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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 11:45 AM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Put Name Of Event That I Am Selling Products At, On My Products Sold There?

Today, 09:06 AM

I'll try just the town and state, no date, make half a dozen, simple pieces.  

That sounds like a sensible way to try it. Let us know how it works out!

In Topic: Craft Shows... Tips For Success

Yesterday, 07:30 AM

I use a system for tracking and market analysis too. I'm analyzing my items and also analyzing shows. Before a show, I make a list of my inventory before I pack it. Then at the end of a show, I make a list of what's left before I pack it to go home. The "leftover" list is the start of the new list for the next show. This is all done in a spiral notebook. It's the same notebook where I total up my sales after a show. It becomes a journal that I can refer to for many things.

Now when I go back to a show I've done before, I know exactly how much total inventory to bring, and how many of each item. "I sold out of mugs last time, better bring more." "This was a good show (or a bad show) for my higher end line of work. Better bring more (or fewer)." Or even sometimes "I sold nothing but low-priced items, not worth going back." Just taking the time to record this information makes for confident decisions later.

In Topic: Current Opinions On Best Mobile Credit Card Options

17 July 2014 - 07:30 AM

I have been contemplating taking credit cards exclusively.  Cash is such a problem, you need to make sure you have change and keep a wad of money with you.  I have never had an issue with losing money, but it is just a matter of time.  Credit cards are so easy and the vast majority of my sales are with a card anyway.  I am not sure I would lose any sales if I stated credit cards only.  have any of you contemplated this.
I know it flies in the face of making it as easy as possible to people to pay you and accept the way they want to pay, but with so many credit cards and if someone wanted to pay with cash and I stated that I only accepted credit cards I am not sure that it would be an issue.   
Just something I was thinking about a couple of weeks ago when I was having a good day at a sale in a more urban setting and walking around with well over $1000 in cash made me nervous.  There were so many people around many people had to see the cash exchanging hands that day.  I was an easy target.

There are shoppers who specifically use only cash so they don't overspend their budget. These people are frequent craft buyers (which is why they need to regulate themselves), so don't cut them off!

Just figure out a way to keep your cash discreetly on your body: in your pockets, or wear a fanny pack, apron, etc. I'd say your smarphone/iPad is more of a target for theft, so you need to keep that on your body too. I sewed myself a "holster" that holds my iPad and my cash. The cash stays flat so I can retrieve change without pulling out a drug-dealer-size wad of cash in front of a customer. This is another reason why I position myself in the back of my booth. Unless a person is standing in front of my booth for hours (if someone did that I'd call the police) people really don't see how frequently I am making sales, or how much cash I might be wearing.

In Topic: To Share Or Not To Share

16 July 2014 - 09:26 AM

It is really important to distinguish between different situations here. It's not applicable to say "sharing is good" or "sharing is bad" because it depends on the situation. There is a wide wide gulf between a classroom situation, where the teacher has willingly signed on to share his/her knowledge and the students are expecting instruction and insight to be conveyed; and the relationship between two professional working artists, where one is trying to shortcut their way to success by copying another.


I was a teacher for 7 years, and I gave it everything I had. I even gave the studio my recipe for my signature glaze. They ended up not using it, because guess what, it did not work for them. This is a good example why sharing something deeply personal won't necessarily hurt you. Like others have mentioned here ... your own experience, studio conditions, personal work habits, etc., are also part of your results. These are things you can't hand over to someone else, even if you try.


Most of my students were not professionals, which is why I didn't mind sharing my design ideas. However, the studio did conduct some "student pottery" sales. Once in a while, a student would take one of my designs, produce it in multiples, and try to sell them. That bothered me, but at the same time I knew no one would confuse their work for mine, so I let it slide.


I also had an advanced class which did contain some bona fide professionals and aspiring professionals. Again I did not mind sharing my ideas with them, because I only accepted students who demonstrated a strong sense of ownership for their own ideas, which means they had respect for others' ideas too.


I taught all of my students to ask first if they wanted to attempt another person's idea, and to accept "no" for an answer. I can't recall anyone ever saying "no." Just being asked first shows respect. I can recall plenty of times when a person copied without asking (usually the copier was not one of my students) and even for a recreational potter, the pain and hurt caused is very real. As well as the notion "maybe a group studio is a bad idea" which is a real shame.


Among working professionals ... when I meet other potters working at the same venues as me, there is a huge and wonderful amount of respect for another potter's styles and ideas. It's easy to share ideas amongst peers like this, because the respect is apparent. This is similar to my advanced students' attitudes, only magnified by many more years of experience. A potter who has made it this far has invested years in their own ideas. We believe so strongly in the path we've taken. Why would we abandon our work for somebody else's ideas?


So when does copying happen between professionals? In my experience, it is when one of them is struggling hard, and does it out of desperation and expedience. THIS IS NEVER OK. I had a bad experience once with an aspiring potter who sought my advice a lot. Over a couple of years, her work drifted towards mine. Sometimes she would get mad at me because she wasn't having the same success. Then she blatantly copied one of my designs. I stopped talking to her altogether, it was not worth the stomach ache.


I learned an important lesson. These days I am not stingy with my information, but I am very selective about who I'll give it to. Just like others have said here ... how someone asks makes a big difference. The attitude matters. Is it respectful and thoughtful, or demanding and entitled? Does the asker seem to think pottery is hard, or pottery is easy?

In Topic: Non-Legal Ways To Address Copying Issue

13 July 2014 - 10:54 AM

Turn it around on her and make a shade with your technique.  I would bet that she will get the hint and it will result in a meaningful discussion about respecting other's work.

This is my favorite answer. In my experience the only people who don't respect others' ideas are the ones who have not yet had their ideas copied. When it happens to them they will realize the sense of violation they have caused.

I whole-heartedly agree with the notion that we are all repeating ideas that we have seen before, but this situation is far more specific. Between two professionals, where one has already said "no" and explained that there was 10 years of development involved, for the other to proceed to attempt a copy is not ethical at all.