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I've been contemplating/discussing the challenges of selling 'common' products in a saturated marketplace. Violins fall into that category. Everyone knows what a violin is. There are low end (mass produced), middle range, high end (bench made), and what I'd group as luxury instruments (where provenance is everything)...so anyone can find one at any price point to meet their needs/wants. The internet is great - but it's also overwhelming. If I start looking for something (anything) I find myself in a confusing forest almost immediately. Often times I can't tell what's what. However, while the internet is evolving, it's not going anywhere, so this overwhelming access to 'stuff' isn't going to disappear. I predict it's only going to get worse. A. How do you establish a niche for yourself in this climate? Most MNers would fall into the middle/high end market. How do you advertise? Do you have enough clientele? Where do they come from? What led them to you? B. If you are a consumer of any similar product (ie. where you want something handcrafted and not mass produced) - how do you search for what you want? How do you sort through the mass of items to narrow it down?
This question was sparked by a comment made by Mr. Burgess in the recent "Beginning Luthier" thread: How much time do you spend building new instruments vs doing repairs and/or sales? Which activity actually pays the bills and which of these activities do you like doing the most?