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Comparing Online Venues


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#1 GEP

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 10:50 AM

I've started a new thread for comparing the various online venues that are available to potters. We've had related discussions before, this one is mostly about the pluses and minuses of Etsy:

http://ceramicartsda...ence-for-sales/



Chris Campbell mentioned WholesaleCrafts.com in another thread. This website is for connecting handmade makers with wholesale buyers. I think this is the least expensive way to enter the wholesale marketplace, but it is best suited for lower price range items.

I'd also like to mention ArtfulHome.com. This website/catalog is highly selective and upscale. It was a printed catalog long before it was a website, they've been around for a long time. You can apply to work with them through JuriedArtServices.com.


For me personally, I decided to create an online store last fall, and I chose BigCartel.com. BigCartel provides a store and a shopping cart, but unlike Etsy it does not provide a marketplace. I decided I was not interested in any traffic that Etsy could bring, given that there are 100,000s Etsy stores. My BigCartel store is designed to look like my own website, not an Etsy store, and I don't mind the responsibility for driving my own traffic there.



If anyone has more to add to this topic ... questions, success stories, cautionary tales, etc ... please share them in this thread.

Thanks everyone,


Mea
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#2 Cass

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 12:44 PM

I've got a new site under construction, decided to make a line of sculptural urns and market them separately from our main group....been using the sitebuilder called Wix...they also have an e-commerce available and what really hooked me in were the clean, contemporary styles of the templates available, really like a gallery, fine art or photographer's site....great hing as well is the actual builder, very flexible and easy to use, intuitive, and instant publishing of changes of course...very good support so far too, instant help from the devs

then of course i have to promote it myself, thats the tough part, but, when sales are made i get 100% of the money, that to me is worth 'going it alone'

http://www.wix.com/

#3 Chris Campbell

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 01:46 PM

Cass ... would you care to share some ways you are thinking of promoting your website??? I would be interested to hear your ideas.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
www.ccpottery.com

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#4 Cass

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 03:30 PM

Cass ... would you care to share some ways you are thinking of promoting your website??? I would be interested to hear your ideas.


well, that is the part where i will be feeling my way along like everyone else

step one will be proper SEO (search engine optimisation) which, i gather, is an art and career all in itself, lol...wix seems to be all set up for this, keywords input , seo guides, the forum has a whole BIG section on seo, etc...

took advantage of a special they are running right now to get coupons for free Google Adwords , these are the links that pop up on the right when you search, pay-per-click, if that works i would consider buying some of those

facebook, twitter, google+ accounts for the biz (wix has a free facebook page setup too)...hey, i dont want to sound like a wix ad, not NOT affiliated !

mobile phone and tablet versions of the site (30% of people search mobile first, headed toward 50% in the next year, must optimise format for mobile, wix has this free)

etsy....(maybe ebay (kinda turns me off)

postcard and biz card printing to drive 'real' people to the online portal

last resort! only because i feel a bit creepy about it, is a direct mailing campaign of postcards or brochures to crematoriums...dont think i would actually go this route, because they will want their cut, maybe only as a wholesale setup, with minimum quantities

so far that's what i've thought of...look forward to others ideas and responses!

#5 GEP

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 11:20 PM

Sounds like a good, comprehensive plan to me.

Did you know there is a steady market for pet urns too?

Mea
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Good Elephant Pottery
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#6 Cass

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Posted 19 September 2012 - 11:51 PM

thanks Mea..typing it out was actually quite helpful

yes! will do some pet urns too eventually

the reason i'm starting this is that over the years we have sold many pieces that were bought with the intention for use as urns, not what we were thinking at all in the making, but they turned out to be very suitable...had several special orders for urns, and for 3 years at least have been kicking around the idea of an urn line




#7 JBaymore

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 08:36 AM

I too have had many requests for urns for both human remains and pet remains.

Do some research on the pricing that the "commercial" urns are sold for. It will ASTOUND you.

Don't underprice.

best,

..............john
John Baymore
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#8 Cass

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 09:46 AM

indeed, thats was a part of my thinking in splitting off a new line and site, so that prices could be....adjusted, lol

funeria dot com is a quality urn site, showing what the real artistic, highend urns can go for...1/4 their average prices would still be 2x my usual price for a piece

added my site under construction to my sig...just so people can see how these templates can look

#9 JBaymore

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 10:09 AM

indeed, thats was a part of my thinking in splitting off a new line and site, so that prices could be....adjusted, lol


As a part of my thought above, I was also making the point that as a general rule, I think too large a number of handcraft potters are underpricing their work in the marketplace. I "strongly suggest" ( you can read into that ;) ) my BFA students go to look at department stores and the like to look at the pricing of commercial tableware ceramics. They usually find it a real eye-opener as to the prices people rather readily pay for such mass-produced wares. And most mass-production is HIGHLY efficient as to the actual production costs.

And yeah.,.. I know Walmart has "cheap $h%@"... but it is exactly that "cheap $h%@".

best,

..................john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#10 Chris Campbell

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:27 AM

I tip toed into the funeral area and was astonished at how undeserved the market is and how eager they were for new sources. Pet urns go for bigger $$$$ than people urns ... Crazy! I got email requests for years afterwards. I Googled for funeral urns then contacted them all re supplying them. Great response.

Chris Campbell
Contemporary Fine Colored Porcelain
www.ccpottery.com

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#11 JBaymore

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:44 AM

Pet urns go for bigger $$ than people urns ... Crazy!


Yup... go figure. :rolleyes:

best,

.............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#12 Cass

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 11:57 AM

(i think we need another thread name-change, lol)

cremations have risen from 20% to nearly 50% of funerals, timed right along with the economic downturn....40% of those use an urn, display and burial urns.....60% scatter the ashes (stats from the industry)

that is a huge! market

pricing, huge topic that deserves it own thread if there aren't any yet...my own experience was, in '03, when the numbers werent adding up, we nearly doubled our prices, and sales went up not down...implied value. display context must follow the pricing as well

#13 JBaymore

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 12:40 PM

.................we nearly doubled our prices, and sales went up not down...implied value.


BINGO!
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#14 JBaymore

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 12:41 PM

(i think we need another thread name-change, lol)




Yup.... sorry Mea ;) .

best,

.............john
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#15 GEP

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 01:09 PM


(i think we need another thread name-change, lol)




Yup.... sorry Mea ;) .

best,

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



Not a problem, I enjoyed the insight on urns too. How about if anyone who wants to continue "urn talk" starts a new thread? And anyone who want to discuss online venues can continue here.

Mea
Mea Rhee
Good Elephant Pottery
http://www.goodelephant.com

#16 JBaymore

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 03:17 PM

So the burning question here now is..........



How much can a potter Urn?



:P
John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#17 Rebel_Rocker

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Posted 20 September 2012 - 04:32 PM

Pet urns go for bigger $$ than people urns ...


Makes sense to me. Look at the economy of it...

If someone is wealthy they get a very nice casket or even a tomb.

If someone is really poor they probably get cremated. Thus caskets would sell for more money, urns would be more likely to be the poor man's route.

For pets...
A poor man's dog gets buried in the backyard.

Someone with money to blow would give feefee a nice urn.

With the disparity in wealth that we are seeing these days the wealthy can afford to easily treat their pets to an expensive urn while the poor can barely scrape up enough to bury their dearly departed.

#18 Inge

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:18 PM

Hi, I am new to this site and quite frankly also "new" to urns!
Cass, I went to your website and looked at your sculptural urns, wow! so so beautiful
However (here comes my newbie question) how do you get the ashes in them? And what about lids?
I can see it in your raku urns but in the sculptural ones?
Hmmm feel a bit dum asking this question, thinking that the answer must be so very obvious that I just cant see the forest for the trees :-/

and now if I can just figure out how to post this as well .......

#19 Cass

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Posted 18 October 2012 - 02:46 PM

hi Inge....there is a hole!

#20 Red Rocks

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Posted 19 October 2012 - 10:20 AM


Cass ... would you care to share some ways you are thinking of promoting your website??? I would be interested to hear your ideas.


well, that is the part where i will be feeling my way along like everyone else

step one will be proper SEO (search engine optimisation) which, i gather, is an art and career all in itself, lol...wix seems to be all set up for this, keywords input , seo guides, the forum has a whole BIG section on seo, etc...

took advantage of a special they are running right now to get coupons for free Google Adwords , these are the links that pop up on the right when you search, pay-per-click, if that works i would consider buying some of those

facebook, twitter, google+ accounts for the biz (wix has a free facebook page setup too)...hey, i dont want to sound like a wix ad, not NOT affiliated !

mobile phone and tablet versions of the site (30% of people search mobile first, headed toward 50% in the next year, must optimise format for mobile, wix has this free)

etsy....(maybe ebay (kinda turns me off)

postcard and biz card printing to drive 'real' people to the online portal

last resort! only because i feel a bit creepy about it, is a direct mailing campaign of postcards or brochures to crematoriums...dont think i would actually go this route, because they will want their cut, maybe only as a wholesale setup, with minimum quantities

so far that's what i've thought of...look forward to others ideas and responses!



Cass:

I like the outline of your plan as well - whether it is for urns or for ceramics in general. A couple more thoughts:

You have to be very careful about the way you use Google Adwords. It is a very viable way to increase web traffic but you have to manage it carefully or you can run up a bill quickly. I use to be in marketing for high tech and we spent $50,000 to $75,000 a month on Adwords and had a person who managed the program as well. It was very successful but you have to consistently monitor and tweak it to get the best results. I wonder if anyone has ever written a guide to SEO for artists?

I did not see email marketing on your list of tactics. Implementing a "DRIP" campaign to your targeted URN market would be another way to generate new business, especially since this market appears to be underserved. DRIP basically means building a data base of targeted prospects, emailing them to get them to opt-in to your newsletter or some other form of consistent communication and then sending them emails every 4-6 weeks consistently. This is one of the most cost effective and simple ways of marketing once you do the grunt work to build your database.

Mea has posted in other places that she uses Mail Chimp to run her email campaigns. I am looking into this program now and it looks like a very nice tool.

Please keep us posted as you grow the digital aspect of your business as to what works and what doesn't.

Mike






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