Jump to content

Callie Beller Diesel

Moderators
  • Content Count

    1,933
  • Joined

  • Last visited

Everything posted by Callie Beller Diesel

  1. I think that having a cohesive look to your booth is definitely a good idea, but as others have noted, it’s not really practical to change your glazes quite that frequently. That said, I usually only sell gravy boats and Christmas ornaments between the start of October and the end of December. It’s the only time folks are looking for those items, and they’re worth having, but not too many people are thinking about heavy sauces during the summer.
  2. I don’t, but I worked too many years as a cashier. Cushioning helps everything from the ankles up.
  3. The importance of good, properly cushioned shoes and a closed cell foam mat to stand on can not be understated.
  4. Notice that Mailchimp calls the people on you list "Contacts" now, instead of "Subscribers." This is because they're really trying to integrate all your email AND social media contacts into one neat, easy, one stop shop for all your internet marketing needs (cue 1950's hand model moves). I think in a lot of instances, it's offering more functionality than tiny businesses like a lot of us here need, but it does leave room to grow. (Their new expanded business model is not without privacy issues, but that might be another long post altogether. That's what's at the heart of their falling out with Shopify.) Mailchimp doesn't want you to delete your contacts entirely, in part because they can still charge you for archived contacts, and in part because they want to be able to use the demographic information from everyone possible to create duplicate audiences for any ad campaigns you might build on Facebook and Instagram. If you're not running ads, it's probably not worth worrying about archiving folks on your list, if you want to weed people out. A cynical part of me says the only reason they allow you to delete subscribers at all is that under Europe's GDPR laws, you have to be able to completely delete someone's stored data history at their request.
  5. All of the things you use in your booth have the ability to subtly suggest the quality level of your pieces. I wouldn't use carpet to cover anything other than the floor. I'd stick to a fabric that doesn't wrinkle if you want to disguise the foam core, if that's the material you choose.
  6. If the glaze in question doesn’t show drips on application, Liam’s suggestion of just touching up the marks with a fingertip or a brush is your best bet.
  7. For inexpensive items, size matters. Perceived value comes in to play a little. 2 lbs of clay makes a soup bowl, which for me is definitely in the $30 (+/- $5) range. I make little multi-use dishes, mini cups, Christmas ornaments etc in the $10-15 range. All things I can knock out in a hurry with minimal effort, and are essentially kiln filler. These items I don't wholesale or consign ever: they're just something I have to be able to offer something at that price point while selling in person. Edit: small things like this are always worth having. They defintely have a way of padding your sales.
  8. I've used both red and blue, and they burn out just fine. The blue is more visible, I find.
  9. If you mix the red and white clays together, it will not stop the iron in the red clay from coming through your glazes. If you mix kaolin to your red clay it won’t do anything to the colour. As a fellow red clay user, your best options are indeed to either add a layer of white slip/engobe, or to embrace the way the colour of the clay comes through the glazes. It can create some beautiful effects. You describe pieces popping off when you applied kaolin slip to your piece, and that the places where it stayed it was yellowish. Did you apply the slip to bisque and then glaze over top, or did you apply the slip to the piece while it was leather hard? With many slip recipes, or even just straight kaolin, when you apply it will affect how well it sticks to the piece. Leather hard is the best stage usually. The yellowish colour of the slip after firing could be that the layer of slip was too thin and the iron from the red clay was coming through that too. It could be a kaolin that naturally contains things like iron or titanium that will make things less white. Do you know what kind of kaolin it is? What does it say on the bag it comes in?
  10. At this point, If you need a very thick slip the consistency of plaster and have no powdered clay to adjust your existing batch, I’d just slake down some of your greenware and not add any flocculant or deflocculant. Keep the water level low. There comes a point where if you’ve added too many things to adjust your consistency, you’re better off starting from scratch.
  11. That actually depends on your state, not mine :). Different States are now allowed to require that out of state internet sellers charge tax on sales in the state. Does your state do this? I don't know. I'd have to look this up, and do my due dilligence as a seller so I don't get nailed. (Interestingly enough, Etsy is supposed to have it set up so that taxes are collected according to the buyer's state to make it easier on small sellers. Unfortunately, it's not fully compliant yet. Apparantly it's taking some time to impliment it all.) Because I was looking this up today, I know that if I want to ship to another province, as long as I have a website that isn't directed at a specific locality, I don't have to collect tax. Hypothetically, if I do facebook ads that are targeted to Vancouver in advance of doing Circle Craft and I get internet sales because of that, then I should technically be charging HST for British Columbia on the internet sales. If someone just happened to find me via organic social media presence and makes a purchase, I don't have to worry about it.
  12. I'm learning all this because I've had to apply for a GST number, which means I have to collect (and remit) Federal Goods and Services Tax. It's 5% on anything considered non-essential. I live in a province that does not have an additional sales tax, but if, for instance, I wanted to go to a show in the province next door, I'd have to apply to also collect the HST (Harmonised Sales Tax), which is GST plus the provincial rate, which can vary. If I'm collecting these taxes, then I can claim back the taxes I pay in the course of doing my business. So if I'm buying materials, I'll be charged GST at the till, but because I have a GST number, I can get the amount I paid back on that quarterly when I remit what I've collected. I can also use the pre tax amount I pay for those same materials as an income tax deduction.
  13. I asked my accountant about the logistics of doing this in Canada, just for kicks. She mentioned, amongst other things, that if I am in a position of having to collect sales tax in a province I don't live in, I can also claim back all sales tax I pay in that province for the trip to get to the show. So the tax on the booth fee, the meals, the gas, hotel, etc. I can claim back, as long as I'm collecting sales tax. Does something like that apply in the various states? added: The Province and the Feds here both tend to take a pretty dim view of you not collecting and remitting taxes when you're supposed to. If you get busted here, you owe them all taxes you should have been collecting, plus interest. Not sure how your authorities deal with such matters though.
  14. I am a believer that all things are possible under the right set of circumstances. It's up to you wether you think you can meet those conditions, or build up to that point, or not. About 2 years ago in late August/early September, there was a designer that came through the farmer's market I work looking for a potter who worked in red clay. She was looking to outfit a restaraunt for an early November start date. She came armed with some inspiration images she'd pulled from Pinterest that were of some extremely amateur slab built plates that would never in a million years stand up to industrial use. She wanted original designs, and needed dishes that numbered in the tens of thousands, expected a 6 week turnaround time, and wanted delivery smack in the middle of Christmas show season. She offered an amount that would be comparable to my take for my Christmas season for this endeavour, but I would have had to give up all my Christmas shows in order to meet it. She saw nothing at all unreasonable with her expectations. No one at that venue was willing or able to take a project like that on. So if this set of expectations is what is normal for the restaraunt industry, an artisinal potter would have to do a few things in order to meet that. First, you'd have to be willing and able to educate any client like this about what is and isn't possible with the material if they want original, never-made-before designs. You'd have to educate them about time frames and durability if they still want original designs after that conversation. If they don't want completely bespoke designs after that first conversation, then you could then concievably pull out your stable of existing glazes that have been properly tested in combination with your clay(s) to use in combination with some forms that you have in your existing lexicon. You'd have to have enough people/equipment/skill to deliver all of these pieces on time, for a cost effective price. Personally, I'd need a pug mill, a jigger/jolly setup, a studio assistant and at least another 10 cu ft kiln to pull off what she wanted. I would have needed a business line of credit to purchase the equipment and hire an unskilled person. The money from that contract would have paid off the line of credit, and if there had been more restaraunts wanting similar setups, I would have been well positioned to take on futher contracts of that nature. Those orders would have come from much farther afield than my home province though, because we've been in the midst of a recession here for a couple of years. So like I said, a lot depends on circumstances. If a coffee shop wanted 100 mugs bowls and sandwitch plates, that I could swing.
  15. If anyone needs further frame of reference, I think I earned about $300 on my first night market. It was 7 hours in the cold and the pouring rain. I don't think paying yourself an hourly rate in the fashion you're talking about is a useful metric for any self employed person who's just starting out. The primary reason for this is that you can't pay yourself money you haven't earned over and above your expenses yet. Mea's already pointed out her formula for figuring out how much per hour she earned, which is a really awesome metric for looking at where you made your most profit. This can help you direct your future efforts in places that will give you your best return on your time and energy. But this method is figuring out what you earned (past tense), rather than what to arbitrarially pay yourself. It's working back from a point. If you're looking for an hourly wage to use in a pricing formula, that's not a really useful method in our situations either. If you figure that as a beginner you can make 10 mugs/hour(random number there), but a more intermediate person is making 20-30 mugs an hour because they've become more efficient and better at what they do, then the intermediate person is being paid the same wage for more work. The person making 100 mugs in a day(Mark C, cough cough) is really getting hosed if they use that formula! Not the way we want to rationalize things. If you're looking for pricing methodologies, I can link to a couple of threads if you'd like. There have been some good ones over the years here.
  16. I bought the solid peeps because the slipcast ones would last five seconds before I dropped them all in an effort to not drop them. (I can’t remember the manufacturer: I’m sick and under caffeinated). I use a pair of leather garden gloves to remove the peep, and I set it on a non-flammable surface. Usually the cement floor, but a soft brick would work too. They seem to handle a lot of thermal shock.
  17. That artist looks like they're pinching, not throwing. I've thrown with really groggy clay and it's not fun, even if you're keeping your hand off the wheelhead. At one of the NCECA talks this year, Rimas Visgardia gave examples of all kinds of folks adding interesting things to their clay bodies, and the results. He mentioned the use of things like chicken grit, chick grit (smaller mesh size for the babies of course), 60 mesh Custer feldspar (you can order from the mine), silica sand, playground sand, desert sand, decomposed granite, anything used in tiling or for setting patio stones, people making their own coloured porcelain grog, etc. A look like this will take a bit of experimentation to fine tune. It could be a fun rabbit hole to go down though. Added: they haven't posted this year's videos yet on the NCECA YouTube channel, but maybe keep an eye out for that one.
  18. +1 for what everyone else said. Now repeat after me: "other people's prices are not a reflection of my work." Without knowing anything at all about that other potter's work, any reason I can think of for that person selling a $12 mug is only a guess. Maybe they were seconds, or a discontinued design, or they don't want to make mugs anymore. Maybe they have a hard time seeing their own value and tie the worth of their work to their sales numbers. (Don't do that last one. You'll drive yourself into an early and anxious creative grave.) I think a better formula for wether or not a show is profitable is to add your booth fee and related costs, your travel expenses including food and 1/2 the value (basically a wholesale price) of all pots sold. That's how I figure my net sales, as Mea talked about. By this metric, if you have a small sale that you made a relatively low dollar amount at but your overhead was low because it's one in your hometown, that can be more profitable than a show you made a couple of thousand at, but you were out of town for 3 days and paid a high booth fee. The 1/2 value of the pots covers all your materials, and if you've priced things properly, some pay for you as well. Once you figure out the items that people like to buy from you, that makes for more profitability as well. Keeping track of what items sold will help with this. Sometimes I think an item isn't that popular, but I'll check my square numbers and realize I sold a lot more of them than I thought.
  19. Hi Creole, and Welcome! So I actually have some experience working in flower shops years and years ago, and from what I remember of glassware invoices, I don't think a business minded, professional potter is going to be willing or able to provide vases at the price point that you're used to. You might find either a slipcaster, or a non-professional potter who will be willing to do it, but most business minded potters will need to charge more. I'm going to gently suggest that the $5 you paid for your creamer is wildly under what you should expect to pay for a very simple and small pot with a single glaze colour, even wholesale, from a professional who wheel throws. Someone selling a creamer for $5 either is trying to get rid of them, they haven't done a cost analysis on that item and aren't paying themselves at all, or they are in a position where they don't care if they make money on each individual piece. You need to consider that in the scenario you're describing you are paying for someone's skill and ability, not just time and materials. I would not touch this deal as offered. I can't meet this price point without loosing money, and at that level of quantity, it would take away too much time from more lucrative income streams. That said, if you're willing to make some modifications or think outside the box, I think there are still creative ways to collaborate with an artist to create an item you like. Handmade pottery is enjoying a certain luxury image right now, and I'd play on that to your proposed hotel clients. You may need to educate them on the value of having exclusive designs that have been sourced locally, and how that enables them and you to provide decor that is more botique in nature. -find a pottery, like Heath or East Fork to purchase wholesale from. They're already set up for the size of production you're talking about, and have options ready to go. Again though, the price point will be higher than glass. -many retailers like Crate and Barrel or Anthropologie will licence an artist to create designs for them, and have them produced overseas. Perhaps if you could find the right factory and an artist willing to work with you, this could be an option. They'll likely expect larger orders than 50 vases at a go, though. This idea may need some playing with in order to work if you're looking at a small scale, but if you eventually wind up needing larger quantites (like that aforementioned Costco order), that could be a route to explore. I know that Anthropologie spends a certain amount of time educating artists on the process of how to do this, so you'd have to either educate yourself fully about the process, or find an artist who has done this sort of thing before and rely on their experience. - If you can find a mould maker in the US to make moulds of the artist's work (paying the artist a design fee and the professional slipcaster for the production), that might work on the smaller scale you're talking about. -perhaps instead of buying lots of vases for each new customer of yours, you could invest in a larger order with an option to replace breakage, and rent them out to your client as part of a floral maintenance sort of package, or for things like wedding rentals. If it were me you were approaching, this is the scenario I'd be most willing to take on. I'll describe my process for others to be able to use: I can't take on US clients. I don't live there. I'm relatively small, and I'm in the position of being able to take on an order like the one I just described, but if I was much further along in my business, I'd be too busy, like Mark. I have worked within successful bespoke business models before (stained glass), and I have good communication skills and a willingness to educate my clients on what is and isn't possible without confusing them. When I do work like this for folks that want corporate gifts or other branded items, I meet with them in person for an initial consult. I let my potential client know there is a one time design fee paid in addition to the order(s) themselves. This is to cover any new materials I have to buy to do testing, and to compensate for some of the time I have to take away from my production to do this. I will show them glaze samples in person, and explain that while I aim for uniformity in these instances, with all hand made items there will be some slight variations that are to be embraced as part of the handmade aesthetic they're coming to me for. I aim to outline what they can expect from me, and what I'm able to provide as a service, and in what time frame. They will be choosing from my existing selection of glazes. Custom colours are not an option: it takes too long to develop them and test them properly. With my personal aesthetic, I would steer them towards a simple design, likely with a white glaze, but that could change depending on input I recieve in that consult. I will sketch out a few design ideas on the spot based on what they tell me they want. I'll then go home and produce 1-5 designs for the client to choose one of to go into production. Depending on the order size and the time of year, I'd say 6-8 weeks for initial local (in province) delivery once the design was finalized. Likely I will deliver sooner, but there is a cushion there in case Things Go Horribly Wrong. If I'm approached in the last quarter of the year, I'm not able to take on a project like this until after Christmas because I do a lot of shows at that time. Hope that helps. Keep us posted!
  20. My observations of these is that they behave more like a fluxed, glossy underglaze. I know people that work with them at cone 06 as underglaze, but apply a clear glaze overtop as they're a bit dry if you're trying to get those detailed brushstrokes they talk about. I've seen them taken to cone 10 reduction, but all the pinks, yellows, reds, oranges etc. burned out, as one might expect. They don't run, though, and they do behave more glaze-like the thicker they're applied. They're kinda spendy though, so probably not something you'd want a big bucketful of for dipping.
  21. The banks won't touch Canadian potters for a startup loan either. I've done something similar to what Mea described. I still work out of a 11x10 basement studio (storage and kiln are outside of this). I owned my wheel, 3 boxes of clay and my glaze kitchen when I started to go from making a few pots to making a formal business out of it. I opened a seperate bank account for all things business and scraped together about $700 for booth expenses and firing fees by doing stupid things like market research surveys, odd jobs and anything else that let me squirrel away $100. My first booth setup consisted of things I owned and a friend's folding table that I borrowed. I made my sign with a piece of scrap fabric and some spray paint. I've finished up my fourth full fiscal year in December, and I'm now at the point where I'm applying for a GST number because I'm on track to hit the amount where I'm required by the government to collect it (yay!). Yes, I'm excited about that, because it means I'll sell more than $30,000 worth of pots this year. (Note that's not my net.) It sounds romantic and like a humble brag, but it's actually an unforgiving pile of work, during which a lot of people will be completely confused by what you're doing. And no one was ever fully able to articulate to me how long it will take to make an income. For me, I am at the point now where I have all the equpiment I should need for the foreseeable future or an amount set aside to purchase it. I have a savings cushion enough to cover a year's worth of booth fees and a small fund for travel expenses. I can now start to pull a small but regular income. Making pots and running a business are two very different skill sets. If you want to support yourself exclusively by making pots, you need to possess them both. If you want a profitable hobby, which is also great, it takes some work but it's doable.
  22. You never know what can happen when you walk out your proverbial front door!
  23. And @Min I use my mailing address. A P.O. Box is too much of a pain.
  24. When I was at NCECA this year, Paul Blais from the Potter’s Cast gave a talk about online marketing funnels that I sat in on. His background is in sales and marketing and entrepreneurship first, and clay second. He made the most excellent point that the world is changing the way it shops, and that for good or for ill, a lot of that happens online. I think that anyone who is in the process of setting themselves up needs to have a long hard look at selling online. Ok, it may not be for everyone, but selling at fairs isn’t for everyone either. You need to try a bunch of things and see what works for you.
  25. My personal findings were that it did not. It was still kind of cloudy. But as noted, I'm firing with a manual kiln. A kiln with a thermocouple and an electronic controller may give you different results, and you must do your own testing in all instances.
×
×
  • Create New...

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.