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SShirley

Wishing for online sales venue

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SShirley    9

I wish there was an online sales venue just for potters. Like Etsy but without the collectibles and vintage stuff and bows stuck to flower pots. The ones I see now are so full of other stuff that it's hard to find the handmade pottery. The same for Art Fire and Shop Handmade.com.

 

Maybe Potters Council could set one up and help promote it. That would be a great benefit to get potters to join the potters council. They could charge a sales percentage like Etsy does, and a listing fee or whatever.

 

I thought I saw a site like that once a long time ago, but can't find it again. It had really nice photos from really professional potters.

 

This is what I had in mind, but it's for British potters. http://www.onlineceramics.com/our-artists/

We US potters need something like that.

 

Are you listening, Santa?

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Denice    243

I would be interested in that to, my husband bugs me off and on to open a online buisness to sell my work on, I looked at Etsy but it didn't feel right for my work. I really don't want to set up a buisness online, I owned and ran a retail store for 25 years had enough of that. Denice

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GEP    863

What I've learned from all the years of building both a graphic design business and a pottery business, people that succeed are the ones who are not waiting for "somebody" to create their avenues for success.

 

I also don't think it would be appropriate for Potters Council or ACerS to launch a commercial venture.

 

If there is a New Year's resolution for anyone who wants to improve their business, how about "it's up to me."

 

Mea

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OffCenter    82

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

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GEP    863

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists. It's pretty tough to get past their jurying, and it isn't cheap either. If you want to benefit from their marketing know-how, you have to pay for it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts. And before anyone conludes that I don't want to help other potters, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

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I wish there was an online sales venue just for potters. Like Etsy but without the collectibles and vintage stuff and bows stuck to flower pots. The ones I see now are so full of other stuff that it's hard to find the handmade pottery. The same for Art Fire and Shop Handmade.com.

 

Maybe Potters Council could set one up and help promote it. That would be a great benefit to get potters to join the potters council. They could charge a sales percentage like Etsy does, and a listing fee or whatever.

 

I thought I saw a site like that once a long time ago, but can't find it again. It had really nice photos from really professional potters.

 

This is what I had in mind, but it's for British potters. http://www.onlinecer...om/our-artists/

We US potters need something like that.

 

Are you listening, Santa?

 

 

What you have described already exists in one form--online galleries (like schaller, akar, charlie cummings, and others) have a variety of high quality ceramic ware... They are juried or invitational, and this is how they maintain a high standard of quality. When you open up a marketplace like Etsy and simply take small fees per listing you are depending on a quantity of listings for revenue and as a direct result your signal to noise ratio goes all to hell... If you are waiting for someone to open something like this for you, don't hold your breath. What you are describing is a full time job, if it is to be successful. If you are interested in starting something like this yourself, talk to someone who works as a developer with the application "Magento", it is a robust and flexible platform and could be configured to do the things you are asking... Also expect to spend thousands of dollars on development as well as design. The web gives the impression of ease, however developing sites, especially sites that would require as much interaction between the site and its users is costly and time consuming... This is reality, it shouldn't be a downer if you are committed to the concept, its just a basic idea of what you are up against. If you choose to peruse this, let me know, I can probably point you in some more specific directions and answer some general questions.

 

Best,

Michael

 

 

//EDIT//

 

If you are simply looking for a decent, non-cluttered online venue, you might try big cartel coupled with your own site... Its reasonably cheap and easy to use. The deal with any online store is that you have to figure out how to drive traffic to it--thats work. Ask Ayumi Horie about it, check her site out--she has been amazingly successful marketing herself and her brand online, but only through a ton of hours put in making it so... Big Cartel is a good off the shelf solution to those not technically inclined and interested in getting a relatively small amount of work online, but its still mostly up to the artist to figure out how to drive traffic to their site.

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Chris Campbell    1,081

I spent ten years selling online through a group site so I can honestly tell you it is not easy.

Why? ...

Ton of competition and your work gets buried and the pressure drives prices down.

Lotsa newbies who don't know how to price drive the price points down.

You have to have fabulous images or you won't even get a glance from a buyer.

The arguments over jurying, defining 'handmade' and 'original' are furious.

People sneak in imports and this does not help you sell hand made work for a fair price.

 

There is no simple solution or easy way to support yourself by making pottery ...

but I can almost guarantee you have a better shot using your imagination and skill.

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OffCenter    82

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Jim, are you volunteering to create the website, including the jurying of all the pottery, then keep it running on a technical level, plus managing all the artists? Or are you also hoping "someone" will do it?

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts, especially when they think "someone" is me. And before anyone conludes that I am ungenerous about sharing my knowledge, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

 

 

Mea, you're way out of line here! You're creating a straw man to argue with. First of all, you're not the only person here who understands business and the economy, etc. I've run several very successful businesses and the last one was an internet business that was based on a complicated business website that kept 2 tech people employed almost full time. Second, it is stupid of you to suggest that some of us are looking for people like you to set something up for us. I'm personally offended by that. All I said was that I appreciated the link SShirly posted and thought it would be nice if such a thing existed over here and suggested that it would have the be heavily juried to be as good as the English site. I appreciated the link because it is one I wasn't familiar with and at first glance seems to be far better than that kitsch palace called artfulhome.

 

So to answer your impertinent question, No, I'm not interested in creating the site or jurying the pots any more than I would be interested in reproducing this forum if it was taken down, but I am glad this forum is here, just as I'd be glad that a website like the English one SShirly posted existed if it existed over here. And, I can't for the life of me understand why you'd ask such an insultingly stupid question.

 

Jim

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OffCenter    82

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists. It's pretty tough to get past their jurying, and it isn't cheap either. If you want to benefit from their marketing know-how, you have to pay for it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts. And before anyone conludes that I don't want to help other potters, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

 

 

Well, at least you went back an edited the first paragraph.

 

Jim

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GEP    863

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists. It's pretty tough to get past their jurying, and it isn't cheap either. If you want to benefit from their marketing know-how, you have to pay for it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts. And before anyone conludes that I don't want to help other potters, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

 

 

Well, at least you went back an edited the first paragraph.

 

Jim

 

 

Jim,

 

I edited out the first paragraph before your heated response. Not because I didn't think it was a good point, but because I realized who I was talking to and figured you would get angry. I didn't want to start a fight.

 

As for your opinion about Artful Home, there's another reason why this idea needs to be picked apart ... because standards are so subjective. I don't like everything on Artful Home, but they do have some awesome pottery.

 

Mea

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SShirley    9

Mea,

 

It would have been so nice if you had simply suggested checking out Artful Home or Big Cartel and not come across as a condescending, preachy you-know-what. I have to admit that your initial response hurt my feelings, as I was not asking for you (or anyone else) to build my business for me. I was not asking for an easy way, and I don't understand why you would assume that I was. I had just seen that British site and wished we could have something like that here. That's all. I think you blew it way out of proportion, and especially after what you said to Jim. Nobody was suggesting that you personally jump right in and build a site. I do hope you were just having a bad day (we all have them) and that this is not typical of your personality.

 

Sylvia

 

 

 

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists. It's pretty tough to get past their jurying, and it isn't cheap either. If you want to benefit from their marketing know-how, you have to pay for it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts. And before anyone conludes that I don't want to help other potters, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

 

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Is there a way to delete this whole thread?

 

Shirley,

I think it would be a mistake to delete this thread--there are interesting questions and some useful answers here, despite extraneous content... It looks as though early on it was assumed that you'd come here to make a request rather than to simply air a musing... Unfortunate as this is, I'm guessing you're not the only one with that thought. For the sake of others interested, I'd hate to see this thread go away.

 

Michael

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GEP    863

Mea,

 

It would have been so nice if you had simply suggested checking out Artful Home or Big Cartel and not come across as a condescending, preachy you-know-what. I have to admit that your initial response hurt my feelings, as I was not asking for you (or anyone else) to build my business for me. I was not asking for an easy way, and I don't understand why you would assume that I was. I had just seen that British site and wished we could have something like that here. That's all. I think you blew it way out of proportion, and especially after what you said to Jim. Nobody was suggesting that you personally jump right in and build a site. I do hope you were just having a bad day (we all have them) and that this is not typical of your personality.

 

Sylvia

 

 

 

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists. It's pretty tough to get past their jurying, and it isn't cheap either. If you want to benefit from their marketing know-how, you have to pay for it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts. And before anyone conludes that I don't want to help other potters, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

 

 

 

 

Sylvia,

 

You did ask for the Potters Council to build the site for you.

 

My goal was to add some realism to an idea that didn't sound very realistic. I apologize that I did so in a way that sounded condescending.

 

Mea

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Bringing this back on topic.

 

If you are looking to sell your work online in the company of talented potters, the following sites do exactly that--contact them and see what their jurying process is, if they are looking for new artists at all:

 

http://schallergallery.com/

https://www.akardesign.com/

http://www.redlodgeclaycenter.com/

http://claylink.com/zen/

http://crimsonlaurelgallery.com/

http://www.mudfire.com/

I do not show and am not affiliated with any of these galleries, so I don't know what their commission structure is, or how they handle jurying. What I do know (as a potter and consumer of pots) is that they typically have REALLY nice pots for sale, and very little that I don't at least find technically impressive even if stylistically it isn't my cup of tea.

 

If you are looking to start your own online marketplace for your pots, check out the following resources:

http://bigcartel.com

http://www.shopify.com/sell/handcrafts

http://www.bigcommerce.com/

 

I do not use any of these myself, but know people who have and seem to like them--there are more and they all differ in features and pricing

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SShirley    9

Mea,

 

I most certainly did NOT ask the Potters Council to do it. I just suggested MAYBE and that it would be a good benefit for the membership.

 

Do you read these things before you fly off?

 

Sylvia

 

Mea,

 

It would have been so nice if you had simply suggested checking out Artful Home or Big Cartel and not come across as a condescending, preachy you-know-what. I have to admit that your initial response hurt my feelings, as I was not asking for you (or anyone else) to build my business for me. I was not asking for an easy way, and I don't understand why you would assume that I was. I had just seen that British site and wished we could have something like that here. That's all. I think you blew it way out of proportion, and especially after what you said to Jim. Nobody was suggesting that you personally jump right in and build a site. I do hope you were just having a bad day (we all have them) and that this is not typical of your personality.

 

Sylvia

 

 

 

Thanks, SShirley, for the link. It would indeed be great to have such a site on this side of the Atlantic. What makes it great is that it is highly juried. Any thing less than that and it would be like Etsy where you search for "ceramic mug" and the first 30 results are stuff that should embarrass a kindergartener.

 

Jim

 

 

Have you visitied Artfulhome.com ? This type of thing already exists. It's pretty tough to get past their jurying, and it isn't cheap either. If you want to benefit from their marketing know-how, you have to pay for it.

 

Sorry to be such a downer about this idea, it just sounds like some of you think there is supposed to be an easy way. I live in a busy metropolitan area with a good economy, and there are plenty of potters around here who are waiting for "someone" to make it easy. It drives me nuts. And before anyone conludes that I don't want to help other potters, I have a class of 10 advanced potters who I am working very hard to teach about the business side of pottery. I am certainly not telling them there are any easy answers. I'm also not teaching them that good venues don't exist.

 

Mea

 

 

 

 

Sylvia,

 

You did ask for the Potters Council to build the site for you.

 

My goal was to add some realism to an idea that didn't sound very realistic. I apologize that I did so in a way that sounded condescending.

 

Mea

 

 

 

 

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SShirley    9

Now THIS is a great post. Good information, presented nicely. Thanks!

 

Bringing this back on topic.

 

If you are looking to sell your work online in the company of talented potters, the following sites do exactly that--contact them and see what their jurying process is, if they are looking for new artists at all:

 

http://schallergallery.com/

https://www.akardesign.com/

http://www.redlodgeclaycenter.com/

http://claylink.com/zen/

http://crimsonlaurelgallery.com/

http://www.mudfire.com/

I do not show and am not affiliated with any of these galleries, so I don't know what their commission structure is, or how they handle jurying. What I do know (as a potter and consumer of pots) is that they typically have REALLY nice pots for sale, and very little that I don't at least find technically impressive even if stylistically it isn't my cup of tea.

 

If you are looking to start your own online marketplace for your pots, check out the following resources:

http://bigcartel.com

http://www.shopify.com/sell/handcrafts

http://www.bigcommerce.com/

 

I do not use any of these myself, but know people who have and seem to like them--there are more and they all differ in features and pricing

 

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clayshapes    9

Despite the reputation that Etsy seems to have in this forum (I know a lot of people here turn up their noses at it!), I've had a very good experience with it. I'm a novice, and use the site as a kind of testing ground for work I am doing in my home studio -- and am always pretty shocked that people find me, and buy my work.

It's a lot of work to keep up at Etsy site, and I'm not exactly making a living from it -- but I am most definitely making a profit, and more than supporting my "habit".

I'm just happy that I have people buying my work, all over North America, and even in Europe -- all unimaginable only a few years ago. To date I've sold 189 pieces of work.

It's served as an encouragement to me -- as a result of my limited success on Etsy, I decided to participate in a few craft shows this season, and did very well.

I put almost everything I make on Etsy -- sometimes even things I consider disappointments. I am often surprised when those disappointments sell quickly!

I guess it all depends on your attitude. But I encourage people to give it a try -- although if you try it -- be prepared to really take the time learn about Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and keep up with Etsy changes. Just listing and leaving will not produce much joy.

It's also advisable to work at directing target market traffic to the site -- counting on traffic just from within Etsy does work -- but bringing in your target audience is also very helpful.

Like anything, if you want it, you have to work for it.

I have tons of fun with it, though, and really appreciate that Etsy exists. I've only been making pottery a couple years -- but I don't think I would still be doing it, without Etsy.

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Chris Campbell    1,081

I think success on Etsy is very difficult, so congratulations!

 

With "X" number of items being posted every minute it is very hard to stand out and it can keep you online rather than in your studio ... but to be fair, any kind of marketing keeps you out of the studio as does bill paying, shipping, shopping etc.

Yes, many people do look down on it because it has a reputation for affordable handmade work and for showcasing a lot of "Buy/Sell" imports. The people I know who shop there are definitely looking for low prices and deals. Who knows ... in a couple years they might morph into something else and be the in place for capital A Art.

If success there is giving you the confidence to try out tougher venues ... Bravo for you.

 

... and for those who are misunderstanding each other in this thread ... take a deep breath and realize that you should be happy because the world did not end today and likely wont tomorrow either. : - )

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clayshapes    9

You are right, Chris, that a lot of people who shop on Etsy are looking for bargains -- and the number of resellers of factory-made items from the far east seems only to be increasing (sometimes it feels more like Ebay).

However, there are a number of quality pottery shops on Etsy too -- and lots of original work. And the customer base is diverse. There are young people, setting up homes, buying wedding gifts for friends etc. who may not be able to afford very high end pottery, or don't live near a center where there are good galleries, or who just like to shop in their pjs! They are thrilled to find genuinely handmade original work for sale there. Of course you have to slog through a lot of not so great stuff. But for many, it's all about the thrill of the hunt.

Of course, it's not for everyone -- but I follow a number of established, mid range and high end potters on Etsy, who also sell their work elsewhere, including their own websites -- but they maintain satellite stores on Etsy to capture that particular market. You can see by their sale numbers, posted on the left hand side of their shop page, that it is working for them. Some have thousands of sales! I'm providing a few links here for some of my favorite shops on Etsy, so others can get a taste of the diverse sampling available there:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/OneClayBead

http://www.etsy.com/shop/robertapolfus

http://www.etsy.com/...ementclaystudio

http://www.etsy.com/shop/madebymanos

http://www.etsy.com/...lauriegceramics

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Chris Campbell    1,081

Thanks for posting these links ... it will make it so much easier to find good work ... I am leading another business discussion at NCECA in Houston and I love to share the latest info on how to work these sites to ensure success ... this linkage will be one area I have to look into before March so I can talk about it.

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SShirley    9

Those are really nice links. Thanks, Clayshapes! I have searched for pottery on Etsy MANY times, and have never seen them. But I get frustrated after the first 20 pages or so, and give up. My concern is that if a potter can't find them, what chance does a non-potter have? That's why I think a site dedicated to just pottery would be so good. There are pottery collectors out there looking for pots to buy, and it would be easier if they didn't have to wade through all the other stuff. And I think we need to have a place for the middle tier of potters - not beginners but not the "fine" artists either. Just good well-made functional stuff with professional images.

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OffCenter    82

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