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shawnhar

Reputation for selling cheap pottery

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There have been a lot of much older threads revived just this week, so don't feel like this is an unusual thing at all!

I'm curious now what @shawnhar's thoughts are on his original post are.

Pricing for anyone is an ongoing discussion, and especially for beginners, it's a complicated thing. It's compounded for beginners, because when *exactly* do you decide you're not a beginner anymore? It's not a function of pure time, because not everyone makes things at the same rate. Is it after a specific number of pots? Probably not that either, because some people are able to improve their work with fewer iterations. (I know I needed to make a lot more pots than the students I started with to achieve a similar level of technical competency.) 

Regardless of your level of expertise, there's always the question of how do you measure the level of quality of your own work and place yourself within the marketplace? 

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The terrible pots did not sell, even at dirt cheap prices, the decent ones did. I don't feel weird about selling the beginner pots at beginner prices, and I would not be embarrassed by any of them, people liked them and they bought them. Many of the buyers became fans as they saw my progression, and told me they were proud to support me and have some of my early work. The young woman that bought my 1st little bowl for 5 bucks just bought 2 of my $20 mugs, she is proud of the fact that she has my very 1st piece and it isn't "refined" like my current pieces.

I don't think people viewed it as someone selling cheap pottery, rather they got a fair price and were able to support someone just starting out. It was a great experience for me and a confidence builder, and I made some new friends. 

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16 minutes ago, Mark C. said:

One thing to always keep in mind is the piece you hate the worst is someones best treasure.

Very true, I had a flopped vase that I was going to use to test glaze and my neighbor saw it and said it looked cool. So guess what he got for Christmas haha

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In this month's Ceramics Monthly there is an article about how to price your work. They categorize people into level 1, 2 , ad 3 sellers, with one being someone new to market and three being a seasoned potter.

I have been subscribing for only a few months and am very pleased with it.

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The issues of when to start selling - and are the pots good enough - seem to be questions for everyone as they move up in proficiency and quality. The other part of this discussion that I think is important is that these beginner pots didn't end up in a land fill, which is good. I was thinking of digging a trench in my backyard and burying my early work. Maybe an archeologist would find the trench, but then that archeologist would think that this generation had some pretty poor potters. 

I am at the cusp of deciding my work is "good enough" to sell. It seems that the progression is from throwing door stops, to paper weights, to trinket holders, then to real work.  Feedback from experienced potters and instructors has helped me to make the decision to sell. 

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Old thread, but a good one. I also have pondered when to start selling my pots. I studied Art Ed in college with elective courses in Ceramics.  . just two. Went on to teach in a HS, and worked on the wheel for several years during grad school and while teaching ceramics. Gave a lot of Christmas gifts to family. Then I entered a few local Summer exhibitions, joined a Guild, and started worrying about selling pots. After being accepted in exhibitions, and juried into the local guild, I did some local shows, and made some decent bucks. That went on to Penn State Arts festival, for about 7 years. . . . while teaching! Burned up, no time in the Spring, worn out, and got an alternative offer as an adjunct professor at a local college. Taught there for 5-6 years. Sold pots on the side during the time on my time at my price. So here I am retired, and doing wholesale, and selling what I want when I want. Not big money, but enough to keep the pottery from damaging the household budget, and every once in a while I can gift myself a little something!

 

best,

Pres

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Pres speaking of honey jars-I dropped off a bunch of them last week to an outlet and I forgot to include the honey sticks.

Its always something .

Do you include sticks with your pots?

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28 minutes ago, Pres said:

Yeah Mark,

I would have to work with porcelain again. Been many years.

best,

Pres


... or you could just dip the leather hard stoneware honey jars in thick porcelain slip before drying them for the bisque firing and thus make them look like porcelain honey jars.  Unless the jars are broken them, no one won't know the difference, and if they are broken, don't deliver them.  :)

LT
 

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I just read this entire thread. Good to see that you sold all types of pots at all types of prices @shawnhar . I have posted my opinions on this before, but I believe that work should be priced higher as you gain skill and your craft improves until a point that your new gains in skill don't make enough of a difference to justify price changes without an increase in demand. If all of the sudden you make leaps and bounds again then prices should move up again if there is demand for the new skill gained aesthetically. 

My first mugs/yunomi were 20-25$, however, my new mugs/yunomi are $40-50. Selling my new work for the same price as my old work would be absolutely foolish as the work is more desired and takes more time. I also think that is a very important factor in pricing. If you can make pots quickly then you can afford to price them lower, but only if there is enough of a demand for them at that price.

I started pottery in 2014, so this will be my 5th year anniversary coming up.

This year is going to be the first time in my pottery journey that I am going to try to make pots and sell pots for profit long term. In the past, I have just made a spurt of pots as a progression milestone and sold them to see what the demand was like for that type of design/aesthetic. So far I have been successful with my aesthetic choices and progressions that have allowed me to continue raising prices. Another thing that I believe should be a factor in your work is how unique the type of work you make is. If no one else is doing similar things to what you are doing then again you can charge more for your work. There is a good reason that potters continue to advance their work and narrow down their aesthetic. It's that uniqueness that allows them to gain market demand and increase prices because of that demand until they can supply the right amount of pots for the right amount of buyers. In the end, I don't think pricing is that difficult, if you have enough eyes going over your pots for sale then you will quickly be able to raise and lower prices until you find a sweet spot that you are happy with physically. 

John Baymore always said something like: Sell 1000 pots for 1$, 10 for $100, or 1 for $1000. The choice is yours.

The option is available to do any of those things, which choice you decide to do is totally up to you and how hard you work and the design choices that you make along the way.

 

Edited by Joseph Fireborn

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Seems like a lot people are struggling with this topic right now. Elon is trying to figure out how to make his Model 3 less expensive. Apple is realizing that $1000 is a bit much for a cell phone.  Heath Ceramics has an outlet in Sausalito with seconds at a lower price.  Wish I had their problems!

I haven't got the energy to sell 1000 pots for $1!  So its try to make things well, try to make them attractive and try to figure out the market as I go.

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