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CGALVIN3

Was: Etsy or Ebay? Now: When Should You Start Trying to Sell?

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DAY    8

There are more than one ways to skin a cat.

In Europe they have a rather strict apprentice system.

Not so here (although a few years at Alfred can't hurt!). Anybody can proclaim themselves as a "master---"fill in the blank-and open a store front. Or an internet site. Think of all the Instant Grand Masters that got there overnight, via Martha or Oprah.

I have no formal ceramics training, no Curriculum Vitae, yet I have been supporting myself for the past 25 years, "making it up as I go along."

And I learn something new every day- often right here.

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Tuttaz    0

There are more than one ways to skin a cat.

In Europe they have a rather strict apprentice system.

Not so here (although a few years at Alfred can't hurt!). Anybody can proclaim themselves as a "master---"fill in the blank-and open a store front. Or an internet site. Think of all the Instant Grand Masters that got there overnight, via Martha or Oprah.

I have no formal ceramics training, no Curriculum Vitae, yet I have been supporting myself for the past 25 years, "making it up as I go along."

And I learn something new every day- often right here.

 

 

Hello Forum 1st post =)

 

Thanks for this one, after reading the 1st three pages I was a little shocked on some of the comments. While I understand pointing the young poster towards school, forgive me for freaking out a little when the discussion when towards "needing" school. Us old farts need to dream and I don't dream of getting rich or going to school. I dream of making something out of almost nothing that is both useful and beautiful. So thanks for the down to earth (pun intended) post!

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Cass    5

etsy or ebay?....both, and 5-8 others if you can find them, and shops, galleries and shows

 

just my feeling maybe, but etsy, being a craft only site seems more classy, just a bit...i would not sell in a brick-and-mortar shop that also had car parts, toilet paper or toast with the face of Mary..so that carries over imo

 

good point made early in the thread, that in etsy, the more work you put the more you will sell, this is a good rule of thumb for 'real life' too. people like choices, and the impression of abundance gives a psychological motivation to buy

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Chris Campbell    1,087

Another venue that you could consider is:

www.wholesalecrafts.com

 

You have the option of online sales or live craft shows.

Doing this type of wholesale can get your work out across The US and Canada.

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johnb    0

This is not the reply you want to hear, and it is only my opinion but here goes ....

 

If you achieve a career in clay you will have about 40 years to make work that has to sell in order to bring in money to pay the bills.

 

As a 17 year old you have about 8 years to learn to learn how to make good work without caring about sales. Pottery that weighs what it should, works well when used, has good glazes that fit the clay body .... AND satisfies your creative soul.

 

At this point in your life you should be learning ... soaking in every bit of info you can find .... you should be going out to see pots in museums and galleries ... you should be visiting craft fairs to see what others are making ... you should be trying everything without worrying about whether or not it will sell. It's your window of opportunity.

 

So don't waste your time ... Soon enough your world will be ruled by "Will it sell and at what price?"

 

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Pres    896

This is not the reply you want to hear, and it is only my opinion but here goes ....

 

If you achieve a career in clay you will have about 40 years to make work that has to sell in order to bring in money to pay the bills.

 

As a 17 year old you have about 8 years to learn to learn how to make good work without caring about sales. Pottery that weighs what it should, works well when used, has good glazes that fit the clay body .... AND satisfies your creative soul.

 

At this point in your life you should be learning ... soaking in every bit of info you can find .... you should be going out to see pots in museums and galleries ... you should be visiting craft fairs to see what others are making ... you should be trying everything without worrying about whether or not it will sell. It's your window of opportunity.

 

So don't waste your time ... Soon enough your world will be ruled by "Will it sell and at what price?"

 

 

 

 

Things go full circle. When I was young, teaching hs taking graduate classes with no thought of selling I would dream of making something out of almost nothing that is both useful and beautiful. Then the years where I would try to sell because I had too many pots to just give away, and I felt they were really pretty good, and I needed supplementary income. These were busy hectic years working in the shop til late, teaching in the day, doing shows i the summer. Now, retired, introspective, with a few established orders, and lots of time I find that . . . I dream of making something out of almost nothing that is both useful and beautiful. That said, my aesthetic of the early years, and my aesthetic of today, aren't even in the same galaxy. Wonder why? :rolleyes:

 

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GEP    863

Hi everybody,

 

I've changed the title of this thread. Discussing Etsy vs. Ebay was really not the OP's intention, and the thread turned into a discussion about whether a beginner should be trying to sell their work.

 

I will start another thread for those who want to compare the different online venues.

 

Mea

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Cass    5

i think only the OP can answer this question...nothing sacred about becoming a young potter/ entrepreneur...if you can sell your stuff, then sell it, beats the heck out of working at a carwash (ahhem) or some mindless place like Mcdonalds.....go for it i say

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CGALVIN3    6

i think only the OP can answer this question...nothing sacred about becoming a young potter/ entrepreneur...if you can sell your stuff, then sell it, beats the heck out of working at a carwash (ahhem) or some mindless place like Mcdonalds.....go for it i say

 

 

 

Thanks for the support.

I've been selling my stuff since January from my home and through my website. Also through a local art co-op/flower shop and recently just got a request to be the featured artist of the month in a Gallery across the river in Washington as I live in Oregon. And you're right, it does beat working a fast food restaurant because I still am in school and play 3 varsity sports a year so I don't have much time to work. I get payed for playing with clay and doing something I love while I'm at school also! My mom also enjoys the support financially since she is a single mother. If people are going to buy my $150 vases faster than I can make them I must be doing something right.

 

Here's one of my recent sales

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I say go with it.

 

I haven't been doing ceramics long and I am loving it, people say I am doing really well. Though I know I am not on their level I too am interested in selling stuff. I'm in my second class, but I have spent a ton of time in open studio, so my 3 months might compare to some else's year and you might be in that same category...not much time in years but a lot of time in studio. (my current class has been 9 hours and I probably have 40+ hours in that studio)

Sure you can give stuff away and I do/have/am. But sometimes you need a few bills to fund further development. Clay isn't free and it's hard to spend $ on clay and end up with a huge pile of gifts and to keep going.

 

Some of the more experienced potters even said it 'I wish I could take back some of my early work'. But that's just because they are now better. But that stuff also shows their development, and quite possibly at some point someone will WANT to collect that early work.

My question to them would be "if you made that 'mistake' why can't other people?". Sure advice is great but everyone ALWAYS learns more from their mistakes than from someone else's.

 

Ceramics is art, art is beauty, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Your stuff looks pretty nice and I am sure many people would love to have a piece. I think I recognize it from Deviant Art too.

 

I do agree with the more experienced potters that it's probably best in the long run to just not sell everything, pick and choose. When you get a good piece sell it, when you get a 'bad' one give it away. (I'd put donations in the realm of selling, you don't want someone to get a free piece because of a donation and think 'this is horrible'... friends and relatives will be much happier to have them as gifts).

 

But at the same time why should you wait until it's all 'professional grade'... That's a very elusive term. Especially when experienced potters who have been doing it for many years continue to say they are still improving. 'Professionals' are a wide gamut from production potters who can make 50 mugs that all look the same and sell them for $10-20 a pop to people who make one of vases that cost thousands of dollars. So what if you start selling one of tree vases for $50. It might not be in the realm of the thousand dollar one, but is it less enjoyable to someone who bought it because the foot isn't perfect? (I have no idea how good your feet are ;) ). Is it less enjoyable to someone who can afford it at $50 but not at $1,000?

 

I think once you have forms/feet/glazes/etc... down and working good for you (and imo it seems you do) then why not see what you can do with it. I think if you sell it it should be nice all the way around (who wants to buy anything with obvious flaws and defects?) but I think that soley depends on you. You work, your focus, your skill. If you have experienced people like teachers that say you are really good (not your mom, they always think you're the best) then it's probably a good reference.

 

Now if you had asked about getting your work into the Guggenheim then I would probably say you'd want to really perfect your art before even trying. But to sell nice work at a decent price on a crafts website... completely different ballpark.

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So... let's see here........

 

Let's say we have a "talented" high school student or adult ed student who has taken a couple of lower level courses and has a knack for undersanding "law". Would we be saying that ........hey.... it is a good road for this person to be looking at now doing legal consulting for some fees

best,

 

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

 

 

Sorry, can't disagree more. Ceramics is not law, or medicine, or...

 

Law has serious legal issues and you could commit felonies by doing it wrong, or getting someone else in serious legal trouble.

Medicine too, you could kill someone very easily with a bad prescription or surgery (professionals do it ALL THE TIME).

 

Ceramics is clay pots, cups, etc... You are not putting someone else's life in jeopardy. Even if you seriously over charging them there's really no harm done. OK, maybe the glaze job is sloppy, maybe the rim is crooked. If someone likes it does it matter? Some professionals do that stuff on purpose.

 

When people have to exaggerate to such extreme examples it makes me feel that their argument is invalid.

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Cass    5

i would not use lawyer as a simile , uuggghh!

 

but

 

if it were a talented young guitarist, would anyone tell him to stay in his basement practicing for 8 more years? i think not...i hope not

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Chris Campbell    1,087

One of the major problems with this thread is that we cannot sit face to face and talk ... Writing puts out all kinds of false trails and people interpret what is said from their own experience which might not be anything close to what is being said. We need some pizzas, beers and sodas.

 

I still stand behind my advice to students ... Enjoy the ride of learning before you have to care about paying the bills every month. Most will not get another chance at such artistic freedom in the company of their peers.

 

Advice #2 is to smash the bad stuff ... Otherwise it just sits around reminding you of how bad you can be.

 

Keep the 'racers' as often as you can ... They are good company on a cold night. Sure you gotta sell some to pay the bills, but keep a few.

 

Advice #3 is don't sell anything you would not want to meet again in ten years.... because you will ...

They do come back to haunt you. :D

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Mark C.    1,800

Advice #3 is don't sell anything you would not want to meet again in ten years.... because you will ...

They do come back to haunt you.

This one is oh so true.

Mark

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Cass    5

1. hmmm

 

2. Yes, SMASH

 

3. Yes!...i love meeting old friends that you were happy with, always great

 

Beer, yes! chin-ching

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koreyej    1

Here's the vase I posted a picture of when I was putting it together, just pulled it out of the kiln today and took it to my customer :)

 

 

Nice! So glad this is becoming so successful for you!

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lcar    1

I remember I discovered my love for clay at the age of 29 and I thought, "WOW, I wish I would have discovered this passion I have for making pottery at a much younger age!". You are so fortunate Cody, not only have you discovered it, but sounds like you are taking full advantage of opportunities that I certainly wish I had. Reading these posts, it seems to me all the advice you are getting is well intended and coming from people's own experiences. It's up to you whether or not the advice applies to you and whether or not you should take it. One thing is for sure as a potter, there will always be critiques. They are usually difficult to hear, but at the same time they can be empowering if you listen to the right ones. I checked out your page and your teachers are right to encourage you. I'm excited to see what you will add to your talents with a degree in art and engineering.

 

about ebay. I sold on there for a while, quite a few years ago now. Our Canadian dollar was weak so I sold across the border to the U.S. It was a great profit. Canadian shipping prices went up and our dollar got stronger. My enthusiasm waned with the profits.

 

Leanna

 

(grateful now, that I discovered clay at the young age of 29, 20 years ago :)

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