Monday, October 26, 2009

Made in Maine and More?

The store used to be called Made in Maine. Now they added More. I like visiting their store in Augusta, Maine, primarily to go T-shirt hunting in the bins of test shirts Liberty Graphics sells at lower than usual prices. (They are great shirts!) I went in last week to do just that when I noticed an entire line of Mission style furniture in the middle of the store, which, from a traditional furniture maker's point of view, looked pretty cheap. It looked rickety ... like you would have to screw it together yourself ... and it is made in Pennsylvania. That was when I looked around the store and noticed the More.
The decision to add out of state furniture makers, and More, to Made in Maine, I am sure had nothing to do with a shortage of furniture makers here in Maine. I can only guess what reasons were used at that boardroom meeting, so I will.

"We can't find anyone in Maine who can produce furniture cheap enough for us to make a profit"

"Look at IKEA and their price points and their annual sales"

"We want to remain US made, so let's find someone who can meet our requirements"

So instead of going through the process of looking at and scrolling down through the 140 Hand Crafted Furniture Makers to see who they could promote, they chose the road to Pennsylvania.

My company is listed there. Cork Cove Furniture. I had cost, wholesale and retail prices for my hand made furniture. I was begging for sales ... any sales ... in 2008. I was cutting deals with customers just to keep the bills paid, and I couldn't even manage that.

Could it be that there just isn't a place where everyone knows they can go for anything Maine Furniture related? Did those board members try to find us local cabinetmakers, and could not?

Did they feel they had to make this decision because they needed to compete with the companies dominating the search results?

This is why was created. We will brand Maine Furniture worldwide as has been done with Maine Lobster and Maine Blueberries.

When Maine DECD Commissioner Richardson announced that he will work with our organization and pursue a Maine SEO Council to help market Maine's Woodworking Industry, he placed in our hands the sword to slay the dragon. SEE VIDEO HERE

The multi-national, multi-million dollar companies at the top of internet search results will have to give way to Maine, our woodworking friends and family members, and our drive to support our communities.

Maine Furniture Makers produce world class products, and it is my personal goal to make sure everyone knows.

It is my goal to convince Made in Maine to take down that More.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Woodworking in Maine and SEO

Internet search engines are the new Yellow Pages, and now woodworkers here in Maine have a leg up on the move up in search result pages. I started the non-profit,, because woodworkers in Maine have not received equal treatment in the way the state government promotes all its other industries. is a place where Maine woodworkers will be promoted for FREE. I have the contacts, the tools, and the know-how to get the word out that Maine woodworkers produce some of the best products in the world.

Using the Search Engine Optimization (SEO) from, in six weeks, on October 24, reached number FIVE for the search term "Maine Furniture". There are 33,000 searches each month for this term on Google.

What really helped, in addition to having the properly programmed website and SEO plan, was the link we received from the Maine DECD. Government links carry weight with search engines so it is only natural that the government help it’s local businesses with a targeted Search Engine Optimization program.

In an exclusive interview with the Commissioner of the Maine Department of Economic and Community Development, John Richardson announced to me, and the world, that he will provide state government links to woodworkers here in Maine to help them promote themselves online. He is most likely the first government official in the United States to make such an announcement. will be working closely with the Maine DECD to help woodworkers across this state get the attention they deserve. Richardson announced he will add a "Furniture" category on their sites and begin branding Maine Furniture as has been done with Maine Lobster and Maine Blueberries.

I have worked really hard at trying to get the State of Maine to recognize the importance of helping its small business owners, in particular, its woodworkers, in achieving a presence in search results. Having the State of Maine step in and provide links, and educate small woodworking business owners about the value of SEO is crucial to our economy. A State of Maine linking campaign, hands down, is the biggest bang for a very small taxpayer buck. Local Maine furniture makers will now be able to compete with huge corporations which spend millions and make billions via dominating search results. "Maine Furniture", with, can now stand branded next to the "Maine Lobster" and "Maine Blueberry".

I cannot thank Commissioner John Richardson enough for his forward thinking and his personal drive to promote Maine's woodworking industry which is so vital to our economy.

Please follow the link here to the video of Commissioner Richardson's exclusive interview with me, on behalf of

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Maine Furniture Makers Web Development

Maine's woodworking community is a part of our everyday lives, whether we are in the trade, or not. We all know someone who is a woodworker, or know someone who is close to one. Local carpenters, furniture makers, cabinetmakers, restorers, and contractors, all keep our lumber stores, gas stations, grocery stores, coffee shops, and restaurants busy every day.

Google's ranking system gives huge credibility in its results to COMMUNITY driven content. The companies at the top are the ones with the cash, but we, as a collective of smaller communities, can beat them, and Nathan McKelvey, my brother, and founder of, has not only figured out how, but has proven it can be done. is so much more than just another website trying to promote an industry or trade. We are far from just another attempt at a local directory. is the registered name of our non profit company. Our goal is to provide a place where any woodworker can get a VERY affordable website, and develop and maintain a presence in online search results. and Hidden Equity will work with woodworkers featured on our site to make sure they have a website, and at the very least, they will still be able to have videos of themselves talking about their woodworking history, and of them working in their shop, as well as a bio with photos. This is at NO COST whatsoever. Please just talk to us.

My brother, Nate, has spent his career developing the software which drives Hidden Equity. Before the fire at my shop which claimed everything, I was doing the best work of my life. A songwriter's style evolves with time. As we age, we see things more clearly, and we weed out what isn't important, and focus on what is important. I know Nate's history and where he has always come from, and that it is just from a place of simplicity. Why can't we all just get along? Why can't some people, no matter how hard they try, or how good they are, make ends meet? Why do we struggle with status quo? It would be so much easier if ....

... say, perhaps, that there was a way for small business owners to show up in Google search results. Why should the huge corporate conglomerates be the only ones to be on Page One of Google? They spend MILLIONS of dollars every year to make sure they are there. What about us?

Where is the woodworkers commission, like the Maine Lobster Council? Or the same for our blueberry producers, or lodging industry, or potato farmers? Who is out there determining quality and setting standards, and educating the consumers on behalf of the woodworkers? Who cares? We are all just out there trying to make ends meet, occasionally complaining about big box store products with which we can't compete. and Hidden Equity, however, have proven that a couple guys, operating on day to day personal financial budgets, can indeed compete online with multi-million dollar companies.

I just ran through a reputable online site evaluator, and it received a grade of 87%. My site, designed by Nate, has been active for seven weeks. The key words we wanted to target were "Maine Furniture", for which there are 33,000 searches per month. Last night I showed up at number six on Google. Amazing. And the there are still details that the evaluation didn't pick up because we had just made some adjustments that take a little time.

One Maine woodworker I read about recently pretty much laid it all out when he said he has put as much time into his online marketing as he has spent actually working on jobs, if not more., and Hidden Equity have done the research and nailed down the formula so you can focus the majority of your energy on your craft. We will give you the tools and show you how to promote yourself, as we promote you and your peers simultaneously. It works. is here to promote the exceptional quality wood products made here in Maine, research and record Maine's woodworking history, and reinvest into our communities. There are proven models of wood shops in high schools that make money, and have job placements after graduation. We will set up scholarships for our students to further their woodworking education at the internationally-known schools this state has to offer. We will host events where local artisans can showcase their works. We have a studio where you can consign your works for far less than the going rates, where ALL proceeds are used to promote Maine woodworkers.

We are not just another online directory, and I want you to know this.

Thank you!