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About GEP

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  • Gender
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  • Location
    Silver Spring, MD
  • Interests
    biking, jogging, cooking and eating, veggie gardening, baseball (Orioles)

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  1. Nothing wrong with foam core risers! If you cut and construct them cleanly, they will work just fine. You want people to look at your work, and not notice the risers at all. Foam core will also be a lot lighter than wood. When you’ve been doing shows for a while, you start looking for ways to make things lighter. There will always be more than enough heavy lifting to do at shows. No matter what you choose to build your risers out of, design them so they pack flat! Since your items are small, I would suggest a booth layout that is more like a jeweler’s booth than a potter’s booth. Jewelers don’t need as much display space. They tend to put part of their display across the front of their booth, so passers-by will see the small work close up without needing to enter the booth.
  2. @oldlady have you had any changes to your studio’s HVAC system in the last year or so? Anything repaired or replaced? Or, is it possible that your air conditioner needs to be repaired now, because it is not properly dehumidifying your space?
  3. This is my least expensive item, and they are $10 each. Much, much easier to make than a mug. Cut a slab with a template, form it on a mold, add a stamp.
  4. I have two glazes that dry to the exact same color when applied on a pot. I’m thinking of adding food coloring to one of them, so I can see where one glaze ends and the other begins. Has anyone tried this and does it work? By “work” I mean does the food coloring burn away harmlessly without affecting the glaze? Which color is most likely to burn away harmlessly, or are they all the same?
  5. Those are deductible expenses on our INCOME TAX returns. But the SALES TAX agencies do not give back any sales tax we've paid, just because we are collecting/remitting sales tax to them.
  6. I wish! That would be especially nice for hotel taxes, which can be very high. But unfortunately, we don’t get to do this.
  7. On my calculator, it’s even easier than that. It has a “TAX+” button. I can program in whatever the tax rate is for any show. After adding up the items in a sale, I hit “TAX+” and get the grand total including tax.
  8. I do it the same way as Neil. I add sales tax to every sale, then for cash sales I round down to the nearest whole number, so that I don’t need to deal with coins. Lots of cash payers are surprised and grateful for that less than $1 discount. Once you’ve been selling for a while, you’ll realize that NOBODY MINDS being charged sales tax. The only sellers who feel uncomfortable adding the tax are new sellers who haven’t gained their footing yet. Shoppers make their decision based on the price on the price tag. If you are building sales tax into your prices, especially if your sales tax is over 10%, you might be losing sales because your work seems overpriced. As for your husband not wanting to do the math, fire him for being lazy! Or, like others have recommended, let the Square app do the math. Or, get a calculator that will do the math with one button.
  9. https://ceramicartsnetwork.org/daily/ceramic-art-and-artists/ceramic-artists/the-hourly-earnings-project-potters-salary/ I did this research project all the way back in 2010, but I was making an average of about $32/hour when I sold at art fairs. That includes all the time it took to produce the pots too. I haven’t calculated my hourly earnings rate recently, but these days at the shows that I used for my calculations, I am making maybe to twice as much in gross sales, and sometimes far more than that. (For example, at my 2010 Open Studio, I grossed $4328 in sales, and made $46/hour. At my most recent Open Studio in 2018, I grossed $13,843.)
  10. 10x booth fee is a very generalized, and somewhat arbitrary, benchmark for seasoned art fair folks, so don’t feel bad that you didn’t meet that mark at your first medium sized show. It’s not a very meaningful measurement. Booth fees are all over the place, some are too high or too low, so basing your goals on the booth fee is not a stable place to measure from. The more meaningful number is net profit per day, and overall net profit. The calcuation includes booth fee plus all other expenses, such as hotel and gas. Also, what’s considered “good” for any other artist does not apply to you. Every one is at a different place in their business development. You should only be comparing yourself to yourself from last year. You did a great job!
  11. @liambesaw, when I first put together my own pottery studio, I was still working full-time as a designer. I gave myself $5000 out of my design earnings to spend on the initial setup. From that point forward, every dollar invested in the pottery business was earned through pottery sales. Including the nice renovation of my studio that happened 11 years later. Yes, I made pots in a gross basement for 11 years. You don’t need a bells and whistles studio to be a serious potter. Edit to add: the reason I did the renovation was NOT that I simply wanted a nicer studio. That’s not a good enough reason. The reason was because the demand for my work had outgrown the capacity of my original setup. Therefore, I knew that expanding the studio would result in an overall improvement to my finances, which it did. So it only takes a modest amount of seed money to get started. In your case, you already have all the basics that you need. You can get started now. You’ve been making occasional online sales. If I were you, my next move would be to find a small, local, low-pressure show to do this summer, with a booth fee of $100 or less. Pay for the booth with your online sales. Hopefully, you’ll come home with a few hundred dollars, and that will pay for your next show. And so on. It’s a marathon, not a sprint. As Mark said above, as Mark has said many times on this forum, as I have said many times on this forum, it will be many years before you establish yourself. Finding and building a market takes years. You need patience and persistence, and nice pots. Not fancy equipment or money.
  12. Most of the businesses that make up the 80% failure rate are restaurants, and plenty of them are launched with passion rather than business smarts. And plenty of them push themselves past the point when they should have stopped. Potters and artists are not special in this regard. And you misunderstood my point about cars. Successful business owners do NOT drive Novas. And your choice of car alone would not have saved your business. The point is that someone who picks a reliable and affordable car probably applies good money skills to all of their important decisions.
  13. This type of speculation also isn’t very useful. The useful statistic is that among people who try to launch a full-time business, 80% will call it quits within five years. These are businesses of all types, not just art businesses or pottery businesses. So most businesses will struggle and fail. But for those who can makes things work past the five year point, and then some, are probably not struggling or poor or unhappy. Besides, successful small business owners are unlikely to buy flashy cars like a Mercedes, or an unreliable car like a Chevy Nova. We buy reliable and affordable cars. Read The Millionaire Next Door.
  14. I use my actual mailing address. I’d rather not, but I agree it doesn’t make sense to pay for a PO box for just this one purpose.
  15. I don’t think functional potters need to be famous. What matters is building a good reputation among the customers in your immediate sphere. This involves good design, making pieces that function as they should and last through daily use, providing reliable customer service, etc. This is how you turn customers into repeat customers, and how to get these customers to tell all their friends about how much they enjoy using your pottery. My current line consists of about 40 different designs, Although most of my time is spent producing these designs, whenever I have a new idea I want to explore, I can always make time for that.
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