A member asked that I update y'all on our grand opening efforts... So, we had our Grand Opening celebration on October 10th, 2012. We are now officially open for retail Tuesday through Friday from 10:00 AM through 6:00 PM and Saturdays from 10:00 AM through 5:00 PM. Our website launch has been delayed to coincide with the launch of our Heritage Collection on November 8th.
Here are some links to articles and photos:
Good photo's here, including my bald head! LOL, check out our signage! It's already working as we're getting walk in traffic about twice what we projected. We have $4,000 in pending sales since the 10th and should land our first commercial account (a local cafe) this month:
In the main photo, that's Steven (Master Potter 30+years from Hawaii), My beautiful wife Rose, Me, Lisa Merkel (Herndon Mayor), Members of the town council and Council for The Arts. And, Olivia, our entry level product potter.
Another local article:
Photos in the Herndon Connection make me look kinda angry! LOL...
I understand we made the town cable TV channel too, but I don't have a link for the video.
We invested heavily in our signage, all of it was sculpted by hand. And, it's been a huge draw. People stop and come if off the street just to see what we're all about... I've had people attending parties come and tell us that folks are saying we have the best looking signage in town.
We still haven't launched the primary tactics include in our marketing plan. Those will start to roll out Veteran's Day weekend through Christmas, with messaging specific to Thanksgiving, Hanukkah, and Christmas.
Things that worked really well for the event:
Product Displays, we used two china cabinets and I wired them with LED tape that emitted a bright day-light white light. They really showed off the dinnerware we had on display. We sold a number of platters and serving bowls. We also provided platters and condiment bowls to the caterer so all food was served on our wares.
The bar was equipped with a mass of swizzle sticks we made as drink stirs. We extruded these out of Standard 266, added our logo on a thumb hold, and dipped the other end in glaze. These functioned as party favors as well.
Catered food, everyone raved over the food and it was all the buzz for about 3 days or so, people still come up to me around town and compliment me on the catering. This also kept me out of the kitchen and allowed me more time preparing product for the event.
Design Studio, we added a design studio, where we will work on custom designs. Friends decorated this as a dining room complete with a chandelier, table set with one of our dinnerware designs, and plates on a wall rail. We even had a bar cart equipped with our wares on it.
We had between 150 and 175 people come through on opening night.
What didn't work so well:
The event manager didn't have a rain contingency plan, and it poured... The ribbon cutting photo doesn't show it, but it was raining.
The Heritage line isn't ready for prime time yet, but it got photographed, and a couple of pieces walked off the display stand, go figure... Someone would take a shot glass with a lousy glaze job and leave a $200 perfectly formed and glaze platter... Really?!? I think we should have held this back from the public eye.
We could not get our retail POS system online in time for the opening, so we decided not to take sales requests at the event. We lost about 10 or 12 sales, one rather large. She may come back and place the order, but I never like to loose control of the conversation when someone is ready to buy. It's so much harder to finalize a purchase after the person leaves your space. For this reason alone, if I had it to do over I would delay the event until we could take people's money and I would not have listened to the marketers' advice not to take orders.
We tried to get a large three pot fountain up and running for the event. I design a fountain that was to stand 4 feet tall. A tall vase form, bottle form, and a lower bowl form. Each had differing surface designs united by a common glazing scheme. There are photos of the wet clay forms on our facebook page. Anyway I was exhausted having stayed up for some long hours glazing and firing works for the opening and we were trying to glaze the bowl form. We decided to use a wheel outside because the form was too large for the spray booth.
I got the first layer of base glaze on the form and was setting down the spray gun and picking up my second glaze gun when my foot hit the foot pedal. The next thing I saw was a sight out of Roswell NM... The bowl spinning and flying through the air, coming to a not so soft landing on the sidewalk. No bowl, no fountain... But, we may have a fountain sale based on the two forms we did finish... I think there may be photos of those forms in the articles above.
I'll probably post more as I think of it... I'm off to run some glaze tests...