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I use MailChimp to store my customer’s email addresses. I’ve been using it for years now and I’m very happy with the service.

I use Quickbooks for bookkeeping. 

For everything else, I use spiral notebooks and pens. I’ve never felt like the amount of work I’m producing, about 2000 pots per year, is worth tracking on a computer. Plus, the laptop lives in another part of the house. It’s too much trouble to fetch it when I want to take notes, and sometimes my hands are too dirty to use a computer anyways. The notebooks are in the studio, and don’t mind getting dirty.  

Marcia Selsor and LeeU like this

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I am befuddled. So, I am seeking input on the best ways to market and display items that are multi-purpose. Example: my Shop will have Collections....Tea Light Holders, Catchall, Incense Burners. When I make a piece, it has a primary purpose--let's say as a catchall. But it also holds a tea light beautifully, plus looks great as a base for an incense cone. For now the Shop is not published-it is "hidden" as I am still organizing and filling it. 

What I have been doing is putting the catchall in the Catchall Collection , with thumbnails that show the multiple uses such as a jewelry dish, with a tea light etc. Then I am  putting the same array in the Tea Light Collection and the Incense Burners Collection. I am wondering if I should add one more Collection---a Multi Purpose or Multi Taskers Collection, and put such items in there as well? 

One of my selling points is that many of my pieces are attractive for their versatility, so I want to be sure that people can find what they may be looking for, or can come across items in various locations to give them ideas.  If I just put the catchall in the Catchalls Collection, I suspect I would be missing that opportunity, but I don't have any experience with how people "shop' online, or how it works when people know what they are looking for vs. general looking around.  Any feedback regarding the addition of a Multi Taskers addition to my Collections?

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22 minutes ago, LeeU said:

I am befuddled. So, I am seeking input on the best ways to market and display items that are multi-purpose. Example: my Shop will have Collections....Tea Light Holders, Catchall, Incense Burners. When I make a piece, it has a primary purpose--let's say as a catchall. But it also holds a tea light beautifully, plus looks great as a base for an incense cone. For now the Shop is not published-it is "hidden" as I am still organizing and filling it. 

What I have been doing is putting the catchall in the Catchall Collection , with thumbnails that show the multiple uses such as a jewelry dish, with a tea light etc. Then I am  putting the same array in the Tea Light Collection and the Incense Burners Collection. I am wondering if I should add one more Collection---a Multi Purpose or Multi Taskers Collection, and put such items in there as well? 

One of my selling points is that many of my pieces are attractive for their versatility, so I want to be sure that people can find what they may be looking for, or can come across items in various locations to give them ideas.  If I just put the catchall in the Catchalls Collection, I suspect I would be missing that opportunity, but I don't have any experience with how people "shop' online, or how it works when people know what they are looking for vs. general looking around.  Any feedback regarding the addition of a Multi Taskers addition to my Collections?

This is just a thought Lee, but I wonder if you should call your catchall's ring dishes.  Or something specific.  Then in the description, you could use the word catchall or give examples of uses for that pot??  It's hard to know what will grab a customer's attention.

Roberta

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8 hours ago, LeeU said:

I want to be sure that people can find what they may be looking for, or can come across items in various locations to give them ideas.

I don’t think I would put the same pot in different collections, I would list it in one collection with your thumbnails of its various uses. If you had a huge inventory and a line of work might be overlooked then I could see posting in multiple collections. IMHO I think each piece needs to be special and by listing it in multiple spots you would be detracting from it’s uniqueness. I feel people who are interested in purchasing your work will look through your collections.

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Thanks-I have struggled with naming individual catchalls, but to call something a ring dish that can be used for so many different things seems too limiting to me. As far as not duplicating items in multiple collections, that is my biggest struggle. I would hope that interested visitors would peek into various collections, so I will seriously consider placing each piece in just one. It is hard tho, when a piece truly serves different functions--choosing which one is "the" one for marketing.  So I wonder if a Collection titled Multi Taskers might be a way to go with such items ?  I tried to upload two pics-both less than 100 KB, but kept getting the msg. that I can't upload over 1003 KB. ??? 

 

update-successful pics uploaded 2 comments down

Edited by LeeU

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I'm sure this will sound annoying but I think Catchall isn't a term anyone is going to look at unless they came to your site looking for something else. Also I think you might be overthinking it a bit since it's your site and you spend so much time on it. Simple is best. If an item doesn't have a dedicated purpose I'd list it as "Other" and hope someone looks at it, but they'll probably look at a random category last. It's better if it has a clear easy to understand use and designation. After cruising Etsy for years looking at stuff I wish I had made this seems to bear out with other people's sites. 

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Thanks--I think . The "not catchalls" thing is not what I wanted to hear! I hate deciding what is better marketed as a ring dish vs. better as a tea light holder...not sure I how I do that...kinda like splitting the baby!  I'll give it a try --to look at using different collections and to see how I feel after re-positioning some of the items. I can't quite see completely eliminating "catchalls".  I look for catchalls and they definitely come up in searches!  I have an "Other" collection, but it is for unique products that I only have a few of,  such as a couple of rattles, or bookends.

I appreciate all the input--it actually helps me to do LESS "overthinking" ,  seeing how other clay-makers view marketing from their experiences. 

Gep and Min--I re-tried the uploads via this comment, rather than the previous one that had the glitch, and they came up here just fine! Go figure! 

 

 

CA 4asm.jpg

CA 4bsm.jpg

Edited by LeeU

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"what a very attractive holder for my earrings" is going to happen when one visitor sees either of these items.  the photos are very well done  and the work is unique.  you are overthinking it.

told you about the man who saw the sign my friend propped up next to one of his bowls, "great for ice cream!"

the shopper was visibly suffering so my friend asked if he could answer any questions.  the shopper said, "i really like that bowl but i do not eat ice cream."  my friend suggested that maybe he would prefer soup in the bowl and the shopper brightened up and said, "oh, yes, i like soup!"

SOLD!   which is all that counts in the end.

D.M.Ernst and yappystudent like this

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While I am occupied with overthinking things............is this a tray or a shallow bowl? It is only about 1.5" deep and has a fairly flat profile, app. 6" x  6". I have quite a few of these forms, so which shop Collection they go in (bowls or trays)  is my next decision to make.  Personally, I view them more as bowl-like trays rather than tray-like bowls. :o

 

CA 11fsm.jpg

Edited by LeeU

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Do they have to be part of a collection?  If yes, maybe:  Small items, Medium items, Large items, or Pots less than 5 or 10 or whatever, pots between 20 and 50, pots more than 50.

I quite often find categories or collections don't show what I want, and am happy to just be able to sort into price order and scroll through hundreds. 

What I really hate about online shopping is having to click "next" after just a few items.  I always want the option to "show all".

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fill it with peanuts and call it a nut dish fit for a party.   or a sandwich and a few chips and say lunch on the terrace plate.  or some petits fours next to a napkin.  give people a choice.  

Edited by oldlady
correct

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The Collections do "show all" , plus each can be sorted by price.  The photos (one large image and thumbnails) illustrate different uses, like showing the dish filled with nuts.  The Description field would be where to put  text like "lunch on the terrace".   Organizing by Collections helps  with presentation as I have many differing types of pieces---i.e I don't want business card holders, for example, being mixed in with vases.  The website generator I am using (WIX) has a user-friendly system for building the store, once  I learn the steps for the  selected template.  Still--a lotta work! 

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@Oldlady: the ice cream bowl story is hilarious, -when I was a teen we called that giving someone a (lets just say cigarette) and having to smoke it for them too...

@LeeU, BTW your work is functional, beautiful and desirable from a monetary standpoint and compares well with some of the more successful shops I've seen on Etsy, also your photos do them justice, which shows your "thinking too much" is getting results, so try to forgive my nagging. Just one nagging addition: on Etsy they call all those things except the bigger bowl ring dishes. It's just what they call catchalls and if someone wants a catchall not necessarily for rings, a ring dish is what they will search because that's the language of online ceramic shopping. Particularly aimed for a female market, which your stuff clearly is, and a good market it is because women spend more money on such things for themselves and as gifts, men don't buy watch dishes as often, or whatever. The larger one is a bowl and should be titled a bowl. These are my opinions, feel free to file them where ever they are most useful to you, including the wastebasket. ;) 

 

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@yappy--thanks for the compliment. Etsy is not a model I care for, so I don't look to them for shopping lingo or their typical market.  As I get more items made I will be making a serious effort to appeal to men as well as women. So far, guys seem to like my more "masculine" pieces, and in testing I have already found that they will look at a catchall more than a ring dish (same piece, same photos, different label)!   

Moving on to my next decision to be made----I wouldn't mind feedback on whether to establish a collection exclusively for wood fired pieces, or just put the items in the type category that they are. So, a wood fired bowl could either go in the Wood Fired collection, or it could just go in the Bowls collection.  I tend to look at my wood fired work as a bit special, because it is wood fired (same with raku) but I don't know if that is a "draw" in itself or not. 

 

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Maybe a page about wood firing with those pieces listed. The idea is that they read about the process, history and maybe see  some photo's of you loading or unloading the wood fire kiln you use and become intrigued and buy a pot or two. 

 

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Thx Stephen--yeah-I like that idea. I already have a page in my Gallery to show raku and wood fired pieces, in a small slide show. I realized when I just looked at it again that I could put the images there, add some text and expand via your suggestions, and then put the pieces that are for sale in their proper primary usage Collection in the Shop.  Problem solved! Nice and simple-I like that.  

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I settled on a Catchalls Collection for my small dishes & trinket trays is because it is less purely feminine--and thus will suit more of my varied styles. Plus it is less specific re: the objects the piece might hold--ex. women's jewelry or a tea light or men's keys or pocket change etc.  More "all purpose", for when a piece could be used for any or all of those. I am finding that putting some thought into the process at the front end is better than having to go back and undo/redo choices that turned out to be less than effective. In one collection I mis-worded a descriptor on a bunch of similar items, and then it took hours to fix it--since the wrong word was in the titles, the photo file name, the description, the alt text, the linked images/pages, the blurb on another site,  the SEO text etc.  Learned my lesson!  This business forum is so helpful, even for small scale efforts!!

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