
      From: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
      [mailto:nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com] On Behalf Of
      Sent: Thursday, July 31, 2008 7:49 AM
      To: nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: [Native Flute Woodworking] Re: sharing and competition


      Back to the topic at hand, I think a discussion of what it takes to be
      a selling flute maker is useful for anyone contemplating the leap.
      You provided some good insights - thanks. Anyone else want to chime

    • randyhowerter
      Hi guys I belonged to this group for some time now and have not participated .I have just spent quite some time reading the (sharing) posts All good in their
      Message 60 of 60 , Aug 10 7:24 PM
        Hi guys I belonged to this group for some time now and have not participated .I have just
        spent quite some time reading the (sharing) posts All good in their own way I have been
        creating flutes for a few years , and sold a few , mostly referred through a friend I love the process of creating Its good for the my sole.So I have a hard time with pricing , thats why I
        give most away to people that connect with them. I don't make much money gave up my
        carrier in advertising 10 years ago it was consuming me. Since then I have made s
        stronger connection with creator and live a better more full life . I have recently had the experience of making commission for some one and could of made a lot off of this but
        after meeting the person I could not do it . I meet his wife first she is a beautiful open sole
        , i felt good , but after meeting him what a #*&*### . so while we all have good points all
        well said for me its all about creation. Wakan Tanka put us here for a reason.....

        mitakuye oyasin Thank you Randy

        -- In nativeflutewoodworking@yahoogroups.com, "greatwave" <greatwave@...> wrote:
        > As supply increases with more flute makers jumping on this bus the
        > price for flutes will find equilibrium as the market of buyers decides
        > which flutes to purchase. Even large manufacturing businesses record
        > quarterly losses. How can Ford make a car and lose money? They stay
        > in business hoping that things will shift in the future or they will
        > become another Edsel. Or Gremlin. Or that other car that always
        > caught fire and exploded. Even MILK was subsidized. Remove the
        > subsidies and the price goes up, fewer people drink milk, farms get
        > sold to developers who build subdivisions. Then the housing market
        > gets flooded and just pick up a paper and read the headlines.
        > Also, flutes that "sit on the shelf" don't go sour like milk. There
        > is no expiration date on a flute. I know some "collectors" who have
        > sold off their collections for far less than they paid except for the
        > one or two flutes that were truly "collectible". Local market flooding.
        > Those flutes are still viable flutes, just spread out and into
        > different hands.
        > Since the market decides how much your flute is worth the market
        > for your "brand" of flute may swing in the favor of the flute maker.
        > One of our associates recently called me to explain how a buyer showed
        > up at their shop, asked about 2 flutes. The flute maker gave them a
        > fair price (higher than average) and the buyer paid EVEN MORE to the
        > tune of many dollars more for the deal. Everybody was happy.
        > Perhaps that buyer knows that the market for those particular
        > flutes could go even higher, or perhaps that buyer just wanted those
        > flutes so much that the maker got a "tip" of about 25% more of the
        > asking price. Like eating at a great restaurant. There's a concept.
        > Making a flute is a service that should require a gratuity at the end
        > of the transaction. If the maker makes a great flute, the gratuity
        > reflects the market trend.
        > When I made larger wooden instruments from bamboo and schlepped
        > them all over the place trying to sell them, I quickly realized that
        > profit was reduced every time I had to move those things. My partner
        > and I used to say we had to minimize the amount of times we each
        > touched the bamboo from the harvest to the final sale. We became very
        > efficient at production and could make $800 worth of product in one
        > afternoon. Moving that much product in an afternoon was not easy but
        > it gave us a lot of free time to go surfing.
        > So what you get when price goes up or production get efficient is
        > TIME to do other things. Make more flutes with that time and the price
        > will go down as Tony has pointed out. I think I'll make some "high
        > end" furniture or a Nick Slade design kayak with my time. Basically I
        > subsidize myself so I can continue to enjoy flute making. If I work
        > this correctly, each thing will subsidize the other and I can enjoy
        > making all kinds of stuff without flooding the market with any of
        > those things.
        > d
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