Carvers' Companion
WOM Home
Back Issues


Notes From The 'Net

By Doug Evans, With Loren Woodard

Howdy all !!  It’s been awhile but lots of good stuff going on. In this issue we will talk about how many carvers have a business plan.  Our editor-in-chief Matt Kelley posed this question and it stirred about some good discussion. Let’s cover some of the highlights.

Matt asked: How many had a formal (note- formal) business plan, and if the carver responding was :

  • A professional carver(all or most income comes from carving)
  • A semi-professional( earns less than 50% from carving)(Note- not a person who drives an 18 wheeler while carving)
  • A serious hobby carver who sells a piece here and there

Our first response was from Byron Kinnaman who told us that he and his wife had used business plans in the past for freelance writing and a consulting service.  Looking at retirement and income Byron stated that they would be developing a plan to include some carving income. He felt marketing was going to be his biggest problem. Pricing could/would be a challenge also as there is no agreed upon standard to work with.
Doug Evans (that’s me ) then chirped in that a business plan has many definitions in the business world. I have seen 2 page and 100 page plans. The direction the business will take and how to achieve profits are the top 2 issues to explore and explain.

Shy little Joe Dillett gave a great summary on how he retired from electrical engineering and maintained his life style- plus when he went into the BUSINESS of woodcarving.  Joe states that having a business plan was the key to his success. The plan helped him keep focused, maintain discipline and structure. Joe was active in teaching business plans for the SEA (Self Employment in the Arts). Key elements in a business plan are:

  • A mission statement
  • Goals
  • A budget
  • Defining business operations
  • Planned review dates of the business plan
  • Planning  to keep “fun” in the big picture

Steve Nordhauser added that he wouldn’t consider starting something without a rough business plan unless you intend to keep it as a hobby and don’t care about profits or costs. Steve gave a long laundry list of items to consider but here are just a few:

  • What I want to sell ?
  • What will I sell it for ?
  • Who will want to buy it ?
  • Start up costs
  • Time commitment
  • List of risks
  • 1 and 3 year goals

Ivan Whillock adds the fact that “artistic value” is in the eye of the beholder. Therefore, there is no hard and fast rules for pricing. You need to develop a “don’t insult me” rule as you price your carvings. As an artist , you don’t inherit a price value for your work but you create it through  exposure and marketing. Ivan also recommends to purchase a book or two on the business of art. One he mentions is “This Business of Art” by Diane Cochrane
I know I was a little long winded but there was SO MUCH great information shared, I wanted to be sure you didn’t miss a thing !!

Take care and God Bless !!

Doug Evans

StaffPlease take some time and check out the wood carving lists on the Internet. There is a lot of knowledge free for the asking on all of the list serves.

For information regarding the various email lists for woodcarvers, visit The Carvers' Companion Resource Files, or click the links below.


Woodcarver's List - Woodcarving Fun -- Knotholes List - Fishcarving List2 -- House of Woodcarving

Editor's Note: Disclaimers and Cautions

  • Endorsements of products mentioned by contributors to this article should not be construed as endorsements by either the editor of this article or Woodcarver Online Magazine, unless specifically so noted.
  • Advice and opinions expressed in this article are those of the original poster named therein; when in doubt seek additional professional advice.
  • Woodcarving and shop work are potentially hazardous activities and should be undertaken only with safety a constant and primary consideration. Electrical, mechanical and other modifications in your work area should always comply with local and state codes and requirements.


Copyright 2009, All rights reserved. May not be reproduced in whole or in part without prior written permission.