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  1. The forums here at Ceramic Arts Daily have been a huge help as I try to navigate the intricacies, complexities, joys, and frustrations of running my own pottery business. I figured it was time to actually get acquainted with some of you and begin developing relationships that I feel could really aid me in my pursuit of doing this pottery thing full time. Here's the scoop. I have only thrown/turned pottery for just a little over a year now (see some images of my work below), and would love to go full-time in the next year or two. I realize to some of you, the previous sentence may border on the offensive. I know it takes decades to truly excel at pottery and I have a long way to go. But, when I have had extended time in my studio, I have seen the quality of my pieces grow in leaps and bounds compared to periods when I only had several hours a week to give. In general, I am happy with my pots, but not content. I am consistently working on my lines, weight, function, and originality. I have so many ideas . . . Here's a little background on my business: 1. Officially started in April (Running as Sole Proprietor) 2. Have been selling on Etsy, at some local craft shows, and out of my little shop 3. Put in $500 in seed money in a business account and resolved not to take any more of my personal money to fund the business 4. My business account has paid for my startup/continuing costs and I have earned close to $3000-$4000 or so working very part time since starting in April (Graduated in May, married in June, so my time has been limited) 5. My pieces are in several galleries in the Indiana/Ohio/KY area 6. Just purchased a bigger kiln so I could begin ramping up production Here are my goals for the next year: 1. Earn $10,000 net by end of August 2015 2. Further develop my voice: Specifically focusing on forms and glazing 3. Get out of the local craft fair scene and focus on bigger shows 4. Do all of this while continuing my full-time job (business writer) and without ruining my marriage. ;-) My wife and I sat down last weekend and talked about the business. We decided together that if I could clear $10,000 in profit by the end of next August working very part time, we would consider taking the plunge and going full-time (assuming I could double/triple my profit once I had 40+ hours a week do devote to it) I have so much I could say, but I will try to keep this brief. To make a long story short, I really want to give this thing a go in the next year, and know that you all have knowledge, experience, and information that would take me years to learn on my own. So, here are some of the questions I feel you guys could really help me with (feel free to chime in with any other advice as well) 1. Are my pieces good enough to go full-time (see some sample pictures below)? I know it is very difficult to evaluate pieces without having them in your hand (fit, weight,etc). But, I would appreciate whatever honest feedback you feel you can give from a visual example alone. I have had positive feedback in general from customers, several gallery owners, and ceramics' professors. But, I want to know what you guys think. Keep in mind, I have only been doing it for a year and know I have decades ahead of me to really perfect my pieces. I do not feel I am the next Bernard Leach, I just know I greatly enjoy pottery and at this point couldn't see myself doing anything else for a living long-term. 2. What advice do you have for tweaking my booth setup (included below)? The booth shot below is old, but it is still very similar to the setup I have used the last several shows. My dad and I made the shelving ourselves, out of reclaimed barnwood. I am planning on selling my pop-up canopy and investing in a new lightdome or trimline (Any advice here would be appreciated as well). Anyway, let me know what you guys think, especially in-light of my goal to break into some of the higher end shows this upcoming year. 3. Are there any good shows you would recommend within 5 hours of the Cincinnati, OH area? 4. Have any of you developed wholesale relationships with local farm-to-table restaurants/coffee shops/greenhouses (planters)? If so, how did you go about setting them up and have they been good experiences/profitable? 5. My wife and I are not big spenders. We love our food, that's really the only area where we spend a lot of money. We would be more than happy if the business could produce $36,000 year in net profit. What would I need to gross to do that and is that a doable benchmark once you are up and running full time? 6. What steps should I take to begin preparing for a possible full-time pottery? Thanks so much, I am sure this is more than enough to get the conversation started. I look forward to your input and counsel! P.S. If you want any further images of my work to evaluate, I would be happy to send them over via email/pm (some of my professional shots were too big to upload)
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