Results 1 to 13 of 13
  1. #1
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Mansfield, OH
    Posts
    99

    Default Expanding past being local

    For now the main things that I sell are the hives themselves, aka woodenware. I have a decent grip on the local market, but outside of my small area I find it very hard to market and actually gain sales. I make everything to industry standard as I possibly can and try to stay reasonably priced but still can't seem to figure it out.

    Hence the question, what do you guys think would be smart moves to make to grow the customer base in this part of the industry? I've thought of advertising in magazines, promotions, etc. as for as advertising goes. Haven't really decided for sure on anything yet though. Input?
    Last edited by cheezer32; 12-16-2010 at 06:04 PM. Reason: Spelling

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2010
    Location
    Grafton, Ohio, USA
    Posts
    185

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    3 things...Advertizeing in Bee culture or American bee journal, advertizeing in local newspapers, advertizeing in bee clubs. The internet might work if you can get your web site linked to other BIG web sites...like this one?

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    Seems like the competition on equipment is pretty steep. Personally, I'd try to fill some niches. For instance, a narrow (1 1/4") foundationless frame would be nice. Every once in a while I find someone to build me 1000 of them, but I have no source to send people to if they want them. So far only Walter T. Kelley is selling the foundationless frames but they are standard width (1 3/8"). You have no competition for some of these things. Other things I don't see on the market, like two standard medium frame mating nucs or actual division board feeders (that can divide a box in half and feed both sides). For some ideas you could see Kirk Webster's presentations or Michael Palmer's (some are on the web I think) where they shows some of what they have to custom make.

    The niche stuff not only eliminates the competition for those particular products, but makes you stand out so people notice your business and maybe also buy the standard stuff as well.
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Mansfield, OH
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    Michael B: Haven't thought of that yet, thanks for the idea.

    The medium nuc's are you talking an individual 2 frame medium nuc, or would a 2 way mating nuc, each compartment with 2 frames?

    Also for the foundationless frames, (question for all) would just a triangular piece to staple or glue to the bottom of a standard frame to turn any frame you want into foundationless sound like a good idea?

    Niche sounds very appealing idea, maybe a little bit more start up work though. Thanks again for the idea MB.

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Malabar, FL
    Posts
    1,268

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    Quote Originally Posted by cheezer32 View Post
    Also for the foundationless frames, (question for all) would just a triangular piece to staple or glue to the bottom of a standard frame to turn any frame you want into foundationless sound like a good idea?
    thats how we do it, triangle stapled to the bottom of the top bar on a standard deep frame.
    A government large enough to provide everything you need is strong enough to take everything you have. T. Jefferson

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Location
    St. Albans, Vermont
    Posts
    5,312

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    Fill the equipment with bees and sell it that way?

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Knox County, Ohio
    Posts
    2,694

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    a narrow (1 1/4") foundationless frame would be nice. Every once in a while I find someone to build me 1000 of them, but I have no source to send people to if they want them.

    Gene Weitzel is selling 1 1/4 frames in his for sale ad about environmentally friendly woodenware.

    what do you guys think would be smart moves to make to grow the customer base in this part of the industry?

    Increase honey and bee prices, which will continue to attract more new beekeepers needing equipment.

    You need to increase awareness. It doesn't matter how well you price your stuff, or how high the quality is if no one knows about it.

    Try a few eBay ads. You would be surprised how much hobbyist beekeepers will pay for stuff. It's common to see them pay more for stuff on eBay than they would pay from one of the regular bee supply places.

    Find a way to ship economically. If you can find a way to keep shipping costs low, that will be a big selling point. It's a turnoff for people when they pay as much for shipping as they pay for an item.

    Talk to bee supply places. Talk to Simpson in Danville, Ohio, or the Blue Sky Bee people.

    You will find if far easier to discover a need and try to fill it, rather than to make a good product and try to find people to buy it. This is why Michael Bush says to find a niche - you are recognizing demand, and then filling that need.

    I also agree with Michael Palmer...value added. If you sell good bees for a good price, it won't be difficult to get an extra $5 per wooden box - and trying to get another $5 per box will be a deal killer when you are just selling a box.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
    Location
    Battle Ground , Washington, USA
    Posts
    747

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    Probably shipping is the biggest challange. I can find better deals on woodwear but the shipping is a killer. Maybe find someone with a small warehouse a state away and put a semi load there for pick'up only.
    You could expand 1 state at a time.

    You would then have the cost of someone running that spot so it might be a wash..
    I'm not tense, Just terribly, terribly alert!

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Aug 2007
    Location
    Fairfield County, Connecticut, USA
    Posts
    3,590

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    Cheezer32,

    Your forum signature "Cheap Quality Woodenware" might not be the best description to use. I understand "High Quality Woodenware".

    "Cheap Quality Woodenware" sounds too much like low or poor quality.

    I don't know how one finds a cheaper way to ship things...
    BeeCurious
    Trying to think inside the box...

  10. #10
    Join Date
    Feb 2009
    Location
    Mansfield, OH
    Posts
    99

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    The way I do shipping is I take the stuff myself, I find I can almost always take the loads cheaper than what it would charge to ship it. I usually just ask for enough to cover gas, unless the order is a large one then depending on the distance I might give it to them for free. To me this was my best option and working well so far. I don't really know of any other way to ship things....

  11. #11
    Join Date
    Aug 2002
    Location
    Nehawka, Nebraska USA
    Posts
    45,827

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    All my big orders I get by truck. It is far cheaper than UPS or USPS...
    Michael Bush bushfarms.com/bees.htm "Everything works if you let it." ThePracticalBeekeeper.com 40y 200h 37yTF

  12. #12
    Join Date
    Jun 2004
    Location
    Jackson, MO
    Posts
    1,858

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    If this were me, or if I was in your shoes.....

    I think I might fill a pick-up truck and start attending bee meetings. Not just the big state meetings, but smaller, local ones (and they meet every month!). As I speak at local clubs, I find most smaller beekeepers are horrible procrastinators and they hate paying for shipping. Bring the goods to them, set up a table, maybe even give a talk or two on simple stuff like hive assembly, wiring frames, alternatives to conventional painting.

    Get people used to the idea of who you are and what you are selling. That connection is better than any print advertising. My cousin sells insurance and he will tell you personal connections is what makes his business. Are you attending any of the bee meetings to introduce yourself?

    Maybe you could give a workshop and demonstrate to new beekeepers what equipment is needed for a first season of beekeeping. Maybe you could sell assembled and painted equipment ready for the bees to be installed. There's a growing segment of new, inexperienced beekeepers that needs to be equiped. Maybe you could buy a truck load of package bees and have a "bee day" for people to pick up the bees and other supplies.

    Is there an angle as to why your product is better than the others? What makes you stand out from all the other suppliers? Why should, or would, I buy from you? What distinguishes you from the big suppliers?

    And there are a hundred angles on selling. My father-in-law tried to instruct my daughter when she was selling Girl Scout cookies that she wasn't selling cookies, she was asking the potential customer to help her achieve her goal of selling 500 boxes of cookies, which would earn her some kind of award. I knew what he meant, but the application was lost on an 8-year old.

    Grant
    Jackson, MO
    Beekeeping With Twenty-five Hives: https://www.createspace.com/4152725

  13. #13
    Join Date
    Aug 2010
    Location
    Freeland, Washington, USA
    Posts
    107

    Default Re: Expanding past being local

    I agree that the bee meetings might be the way to go. I know a lot of people would rather pay a bit more and know that they were supporting a small business in the region. I would send an e-mail to the local club presidents with prices and asking if they wanted to do a bulk order. That will set you up with yearly repeat sales and get your product in the hands of new beekeepers who will want more.

Bookmarks

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •  
Ads