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 A Pipe For Your Thoughts???

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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:03 pm

Hey Y'all, I've got a pipe I want to give away. It's a Growley Estate. I made this pipe specifically for myself, and I almost never smoke it. In fact, I probably haven't smoked it more than half a dozen times or so. I just don't care for it for some odd reason. That happens with pipes I guess...

So here's the deal; Due to a number of reasons with my current job, which I won't bore you with now, I'm heavily considering making pipes on a more full time basis, and removing myself from my current job. This may not happen any time soon, but I'm working on a "plan B". Pipe making is definitely a huge passion of mine, and I'd love to spend more time doing it. I've got a family of 5 and am pretty sure pipe work alone won't cut it, so I'm looking to see what sort of job, or business I can work part time, maybe even from home to pick up the slack. I've got some ideas in the back of my head that are rolling around, but I got to wondering what I haven't thought of yet.

So, I'm offering this pipe up as a gift to the person who posts the answer that interests me most. If you're interested, answer as many times as you like with as many ideas as you have. I'm just looking to get some creative ideas going. If you know of a good businesses to start or have any great ideas you want to share, let's hear 'em. I'll pick the answer that interests me the most, and you'll get the pipe!

Keep in mind, I'm giving a pipe away no matter what, so even if nothing seems like it will fit, I still want to hear your thoughts. This is more of a brainstorming session for me than it is an absolute solution.

I'll keep an eye on the replies for about a week or so, but not much more, and then I'll make an announcement of who won!

So, without further ado, here's the pipe I'm offering up:

(This pic was taken when it was brand new, though it doesn't look much different now.)



PS. This is "vintage" Growley here, LOL. It was made in 2012, which was the first year I began to really take pipe making seriously.
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Cartaphilus

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Age : 63
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:20 pm

Someones going to be a very lucky owner of that one! Wink 
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d4klutz

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Age : 40
Location : Gilmer, TX
Registration date : 2014-01-23

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Tue Mar 11, 2014 11:34 pm

This is hard to suggest, as i am not familiar with your skillset.  

However, if you have access to some land, I would suggest raising free range, organic chickens for eggs.  Organic eggs go for 5 - 10 $ a dozen at a farmers market.  Also, you could raise worms for fishing bait or chicken food. Also, chicken manure makes awesome compost which gardeners love.

Start a composting business. You can get lots of good material to compost from restaurants, grocery stores, etc. Worms love it and there is your source for worms!

Open up a bait and tackle shop.

 Even better, if you don't have a local b&m.... open one.

Teach woodworking classes or pipe carving classes.  

Build tiny houses out of reclaimed wood.   Reclaim building materials and sell them.  There is good money to be made by selling reclaimed building supplies.  You would be amazed at how much vintage faucets and lights go for

One last thing.  This takes some time investment and driving, but Craigslist has a free section.  One guy makes quite a bit by picking up free stuff, fixing it, and then reselling either on Craigslist or at a flea market.  The toughest part is to get to the source of free stuff before someone else.

Thats all I have for now.  Good luck on the brainstorming.
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the rev

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Age : 51
Location : Oak View CA
Registration date : 2012-10-08

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:19 am

you can learn to build websites.

rev
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jefe1037

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Age : 35
Location : West Chicagoland
Registration date : 2012-02-07

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:52 am

I would want you in my restaurant if i ran one down your way. Having visited LA, (lower alabama to the laymen in BOBworld) I know the local watering holes have their regulars and the seasonal crowds, but the fact of the matter is there is always a lack of supply for the service industry. Sometimes it is a tough bullet to bite to say may i take your order, but the fact of the matter is that we all want a seasoned fella with some good advice is a great guy to have standing on the other side of the bar. As an owner of a bar, I would rather have someone I can trust rather than a cute blonde that will give the bar away every Friday. Not knowing your neighborhood specifically, I know you KNOW the spot I am talking about. Also, free beer.
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jefe1037

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Age : 35
Location : West Chicagoland
Registration date : 2012-02-07

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:57 am

also, professional gambler, and male prostitute are options.
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jefe1037

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Age : 35
Location : West Chicagoland
Registration date : 2012-02-07

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:59 am

jefe1037 wrote:
also, professional gambler, and male prostitute are options.

i've been drinking tonight, but I blame the fresh tin of HOTW that I popped and am enjoying.
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joshoowah

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Age : 31
Location : Nairobi, Kenya
Registration date : 2011-09-24

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:13 am

I don't know your knowledge of such things but one thing you could do is become a "picker" (as it is called today), which involves going to yard sales, flea markets, and the like looking for stuff cheaply to resell. I did this for a few years, and my mom still does it. You would really be surprised what people sell for close to nothing sometimes. I once bought a NASA patch set at a yard sale for $1 and it snatched $425 on eBay. You really have to know the market and what to look for but it's fun.

You live close to the Bay, so you could also work at a boat shop part-time, that is, if you are interested in boats.

Work at a local B&M, who could equally sell some of your pieces.

Work as a local delivery guy for a car part store.

Is hunting any count in LA? I have known a few people to raise quail (in the hundreds to thousands) and sell them to hunting ranges for a certain amount per head.
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APKurt

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Age : 47
Location : La Quinta, CA
Registration date : 2014-02-17

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 2:52 am

I would LOVE to have that pipe so I'm really going to go for it  Smile Aside from making beautifully crafted pipes I don't know much about your skill set. I can share some of my experiences with you and hopefully that will help a little.  

One option is to open a business.  I have owned a few small businesses over the years and I think the key to success is to keep your overhead low and build slowly.  If you have the ability to start something as a side project while you keep a steady job and build the foundation from there then you have a good chance of success. For example, while I was in college one of my buddies and I had a mobile car wash/detailing business that did very well.  The inital capital outlay was about $500 each and within a month we were bringing in about $300/day cash that we split evenly.  We were in college full time so we could only work Saturdays but that business could easily have been scaled up by hiring employees and expanding our route.  If you want to know how to get this type of business up and running I would be happy to give you some pointers.

By contrast, my wife and I purchased a franchise business about 9 years ago with some partners and sunk $150k into getting it up and running. That business failed and we lost all of our investment. We worked really hard to build that business but we all know what happened to the economy right about that time.  I learned a valuable lesson from that experience.

My main career is as a physician so I run my own private practice.  Again, I have learned that keeping your overhead low is crucial.  The other key to success is to build a client base the "right way": by offering quality products and good customer service.  Don't spend a bunch of money on advertising.  Instead, pound the pavement either in "meatspace" or on the internet by establishing relationships.  It might take a bit longer to build it this way but you will never have to spend a bunch of money on advertising if your word of mouth is strong.  

These days there are many opportunities on the internet to start a business with little overhead and grow it slowly.  For instance, you obviously have a passion for making pipes so you could expand upon that passion by, perhaps, creating a web store that specializes in high-end handcrafted pipes and hand-crafted smoking accessories. I'm just spitballing here but you could maybe start by finding a few other quality pipe makers that you know and respect, plus find a couple of folks who hand craft things like pipe racks, leather pipe pouches, humidors, and smoking accessories.  Build a nice "roster" of quality handcrafted products.  You could create a website that offers these items for sale and take a reasonable percentage of each sale that comes through your site.  The idea would be a site sort of like "smokingpipes" but having a niche angle of specializing only in high-end handcrafted products for the discerning pipe and cigar smoker.  This would help increase the sales of the craftsmen and build their businesses as well.  You wouldn't have to physically stock anything, just drop-ship.  Your job would be to build the site, maintain the site, manage customer service, and most importantly promote the site through forums like BOB and through trade shows etc.  If you choose your "roster" well then quality control shouldn't be much of a problem. You could probably start this sort of thing pretty inexpensively and focus on building the relationships necessary to make it a success while you keep your current day job.

Anyway, those are some of my ideas.  Hope this helps Very Happy 

BTW: What is the record for the longest post here on BOB? This one could be in the running  Very Happy
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joshoowah

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Age : 31
Location : Nairobi, Kenya
Registration date : 2011-09-24

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:05 am

APKurt wrote:
 
BTW: What is the record for the longest post here on BOB? This one could be in the running  Very Happy

Check out my dissertation on the history of Caminetto Wink
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gravel

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Age : 43
Location : Oregon
Registration date : 2011-12-07

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:07 am

the rev wrote:
you can learn to build websites.

rev

It took considerable effort not to wake the house up with laughter.

*ahem*

Sorry for the distraction. Carry on gents.
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APKurt

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Age : 47
Location : La Quinta, CA
Registration date : 2014-02-17

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 3:20 am

joshoowah wrote:


Check out my dissertation on the history of Caminetto Wink

I think I will have to check that out.  I'm in the mood for some light reading Very Happy cheers
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Briar Spirit

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Age : 49
Location : England UK
Registration date : 2012-08-30

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:44 am

Goodness, a chance to own a Growley pipe at no cost, what are we waiting for.  sunny 

To fit in with the tools and machinery you already have what about custom Pistol grips, there's some absolutely gorgeous exotic woods available that would make beautiful grips and if you can do detailed carving or etching all the better.

To keep in with tools at hand what about high quality pipe racks or pipe cabinets, you can source untreated rough woods at a good price, if you have the room to store stuff that's an option without much outlay.

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joshoowah

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Age : 31
Location : Nairobi, Kenya
Registration date : 2011-09-24

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 5:50 am

Briar Spirit wrote:
Goodness, a chance to own a Growley pipe at no cost, what are we waiting for.  sunny 

To fit in with the tools and machinery you already have what about custom Pistol grips, there's some absolutely gorgeous exotic woods available that would make beautiful grips and if you can do detailed carving or etching all the better.

To keep in with tools at hand what about high quality pipe racks or pipe cabinets, you can source untreated rough woods at a good price, if you have the room to store stuff that's an option without much outlay.


To play off of this: fountain pens are also all the rage right now, particularly exotic wood one. I remember I traded a Caminetto for a nice one about a year ago.

If you are good with your hands, you really could even get into building decks, sheds, and what not for people. That is, however, getting into work that takes a day or two at a time.
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LordTemplar

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Age : 53
Location : Louisville, Kentucky
Registration date : 2014-01-16

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 6:19 am

Growley,

You are a terrific pipe maker and your products can fetch prices high enough to keep a business viable. Of course start off with a goodly amount of savings. Make sure all your tools are up to code and that you have plenty of power in your shop. Next, make sure you can get good advertising at a reasonable cost. When I ran my own business I taught college at the same time, but I still could not afford good advertising. Make sure you study up on business practices “today.” Look for grants to get a small business off the ground and follow your passion. I have to go with Briar Spirit when I say expand your pipe making to include racks and cabinets. As you go you will find out more about what makes you happy to make. Keep at it because I know that you can make a living out of it. Also, make sure that you have insurance to protect you and the business.

I ran my own business for several years and managed to make some money at it. I had to quit because of my disability (not to mention my ratbag partner who stole most of the money).
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Fr_Tom

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Location : Diocese of Northern Indiana
Registration date : 2013-05-29

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 7:40 am

Often the day job is a balance between paying the mortgage/getting insurance benefits and following your passion. This is just one of those realities. An observation I have is that some jobs you leave and not take home. Teaching is not that way, and I taught for 32 years, so I know what I am talking about. If you are passionate about it, that is all good. If you are not, it is a grind and you resent the intrusion.

I have made a big change myself and have left the classroom for full time parish ministry. I was at a small church part time for the last years of my teaching. This involved a pay cut of about 40%, and that has been an adjustment. The insurance has us paying out more out of pocket. We are making it work. The ebb and flow or the parish work seems to suit me well. I am enjoying it.

In the church we talk discernment and vocation. What are you called to do? In less religious terms, this is where your heart is.

You have a gift for the pipe making. That is clear enough to everyone (probably even you). My guess is that pipe making is a hobby industry for all but a few people these days.

I claim that with children, your best option may be to find a 9-5 that pays the mortgage and provides insurance but does not require you to take anything home. This is not as exciting (or risky) as other suggestions. Step up the pipe making as you can. Discern.

Really you need a discernment group. This was the topic of my DMin that ran out of steam and funding.
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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 10:37 am

Good stuff so far. Choosing a winner is going to be harder than I thought. Without knowing my skillset, you guys are providing some great responses. I purposefully left out my skillsets so that the brainstorming could be unlimited. With a range from worms to pistol grips, I'd say you guys are coming up with some great stuff.

...I just hope this is fun for more than just me. I'm really enjoying reading your responses  Very Happy 
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Cartaphilus

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Age : 63
Location : East Texas
Registration date : 2011-12-15

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:01 am

I given this some thought and I think seeing that you have the fine skills of pipe-carving and you show fine skills in detail I think it would be to your benefit to try and find something within the realm of your workshop and this way what ever you choose won't take away from your love of pipes and your marvelous wood working skills you've been blessed with. And also to remember that one does not need to have everything he wants but, only what he needs. So many nowadays live on credit and above there means in the race to keep up with the Jone's and find themselves poorer then me.
I also don't expect any idea of mine to count seeing that you have already blessed me with one of your fine pipes. The reason for my post is that I'd hate to see you give up your skills as a pipe carver or have them suffer from something else you may choose to endeavor that takes you away from it.
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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
Registration date : 2012-04-10

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:15 am

Cartaphilus wrote:
...remember that one does not need to have everything he wants but, only what he needs. So many nowadays live on credit and above there means in the race to keep up with the Jone's ...

Good stuff. I wholeheartedly agree with this. We fell into that trap early on in our married life. Somehow by the grace of God we came to our senses and got on Dave Ramsey's debt reduction plan. We paid off tens of thousands of dollars in debt and now only owe on our house. We're working pretty hard to pay that off too, but she'll take a bit.
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the rev

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Age : 51
Location : Oak View CA
Registration date : 2012-10-08

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:44 am

In all seriousness brother, I think that you could supplement your pipe business with other pipe related work. Repairing pipe, making tampers and stands, buying and restoring old pipes. But I would talk to a couple of pro's and pick up their secrets to making pipes pay. The fact is you want to be making pipes, so figure out the most profitable and fastest way to make pipes, and to assure consistent sales.

And the male prostitute thing sounds viable too, you are gorgeous

rev
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Growley

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Age : 42
Location : Fairhope, Al
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PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 11:49 am

the rev wrote:
...And the male prostitute thing sounds viable too, you are gorgeous

rev

I needed that laugh today. Thanks.
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Fr_Tom

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PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:08 pm

Growley wrote:
the rev wrote:
...And the male prostitute thing sounds viable too, you are gorgeous

rev

I needed that laugh today. Thanks.

I got a call from the truck stop the other day. A guy needed gas money and was in a tough place. He had been trying to clean showers for tips, but he was not having much success. I offered to run out and fill up his tank before he started considering alternatives.
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joshoowah

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Age : 31
Location : Nairobi, Kenya
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PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:27 pm

the rev wrote:
In all seriousness brother, I think that you could supplement your pipe business with other pipe related work.  Repairing pipe, making tampers and stands, buying and restoring old pipes.  But I would talk to a couple of pro's and pick up their secrets to making pipes pay.  The fact is you want to be making pipes, so figure out the most profitable and fastest way to make pipes, and to assure consistent sales.

And the male prostitute thing sounds viable too, you are gorgeous

rev

A possible person to talk with is Nate King. He gave up his career to make pipes full-time as far as I know. Of course, he is a single guy with no kids so that is different, but it is definitely work an e-mail to ask him.

Another thing you might want to consider when/if you start making pipes full-time is getting in with all of the pipe smokers boards, offering to do POY's and the like. Typically, the cost of the POY has to be somewhat affordable (relative term I know), but making 40-50 of those things can pay dividends if they are done in a timely manner. For instance, 40*$200 = $8000. You know better than me whether a POY for that price is feasible or not, and whether or not you take home a good enough % to live on.
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Fazby

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Age : 60
Location : Chicago area
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PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:41 pm

What is your passion? What interests you? Find something you love and you won't feel like it is work (most of the time).

Does the new occupation require training, whether trade or degree? It may take time.
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APKurt

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Location : La Quinta, CA
Registration date : 2014-02-17

PostSubject: Re: A Pipe For Your Thoughts???   Wed Mar 12, 2014 12:49 pm

I completely agree with everyone that expanding the products you produce is a good strategy. However, there is always a limit to how much money you can make if you personally have to create each and every product that goes out the door. For instance, Etsy, Ebay and Amazon don't make a single one of their products, but they make a boatload more money than any of the individual craftsmen by acting as the central marketplace. You obviously know how to produce a quality website and sell product via that website. I really see an opportunity out there to build upon the relationships you have in the pipe making community to create a central marketplace that brings products from many of the top pipe and accessory craftsmen together under one roof. You would still sell your pipes of course, but also get 6-8% of the sales of all the other products featured on your site. As marketing you could provide content by expanding your blog, add some youtube videos, do interviews with craftsmen, and review the products featured on your site, etc.
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