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Does Anyone Out There Truly Support Themselves With Their Ceramics/pottery?


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#41 Ivar

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 08:46 AM

Too hard to make money just from making pots.
It may help if you grow pot and sell it as well, and maybe if you smoke pot you will forget about your poverty

OK, I'm not serious! But it is very hard.



:) this is good idea...

#42 metal and mud

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Posted 15 February 2012 - 12:29 PM

Believe it and it will be....

or at least ya HOPE it will.... LOL.

I have no plans to attempt to support myself with this endeavor....I just HAVEN'T PUT IN THE REQUIRED TIME TO DO SO.

MUCH respect to those of you who >have<.

What I AM going to do/have done....is that I have committed to 3 Saturdays this Summer at a (Summer long) local (Craft, Klunkery, Wannabee) "Market" and I am going to "test the water" so to speak and see if any of the things I am making have sensory appeal/draw to others. In the end there's really no way to find out but to put it out there and see where it goes....

I can snag other Market days if I choose/once my foot is in the door. Fortunately, as of now, I beloieve that the only other person selling ceramic items is a reseller of some French foo-foo kitchen wares that are imported/not locally made.

if that scenario holds...I may have a snowball's chance in hell of actually making a sale...LOL

In the end the wife supports me and my clay habit and this is all for FUN....so I have it pretty darn good when it all comes down to it!

Hopefully I won't end up next to your booth with my "klunkery", huh?Posted Image

>snickers<


What we are talking about here was published in a book called "The Secret" a few years ago. It is kind of dopey, but I got a lot out of it. Basically put, it rewrites the philosophy of "The Power of Positive Thinking." Think something will be a success, and it will, because you will make it so. If you get up in the morning and think "I'm going to have a bad day," guess what--you will!! Start small and it will grow into a life changer.

Enough philosophy. A comment about selling at a market prompted me to contribute to this thread. I am still a newbie but enjoying the heck out of clay. I looked at my gathering collection of pieces and decided I needed to find them homes, not have them gather dust on shelves. So I got a business number, got approved to sell at our city Farmer's and Crafts Market, and I've actually been selling. Not a lot, but people "out there" seem to appreciate my work. I set out a little cobalt blue bowl last weekend, thinking it was clunky and no one would buy it because it didn't have art and grace and. . .whatever. . .but that is the bowl that sold that day! It was so interesting. I fully believe that each one of my pieces will be discovered by just the right person on just the right day--I just have to be at the Market. It's really fun and rewarding to see people admire my works, and say how pretty they are. Next week something else will be ready to be picked up by its new owner!! I just have to be patient.

#43 teardrop

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 08:38 AM

I like your attitude, m & m. If you like it, someone else probably will as well. Just gotta be in the right place at the right time.

best of luck at "the Market"!

teardrop
Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind. Dr. Seuss US author & illustrator (1904 - 1991)

#44 Ivar

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 09:26 AM

6 years ago me and my husband started our own business. Our main market is metal industry which is in a bad bad shape in this market. But we started. We borowed some money from my perents and started from zero. After 2 years we started growing up, returned money to my perents, and from debt we were in a plus. It took a lot of time, effort and guts to do it. But we managed. So I allready have that expirinece in my life.

I know exactly what it means to start from ground and buildng up your own business. At that time we had no other incomes, we had 2 kids, and one year later another one was comming. Looking back now I can't believe that we have survived. Regarding ceramic business, now when our comapny is more or less stabile I decided that it is time to switch my focus on ceramics and in near future start business of it.

I have small studio, and a supportive husband who is willing to help me.

At my opinion what is important when you are starting a business is:

- you need to be unique with you product in at least one way (by form, material, price...), you need something what will be specific for you only, and then it is easier to find your place in market

- define who are your primary customers

- define your marketing ways

- be patient

- and as someone allredy said think positive


Also, I realized that having handy husband (for women in ceramics) is extreemly helpfull. For example, mine made me a table, shelves, bats, lots of specific tools, molds... he is very good with spraygun so he is doing glazing sometimes.... Without him I would probably had to buy all those things and they would cost me twice the price.

In Croatia, we do not have those kind of Markets where you are selling your work, we do not have art fairs or anything like that, ceramic society here practicaly does not exist, and those people who are ceramic artists or potters, are so strange and closed that it is practicaly immposible for me to get in contact with them. They think that they are special kind of people and on much higher level then me and ordinary people. This is why I am waitting for summer 2013 when Croatia will become a member of EU, and I will have open market of complete EU without borders, customs and all birocracy that is stopping us now from doing some normal business across border. In meantime I will work more, learn more, and develop my own style and designs.

So, for those who are thinking in going to business....go ahead! If you do not try you will never know how much you can get form it.

#45 Paul Koch

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Posted 16 February 2012 - 02:50 PM

Making a living as a potter can be done. Several years ago my wife was "retired" from her job and we have depended on the pottery to live. We have kept our life style simple. Marketing is the key. We do alot of open houses at the studio. We hoste groups to visit and demonstrate the crafe in hopes people will purchase items from the showroom. Over the years we have developed a rep as great hostes. We also do several shows a year and have found we are better off not traveling very ffar. I would rather spend the money on advertising than travel. Marketing is the key that and most the most important part is producing a great produce. I wish you luck it can be done. But you have got to put on that business guy hat from time to time and do the stuff none of us like doing.:blink: :D

Paul

#46 phill

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Posted 03 March 2012 - 10:18 AM

- you need to be unique with you product in at least one way (by form, material, price...), you need something what will be specific for you only, and then it is easier to find your place in market


Ivar, I don't agree. I do recognize that yes, some people have found this to be true, always being the front innovator and always having a different product than everyone else. But I have also seen artists that make what the neighbor makes next door at the craft fair, and they both make money. But perhaps i just don't like the way you phrased what you said. It seems that your thinking is backwards, trying to first find your place in the market and then make work towards that.

#47 Bobg

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Posted 18 April 2012 - 10:55 AM

I've only been doing pottery for about four years and make enough to keep it going. My brother has been doing it for 30 years and next year will quit been a school teacher and go to pottery full time. He will do three major events a year in Big Fork MT, Spearfish SD and one in Wyoming, he makes more in those three shows than he makes teaching school. He's also started selling through gift shops and galleries.

So it can be done, you just have to find the right product and the location to sell in.

Bobg

#48 Diana Ferreira

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Posted 25 April 2012 - 01:40 PM

I have not read all the responses yet ... Buty here is my answer to the OP

6 yeras ago I left a good paying job cold turkey and started to work part time as a RN again. At that time I was melting glass. Not even thinking of working with clay ever again.
a year later I moved to my current city, and started to do the markets, etc. I nursed part-time, and mostly lived off this money. I was quite poor.

A year later I met my then b/f and started to experiment with a clay a year after we met. Still worked part time as a RN. And damn poor.

2 and a bit years ago I opened a shop, selling my work and those of my friends. by this time I started to sell ceramics too. the first year I continued to nurse part time, was awake at times for 36+ hours. Nearly killed me, and dirt poor.

Beginning 2011 I stopped to nurse part time. Not because i suddenly found riches, but because I felt that my part time income was making it easier for me to not focus enough on my 'real' work. Oct last year I realised that I had to close the shop. I was out of home and lost my car. @$%&@$% poor.

I also realised that glass beads were not going to give me enough money to survive on. At the same time interest in my ceramics started to grow. Nov last year I moved into a studio, and worked an 8-5 at it. No more night shifts on a patio in rain :-)

I am slowly getting more and more orders for work. I have exported this year. And my work is in more and more shops and restaurants.

But I am still poor. I live in a bedsit in someone's back yard. I use public transport, as i have not been able to afford another car. But, I can pay rent. And buy food and stuff i really need. So i guess i am supporting myself right now with clay. And I hope that a client comes through and pay on time so I can buy another kiln (8ch) next week. <--- another kiln is more priority than a car :-)
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#49 law450

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 12:23 AM

I have not read all the responses yet ... Buty here is my answer to the OP

6 yeras ago I left a good paying job cold turkey and started to work part time as a RN again. At that time I was melting glass. Not even thinking of working with clay ever again.
a year later I moved to my current city, and started to do the markets, etc. I nursed part-time, and mostly lived off this money. I was quite poor.

A year later I met my then b/f and started to experiment with a clay a year after we met. Still worked part time as a RN. And damn poor.

2 and a bit years ago I opened a shop, selling my work and those of my friends. by this time I started to sell ceramics too. the first year I continued to nurse part time, was awake at times for 36+ hours. Nearly killed me, and dirt poor.

Beginning 2011 I stopped to nurse part time. Not because i suddenly found riches, but because I felt that my part time income was making it easier for me to not focus enough on my 'real' work. Oct last year I realised that I had to close the shop. I was out of home and lost my car. @$%&@$% poor.

I also realised that glass beads were not going to give me enough money to survive on. At the same time interest in my ceramics started to grow. Nov last year I moved into a studio, and worked an 8-5 at it. No more night shifts on a patio in rain :-)

I am slowly getting more and more orders for work. I have exported this year. And my work is in more and more shops and restaurants.

But I am still poor. I live in a bedsit in someone's back yard. I use public transport, as i have not been able to afford another car. But, I can pay rent. And buy food and stuff i really need. So i guess i am supporting myself right now with clay. And I hope that a client comes through and pay on time so I can buy another kiln (8ch) next week. <--- another kiln is more priority than a car :-)



This question was one that I really examined 2 years ago. I was doing ceramics as a hobby for frieds etc and then I found that I was geting quite good at it. Trouble was that I also found that all my friends who were doing this were dirt poor and struggling. Now being the poor starving artist may sound romantic to some people but to me that was not going to cut the mustard. So when I quit my job as the director for ICT in major company it was with my eyes wide open, and I decided that if i were to do ceramics fulltime that i would need to move to a place where my cost of living was far less that in the USA. So I moved to the Caribbean and never looked back. The truth is that now I am doing very well. I am still doing the pieces I want to do but also doing the pieces people want to have. On a recent trip back home I found that my friends who are still struggling were still doing the same things with no intention of changing.


Business is business and artists or not my business is ceramics and I treat it as such. I did not open a store. Instead I partnered with interior decorators for hotels and cruse ships. I found that tourists break things...often and in great amounts when drunk. So I offered insurance to hotels. They pay me a retainer and I replace the stuff that breaks. I am now moving into customizing cuttelery for hotes, restaurants and bots, by puting personalized decals on already existing ceramics like plates etc. I purchased the equipment and learned how to opperate it myself and so fat so good. If this business stops paying my bills then I'll get out of it. Plain and simple. We have to become more business savvy and less romatic.

#50 Chris Campbell

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:14 PM

Law450 ... That is brilliant!! Putting yourself on retainer is the most original, creative idea I have heard in ages. Find a need and fill it.
This would also work well in supplying to restaurants but it must be tricky to figure out your pricing.

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#51 law450

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Posted 29 April 2012 - 05:47 PM

Law450 ... That is brilliant!! Putting yourself on retainer is the most original, creative idea I have heard in ages. Find a need and fill it.
This would also work well in supplying to restaurants but it must be tricky to figure out your pricing.



Hi Chris. Naw..I really dont take myself too seriously when it comes to pricing. You see I have found that most people dont see the simplicity in making a product. Especially if the product already exist in some form or another. With the restaurants I keep it simple. I have a set of blankware for almost every thing and there is a shop here that carries a lot of these items for the local hotels and restaurants. Where i fill the nich is in customizing the items with their individual logos and business names. So I can be a cheap addon to any dish that needs replacing. I produce my own digital decals and so keep that cost to a minimum. I think my average cost for customizing a simple plate is $15.00 including the price of the plate. This only works because of volume.

#52 INYA

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Posted 06 May 2012 - 03:16 PM

something to add to your spot at the market... ;)

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