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#41 Mark C.

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 05:01 PM

Stephen has good advice as they go thru the school of hard knocks learning how to pull this off. There just is no substitute for this experience.You have to put in the time and be realistic.If it was easy everyone would be doing it.
Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#42 nancylee

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 05:29 PM

Hi Nancy,

 

Just read through the thread and it sounds like you have some great advice to ponder. We are getting ready for the third season and from that I can tell you that the ramp up is by far the hard part and so many projects we really didn't see as the big time sinks they are.

 

The first year was basically no revenue dollars to speak of and about 20k in expenses (not counting building additional 300 feet of studio space and the previous a 15k or so of equipment. We bought lots of additional tools and supplies and made the 4-600 or so pieces that always stay in inventory as we organized. Just like someone who has to  go buy their opening inventory, as a full time business you will need to make yours. We have about 30ish forms and have 5-30 of each depending on how they are selling and that adds up faster than you think.

 

Probably more like 6-7k HAD to be spent to get things in motion and much of the rest was discretionary spending for additional studio equipment (we added 2 new wheels when we could have made 1 work for 1 1/2 people throwing) and we always have bought new figuring we would benefit from the extra longevity. Cutting this out and being frugal and buying the additional stuff you need used or only as you actually need it might make it where you don't need to actually front that much cash the first year but you do need to sit down and do some math because I bet you are going to need to spend at least some money in the transition and then fund the initial inventory. You could obviously just make between shows we but opted while prototyping to make inventory to start with. We live in the Northwest and the shows are spring until x-mas and some are bunched together and we didn't want lack of inventory to be an ongoing consideration when we look for shows.

 

We did get in a couple of shows the first year but mostly spent about 9 months doing this prototype and make process. It was busy too because you are setting everything up and just figuring out and outfitting your booth burns days of time researching and then incorporating. Our business spread-out too. When it was a glorified hobby it took over a 500 foot garage but as a business it needed another 300 foot of studio space and has consumed an additional 300 in our house so it really is  occupying over 1100 feet of space. This is a comfortable amount of space but again its just 1 1/2 potters.

 

I don't think its the money we spent as a takeaway but rather the huge time sink the transition from serious hobbyist to professional that needs to earn a living. If I had any worthwhile advice I would encourage you to sit down and list off everything single thing that in your view would need to be accomplished to be able to feel, in your own mind, in business as a professional artist.

 

This includes:

 

1) Opening slate of forms and at least a few in opening inventory.  

2) Resulting stock of studio equipment, clay & glaze materials and misc supplies to make these forms

3) Business organized (sole proprietor ship or llc) and all your paperwork figured out and organized for continuous routine operations.

4) Slate of shows (we did 9 last year and we are considering going back to 3 of those) 

 

With this list you can start to see where money will actually start flowing through to you having a paycheck and I think that's where reality hits so many. They spend months and money they don't have getting everything in motion and then when they hit that first round of shows they may be surprised that they have a whole string of shows where they only bank a marginal amount above the cost of doing the show. For me I thought when I was planning the 2nd year the solution would be to simply do more shows but it's really not that easy as we don't know the right shows and even ones that might grow into money makers like Mark C and GEP report are just in there first year so that 1500 show might be a 3000 or even 4000 show 4-5 years from now. We come out of every show with follow-up orders and interest. We also found ourselves at festival type events where folks are there to have fun and often party instead of buying art. Add to that the ones that turned out to be full of buy sell tables off cheap imports, most of the year was not spent making any money but rather learning the ropes.

 

This year we should do a little better picking the slate of shows so we are hopeful that we actually bank a few dollars above expenses. 

 

If you on the other hand did that entire list above and did a 6 show slate for a couple of years as you continued your full time job then in 24 months, when you are 57, you would have already absorbed all of the non-earning time sinks involved in transitioning to full time pottery and can simply sign up for more shows and not miss a beat. Out of the fist 12 shows you do that first 2 years part time may give 3 or 4 good shows to do your first year and that would be a huge victory.

 

I'd also try and decide if you really get the reality of making and selling $50,000 worth of pottery a year to earn a $25-30k salary. If you average around $25-30 a piece then you will be making about 3000 pieces of pottery for a full season. Probably a 5th of it will not make it to the booth or will not sell and remain in inventory at the end of the year and you will have to pay 15% of that salary into payroll taxes.

 

Either way, good luck. Shows and traveling and seeing new places is fun and handmade pottery customers are the best. I really think they have no problem paying reasonable prices and I think most handmade buyers do have an opinion on what they think is reasonable in their area. We cater to the $22 mug, $45 mixing bowl type crowd which I think is middle of the road and seems to be the right range for the buyers that get the whole thing to start with. Not everyone can afford to hire a pro to sit down and throw a mug just for them.

Stephen,

Thank you for all of that!! Yes, that's a lot of pieces of pottery to make every year. 3000. Hmmm....something to think about, because if you work 200 days a year, that's 15 pieces a day, which doesn't sound like a lot, if you are just throwing that, but to throw 15 pieces a day, then trim the 15 from the day before and then glaze 15 would eat up my entire day at the speed I work now. I trim fast, but the way my studio is set up (or NOT set up) glazing is a major PITA and takes me forever. Plus, I don't have a lot of glazes here - I have a lot in small quantities to paint on, but I hate the way they look, so I will need to make glazes in, have a place to store, etc. I also need a wedging table, and a place to put the wet clay to dry out and wedge to reuse. 

 

Oh, and I know from jewelry shows with some pottery sprinkled in this year that everyone says your first three to five years is all about finding the right shows. I lost $1000 on my first show, broke even on my second and make a couple of hundred on my third. It was very frustrating to spend so much time and money and basically sit there and suck it all weekend. :)

 

As far as my schedule, I have to work at least another 18 months to get my insurance, so the 24 month plan is a very doable idea. I appreciate all of the info you shared with me,

nancy


Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#43 JBaymore

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 05:32 PM

A VERY interesting tool was just posted on MSN this afternoon that ties a bit into this discussion.  Popped up on my feed this evening.  It is from the NY Times.  It lets you look at where your income fits into the relationship to all US households (and tells you if you are in the top X percent, the bottom X percent, and so on) based on geography.  You can mouse over/zoom in on more select areas than the ones that show up by default.

 

Shows the impacts of geographical aspects that I was discussing.

 

http://www.nytimes.c...your-money&_r=1&

 

best,

 

........................john


John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council
 

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

http://www.nhia.edu/...ty/john-baymore


#44 Mark C.

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 06:41 PM

( I lost $1000 on my first show, broke even on my second and make a couple of hundred on my third. It was very frustrating to spend so much time and money and basically sit there and suck it all weekend.)

This is the process of finding YOUR market-Thats why I would keep your job-past 18 months and find your market. That will take at least 5 years as a guess and I'm being optimistic .Keep the job and work around that schedule while finding what works and what does not.


Mark Cortright
www.liscomhillpottery.com

#45 nancylee

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Posted 16 January 2016 - 08:30 PM

( I lost $1000 on my first show, broke even on my second and make a couple of hundred on my third. It was very frustrating to spend so much time and money and basically sit there and suck it all weekend.)
This is the process of finding YOUR market-Thats why I would keep your job-past 18 months and find your market. That will take at least 5 years as a guess and I'm being optimistic .Keep the job and work around that schedule while finding what works and what does not.


Yup, not quitting the day job yet. :)

I do feel better that it's not just me who didn't sell thousands my first time out!
Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#46 LeeU

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 03:23 PM

Fun link, John. All I have to do is move to Flint, Michigan and I can be less of a bottom dweller. Flint, Michigan...seriously? Or Mississippi....uh, no.


Lee Ustinich

 

 

 

 

 

#47 Celia UK

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 03:53 PM

Nancy - I can't contribute anything about pricing your work, making a living etc. as I'm only a hobby potter. I am a retired teacher with a reasonable pension and to be fair we don't have to worry about medical insurance here in the UK, so my experience may have no bearing on your situation BUT, for what it's worth - it costs much less to live in retirement than you may anticipate. When I looked at what my money was going on, post retirement, the biggest chunk is on 'extras' rather than essentials. You can't beat doing what makes you happy and getting away from the stresses of teaching has a lot to be said for itself! Good luck!

#48 MikeFaul

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 06:24 PM

Nancy, 

 

Limitations on income are not so much a function of price or even your labor contribution. Really, the limit is more a function of what you want to do with your business. If you desire a small business that generates several hundred thousand in revenue to say $1.0M or more that's definitely possible. I know of a few production pottery studios in this class. If you want to work for something even larger, again certainly with time and effort it is possible. I spoke with someone the other week who started in her garage and now employs 30 people making artistic and architectural tiles. Her business I believe is probably in the neighborhood of $15M per year, but it took about 20 or so years to get there.

 

The ability to generate wealth is there in this market. At least in certain segments of the market. Weather you desire enough income for personal comfort or to grow a business I would suggest that making pretty pots and going to shows is a very risky approach. This is more gambling than business. It's akin to buying a lottery ticket and hoping your numbers are drawn.

 

Now some potters have done this quiet well over the years. They have worked out, through trial and error, the market research. They know that a kiosk here performs well, but one in this other spot not so well. A coffee shop does good, but a bakery in a warehouse district is a big nope. All of this knowledge was acquired because they tried, failed, tried again and succeeded. The cumulation of these trials became their market research.

 

Given your stage in life you may not have 10 years to take the trial and error path. It takes a long time, and its expensive.

 

The problem here is you don't know if someone will show up at the show who likes your style, aesthetic, color choices, surface design, etc. And, you can't rely on your friends and family. You need to listen to the impartial voice of the market. I would suggest you take the time, while your still working to conduct some market research and find a segment of the market that makes a good fit for your skills. This might be funeral homes (urns). Or, maybe it's bobble head dolls. Perhaps it's left handed olive oil cruets? I have no idea, only your research can answer this question for you.

 

Find your market segment, make some pots, take them to people in that market and start asking a lot of questions about how to make the pot better for them. Make no assumptions and don't rely on "congenital wisdom". Collect all of that information, revise your design accordingly and then start making those pots for that market

 

Our original beer mug held 14 oz and we used something like 1.25 lbs of clay to throw the cylinder. When we took it out to our customers and asked them about our beautiful feather weight design, they laughed at us. But, they also told us what they didn't like about it, and what they didn't like was everything we, as potters love, go figure. We went back and redesigned the mug their way. I'm not going to say exactly what we did, but the first week we released the new design we sold 1,200 pieces. The most expensive coffee mug we've sold in 2015 was $200. The most expensive beer mug was slightly less than that. We've even been commissioned to make hand carved family crest steins (5 Liter) that sold for $1,500. Our customers create these prices themselves off of base prices starting as low as $27.50 for a coffee mug. 

 

Good planning can turn a $27.50 coffee mug into $100 experience and your customers will love you for it. And, you'll love them for the great reviews, notes, and phone calls they send you. Good planning can turn a $44.95 beer mug into $175 celebration, or $57.50 wine goblet into $225 wedding chalice. I'm constantly telling my team we are not in the pottery business, we are in the Merry Christmas, Happy Anniversary, I Love You Mom, Proud of You Son, Wouldn't Have Anyone, But You Husband, Can't Believe You Did It, Praying for You to Feel Better, I knew You Could Do It business... When we realize that we can make an experience where the price is really in consequential. 

 

Write a business plan, and pay a lot of attention to your marketing plan. Stick to your plan for the first year. Get yourself some advisors you can talk to, you will hit many stumbling blocks (stuff you didn't know you didn't know). Having mentors to call will be VERY helpful if for no other reason to know you're not alone in experiencing the issue. Plus this will solve problems and save tons of money in your first year-money you would have spent figuring stuff out.

 

Take it slow, maybe in year one do this part time and keep a governor on your pottery business. In year two work part time and allow more pottery sales. In year three, go full time with your pottery business. 

 

If you find the right market segment you get good steady sales right out of the gate providing your product quality and production process allows you to perform to the demands of the market. If your show based, that means having a stocked booth. If you're prepaid internet based, that means onetime shipping. If you're a wholesaler, it will mean going beyond making pots to helping your customers solve problems with your product (value ad).

 

Suppose you throw at a pace of 7.5 pots per hour. And, you throw 15 pots per day. Handling should take you about 2 or 3 minutes per pot, so that's another 45 minutes. Include prep time and you're put to may 4 1/2 hours a day, maybe 5. Let's say one of your production days is a Saturday and you work another 3 days a week in year one. You're producing 60 pots per week. I'm not sure of your kiln capacity, but I'm guessing that's about one kiln load of material. 

 

So, if you do your market research properly I'm willing to bet you could ramp up to 4 or 5 sales per day in your etsy shop. Now, let's say your average sale is only $35 on Etsy. From our experience, if you do your planning properly that's about 1/2 what you can do on average. So, you're revenue is $140 to $175  per day. That works out to $4,200 to $5,100 a month. So, that's grossing around $50 to $60K per year with schlepping around to shows. And, you only have to do some minor social media marketing-most of which is free, and loads of fun.

 

Now, I can't emphasize this enough, this works because you're making pots for the market and not to gratify your own desires as an artist. In this model you're using your talents as an artist to satisfy the wants and needs of the market not trying to make a statement and hope the market cares.

 

All of this takes a lot of planning and fore thought. Do not discount this, it's more important than learning to center, pull, wedge, or any technical technique. If you can't operate as a business all you have is a lot of pretty gifts for your friends. If you operate as a business, you have cash to buy gifts for your friends and family--your choice.

 

Sorry... I have a cold and I'm babbling...

 

Mike



#49 JBaymore

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 08:21 PM

Mike has just given a GREAT posting above elaborating on one way to approach making it work in this ceramics field... and is it SPOT ON and detailed.  Nice job there, Mike.  It should be one part of a "required reading" list for people thinking about doing this crazy profession full time.

 

I think a very important line there in this specific person's case is where you said, "Given your stage in life you may not have 10 years to take the trial and error path. It takes a long time, and its expensive."

 

Another important one is, " Now, I can't emphasize this enough, this works because you're making pots for the market and not to gratify your own desires as an artist."

 

best,

 

..................john


John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council
 

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

http://www.nhia.edu/...ty/john-baymore


#50 nancylee

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Posted 17 January 2016 - 10:49 PM

Thanks you all for the very generous advice! Mike, I appreciate all of the information you shared with me. The only issue is I don't know how to do market research! I had a store once and after the opening, I hired someone to do market research which was expensive and complicated. Are you talking about that kind of research, or hitting the pavement, going to funeral homes, vets, etc.? And I have an Instagram and Facebook that I link to etsy, but haven't gotten sales this way yet.

Again, I'm absorbing all,of the, and taking notes. It's very nice of you all to help me.
Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#51 Stephen

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 11:28 AM

Great post from Mike. I would only add that doing shows is something that we find to be very enjoyable. Highlights a great point though, there are different ways to make and sell those 3000 or so pieces of pottery and how you decide to do it will also decide your lifestyle to a very large extent so I would think that part through pretty thoroughly. At the end of the day this is going to be your new job and you will often be doing it in 10-12 hours stretches. There are plenty of full time potters making a good living just doing shows once they find the right shows and product mix. Likewise running a retail operation with a team of potters might be ur thing as it is Mike's.

 

I do wish you the best, it's exciting taking time in life to shake things up and rearrange your life to better match what you want it to be.



#52 DirtRoads

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:46 PM

this works because you're making pots for the market and not to gratify your own desires as an artist -- Mike

 

decide if you really get the reality of making and selling $50,000 worth of pottery a year to earn a $25-30k salary -- Stephen

 

 

^ I do a slight amount of business consulting and have talked to  several potters and a few crafters and these are two things that I find to be dilemmas to success.   To be honest I haven't got past an initial one hour (free) consultation with any potter or crafter because I know they will never get past those two issues and the financial investment/cash flow.  I haven't taken any of them on as clients because they are not open to changing their product line or the production reality.  As Stephen pointed out ... 3K of pots to make a living.   I've also found  they can't get a grip on their prices.   They are either priced so low, they are not covering fixed and variable costs OR they overcompensate  with high prices so they "get paid for their time".

The financial investment and lack of income during the two to three year start up time are also deal killers.

 

Good luck.  I don't see many people make it in this business but hopefully you will.

 

(I have a 6 figure plus jewelry business and a 6 figure plus pottery business.  Started pottery in October 2010 and jewelry in February 2012.  6 employees)



#53 JBaymore

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 12:52 PM

There are two general categories of ways to make a business in XXXXXXXXXX work (insert whatever art medium you like there for the X-s):

 

1.)  Make what the market wants and sell it.

 

2.)  Make what you want to make and find the market for it to sell it to.

 

 

#1 above is the more standard business model "tried and true" approach.  If you've done your homework well on establishing that there is a demand, it can work very well (if you have basic business skills).  It is customer focused.  Of the two approaches I mention above... it is the easier to get to work well.  Find a demand, and then fill it.  In some ways.... simple.

 

#2 above is not typically how more non-art mainstream businesses get started.  (i.e.- I'm not suddenly going to go make widgets for a non-existent car and then try to find a market for them.)  It is a very "niche" driven approach.  It is artist focused.  And it requires serious understanding that there IS a market available, and understanding the size of that market, before you can go that route. 

 

In both cases, you then have to have the where-with-all to get your product in front of that market.  You have to "market position" the product correctly within that market.  Both require having identified that market well, and an understanding of that market.  Both require basic business skills (i.e. - understanding how to analyze the success of the business, marketing, sales, and so on).  Both require drive and commitment (Entrepreneurs work hard!)  Both require appropriate capitalization to tend to assure the business's survival beyond the first couple of years.

 

Some people try to "blend" both aspects.  Tony Clennel's "Some and Some"  (some for the easier market and some for the artist's soul).

 

best,

 

................john

 

EDIT:  DirtRoads... I wrote the above while you were writing.  Good stuff. 


John Baymore
Adjunct Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

Former Guest Professor, Wuxi Institute of Arts and Science, Yixing, China

Former President and Past President; Potters Council
 

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

http://www.nhia.edu/...ty/john-baymore


#54 MikeFaul

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 03:51 PM

Thanks you all for the very generous advice! Mike, I appreciate all of the information you shared with me. The only issue is I don't know how to do market research! I had a store once and after the opening, I hired someone to do market research which was expensive and complicated. Are you talking about that kind of research, or hitting the pavement, going to funeral homes, vets, etc.? And I have an Instagram and Facebook that I link to etsy, but haven't gotten sales this way yet.
Again, I'm absorbing all,of the, and taking notes. It's very nice of you all to help me.


Nancy,

I would not spend a penny on professional market researchers. The type of research I'm thinking of is much more simple than that. For example, let's say you think making urns, specifically pet urns is what you want to do. You might make 6 to 12 different urns, and call some local vets. Explain what you are trying to do-research not sales. Ask them if you could set up a small table in their waiting room one Saturday and bring your urns. Bring a questionnaire and ask folks what they think about the urns, how they use them, color preference, etc. And, collect demographic data too. Prepare your questions carefully. After 2 or 3 Saturday's you will see patterns emerging. Follow the patterns.

What you might find is that some people will want to buy, some vets may want to carry your line wholesale. All of this is gravy, and will jump start your business.

Offer everyone a free pet ornament or some small piece of pottery if they fill out your survey and join your email list. This opens up your email channel. You'll need this to save on marketing dollars down the road. Remember everyone there has a pet and pets don't live forever. You want to be there to comfort them when they need you.

Maybe you like sculpting or scraffitto as an artist, build this into your surface design so you get your artistic jolt while serving the market.

#55 MikeFaul

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 04:00 PM

Great post from Mike. I would only add that doing shows is something that we find to be very enjoyable. Highlights a great point though, there are different ways to make and sell those 3000 or so pieces of pottery and how you decide to do it will also decide your lifestyle to a very large extent so I would think that part through pretty thoroughly. At the end of the day this is going to be your new job and you will often be doing it in 10-12 hours stretches. There are plenty of full time potters making a good living just doing shows once they find the right shows and product mix. Likewise running a retail operation with a team of potters might be ur thing as it is Mike's.

I do wish you the best, it's exciting taking time in life to shake things up and rearrange your life to better match what you want it to be.

Stephen...

I'm not trying to diss on shows, they are wonderful tools. But remember, they are tactical tools and should be one of 6 or 8 in your marketing program. Every tool should be evaluated on the numbers, not on how it makes you feel. If it performs, good. If it performs at the top of the game, keep it. But, never hesitate to discard under performing tools for better performing tools. Hammering nails with Bobby pins may sound cute, but it's heck on your hands.

Now some Potter's do quiet well with shows-fine. We have one line that does terrible at shows, but it rocks on social media. Our artistic line is exactly the opposite. How you approach a market segment (channel) is just as important as what you approach it with (product).

Also, most Potter's want a personal income flow, that's beautiful. I get a that. But, I've seen some amazing talent come and go because they didn't have any market focus. And that personal income was lost. Just a little change in perspective and it's scary how far most Potter's could go. Almost all y'all have a billion times the talent I have. I am so humbled by the beautiful things you create.

I wish I hand a fraction of your talent and skill at the wheel...

#56 Stephen

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Posted 18 January 2016 - 04:59 PM

Hey Mike,

Yeah they are fun and we like to spend an extra few days exploring, so there's that as well. Congratulations on everything, sounds like you are hitting it out of the park. I know you have worked hard and taken a lot of risks to get where you are. I'm a part timer in the business but it is a full time gig for the artist. She transitioned from a corporate position and is just not choosing that pace for her work. How she feels about it all, how I feel about what I do in the business is the whole ball game for us, seriously. We spent probably 25-30 grand we didn't need to just to have the best equipment and the right space to work in. I personally feel that anyone here can strike a balance and find forms they enjoy making, at the pace they like making it and can find customers that will buy BUT it takes patience and lots of effort and its going to call for some give and take in deciding exactly what you want out of life and just tailor the business milestones to suit those goals.

Even in our emotional approach though there is a business side to pottery and she and I understand this and the business is run properly. I actually could list off all kinds of numbers about the production and sales efforts from last year because I love that stuff.

I do get the eye roll when I start calling the work units :-)

#57 nancylee

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 07:28 AM

Hi all,
Just rereading this thread and wanted to comment and thank you all for the amazing advice found here!! You are all very generous!
Nancy
Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#58 oldlady

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 10:22 AM

nancy, thank you for bringing this up again.  i had not finished the entire thing when it first appeared and today i read it all.

 

can you tell us what you have been doing lately?  the pet urn idea seems like a winner, something you like to do and a business that can work anywhere you might choose to live.  there are pets everywhere and veterinarians all over so the possibilities seem unlimited.

 

i had an idea last fall but did nothing about it because of timing and fear of success.  there are many specialty magazines catering to people who do all kinds of things.  one i checked out was for chicken owners.  the potential market was the 70,000 subscribers to the magazine.  the item would be a gift with a chicken featured somehow.  if i remember correctly, the percentage of responses to a random advertising mailing was considered good if 1% responded.  so i thought if i could reach that 1% with an advertisement cost of $175 for december, i might sell 700 small items that way.  it was too scary for right then so i filed it away with the rest of the get-rich-quick schemes stored way back in my head.

 

what if you took out an ad for your urns in a pet magazine after building up a pile of stock to supply the buyers?  there are tons of them, dogs only, cats only, etc.


"putting you down does not raise me up."

#59 RonSa

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Posted 24 February 2017 - 10:37 AM

Thanks for bumping this Nancy, very good thread


Ron


#60 nancylee

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Posted 25 February 2017 - 08:30 AM

nancy, thank you for bringing this up again.  i had not finished the entire thing when it first appeared and today i read it all.
 
can you tell us what you have been doing lately?  the pet urn idea seems like a winner, something you like to do and a business that can work anywhere you might choose to live.  there are pets everywhere and veterinarians all over so the possibilities seem unlimited.
 
i had an idea last fall but did nothing about it because of timing and fear of success.  there are many specialty magazines catering to people who do all kinds of things.  one i checked out was for chicken owners.  the potential market was the 70,000 subscribers to the magazine.  the item would be a gift with a chicken featured somehow.  if i remember correctly, the percentage of responses to a random advertising mailing was considered good if 1% responded.  so i thought if i could reach that 1% with an advertisement cost of $175 for december, i might sell 700 small items that way.  it was too scary for right then so i filed it away with the rest of the get-rich-quick schemes stored way back in my head.
 
what if you took out an ad for your urns in a pet magazine after building up a pile of stock to supply the buyers?  there are tons of them, dogs only, cats only, etc.


Good morning,
I am kind of in the same boat as you are - i have a crazy busy vet near me they said I could hang a flyer with my urns, or I could do a Facebook ad like someone here told me, but what if I get a ton or orders? I still have trouble throwing over 3 pounds, plus I still work full time. So i haven't done anything but add a shopify stand along site to etsy.
I am tying my work into my spiritual practice, which is shamanism. Lots of power animals, etc. i have been handbuilding a lot more, took an animal sculpture lesson. I just never have time. It is the one thing i wish i had more of. I did apply to, and got into, a pretty big show near me, so i have to make stuff for that. I'm making Keepsake Urns, colorful, for all occasions: births, marriage, graduations, deaths. I can sell them at a show as is. I have been making medicine bags to go with some of these urns if they want it. So I am slowly puloing all of my passions together.
The chicken idea is good. Find a niche. My friends rescues ferrets, and tells me she know hundreds of ferret owners who would love a handbuilt ferret bath house! I just can't even explore that right now. Another woman on etsy wanted to give up her niche of making discs for canning - she did 3 or 4 thiusand a year in just that. I still make some jewelry, too, so I am working on incorporating that into the pottery, too.
The amazing thing is that I was really liking silversmithing more, but I fell back in love with clay - i think it is the connection with Mother Earth that gets me. I just have to be able to center again. :)
I have you phone number still - would you still want to talk!

Nancy
Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com




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