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Competing with Walmart and Ikea

The European Woodworking Show

Hello everyone. Imagine spending two days immersed in watching woodworking and seeing experienced workmen passing on their trade skills. That’s what the EWS promises and it looks as though we can look forward to lovely weather for all of the outdoor events too.

In our shifting culture we cannot say when will be the next time we will touch a real wood surface or smell real wood. There was a time when every piece of wood had a hand planed surface coated with beeswax and regularly recoated by a caring owner. Those days have been lost in the onslaught of Ikea-type production using highly invasive methods of mass making. But this weekend you should come to the EWS woodworking show and I will talk about the effects of some of this and give you the answers that will bring value added woodworking methods to your work.

Someone once told me that I could never compete with Walmart and Ikea. I asked, “How so?” They answered that the prices were so low I could never produce my work as cheaply as theirs. “Well,” I said, “Surely competition depends on the rules of how you compete and the fact that before the race begins all competitors are fully appraised of and agree with the rules.” The man agreed. I went on. The assumption here is that I want to produce cheaper priced products so as to become a mass maker to supply cheap goods in a store like Walmart or Ikea. The reality of course is that I would never ever want to do such a thing, no matter how much money I might make. Further more, the truth is that Walmart and Ikea cannot compete with me. Neither of these companies could ever produce hand made furniture for the White House Permanent Collection, or have their designs in President Bush’s or Senator Phil Gramm’s home. They couldn’t make the first wall shelf I made for my mum and dad back in 1963 and neither could they make my son and daughter in law’s walnut bed and bedside tables as their wedding present. How could they ever compete with my making my daughter’s rocking chair and my five grandchildren’s dovetailed boxes with their names carved in the lids. I feel sorry for my competition. They never ever win. They just make money.

1 Comment

  1. Paul Sellers on 9 October 2011 at 1:52 am

    Absolutely. These companies paper over the cracks in their true ethos with new and trendy wallpaper, whilst the corrosion they have on socioeconomics destroys life itself.

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