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MikeF

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MikeF last won the day on July 8 2012

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About MikeF

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    Newbie
  • Birthday 09/19/1959

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  • Gender
    Male
  • Location
    Reston, Virgina
  • Interests
    Hand Building, Throwing, Surface Design, Integrating hand painted silk with ceramic forms.

    Ceramics as a business, marketing and selling wares in new and unique ways...
  1. Interesting rhetorical questions, here's another, what do the following individuals have in common? George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, Rachel Ray, Andrew Jackson, Henry Ford, Michael Dell, Thomas Alva Edison, Halle Berry, Steven Spielburg, and John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Ok I'll bite and suggest that the answer is "no college degree" but I don't think that contradicts what John B said. He was stressing the importance of education but did not say that had to be a formal academic education. I bet all of the people on this list spent years studying and practicing their craft/profession/business before they became successful. I personally did not study any ceramics in college at all, rather I pursued it independently on my own. It took 16 years of intense pursuit before I started supporting myself with the pottery business. Mike, I do appreciate your point about 8 to 10 active channels of distribution, with additional inactive channels waiting on the side. And that making a business work takes just as much talent and energy as making good pots. That type of advice is useful to everyone, whether they are just starting out or have been in the trenches for decades. Mea Not only did they not graduate from college, some never went, and some dropped out of high school... Some worked hard for long periods of time like yourself, others found their path quickly with little to no effort or resources... But, I believe you missed the point entirely, as I was not suggesting that education and practice isn't helpful or even necessary, nor was the question a commentary on the comments about the importance of education, well not mostly anyway... Rather it was a commentary on the establishment of standards and conventions in the creative realm, and it was a commentary on the proper value of peer review. Both of which were used as justification for answering questions never asked in the original post.
  2. Interesting rhetorical questions, here's another, what do the following individuals have in common? George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Winston Churchill, Bill Gates, Rachel Ray, Andrew Jackson, Henry Ford, Michael Dell, Thomas Alva Edison, Halle Berry, Steven Spielburg, and John D. Rockefeller, Sr.
  3. Well, I am going to try to answer the question you asked and stay far far away from the rest of this thread. Anyone who has the guts to try this, and pursue it to the point of making it a business has my complete respect. I've been in the sales and marketing business for more than 30 years. I've sold $5 items and my largest sale was $20,000,000 (yes, there's suppose to be 7 zeros and 2 commas in that number, and "no", it had nothing to do with ceramics. :-o ), so my advice will, hopefully, have a little depth and weight. Here it goes... The answer of Etsy v. Ebay is simply "Yes". You're asking about sales and marketing channels. A strong marketing plan will define 10 to 15 different marketing channels. Of these, at least 8 to 10 channels should be in active use at any time. The other channels should be held in reserve and placed into service should any of the active channels prove unproductive. What is unproductive? Any channel that doesn't produce sufficient revenue contribution, over time, to help you achieve your goal should be considered unproductive. You may reactivate an unproductive channel later for any number of reasons. So Ebay and Etsy are two, your Facebook page is a third (social media marketing), build an email list and market by email (email / direct marketing - 4), pick up a table at Costco or a yard sale, or steal it from your Mom and try some weekend craft shows or farmers' markets (retail marketing - 5). Print postcards with photos of your work, and pass them out to everyone you meet (direct marketing - 6), go with your Mom to the grocery store, put flyers on the windshields of all the cars in the parking lot (canvassing - 7). Can you think of some more? Work up to that 8 or 10 number, now track every lead, inquiry, and sale (units and dollars) for each of your channels. Run your business by the numbers, evaluate your product, channels, and everything you do by the numbers. Don't forget to track costs by channel too. If one channel is more expensive, by say 1 or 2 percentage points, but generates 40% more sales it just might be a winner! Congratulations on your new venture! It's exciting, and I wish you all the best. Don't hesitate to write if you have any questions. Never forget that the business side requires as much, if not more, creativity, and art, as the production side. Have fun with the business side, there's nothing like a little jingle in your pocket that tells you, that the market has spoken, and you sir are good enough! Mike
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