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#41 stephsteph

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Posted 21 August 2013 - 10:49 AM

thanks, Jim. Hi chris, nice to be back. Trying to make it a habit to check in more often!


Stephani Stephenson

Revival Arts Studio

http://www.revivaltileworks.com

 


#42 MikeFaul

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:27 AM

But doesn't the job define which one?

 

Two part time employees in my book is not remotely the same as one full time employee and to the company it really matters. They both have their place, pros and cons and considerations but if you have not determined which you need then I guess I would suggest a lot of thought into that before hiring and making a false start.

 

One of the most glaring things that always jumps out quickly between the two is where you as a company stand in the food chain of commitment when life makes it necessary for an employee to make some hard choices. 

 

Also, part time is generally, obviously not always, not a meant to be a perm situation and that means likely losing someone down the road that you have invested a lot of studio time into and having to start over with their replacement. This could be in 6 weeks, 6 months or 6 years. If often hurts the most if its 6 years.

 

Just some thoughts, not disagreeing with anyone.

It's perfectly OK to disagree with me, I take no offense to differing points of view. In the end a healthy mature discussion will optimize the final result... You make some good points Stephen. Yes, part timers tend to have a MUCH higher turnover rate, and that rate is costly. Recruiting and on-boarding employees costs money, no question. But, that needs to be balanced against other needs of the business. In this case a start up with three lines of products targeting three different target markets. So, that ripples through everything from design through production to marketing. Part of that ripple is the need for various skill sets. For example, I need help with surface design and production pottery and studio management and retail sales and maintaining marketing copy on social media and and and... My thinking was two part timers gives me a the opportunity to diversify skill sets and test what works.

 

I can always move part timers to full time status if that's in synch with the individual's life goals. But, it's much harder to move full timers to part time status without instant turn over. The volatility of part timers is certainly a business risk. But, then so is putting all of one's proverbial eggs in one basket, which would be the case with a full time production potter. What happens if they can't help with all of the "and's"? There's no budget to expand the work force! An alternate risk. By adjusting the marketing plan and tempering production I can spread the labor force over more functional areas. 

 

One thing I've found in business that always has remained true is this: "There is more than one path to the finish line!" And, that means both strategies would probably work over the long haul. It really boils down to which of the risks does any business owner believe is more likely to manifest themselves and of those, which is he or she most able to tolerate and manage through. 

 

To stand anywhere in the food chain of commitment, we have to make a profit... Otherwise we'll stand nowhere... And, can commit nothing to anyone...



#43 MikeFaul

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 07:44 AM

As someone who DOES support myself 100% with my work, i would like to increase respect for the profession and the craft enough where people who are serious about making it their vocation are able to make a living at it. the arts are a tough go, because  there are many part timers, volunteers, people who have other sources of income,but when it comes to really running a business,really making a go of it, you need to be dedicated. It is honorable, skilled work, which deserves decent compensation.

when we work for a pittance we make it tough for everyone because we inadvertently play into the devaluation of our work, our  field.

I know we all do what we can do and there isn't always a lot of choice, but i ask people to consider such things when they agree to work for next to nothing or sell their wares on the cheap.

That is why i respect entrepreneurs who do want to hire someone, or contract with a professional full time potter, and i hope they they are able to find someone who will in turn, do well for them, to the benefit of both.

Well this is a great post, and I agree completely with the sentiment. It also hints at a big reason I'm investing in this business. I was in a gift shop, operated by the National Park Service and picked up several so called ceramic products, then textiles... Not a sing piece was made in America. Someone posted on this forum a photo of a distiller's packaging (ceramic jugs) being hand made by a potter. The packaging had a texture that read "Made in the USA", but the potter was in Europe. Sad... 

 

I believe that craftsman, artists, and artisans work hard, smart, and advance design faster than any corporation can. Not only that, they will provide a level of service corporations won't even consider providing. I had customer walk in my studio last week because we just  hung our signage and she was wondering if we were officially open. While we weren't we had conversation about this topic and what we'll be offering. At one point I told her, and if you buy a set of dinnerware from us, and you break a piece just bring me the shards for our garden and I'll replace it... Her mouth dropped open... She said, "I'm telling all my friends about this place, taking a picture of your sign, and posting your contact information on my Facebook page... You'll get my business and then some! Then she said the most remarkable thing... "I don't think I can call a factory in China and get a replacement in exchange for my broken plate."

 

So, our creativity extends beyond the form, and it makes a relationship with us much more powerful and meaningful to the customer if we allow it to do so... That commands a premium price, which become inconsequential in light of the overall value of the relationship. I've dedicated myself and this business to making this case, to selling the idea that handmade... locally made... craftsmanship matters. I can't sell it if I don't believe it, and if I believe it I have to pay quality wages to quality people. I suspect, not everyone will buy it, but enough will. No way will I pay people poorly, part time or full time... I pay to the level I respect, and I respect the people I hire immensely.  They make the value equation work. 



#44 Stephen

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Posted 22 August 2013 - 09:55 AM

Mike, you sound like your putting together a nice shop to work in and buy from, I wish you the best with your studio.



#45 bciskepottery

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Posted 24 August 2013 - 08:18 AM

Congrats . . .

http://herndon.patch...owntown-herndon

#46 AtomicAxe

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Posted 27 August 2013 - 05:12 PM

I know I'm a little late to this discussion but oh well.

 

As someone who has hired assistants and has been an assistant .. I can tell you that this is the way to go.  the positives are better than an indi-potter.  for pay, just make sure you're flexible ... the more tedious and menial ... the faster you'll get turnover regardless of pay. but be prepared to pay a decent rate for someone to live off of AND pay off their school debts.  



#47 Stephen

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Posted 28 August 2013 - 09:35 AM

Mike, be sure and let us know which direction you go and how its working out. How is the launch prep going?



#48 MikeFaul

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:16 PM

Thanks... Didn't want to post the link cause I didn't want to be seen as "doing bidness"  :)



#49 MikeFaul

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Posted 29 August 2013 - 04:43 PM

Mike, be sure and let us know which direction you go and how its working out. How is the launch prep going?

Just to give you guys an update...

 

I good friend of mine, now retired, who has been helping to get the studio open has agreed to help out. I was hoping this would happen. For now he would like to work on a piece rate with all work being done in our studio on our equipment. He's using his own hand tools. So, I'm OK with this as it gets us over the hump, I've known him for a couple of years, and he's been throwing pots for more than 30 years or so. He can pretty much throw anything blind folded doing a handstand while using a kick wheel... Amazing talent. 

 

He's also working out the kinks in some of my designs. For example, I had this pilsner shaped beer cup, and we were having all sorts of trouble throwing it consistently. Stephen came up with the idea of throwing it in two parts and the results are fabulous. So, I figure I'll bump up the piece rate to account for these "extras" he brings to the table. 

 

To figure a piece rate, I'm going by a per hour production estimate. This varies from form to form. A cocktail cup will be high volume, the pilsner very low volume. So, it would seem the piece rate needs to vary by design. So, if I use a 30.00 / hour target wage. (25.00 + Employer Tax Contributions + Goodwill % + Extras %), I divide that by the target per hour product rate for each form to get the piece rate. For example, the pilsner has a low production rate, about 10 pieces per hour, when you account for the two parts and time to join and fettle the seam. So, $30 / 10 pieces gives a piece rate for that form of about $3.00. If he gets the form down and produces 15 an hour, he makes more, fiddles around... He makes less. All in all, my labor is a fixed cost per piece.

 

The good news is, he's already at the wheel and working away. He nows my business plan and knows the design very well. Plus he's a fantastic carpenter and helps out with studio construction on the side as long as I buy him lunch! He says he's an unemployed veteran who works for food... Too funny...

 

Anyway, I'm hopeful he may join the team as a regular employee, but just in case I'm still looking to hire someone. But, with Steve on board, I'm going to shift the emphasis in one of the positions and hire a pure, part-time, graphic designer / intern who can help with surface designs. The other position will be all production professional potter. This way, should my friend decide to go tour the Grand Canyon, I won't be left in a lurch and he can be free to enjoy his retirement. On the other hand, should he join us, then all of my bases are covered. I can have someone doing the hand-building portion of production while two people are throwing with the hand-builder supporting the glaze application as well.

 

I've sent the job posting to local teaching studios and have not received any inquiries. I'm moving on to colleges and classifieds now...






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