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Packaging Up Purchases At Art Fairs


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#21 JBaymore

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Posted 09 December 2013 - 11:25 PM

 At their studio sales, people are lined up around the block like at a movie premiere. They have have been doing it a long time, and I have never seen a wooden box or a souvenire tile. People are there for the pots, not the packaging.

 

TJR .... any idea what is the typical average price point of the objects these folks are selling?  (Not the average ticket... the price of the average single items.)

 

best,

 

.......................john


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Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

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#22 clay lover

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:54 AM

I agree with that thought. When the buying frenzy starts, usually from 1-2:30, there is no way I could do more fancy wrapping, but I am going to get nicer bags.

#23 bciskepottery

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:30 AM

"At their studio sales, people are lined up around the block like at a movie premiere. They have have been doing it a long time, and I have never seen a wooden box or a souvenire tile. People are there for the pots, not the packaging.

TJR."

When I read this, I thought back to the recurring advice Mel Jacobsen, the moderator of the Clayart forum, gives to be successful: draw a radius 50 miles from your home and that is the only marketing area you need to focus on, build a good email/mailing list, and get to know your customers. And I think TJR's post reinforces that view. Obviously his group has built a core of customers who appreciate their work and come to shop. I find I have a growing number of repeat customers . . . folks who come back to buy something each year at a fair or show and folks who come back and tell me how much someone liked the pottery item they bought from me as a gift. (And I kick myself every fair for not starting that mailing list.)

It also brings me back to sites like Etsy . . . where someone in California orders a customized dog bowl from a potter in Georgia. There are likely plenty of potters in California who could have filled that need; there just needs to be a better way of making customers in our own communities and neighborhoods more aware of the potters (and other artists/craftsmen and craftswomen) in their localities. No need to ship across the country (adding to cost and impact on environment); order it on-line and pick it up locally. We encourage buying from local farmers; why not a pointer system to connect local customers with local potters?

#24 Chris Campbell

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 09:52 AM

[/quote]
Said the woman who dumps her used clay scraps in her yard!
Everyone gets a smile and a story. If they wish, they get a professional business card with all my data on it. I carefully hand them the Safeway bag,with reverence. Man, did I go through the newspaper!
TJR.[/quote]

Thanks for my morning smile! I live in North Carolina which means my backyard is pretty much 98% clay anyhow ... I cannot dig down more than an inch to hit clay no matter where I dig. I think of myself as Eco friendly when I give a little bit back!

Glad you went through all that paper ... Sales are fun.

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TRY ...   FAIL ...  LEARN ...  REPEAT


#25 nancylee

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:02 PM

[/quote]
Said the woman who dumps her used clay scraps in her yard!
Everyone gets a smile and a story. If they wish, they get a professional business card with all my data on it. I carefully hand them the Safeway bag,with reverence. Man, did I go through the newspaper!
TJR.[/quote]

Thanks for my morning smile! I live in North Carolina which means my backyard is pretty much 98% clay anyhow ... I cannot dig down more than an inch to hit clay no matter where I dig. I think of myself as Eco friendly when I give a little bit back!

Glad you went through all that paper ... Sales are fun.

 

Chris,

My part of the world is totally stone, with some sand mixed in, so I dump my clay scraps behind the cottage we built on sand. It is keeping it from collapsing down the hill!!!

 


Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
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#26 nancylee

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:05 PM

"At their studio sales, people are lined up around the block like at a movie premiere. They have have been doing it a long time, and I have never seen a wooden box or a souvenire tile. People are there for the pots, not the packaging.

TJR."

When I read this, I thought back to the recurring advice Mel Jacobsen, the moderator of the Clayart forum, gives to be successful: draw a radius 50 miles from your home and that is the only marketing area you need to focus on, build a good email/mailing list, and get to know your customers. And I think TJR's post reinforces that view. Obviously his group has built a core of customers who appreciate their work and come to shop. I find I have a growing number of repeat customers . . . folks who come back to buy something each year at a fair or show and folks who come back and tell me how much someone liked the pottery item they bought from me as a gift. (And I kick myself every fair for not starting that mailing list.)

It also brings me back to sites like Etsy . . . where someone in California orders a customized dog bowl from a potter in Georgia. There are likely plenty of potters in California who could have filled that need; there just needs to be a better way of making customers in our own communities and neighborhoods more aware of the potters (and other artists/craftsmen and craftswomen) in their localities. No need to ship across the country (adding to cost and impact on environment); order it on-line and pick it up locally. We encourage buying from local farmers; why not a pointer system to connect local customers with local potters?

I would love to see a way to do this on etsy, etc. So far this holiday season, I have sent to Australia, California, Massachusetts, Missouri, Louisiana, North and South Carolina, and only one mug to NY. Surely these people have potters in their area, and I am sure some of my local neighbors are buying from potters cross country!!! Ebay had a function where you could search by how close the seller was to you -I wish etsy had something like that!

Nancy


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Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#27 nancylee

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 04:07 PM

"At their studio sales, people are lined up around the block like at a movie premiere. They have have been doing it a long time, and I have never seen a wooden box or a souvenire tile. People are there for the pots, not the packaging.

TJR."

When I read this, I thought back to the recurring advice Mel Jacobsen, the moderator of the Clayart forum, gives to be successful: draw a radius 50 miles from your home and that is the only marketing area you need to focus on, build a good email/mailing list, and get to know your customers. And I think TJR's post reinforces that view. Obviously his group has built a core of customers who appreciate their work and come to shop. I find I have a growing number of repeat customers . . . folks who come back to buy something each year at a fair or show and folks who come back and tell me how much someone liked the pottery item they bought from me as a gift. (And I kick myself every fair for not starting that mailing list.)

It also brings me back to sites like Etsy . . . where someone in California orders a customized dog bowl from a potter in Georgia. There are likely plenty of potters in California who could have filled that need; there just needs to be a better way of making customers in our own communities and neighborhoods more aware of the potters (and other artists/craftsmen and craftswomen) in their localities. No need to ship across the country (adding to cost and impact on environment); order it on-line and pick it up locally. We encourage buying from local farmers; why not a pointer system to connect local customers with local potters?

When I had a retail shop, I did something like this: I bought a mailing list, and send postcards. I matched what I thought would be people who wanted handcrafted goods, and bought the list of like 1000 people within 25 miles of me. My sales always did great!

 

This is a thought if I am doing a local show - get a list, and mail it with the show info, or mail the show postcard. I have to say, this was a ton of work, but once I bought the names on labels, it was a lot easier. And it did cost me about$400, which might be worth it to get your name out there, and to have people come to the show. Something to think about, for sure.

nancy


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Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#28 TJR

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:34 PM

 

Holy crow!

I talked to my buddy Steve where I fire my work. He was also in this studio crawl this weekend. He uses a roll of unprinted newprint for wrapping and a Safeway bag. The co-operative gallery where 11 potters sell their work [which he is involved with,as a member] use newsprint and boxes of different sizes. But at Christmas and during their sales, no one has time to do all that fancy stuff. You get your purchase in a bag after it is wrapped in unprinted newsprint. At their studio sales, people are lined up around the block like at a movie premiere. They have have been doing it a long time, and I have never seen a wooden box or a souvenire tile. People are there for the pots, not the packaging.

TJR.

 

Hi,

I am glad this works for these potters, but I think that I will use every advantage I can get!! And I want to know where these people lined up for the pots are!? We have lots of good potters where I live, and none of them have anyone lined up to buy anything. They really, really push hard to make sales and make a living at this. I know they would be green with envy having people lined up around the block to buy their stuff. Where is this??? I'm going to spread the word! :)

 

Honestly, if you are successful with a plastic grocery bag, and you obviously are, that is great. I think I will need more branding, as I am newer to this. I don't have a reputation, I don't have repeat customers. I do have some marketing savvy and am getting better and better at making pottery. But I am definitely going to need to push the marketing. 

Nancy

 

Nancy;

I lived in Upstate New York when I was going to grad school. Lots of potters there, but an economically depressed part of the country. I live in a city of half a million people, .I have developed a following, I email customers and my boys hand-bombed over 5,ooo flyers in every mail box in the neighbourhood.They each got paid $180.00 for this @ $10.00 an hour. This is our third year doing this studio crawl with 10 artists in a small area of the city. It was hugely successful. I apologize for ruffling any feathers. I had tons of fun. Of course people will do what they feel their product deserves. I would rather pay my sons to deliver a high quality professionally designed brochure than spend money on a bag.

TJR.



#29 clay lover

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 06:50 PM

Nancy, how did you buy a mailing list for your area that would have a high % of listees that were interested in pottery, or craft, or gifts? Or did you shotgun the area? Stamps can get $$$$ for a random mailing.

I'm wondering, would the right kind of ad effort on the part of the potter turn a show that otherwise is a waste of time into a productive show, with people that came to the otherwise ho hum show just to buy the pottery?

#30 jolieo

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 08:33 PM

Hi I have gotten a post card for a local bead show , twice a year for years. Not one seller , the whole show paid for it. I also get emails for bead shows a little further away. If you can manage it , why not send cards out that feature several artists in the same show. Or if there is a local , any where stable in the area, advertise that. I have favorite potters in my town that I don't know how to find them. Or an email list.  Anything to remind your followers that you are still there. People like to support the arts, like watch development or a crafts person. Makes them feel like they helped make the world  pretty and educated. I think eventually an easier sell after an investment of time. Jolie



#31 nancylee

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:38 PM

Clay Lover, when you buy a mailing list, you can really narrow it down. It is scary, how much they know about us. So, for people who may like handcrafted pottery, I may pick people who like wine, have a subscription to the local symphony, you can pick a political affiliation, you can narrow it down to the kind of underwear they wear. Really. Then you buy that list, and it has their addresses. Yes, it can be pricey, but really, it is worth it because you can get a much bigger response than you would otherwise.


Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#32 nancylee

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 10:46 PM

TJR,

No feathers were ruffled!! I just was in awe that you have such good shows. And jealous. I know that it takes a long time of making great pottery to build up the kind of business you have, and since I am 52 already, I don't have that many years left!!

 

I like the idea of putting flyers in local mailboxes. My shop is near a rafting center, and people leave their cars there all day. I have tried putting my business card on their windshields. I don't know if it helped, but that is the kind of thing I will try, also. 

 

I respect your work and your generosity in sharing all of the time. From what I have learned from what you have written in my time here, you work very hard at this. You deserve all of your success.

Peace,

Nancy


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Nancy
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#33 JBaymore

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Posted 10 December 2013 - 11:15 PM

I like the idea of putting flyers in local mailboxes.

 

The post office around here is VERY specific that you cannot do that. It is actually (they say) a Federal crime. The inside of that box is for US Mail only. You can hang something on the outside of it.... but not put anything IN it.

 

I'm surprised you get away with it. A lot of us in NH have gottne in trouble with the PO in the past.

 

best,

 

.......................john


John Baymore
Immediate Past President; Potters Council
Professor of Ceramics; New Hampshire Insitute of Art

http://www.JohnBaymore.com

#34 clay lover

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 09:05 AM

Nancylee, where do you find out how to buy a mailing list? Do I Google 'mailing lists' ?
Yes, I know "they" have a scary amount of info on all of us, I am old enough to disturbed by that, the younger think it is great. Post your life on Facebook with photos ID'd.

But back to topic. I would do mailing if I had that great specific list. About being 52, I had not yet started clay at 52, you just have to peddle faster. go to workshops, go to Arrowmont, buy videos, visit trade shows. I have 2 students that started clay at 70. They now have their own studio and have done two successful sales. Peddle faster!!

#35 nancylee

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 10:17 AM

HI,

I used this site:

http://www.infousa.com/

You can do it for where you make your pottery, or for a show you may go to. I started with three counties: Warren, Saratoga and Albany. I narrowed it down to people making over 60K a year, and homeowners whose homes are worth over 200,000. I also narrowed it between ages 35 and 70, because most people under 35 who I know are still getting settled and don't have a ton of disposable income for handcrafted works (and I may be wrong, but I had to narrow the 60,000 leads I had to that point!!) and over 70, in my experience as a shop owner, are trying to give their stuff away, not buy new stuff.  Now, if I made a lot of funeral urns for remains, as does a woman I know, I would include them. (Macabre, I know. Sorry.)  I picked people with some college, most religions except the very strict ones, and still had a lot of leads, too many to use.

 

Then I picked interests: animals, because I make the dog bowls and dog ornaments, wine and cheese, these people seem to be educated and have disposable income, travelers, finance interests (money,) arts, anything that I though would include people who would appreciate and be able to afford handcrafted goods. I still had way too many people, so I narrowed down my counties, and with 2 counties, had 3000 leads, which is too much for me to do, and with one county, had 800 leads. I can handle 800 leads.

 

The whole enterprise, list, postcards and postage, will probably cost $600 or so, but I have found it does help, right away, and in the long run. It's just another tool, but I like it because it is SO targeted to those who like what we have. 

 

Hope this helps!!

Nancy

 

(And sorry for the thread theft - I should have put this on another one.)


Nancy
Northern Woods Pottery
www.northernwoodsstudio.blogspot.com

#36 TJR

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 03:06 PM

 

I like the idea of putting flyers in local mailboxes.

 

The post office around here is VERY specific that you cannot do that. It is actually (they say) a Federal crime. The inside of that box is for US Mail only. You can hang something on the outside of it.... but not put anything IN it.

 

I'm surprised you get away with it. A lot of us in NH have gottne in trouble with the PO in the past.

 

best,

 

.......................john

 

John;

I was not aware of this. Of course I am not ignorant of the law, I just live in a different country. This is unfortunate. We have talked about hiring the post office to deliver our brochures as second class mail. This might be something you could look into. There are 10 of us splitting the costs of printing and delivering.

TJR.



#37 Mark C.

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Posted 11 December 2013 - 04:15 PM

For whatever its worth I just had 675 customers last weekend at an art show and not one asked for a box. I wrap in unprinted newsprint from large rolls and new brown paper bags with handles I buy in bales.-My customers want the pots not the trimmings

If I did it any other way I would not be able to handle longer lines and loose customers.I leave my galleries to wrap with bow's and boxes I'm to busy with business.

Mark


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#38 Brian Reed

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 08:18 PM

I found some nice Kraft paper bags with a reddish exterior color and raffia handles which work great.  I was more comfortable handing that to my customers yesterday and today at a show than I was with plastic bags.


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#39 TJR

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 09:29 PM

I found some nice Kraft paper bags with a reddish exterior color and raffia handles which work great.  I was more comfortable handing that to my customers yesterday and today at a show than I was with plastic bags.

Brian;

You have got to understand that I am not at a show. I am in my studio. Ten of us got together to arrange a studio tour. I do not mean to be disrespectful or un-professional. If I were in a craft show, I would get some newsprint sheets and probasbly some bags with string handles. I would not have time to put boxes together. I commend anyone who wants to kick their presentation up a notch. I probably could as well.

TJR.



#40 Mark C.

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Posted 14 December 2013 - 10:35 PM

Reguarding plastic bags and pottery

What I have seen is with a paper bag that forces one to own the package and not swing it around as one does with plastic bags and say fruit-I have seen my customers rebag the pottery into thier plastic bag then have it broke and return saying it broke when (someone hit the bag ) or whatever story. With paper bags this have only happened once.

Paper for me is the only bag I will use . Many communities now ban plastic bags (at least out west here) 

Mark


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