Sharpening Pencils… and Geese
Date: October 28, 2011
To: Steve Shanesy, publisher
From: Christopher Schwarz, editor
Re: New Revenue Sources for 2011
With the recent rejection of my new ideas for revenue for FY2011 (see previous memos on “Five Editors Need Only Five Kidneys,” “PWM Plasma Clinic” and “Bake Sales”), I have finally settled on an untapped source of revenue that is proven in another market.
With our emphasis on hand work and the introduction of the Arts & Mysteries column, many woodworkers have become interested in period techniques and tools.
While there are many manufacturers making fine chisels and planes for these readers, there is no “period” marking equipment sold today. Heck I’ve seen Adam Cherubini use a mechanical pencil to lay out a joint.
Because carbon from Cumbria could be expensive for us to mine and import, I propose we offer a product that is readily available (it’s right under our noses), has no competitors and no – repeat no – raw materials cost.
I propose we have the Popular Woodworking Magazine staff offer a service that sells and sharpens quills for the shop.
Think about it for a minute. Our building’s runoff pool is littered with slow-moving, well-preened geese. And the editors dislike the geese (actually we just dislike their poo). Put those two facts together and we have an almost limitless supply of quills we could sell to our readers.
Think of the easy marketing options we have. We could have Cherubini use the quills to make his cutting lists and show them in step photos. I could offer articles and classes on using and sharpening quills. And Megan could start wearing shop apparel festooned with them.
To show you how easy this is, I prepared the following short video of Megan harvesting some quills yesterday.
I know you are skeptical. Before you answer, take a look at this site: artisanalpencilsharpening.com. David Rees has the right idea. Let me know.
— Christopher Schwarz