A World is Five

Using only 5 unique designs (yes only 5), that we made up in a saw-it-yourself kits which included:

48 sticks of lath wood each 1 1/2" by 24" by 1/4"
8 sticks of rougher frame wood, (size as per painting)
2 piece of brown paper to glue the 24 lath sticks to each
1 white thick paper pattern to use as a cut up pattern
1 thin brown paper pattern to use to layout your cut pieces on
pre-mixed oil colors in Palmer Paint Pots

and packaged in a brown standard size cardboard box that we decorated with rubber stamps we designed outselves.

We went to Sears Canada in Ontario and did demos at Christmas in front of the Craftsman tool section.

Our sales pitch to Sears was that it would create interest and traffic at Christmas, and possibly help them sell tools. That was in 1992.

At $44.99 a kit. We had line-ups when we did demos, and had outstanding orders for our next delivery from those who had seen the demo and had came back to buy. And it did help sell a few scroll saws.

I'll bet (no, I don't have sales figures to back this up) that our original style of kit outsold the Woodscape pre-cut Kit they sell today. It had a lot of appeal as a full-family project, with 3 generations often involved in finishing a kit.

Our problem was not in the popularity of the Kit, but in the HUGE amounts of upfront cash that would have been required to roll out to all their stores.

In addition to manufacturing costs, back in 1992 before the Internet made reaching small town US and Canada easy, Sears wanted vendors to pay for space in their catalogue. (not petty cash either, I think we were discussing approx $40,000, but I can't remember exactly, so dont pass any judgement based on this). This was not unique to Sears and was standard practice, with vendors paying for shelf space in grocery stores and ad-space in door-to-door flyers.

However Sears would have been the PERFECT place for LathArt kits. Their customers were very interested, and they reached a large and loyal audience with their catalogue.

The painting we started with were Willow Pond, Beach House, Sugar Shack (which are on the paintings page), Seagulls (not published) and Fishermans Wharf (not the same one as on the paintings page.) When we have a chance, we will digitize the last 2.

You don't need a lot of designs to make a business out of LathArt. For us, quality worked better than quantity.