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About DirtRoads

  • Rank
    Advanced Member
  • Birthday 06/01/1957

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Edinburg, MS
  • Interests
    MMO's like World of Warcraft. Beta tester for new WOW type games. Making the world a better place for feral cats. Helping teenagers and adults cope with and break free from video game addiction.

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  1. I just scratch with a stylus.
  2. Christmas Ornaments

    State shape is a great seller. I have about 10 styles of cross ornaments, which are also great sellers. May not sell that well outside the Bible belt ... not really sure.
  3. Christmas Ornaments

    Cookie cutter Christmas trees - Great sellers. Lime green base with random red and holly green accents. We just slap the glaze on tbh.
  4. I think you did a good job. IMO you might as well do websites yourself. So you can update. Get the right platform and it's doable. I've got 2 websites. Did all of the work myself. One for pottery is not e commerce. This one done using network solutions. Basically this one is advanced word processing. http://dirtroadspottery.com Another e commerce site using Shopify platform for jewelry. A bit more complicated than the other one but once you get things figured out, it's relatively easy. Very easy to update and add new products. One part required a small amount of HTML. And another required using Liquid (which I was unfamiliar with but turned out to be really simple ... but it 100% not necessary to use the Liquid ... I think they added that to get people to use one of their consultants). I would recommend Shopify but only is you are willing to work through it and do it yourself. Too hard to get the money back, based on the quotes I got from web developers doing the site for me. You still have to provide the photos and descriptions. With all that, you might as well do it yourself. http://dirtroadsjewelry.com I don't want to deal with shipping pottery. I find that to be one of the biggest limitations in establishing an e business for pottery. However, some people seem to do it.
  5. The BUSINESS of Pottery

    My first kiln arrived October 1, 2010 ... so I'm hitting the 7 year mark. But I came in with a lot of retail experience. As Mea said "or being self employed period". That's the issue I see. I've watched quite a few potters come and go in my area since starting this business. They just don't have what it takes to make it. I don't think they would make it in any business. People do NOT realize the amount of work this production business requires. Most businesses require a lot of work. I'm not in a great area. But I always did pretty well in retailing. I've watched retailers in similar businesses in my geographic area and noted most to be complete flounders. And lazy. I saw a competitor once that closed their retail operation the first Wednesday they owned the business at 12 noon and ran home like all the other failing businesses .... because "everyone" closed on Wednesday afternoon". If my store had looked as bad as that one, I would have stayed 24/7 and renovated it. I told my employees they couldn't make it and of course they failed. When I took over my family business I put an end to that stupid practice. My employees were like "no one is going to come in because it's Wednesday". I started with myself and one employee on Wednesday afternoon. In 3 months the employee was like "please add someone for Wednesday afternoon ... we're swamped". People just don't put out what it takes to make it. And that includes their production. Mark hit a key point "Most only want to make a few items then drift off to something else" -- I have seen this happen in every single case. I've found the ROI (return on investment) to be relatively high to other businesses I've owned. My brother, who is a finance person, finds it to be exceptional. He keeps saying "let me invest a $100K and lets grow that business." I'm not interested. "All it takes is a lot of really hard work " -JBaymore. My biggest complaint with the pottery business is the constant amount of work it requires. As is true in any production business. Your points of contact with the product are very high. I like the pottery business pretty well. I get tired of the constant production. I love the retailing of the product. It's a dream product because you have 100% control of what you put out there. And it's a dream customer base. I've found it's easier to get your name out than when I started in retail (25 years ago). The pottery business can definitely be profitable. If I was willing to expand by wholesaling, the potential is there. I would have to set a strict profit margin and back my prices into that margin.
  6. See all the packages on the porch for pick up. We use those translucent poly shopping bags and write their names on them with a sharpie. This pick up feature really ups the pottery sales. We will also store large items from other vendors here for customers. No paper because shopping starts at 6:30 ish and paper bags get damp. A lot of shoppers roll around those carts like the customer checking out. The craft wrapping paper is a must for speedy check outs. (we started out using ... newspaper). We also use craft bags in place of wrapping smaller items. Yes. This is a very good show for me. The only show I do. It's 40 miles from my studio. I get a lot of customers from this event. You have to consider all the people I have working and the fact that I am purely production business. But the sales here are 5 figure plus. I started selling the jewelry too because there is a huge market here for that. More than for the pottery. Plus importing jewelry is something I know how to do. I had an extensive back ground in high volume Junior League shows. I'm an "item seller". I sell 1000's of the same "it" item. I was taught this by The Colonel from Nashville, TN. This one guy came in the booth and asked who the owner was. They pointed me out and he came over and told me "You're a really mediocre potter. But a brilliant marketer ... I suppose." Turned and walked away before I could even say anything. Oh well.
  7. Look at them dipping their blingy little fingers into those jars of cheap bracelets. There is a constant stream around this table, making it hard to restock.
  8. The booth stays packed. This is the jewelry side. I design most of the jewelry. Have the bead work done in China but we "assemble" most of the jewelry here. Some of the jewelry is 100% made here, but using imported findings. All the racks are loading with jewelry and wheeled in using hand trucks. Those 60 inch bead necklaces are "it" items right. I carried an inventory of about $15K of those on 2 racks. Around 12 styles of them. Opposite are trays of Amazonite bracelets, 7 colors. I do the same thing with pottery. "It" items in 3 colors. It's always about "It" items.
  9. A constant mob passing by. Pulling those shopping carts! Quite a few people come here to really shop and buy.
  10. LOL ... lots of banners, sign boards and even shopping baskets. Definitely not an art show. The "It" items are hostess sets (long tray, bowl and spoon) and various shaped bowls. We had a $40 bowl that sold really well. Other items ... we pack around 5. In those items we take 100 plus.
  11. Check out area in front of booth. Mostly jewelry here but some pottery checked out (smaller pieces and no wrapping)
  12. (omg made pictures smaller ....) Check out area behind booth. We wrap well and use this porch for holding items. Customers drive up to the booth and honk and yell their names and we carry bags to the cars. Both jewelry and pottery checked out here.
  13. Antique Turquoise, Fluer de Sand Bar and Blue Swirl. A row of each color. We arrange by color. Stack tons of back ups in the bottom crates. I took this photo's about mid day. Sales started at 6:30. We had almost the perfect amount this show. Packed up less than 20% of the starting inventory.
  14. This is a bi-annual event (2nd Thursday in May and October). This is little different than the Art Shows. But I thought it might be interesting for some of you. Keep in mind ... while I do (somewhat) like making pottery, my primary interest is making money. It's not your average flea market. A lot of crafts here and wholesale importers. From what I've noted here is that if you are not a hand crafted item, you have to be a competitively priced importer selling close to wholesale prices (I would say 20-25% over wholesale price). Hand crafted items do pretty well there. Retail stores tend to come and go ... they don't do that much. I have a 30 x 20 foot booth here. About 55% jewelry 45% pottery. I have 7 people working, including my brother and myself. I have one check out behind the booth, with 3 workers and one in front of the booth with 2 workers. I float around putting more product up on the tables and racks. My brother mostly carries bags of pottery to people driving up on the side street in their cars. He also relieves workers, handles money, change, helps customers, etc. We have a unique set up, in front of a house owned by the Catholic church. we are the only booth in that spot and park right behind the booth. And use extra space for check out areas. Note the 3 colors I carry to this show. Two matte finishes and one glossy. And we carry a small amount of red.
  15. Ok ... about the horse shoe pit. My nephew was wrong. Here is a photo taken today. The cats don't even use it now. As you can see, no one uses it. Only 2 children ever played horse shoes, at my request (grand children of employees). BUT, it makes a nice privacy fence for the dog pen, covers up my expansion, until I get it painted and trimmed to match the rest of the building. I do think it finishes out the property quite nicely You have to keep trying until you find what works.