A ‘desk’ teaches us two incredible lessons…

I have a friend who makes furniture, each piece is hand-carved from beautiful timbers. The problem is, there are hundreds of other craftsmen out there also hand-carving furniture out of timber… so his pieces may or may not stand out of the crowd, but they’re not necessarily remarkable. The desk below is remarkable… people have described it as cool, insane and awesome once I tell them the story :
b-25 bomber desk picture
This is a piece of tail section from a B-25 bomber that has been stripped back, glass added and turned into a desk. That’s pretty cool.

So there’s lesson 1: You can make anything remarkable… even a humble desk.

But the real lesson here for anyone who sells anything is how and why you might pay $15,000 for that desk…

How to get you to pay $15,000 for some airplane scrap
I’m not a scrap merchant (I’ve been called something close to that though) so I’m guessing that the parts, labour and glass that make this table would cost a few thousand dollars. So we’re going to need some magic to get $15,000 for what is basically scrap and a good idea. Time for a spell from the marketing spell book.

Spell Ingredients:
Add one drop of NICHE:
this product is definitely for a niche market: retired pilots, military types, airplane enthusiasts. Targetting that niche means you can get extra dollars because it tugs at the emotions of the group.

Stir in a Limited Number: there are only 20 desks available. A limited edition gives bragging rights and adds a few more zeros to the price tag.

Say the words:
there’s an incredible story to the desk that needs to be told:

The desk is made from the tail section of the B-25 Bomber. This aircraft is famous for the Doolittle raid on Tokyo, executed from the deck of the USS Hornet as retaliation for the attack on Pearl Harbor. The B-25 medium range bomber was deployed in all theaters during World War II. With only a handful of these flying today, time has witnessed almost complete extinction of nearly 6,500 of these historic planes.

That story has now put the whole desk into context and makes the $15,000 price tag look like good value. There is one extra ingredient, you can customise the desk to your own height requirements, which is a nice touch.

Now picture this, a retired airforce colonel sitting at his b-25 desk in his study telling his grandchildren or friends about the Doolittle raids over Tokyo and how they had no fuel to return to the aircraft carrier and as the last of his tobacco extinguishes in his pipe he points to the desk and tells them that this piece of ugly metal is from a B-25 bomber, exactly like those flown by Doolittle. You can see this happening can’t you? And then the Grandchildren turn to their Grandfather and ask him if they can connect their play station to his TV.

You can buy one of these desks from On-the-fly.com

Or you could make your own equally remarkable piece of furniture using the lessons we saw above. My wood carving friend was telling me he made a table out of timbers rescued from a 200 year old church that was destroyed. I asked him what people said when he told them that, he replied, ‘Nothing, I never told them’, *sigh*.

Published in: on November 13, 2005 at 11:46 am Comments (3)

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