Roger Wood of Klockwerks creates handmade one-of-a-kind timepieces. A self-taught artist, Roger developed his line long before Steampunk became popular. We interviewed this modern day Jules Verne to get his insight on designing, wholesale, and what he has learned along the way.
ABI: You exhibited at the Buyers Market of American Craft wholesale show starting in 1999. What happened then?
RW: I had a great show, lots of orders. Unfortunately, I didn’t know much about pricing and my products were underpriced so I didn’t make any money that year. I bought Wendy Rosen’s Crafting as a Business and was making a small profit by the second year.
ABI: How are you able to wholesale one-of-a-kind pieces?
RW: All my pieces are one of a kind so the customer will get the actual clock that they order. The first show I did I had to leave sold items out in view. Unfortunately, people want what they can’t have and customers frequently wanted clocks that were already sold. At the second show I had a storage area in the back of the booth for sold items so all the clocks in the front of the booth were available for sale.
ABI: Where do you find your materials?
RW: I spend a lot of time and money on materials but it’s one of the fun parts of the job. I collect from yard sales, thrift stores, auctions, junk barns and especially flea markets. Put me in a big antique flea market (like Brimfield, Massachusetts) and I feel like a kid on Christmas morning. I also buy a lot from Ebay (I probably average a purchase every day of the year).
ABI: You have an interesting background. What did you do before you started Klockwerks?
RW: This is my third major career (minor jobs include being a gas jockey, an encyclopedia salesman, a truck driver, a carpenter, a deckhand on an oil tanker). My first career was a heavy construction field engineer – roads, dams, tunnels, bridges, etc.). On one of those projects I bartered with a carpenter for a piece of custom furniture that I designed. I had so much fun with it that I wanted to be a designer full time (and I got tired of freezing my butt off outdoors in January) so I got a degree in interior design and spent ten years planning corporate offices.
ABI: What new work are you creating now?
I’ve been having fun with steampunk lately, things like lamps and ray guns. Actually I’ve been doing steampunk since the late ’80’s but originally called them ‘pieces inspired by Jules Verne’.