Jump to content

Recommended Posts

post-63409-0-54667800-1499011723_thumb.jpgpost-63409-0-05405000-1499011730_thumb.jpg

 

Tenacity is picking myself up after this little disaster and becoming willing to set foot in the studio,to face the pcking-through for survivors- rather than watching netflix and sulking for days.  

 

On another note, as I begin to really "think sales", I am leveraging my daughter's talents as a jeweler's apprentice. I made the pendant, she handcrafted the necklace. I think we might have something here!!!  I love my pendants and I love her work, so I'm going to give it a go. 

 

Figuring out the pricing is rough. Suggestions welcome!

 

post-63409-0-70229600-1499011974_thumb.jpg

 

 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

My local potters' guild spent $x000 for a web developer and after over a year, ended up with nothing (personal issues), and while the money was returned,  of course the time has as gone by with no web presence other than a bare-bones Facebook page.   When having a web site was initially up for discussion, I suggested using a web site generator and building our own, to avoid the middle men. No interest. 

Fast forward to a recent appeal from the new chairman/vice chairman to revisit getting a site up.  I wanted to contribute so I volunteered. Not to toot my own horn---who am I kidding, I am SO tooting my own horn!!!--but with a little help from the VP (Claire Provencher) to get started, I put this together in less than 2 weeks (while still living my life) and it did not cost a dime. (Free WIX...we will go to the paid version if the community votes to do so.)

This is "just" a mockup, and still has placeholders for pending text; later it will have the ability to collect dues and we'll list all the members, be more interactive, etc. 

https://nhpgweb.wixsite.com/nhpg      CHECK IT OUT

I am posting it here for the benefit of people like me who don't want to spend big bucks, know zip about code and like it that way, and might be cheered to know how easy it is to put together a nice platform to show and sell your work.  I had stalled on finishing my own website (also WIX) due to unavoidable circumstances, but am re-charged and ready to get back to it. Plus I learned so much doing this one for the  Guild that mine will just be that much better when I do it! 

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

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.

Edited by DirtRoads

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 10/4/2017 at 11:43 AM, LeeU said:

My local potters' guild spent $x000 for a web developer and after over a year, ended up with nothing (personal issues), and while the money was returned,  of course the time has as gone by with no web presence other than a bare-bones Facebook page.   When having a web site was initially up for discussion, I suggested using a web site generator and building our own, to avoid the middle men. No interest. 

Fast forward to a recent appeal from the new chairman/vice chairman to revisit getting a site up.  I wanted to contribute so I volunteered. Not to toot my own horn---who am I kidding, I am SO tooting my own horn!!!--but with a little help from the VP (Claire Provencher) to get started, I put this together in less than 2 weeks (while still living my life) and it did not cost a dime. (Free WIX...we will go to the paid version if the community votes to do so.)

This is "just" a mockup, and still has placeholders for pending text; later it will have the ability to collect dues and we'll list all the members, be more interactive, etc. 

https://nhpgweb.wixsite.com/nhpg      CHECK IT OUT

I am posting it here for the benefit of people like me who don't want to spend big bucks, know zip about code and like it that way, and might be cheered to know how easy it is to put together a nice platform to show and sell your work.  I had stalled on finishing my own website (also WIX) due to unavoidable circumstances, but am re-charged and ready to get back to it. Plus I learned so much doing this one for the  Guild that mine will just be that much better when I do it! 

 

 

Nice job. Wish I could have seen the Gerry Williams show. He was an old friend. Besides the nice site, looks like a great organization.

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
21 hours ago, DirtRoads said:

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.

Your place looks great. I remember when you were adding buildings. You've come a long way. Congratulations. Nice website too.

Marcia

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Decision made: I am putting my online shop on deferred status until early next year. I finally got it through my head that---for very good reasons I shall not go into---I was not going to be able to launch a completed web site in time for "the holidays", which was my goal. I am building it myself (WIX-love it), and that is fine---that is what I want---but I don't have the capacity right now to do as it needs to be done and I don't want it to be half-baked.  In the interim I am getting better at getting decent images of my pieces, the inventory sheet (now with little pics) is totally functional, and I am focussing on  making better pieces, being more critical of style/pallete/forms etc., which is good.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I use WIX for my website, and it's really only a tool, a place to display and document what's coming out of the process.

It's really more work than it's worth, takes time to keep it updated and take photos before stuff gets bought.

But helps me keep visual track of what I've done concerning clays, glazes and firings. Otherwise I'd never remember what I made/sold.

The Blog feature is good. It's kept patrons coming back. My annual sale consists of a blog message, a 1/4 page ad in the local rag, and posting flyers in the local communities. That's it.

I'm pricing pieces by how successful I feel any given piece is, and I tell folks this. My web prices are strictly what I'd like to get.

That being the case, what I actually sell pieces for are highly discounted, up to 50% or more than the site indicates, depending on who's buying.

If someone actually buys off the website, I don't charge any sort of shipping, it's worked into the price.

I dread the day I have to make a spreadsheet, have a state tax license and charge accordingly.  A business I am not.

Keep it simple.

www.earthbasedceramics.com

Edited by Rex Johnson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Rex-nice site. Love the Lava Bowl. Curious--"why" is the Studio page the same as the Shop page-or am I missing something. Entirely possible, since I was sure it said rabid dog until maybe the third time it crossed my eyes/brain.  I also like the shipping included strategy-I think I want to go that route when I do launch my store. ..seems like it would keep life simple and save money to boot.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Lee, the website logic is : Current Work > See what's available in the Studio Store >>>

...as noted by Lee, on WIX you can build a site, experiment with different templates/design, and there is no charge until you launch your site.

A great way to familiarize yourself with building one. The site editor is pretty user friendly.

Edited by Rex Johnson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

PLAN for 2018   

How about sharing some tips for how  you plan for next year's clay business? 

I am interested personal approaches to your next year 's planning process.  How did you approach  your 2018 strategies for generating , marketing, and selling your clay products?  Please note the scale of the business or important characteristics of your situation that your planning tips apply to, so there is some context for the tips. Ex. high production?  full time? tiny home studio? physical store? online only? mostly craft shows/galleries?  If there are issues like having to accommodate  physical limitations, for example, please share any tips on how you dealt with it and made the plan work, if you wish.  As always-thanks in advance.  :)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Here's what I'm thinking about 2018 at this point.

1. I did 12 shows in 2017, and I've decided that was 2 too many. I would like to do 10 shows in 2018. Now that my 2017 P+L picture is becoming clear, I know I can afford to skip two shows next year. I regularly felt the strain of my workload this past year, I'd like to alleviate that. And I'd like to shift some of my work hours towards another big project that I launched in 2017 (pottery instruction videos) which is starting to need more of my attention. 

2. I'm going to adjust my inventory plans, like I always do at the end of every year. I will increase quantities on things that were always selling out, decrease or eliminate things that didn't sell well (sorry, casserole, you've been discontinued). And I will try to suss out the right quantities for the new items I introduced at my recent Open Studio.

3. I will give serious thought to eliminating all online sales. I tell myself that I can please more people by offering a limited amount of long-distance selling. But instead it turns out that I am just disappointing way more people because of my narrow limits. It might be better to draw a line at "in person sales only." But in the Amazon.com age, I'm not sure I can get away with this. Or how to explain it to my customers, quickly and non-offensively. It's one of those lines I will have to deliver all day long at an art fair, and it will need to be carefully worded.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@Mea---I am chuckling as I read your post here...I had JUST read your detailed  excerpt (from the CAN 2011 magazine article) that came in my email today, on calculating your hourly wage and making decisions about different venues.  Thanks, as always, for sharing your expertise.  Even though my purpose, scale and style are radically different, I learn something useful to apply to my own endeavors every time you describe something that you do.  Not trying to feed your ego, but I must say you are a consummate business woman! LeeU  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Still to early to think about next year as this years sales are in full swing every day now until the eve of the 24th.

Once I do my tax prep in early January I will make a few changes based on numbers.

I will also decide on what forms to remove from my market (as in grocery) sales due to slow sales an certain forms like candle holders.

Mea I did 10 shows for a few decades and 10 where a lot easier than the 12 I did before  that then paring down to 10.

Now its 6 this year.One is my own  sale at xmas in a location in town that I run the two weeks before xmas.Only 3 are traveling.

I will think about removing an item  or two from my production list especially since I have a new item and need to remove one. You can read more on this next month in a piece I did on production work that comes out in CM next month.

I tend to think about changing prices always in January to my outlets-either wholesale or shows or consignment. I make the change early in the 1st month of year.

My biggest change is I'm down to just over 8 tons of clay down from 9- 10 tons last year-I think its about a ton less maybe almost 2 tons.Less clay means better wrist with less pain.

I'm a little less burnt out this December now that I retired from my biggest xmas show out of state.It almost seems mellow this December . I only have 9 outlets and a xmas  booth to keep happy and supplied.I as usual have tons of back stock -more than usual as I am learning what not rot make without that big show anymore. I just made the usual and have the most I have ever had this season. Its all good as the outlets all want full shelves early in January when I'm on my break from forced production  break and am just cleaning in studio then. I'll have lots to give and can stay out of there a while.

Early Dec 1st  I ordered all clay and materials for 2018 so I have thought about whats needed already.I ordered just over 10 tons of clay-nice to have extra. That will come in early January and its a big job stocking into shed.

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Now that I am almost completely set up after my move and relocation, I am weighing some ideas for marketing in 2018. Re-establishing professional level connections as well as professional level production in the new studio plus all the hassles of moving into a new home with needs, has taken up much of my time. My husband is working in Va. while I am in Montana. So I am the home repair person.

I am thinking of selling through my webpage. My production level is not huge at this point and I enjoy what I am doing. My largest raku kiln should be finished in Jan. allowing bigger sagger pots to be fired. I am in an invitational in May that needs big pieces.I reconstructed the base on the last warm day to work outside. I enlarged it to accommodate larger saggers more efficiently. I procrastinated on cutting the sheet metal with hand tin snips. Tin snips and my hands just don't seem to fit. I am awaiting a little attachment for my drill to cut the sheet metal.Glad I waited because of the redesign. I am excited about the solution and should finish construction after the holidays.

 

Marcia

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 12/18/2017 at 7:32 AM, GEP said:

Here's what I'm thinking about 2018 at this point...

Like I said Mea, I don't know how you do it! With all you produce and sell, plus the admin here and the videos, you must be stretched.

I'd assume that with the exposure you have that online sales would be a no brainer.

But then again, one can spend a lot of desk time maintaining a true sales orientated website.

Props to you.

At the moment I have the luxury of closing the studio up for the winter and concentrating on what equipment I'll buy in the spring, and how I'll improve the work flow. For me it means to slow down.

Edited by Rex Johnson

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I am thrilled to announce that I pushed past my procrastination and finally got the beginnings of a live Shop, with working payment processing, up and running, on my website.  I'll have to hunker down and insert-insert-insert fairly quickly and steadily, so it doesn't look empty or abandoned, but that is a good motivator to get it done.

AND---get this....it was up less than 24 hours, with only 4 items for sale (because I was just testing it out),  and a fellow in Florida purchased the "Table Piece for the Man Cave" (tea light holder-^6 Morgan body).  He said it has an Egyptian resonance to it.  I don't get it, but my sister (who knows her art history) said he was probably responding to the "antiquites vibe" she says infuses some of my surfaces. I'll take her word for it.  

So--I have officially entered the arena of online marketing! And I am doing the "shipping included" thing for many pieces, which I like. They are small and solid/hefty so I can safely wrap/buffer well and use padded envelopes, saving $3-4 per mailing, at P.O. 1st class rates. 

 

TLH-6b-.jpg

Edited by LeeU

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

congrats, lee!

  wish i had the nerve and the skills to set up a website.  i think i would like to go with wix like rex has done.  looks good and i really would like to stop all the schlepping around heavy things for outdoor sales and stay in one place selling pots.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

@oldlady    Nerves I can't help with, but I can tell you that the skills are not too hard to pick up. I am using WIX (premium/e-commerce-about $360 for 2 years).  Even though it is an easy-to-use site generator there is still a lot of learning to be done. (Or you can pay them to do it for you--might be well worth it if you have the $$)

On the plus side,  all of the "how to" features are pretty straightforward-just requires patience to read and follow directions, but at least the directions make sense! Also has robust marketing and SEO (search engine optimization) features. A bit labor intensive, but any site you put together yourself is going to be. I know that Wordpress.org and Weebly are also clean and easy to use, tho possibly not as many bells & whistles as WIX. 

My site is not outstanding, but if you check it out you can see everything I was able to put together.  The hard part now is getting all the items into the shop, in categories--photos-item numbers-prices-descriptions etc.  I like that I can send auto-emails, invoices, thank-you's etc.  when people purchase & can offer goodies for subscribing if they choose, and there is a link to my Pinterest clay boards.   If you just do a Search for leeuceramics I will come up nicely, thank to WIX  or go direct to leeuceramics.com 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

×

Important Information

By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use.