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SShirley

Wishing for online sales venue

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Yes, there are good potters on Etsy . . . and they are hard to find among the numbers. What concerns me more is that Ms. Bausch has sold nearly 900 items in 18 months, while the other seven potters mentioned have combined sales less than half that number.

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You needn't be concerned because someone whose work you don't approve of sells a lot of pottery -- If you want to sell a lot on Etsy, you need to do the right kind of marketing to bring people to your shop. Those who sell more, simply market better. And you should never be concerned that potters you don't necessarily like sell a lot. That's quite elitist and -- actually quite unkind, if I am reading your remarks correctly. Different kinds of people like different kinds of things -- I never begrudge someone else's success, just because I don't care for their work. I congratulate them.

I am frequently quite shocked at the snobbery here!

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Yes, there are good potters on Etsy . . . and they are hard to find among the numbers. What concerns me more is that Ms. Bausch has sold nearly 900 items in 18 months, while the other seven potters mentioned have combined sales less than half that number.

 

 

Its all about price it looks like-her stuff is affordable to most-she sells spoon rests and mugs for 20$

As noted above by Chris -folks looking for low prices.

Mark

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Hmm. Mark -- wasn't it you a few months ago in another thread extolling the virtues of selling $5 spoon rests at craft shows???? Why the disdain for people selling $20 mugs and spoon rests?

People are looking for pottery they like on Etsy. Some people don't have a lot of money to spend. I'm happy they are buying handmade, at any price they can afford, instead of going to Walmart.

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Yes, there are good potters on Etsy . . . and they are hard to find among the numbers. What concerns me more is that Ms. Bausch has sold nearly 900 items in 18 months, while the other seven potters mentioned have combined sales less than half that number.

 

 

Bingo! That's what's scary. But instead of pricing, it is the simple fact that a lot of people like clunky mugs glazed pink with the words "Sexy Beast" on them. As Tony Soprano would say, "Whaddaya gonna do?"

 

Jim

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Hmm. Mark -- wasn't it you a few months ago in another thread extolling the virtues of selling $5 spoon rests at craft shows???? Why the disdain for people selling $20 mugs and spoon rests?

People are looking for pottery they like on Etsy. Some people don't have a lot of money to spend. I'm happy they are buying handmade, at any price they can afford, instead of going to Walmart.

 

 

I was in jest on that as I did a photo tutorial on spoon-rests here not to long ago and have been very successful with affordable items.I have zero distain for selling at affordable prices. My whole market idea for almost 40 years (other than salt wares) is affordable items-It works as long as you know what it costs to produce them in time and money.I feel the deal is that it has to work for me the maker as well as my customer the buyer-If They cannot afford it than it does not work for me If I charge to much its does not work for them-its really a two way street.-but keep in mind these are production pottery items as I'm a production potter with all that baggage that goes along with that.

 

 

Etsy is not my thing as its more time than I have to weed thru it all its always been that way for me -but for some its working-I just do not know any of them. They must love to pack pots.

 

After todays packing of an 8 piece dinnerware set with all the fixings to ship to Az and a bunch of pots to New York City and a few scattered to other locations-all to ship just after x-mas when UPS stakes better care of the stuff. I'm not to keen on looking for more shipping business right now as it takes time to pack it right so it can get tossed. 900 boxes shipped sounds like a fair amount of pack up time-I'd rather make more pots and find another way to sell them.

One last note-I am not looking for internet customers to ship to as I have developed enough over the years to actually turn down shipping business near Christmas as its just to busy for me then. It does take lots of work no matter what market one develops either over the net or brick and mortar or art fairs.

Mark

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Hmm. Mark -- wasn't it you a few months ago in another thread extolling the virtues of selling $5 spoon rests at craft shows???? Why the disdain for people selling $20 mugs and spoon rests?

People are looking for pottery they like on Etsy. Some people don't have a lot of money to spend. I'm happy they are buying handmade, at any price they can afford, instead of going to Walmart.

 

 

Come on, Clayshapes! Why are you being such a snob? People can find what they like and what they can afford at Walmart.

 

Jim

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Well, at the risk of repeating myself ... might I quote the words of my forever idol ... P.T.Barnum ...

 

"Nobody ever went broke on bad taste."

 

The people who go broke are the ones who try to force their idea of good taste on others.

 

My other favorite quote came from a tennis coach who always pointed out that there was only one ball in the game so take care of it and don't worry about what the other players are doing.

 

Do what you gotta do ... sell where your work sells .... you have to pay your bills to stay in the game.

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Well, at the risk of repeating myself ... might I quote the words of my forever idol ... P.T.Barnum ...

 

"Nobody ever went broke on bad taste."

 

The people who go broke are the ones who try to force their idea of good taste on others.

 

My other favorite quote came from a tennis coach who always pointed out that there was only one ball in the game so take care of it and don't worry about what the other players are doing.

 

Do what you gotta do ... sell where your work sells .... you have to pay your bills to stay in the game.

 

 

Well said!

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I know everyone has been discussing pottery on etsy, but there is also sculpture on there too. Now if you think some of the pottery is bad imagine the sculpture. (I saw a severed finger sculpture). But, the thing is you never know who is gonna look on there. I had a shop and I posted things mostly for fun and to have an online presence of some sort. I had to put up some pieces up because of this Martha Stewart thing. I never expected to actually sell anything but I did. I'm not talking about some small animal sculpture, it was the largest piece I made and sold for five figures. So, yeah there's a ton of stuff and some of it stinks, but if I thought my work was too good for etsy I never would have sold it.

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Etsy is not my thing as its more time than I have to weed thru it all its always been that way for me -but for some its working-I just do not know any of them. They must love to pack pots.

 

After todays packing of an 8 piece dinnerware set with all the fixings to ship to Az and a bunch of pots to New York City and a few scattered to other locations-all to ship just after x-mas when UPS stakes better care of the stuff. I'm not to keen on looking for more shipping business right now as it takes time to pack it right so it can get tossed. 900 boxes shipped sounds like a fair amount of pack up time-I'd rather make more pots and find another way to sell them.

One last note-I am not looking for internet customers to ship to as I have developed enough over the years to actually turn down shipping business near Christmas as its just to busy for me then. It does take lots of work no matter what market one develops either over the net or brick and mortar or art fairs.

Mark

 

 

Very unlikely 900 boxes were involved. Many of her sales were probably for 2 or 3 or more items all in one box. My wild guess would be maybe 250 boxes. But, you have a point that packing pottery so that UPS and other carriers can't break it even when their trucks are full and they have to drag the boxes behind the truck is a big "con" in the pro and con of selling by show vs website.

 

But, if you shell out what's necessary to set up an efficient shipping operation then packing orders can be a snap. I'm talking never running around looking for the right size liquor box and packing material but having an overhead peanut dispenser, newsprint on a roll next to 3 different thickness of foam on rolls, next to 2 sizes of bubble wrap and all boxes new and flat in pigeon holes increasing in size from 4x4x4 for shot glasses to 40x40x40 double walls for bowls. With a good set up you can pull an order for 6 mugs out of your printer and have the labeled box ready for UPS to pick up in 10 minutes.

 

And, there's no putting price tags on pots, packing them up, packing your expensive display booth up, no driving 200 miles, no setting up your display booth, no unpacking your pots, no paying a fee for the space, no paying 40% commission, no having to ask kids to play frisbee somewhere else, no telling browsers that you don't have that mug in purple and that that price is for each mug not all of them, no explaining to a harried mother that you do expect her to pay for that pitcher her kid just broke, no sitting on your butt in a booth for 3 days, no dreading a windstorm and/or rain, no packing up pots for customers (Oh, wait, that is the one thing you do have to do with online sales too--sorry), no packing up pots that didn't sale, no taking down your display booth while trying not to get poked in the eye by the guy next door taking down his booth, no packing all that back in the truck, no driving 200 miles home, no unpacking the pots, no unpacking the display booth....

 

Jim

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I spent a little time browsing Ms. Bausch's etsy, blog, and facebook pages this morning. It appears that Etsy is her only selling venue, except that she attended one event this year called the Cotton Pickin Fair. From that perspective, someone who sold 900 under-$20 pots in the last 18 months is really nothing to get upset about. But it also indicates that she is clearly doing something right in terms of promoting her Etsy shop.

 

I bet all of the higher-end potters that have been mentioned here also involved with lots of more sophisticated venues, and working hard to keep their galleries happy. Etsy is probably a sideline or just a convenient shopping cart.

 

This sums up my feelings about Etsy... it's just a tool. How you use it is up to you.

 

Mea

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Etsy is not my thing as its more time than I have to weed thru it all its always been that way for me -but for some its working-I just do not know any of them. They must love to pack pots.

 

After todays packing of an 8 piece dinnerware set with all the fixings to ship to Az and a bunch of pots to New York City and a few scattered to other locations-all to ship just after x-mas when UPS stakes better care of the stuff. I'm not to keen on looking for more shipping business right now as it takes time to pack it right so it can get tossed. 900 boxes shipped sounds like a fair amount of pack up time-I'd rather make more pots and find another way to sell them.

One last note-I am not looking for internet customers to ship to as I have developed enough over the years to actually turn down shipping business near Christmas as its just to busy for me then. It does take lots of work no matter what market one develops either over the net or brick and mortar or art fairs.

Mark

 

 

Very unlikely 900 boxes were involved. Many of her sales were probably for 2 or 3 or more items all in one box. My wild guess would be maybe 250 boxes. But, you have a point that packing pottery so that UPS and other carriers can't break it even when their trucks are full and they have to drag the boxes behind the truck is a big "con" in the pro and con of selling by show vs website.

 

But, if you shell out what's necessary to set up an efficient shipping operation then packing orders can be a snap. I'm talking never running around looking for the right size liquor box and packing material but having an overhead peanut dispenser, newsprint on a roll next to 3 different thickness of foam on rolls, next to 2 sizes of bubble wrap and all boxes new and flat in pigeon holes increasing in size from 4x4x4 for shot glasses to 40x40x40 double walls for bowls. With a good set up you can pull an order for 6 mugs out of your printer and have the labeled box ready for UPS to pick up in 10 minutes.

 

And, there's no putting price tags on pots, packing them up, packing your expensive display booth up, no driving 200 miles, no setting up your display booth, no unpacking your pots, no paying a fee for the space, no paying 40% commission, no having to ask kids to play frisbee somewhere else, no telling browsers that you don't have that mug in purple and that that price is for each mug not all of them, no explaining to a harried mother that you do expect her to pay for that pitcher her kid just broke, no sitting on your butt in a booth for 3 days, no dreading a windstorm and/or rain, no packing up pots for customers (Oh, wait, that is the one thing you do have to do with online sales too--sorry), no packing up pots that didn't sale, no taking down your display booth while trying not to get poked in the eye by the guy next door taking down his booth, no packing all that back in the truck, no driving 200 miles home, no unpacking the pots, no unpacking the display booth....

 

Jim

 

 

 

This describes my shipping operation very closely with few tweeks like only two rolls of bubble wrap and one shed with flat boxes to go-

but a 15k show yet alone 3 of them will never replace shipping that much for me. I leave all the booth parts in Van as well as left over inventory for next show so its always ready-its all work no doubt how one does it but for me the moneys better selling directly to my customer-now when I'm to old and stove up I may try harder at shipping to strangers now I use ups to send my customers requests on more pottery-as most come from existing customer bases developed over 40 years in City's spread thru-out the west coast.

That keeps me shipping more than I would like and the money trickles in in small amounts compared to shows and gallery outlets.

One last note on What Chris said about taste-My mentor (now deceased) said that there is no accounting for taste-put your best 5 pots on a shelve for sale and watch as folks never buy them -then fill the shelve up with junk pots till the display is full and then pots good and bad will start selling-

This I learned in the 70's and is still true today.

Mark

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I agree with this. After having an online store for about a year (using BigCartel not Etsy), I would still rather load up my car with pots and a canopy and sell at a good festival. My packing/shipping operation is highly-functional too, because I do a lot of wholesale, but still I think that's a lot of work for one or two pots at a time. Doing shows is a lot of work, but still a lot more efficient.

 

Mea

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Hi,

I sell on Etsy. People do find me, although I don't have much pottery on there. I also sell at my brick and mortar shop, mostly leaf plates, and ornaments and buttons. Easy stuff. I have more experienced potters with big, gorgeous stuff in my shop. I noticed on the first link from etsy, the woman has a ton of keywords in her title - that used to be frowned upon on eBay and some other sites I sold antiques on a few years ago. Keyword spamming - that's what it was called! It cheapens the listing, in my view.

 

As for doing shows, if I never have to do a show, it will be too soon. I did some antique shows, and what a nightmare! Pack the truck, set up booth, unpack, smile nicely watching people come in who yell, "just looking!" like I am going to take their wallet out of their purse after wrestling them to the floor, and charge, charge, charge! Or pretend to believe them when they say, "I'll be back." Ugh. The worst of people in one place. Never again!!! For me, shows are a fate worse than death.

Nancy

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Admittedly, I've fast scrolled through comments. And seem to be a bit New Year-ish in my attention span! So be it.

 

Etsy, and other online craft sites demand a very high price from potters in that our shipping costs are buttock-clinchingly high. Sooo. Solutions. Create a line of work which can be mailed which is not sucking up those crazy mailing costs. It will be separate in the main from your usual suspects.

 

I have to acknowledge some of you do post on FaceBook etc. with your successes and well done to your arm! We're all terrifically envious and would you please have a think and post to this Forum some of the thoughts which drive you and your business? Much appreciated. I often see you on FaceBook but not on Potter's Council Forums.

 

Ways Forward: Have a very close look in your area and get involved with local Farmer's Market craft section. If you've a decent product and a good record of community involvement you might get yourself a weekly stall. Be careful what you wish for because it does get demanding during the run of the market season. Another strategy might be to volunteer to become a FM Board Member. Get your legs under the table. One way or t'other!

 

I really do apologize for not taking into consideration previous replies and horning in willy nilly to the conversation. But I do pride myself on a decent imagination. ;)/>

 

Always welcome your reply and continuation of this discussion online or off. You know how to contact me. I am also a Potter's Council Board Member.

 

Happy New Year. And as Simon Leach says: Keep on Practicing.

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Hi,

I sell on Etsy. People do find me, although I don't have much pottery on there. I also sell at my brick and mortar shop, mostly leaf plates, and ornaments and buttons. Easy stuff. I have more experienced potters with big, gorgeous stuff in my shop. I noticed on the first link from etsy, the woman has a ton of keywords in her title - that used to be frowned upon on eBay and some other sites I sold antiques on a few years ago. Keyword spamming - that's what it was called! It cheapens the listing, in my view.

 

As for doing shows, if I never have to do a show, it will be too soon. I did some antique shows, and what a nightmare! Pack the truck, set up booth, unpack, smile nicely watching people come in who yell, "just looking!" like I am going to take their wallet out of their purse after wrestling them to the floor, and charge, charge, charge! Or pretend to believe them when they say, "I'll be back." Ugh. The worst of people in one place. Never again!!! For me, shows are a fate worse than death.

Nancy

 

 

Nancy,

I agree 100%. Shows are very long days or weekends, and God help you if the festival title is food oriented. You are exactly right, the "I'll be back" makes you want to throw something sometimes.

I have never ventured into internet sales, which is one reason this thred is very informative. A friend of mine who is a painter, years ago first mentioned Etsy to me and suggested I give it a try. Her follow up note is it takes a lot of work to constantly keep your stuff on the front pages. Having never done this type of thing, I would be interested in knowing exactly how she went about this.

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