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Bob Coyle

Can You Sell Both Apples And Oranges In The Same Show?

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Bob Coyle    113

I asked this question in some other posts, but it kind of got stepped over. I would like some feedback from some of you "vets" of many years of selling ceramics.

 

Given: two (or more) very different types of ceramic pieces in one show

 

Given:  one type of piece is a lot easier to make and seems to have about the same visual impact on unsophisticated buyers. Also it is 1/3 cheaper ( maybe $30 verses $80) . In this case multi step, incised, and electrofromed pots verses bisqued fake pit fired pots.

 

Question: Do you think most of the customers would buy the cheaper pots instead of the much more labor intensive pots. Should I even put them out in the same show?

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Kohaku    22

I'm still relatively new to marketing, and working out my own area of focus. To date, my booth has always had a mixture of raku and functional ware.  I think this is going to change, however, for a couple of reasons...

 

1) The price dichotomy is pretty confusing to people. It honestly seems to make browsers uncomfortable- they subconsciously want things to make sense.

 

2) I'm increasingly finding that a cohesive story is important. People look for narrative and integrity in your body of work... and shifting between a raku planter and a high fire mug disrupts the cohesion. Ties in to the 'less is more' concept... you present yourself better when your work doesn't evoke a flea market.

 

So- I think I'll be working with a Raku-only philosophy next year...

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GEP    863

 

Question: Do you think most of the customers would buy the cheaper pots instead of the much more labor intensive pots. Should I even put them out in the same show?

No, they will not buy the cheaper pot just because it's cheaper. But having two different styles of work will be confusing, so both of them will undercut the sales of the other.

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Mark C.    1,797

I can add that folks (customers) get confused by this-I have had one of a kind pots in my mix of a booth full of production pottery and 99% of people do not get it with out me explaining and since that's not part of my plan I gave that up.After so many years in pottery sales you will get this down-for me it took a lot of time learning-most of the 70's and some of the 80's.

In my case it was salt ware one of a kind work. I have over time and only about 2-4 years at a show have small display of salt ware (not production work) on a separate display that looks completely different with a nice clearly simple statement on salt ware. This does work and although its a very much slower sale it does work.Even with this some do not get it.

It has not taken away from my production work sales.I only do it when I have a surplus of salt work which takes some years to collect for me.

Mark

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Chris Campbell    1,081

I agree with Cass here. Confuse the customer and they go elsewhere. Give them a reason to walk away to "decide" and they are gone. They will likely also waste your time while they are not buying by asking questions designed to give them an exit plan.

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Mmmm....good thread

 

....had similar quandry earlier this year.....resolved by my down-to-earth, very practical teenage son who at the end of a very poor day's sales said 'Mum, your work is gallery work not market work, you're never going to sell anything in places like this'......blunt but factual.

 

I was mixing up my stall 'message' to the buyer by having my fine, labour intensive and painstakingly made bonechina/porcelain with suitable pricing, in a market that although promoted itself as 'designer/handmade' allowed relabelled, re-appopriated imports in as well. My work priced from $35-250 the imports as low as $5!!!

 

Conversation with a lampwork bead jeweller next me with astronomical sales that day revealed that she understood the mindset of her 'market' customers and made very affordable costume jewellery based on glass and semi precious beads sourced from a Chinese supplier as her 'bread and butter' range. Her beautiful lampwork beads were set in a seperate display to the side with appropriate information and pricing but only a very few people enquired.

 

I have since created a far less labour intensive 'bread and butter' product and priced it all under $50....our last stall at that particular market was FAR better! ....and I have a very small selection of my gallery work with NO prices displayed next to it with just the website and signage about individual commissions and my gallery's contact....if interested they speak to me.

 

My 'gallery' work now sits in a gallery where it better belongs and sells for the prices I want for it, the gallery and I both profit from a decent price for decent work.

 

Your high end work deserves a high end setting that helps clarify to an informed buyer the time, energy, expertise and commitment that went into making it.

Your affordable 'faux' work is there to delight your market buyers and bring in some kind of steady income stream.

 

.....but don't mix the two in one place.

 

Let us know what you decide.

 

Irene

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Bob Coyle    113

Lots of good comments.  I will be in a small, local, arts and crafts fair this coming week end. I will have only the "faux" pit fired pieces I made. I am going to price them from $40-$60. I will describe them as "flame fired ware". I don't want to misrepresent them to people who want real pit fired ware. It will be interesting to see if they sell. This is a rather small market, so even if I sell only a few it would indicate that this would be a viable technique.

 

I'll post pictures and let you know how it worked out...

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Bob Coyle    113

I did a small show in the local shopping center here in Eldorado( $10 for a space ...10AM to 4 PM).  I tried out selling my faux pit fired pots. I only sold three pieces but the show was very local and not a lot of people were looking for pit fired ware as stocking stuffers. Judging from the comments of other venders, there was not much craft stuff going out the door.

 

So here is what I learned...

 

1. The pieces can stand on their own as far as eye appeal. The people who bought them didn't know what a pit ( or saggar ) fired pot was supposed to look like

2. the $30-$60 range was probably OK for this type of buyer. The three pieces I sold were low end. No $60 sales.

3. The awareness level of what "pit fire" is all about is much lower than I expected from people in the Santa Fe area. With a HUGH Southwest/American Indian     influence, I figured everyone had heard about "pit fired" pots... Wrong... Only one of the people who stopped by knew about the process. He did not buy.

 

I think that the experiment was a success. I sold as much as I expected for this little show. It was fun playing with the chemicals, but I don't think I will take it much further.  Chris was right when she said that I probably already knew that I would continue with the my ceramic mixed media and electroformed pieces.

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jolieo    45

Hi I love marketing! Originally from NYC , so. I have been a buyer and always an avid lover of handmade anything. Recently went to the big deal semi annual art show. Probably had 20 potters of various levels there. The organizers had done a poor job cuz at least 5-8 of them had production mugs that looked very similar. Hard to sell when it doesn't seem special!

But one had brought her wheel , and that drew a lot of viewers in. Another had video going of the process. I know in New York if someone could buy something that they felt had a complicated process that they could brag on ( this could be drugs to food to haircuts to handmade) they would buy to feel trendy or special. I believe educating the public about the how is important to a sale for any artcraft. The key is to do it w/o spending all day talking cuz one burn's out. So I like demos and videos! Jolie

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Wyndham    98

Both apples and oranges sell if the people want and can afford them, but I doubt you can give a gold bar away at a flea market.

Wyndham

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TJR    359

I just had this problem. Coming off a two day sale in my studio. It was a gallery walk involving 9 artists. It was a bitterly cold weekend but I still had good sales. I had made a series of slab pots that were individually press moulded and decorated like little paintings.I had hurt my right hip last year so wasn't throwing. I looked upon this work as one-of-a- kind never to be repeated, as I'm back throwing. The prices reflected this and were 30% higher. No one even looked at them.

I have a gallery show coming up, so I guess I'll try them there. I really liked making them and am disappointed that nobody saw them as valuable.

TJR.

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Bob Coyle    113

 

I believe educating the public about the how is important to a sale for any artcraft. The key is to do it w/o spending all day talking cuz one burn's out. So I like demos and videos! Jolie

 

During studio tours I have an ongoing demo of the electroplating process that is the last step in making my pieces. A live demo is worth a thousand words but I still have to explain what is going on. This has sold a few pieces that otherwise would have not been understood. I find It is hard for even sophisticated ceramics buyers to take one step further than their knowlage comfort level and buy something that is not familiar to them. The demo helps do it.

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