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Member Since 08 Apr 2010
Offline Last Active Today, 06:45 PM

#120812 Wholesale Marketing Materials

Posted by GEP on 17 January 2017 - 08:35 PM

Sounds like six of one, or half a dozen of the other. Getting 50 out per day, while still getting studio hours in every day, or getting the entire mailing done in one or two working days, seems like the same result. Whether your orders come in all at once, or spaced out, doesn't really affect how you schedule your responses or deliveries. So I'd say whatever fits your own needs is the right choice.

#120686 Wholesale-Know Your Limits

Posted by GEP on 16 January 2017 - 10:48 AM

I Googled ... pottery bisqueware wholesale shows ... and names popped up of places you could probably call to ask what show they go to buy supplies.
It would not be a typical wholesale craft show as that is all finished ceramics ... you are looking at a commercial level wholesale show where you would be competing with factories. A shop near me gets their bisque from France, Italy and China ... so you could also call your local paint your own pottery store to see how they get their supplies.
Unless you can produce huge volumes of bisque ware you might be better off establishing relationships with local stores whose customers might appreciate working with handmade items.

I thought maybe someone on this form post might have known of some shows. It seems kind of like a close nit community. I say this because I make pipes and everyone knows which shows to go to but this industry is different. I make ceramic pipes that it seems few make and I would care to start testing out the waters of selling bisq fired pipes instead of only finished ones. But I do understand production and factories pumping out 10s of thousands of items. I am only at thousands right now but that is still pretty good for a one man operation. So maybe ill do some calling maybe marc or someone knows of some shows, we shall see. Thanks so far though


I think you may be breaking ground on a brand new industry, so I don't know of any channels in the ceramics or craft world yet. I would pose this question to the rapidly-growing legal pot industry as well. I'm sure they have forums too. They might have some better suggestions. Also they probably can provide better guidance on the legal aspects of selling pipes. I think you'll need to target locations where this is legal. A large trade show doesn't quite make sense, because there are still many states where these are not legal.

#120454 Wholesale-Know Your Limits

Posted by GEP on 12 January 2017 - 10:34 AM

You don't have to turn down any orders, just give out realistic delivery dates. My approach was to have every other Monday as a "delivery date." I had max dollar amount that I felt I could produce in two weeks. As I received orders, they were assigned a delivery date. When delivery dates became full, they were no longer available. Buyers are fine with you telling them their delivery will be in 3 months, or even 6 months. If that is your demand level, buyers understand.

#120447 Wholesale-Know Your Limits

Posted by GEP on 12 January 2017 - 09:23 AM

I know at least four who are not potting anymore because they took all kinds of orders without serious planning and basically started to hate what they were doing.

I've seen this happen to a few people as well. Not as dramatically as Mark's example, the burnout took years instead of months. Very sad to see someone grow to hate their own work.

I was once on the brink of this situation myself. This is when I had that invaluable conversation with my accountant about employees. He advised me not to let my business grow in an out-of-control fashion. Instead, grow in a selective way, keeping in mind what I can handle by myself. He said I would be happier and richer in the long run. He was right, I am much happier with the current state of things, and my business is far more profitable now. I gather he has seen this happen to a lot of his clients.

#120381 Wholesale Marketing Materials

Posted by GEP on 10 January 2017 - 08:30 PM

Your printed material should depict all the details of your entire line: color photos, dimensions, prices. This allows buyers to plan out their order by making notes directly on your price sheet. Even if you were at a trade show, with your pots in front of buyers, you still need to produce such a detailed price sheet for the buyers to take with them and study on their own time. Remember that buyers are going to look at hundreds of artists during February. Make it easy for them to remember your work and the pertinent details. Prompting them to visit your website is too much to ask.

In fact, the other way around makes more sense. Add a page to your website that announces that your work is available for wholesale. Include a few sample photos (no prices), and tell potential buyers how to contact you for a price sheet. You won't meet many buyers this way, but it's a clear signal to the ones who happen upon your website, that you are serious and ready for business.

No reason to stagger the mailing. Unless you have a reason I don't see?

Here's the last price sheet I produced. It is an 8.5 x 14 sheet.

Attached File  IMG_0454.JPG   135.66KB   2 downloads

#120040 Wholesale Minimums

Posted by GEP on 06 January 2017 - 10:27 PM

Sounds like a good plan, Stephen.

Just one more thing, the big buying months for crafts are February and August. So get your materials done and into the hands of buyers by the end of January. By the end of the trade show season in February, their budgets will already be spent. Repeat your outreach efforts in July.

#119962 Wholesale Minimums

Posted by GEP on 05 January 2017 - 11:08 PM

$12 per mug wholesale seemed like the most common price when I was doing trade shows.

Asking for a 20 mug/$240 minimun order is also totally reasonable. I saw minimums range from $200 to $500 for everyday-type pottery, so $240 is on the modest end of that scale.

#119864 To Wholesale Or Not?

Posted by GEP on 04 January 2017 - 08:23 PM

I am talking about wholesaling to craft shops. And it's one approach to work your discounts into your prices, but that's not the only way to do it. Like I said earlier, I did this for 9 years. I had no shortage of demand for my work, and I always got paid. Marking up your prices, then giving a discount, seems like unnecessary steps. And I'm sure buyers know that it wasn't really a discount.

#119815 To Wholesale Or Not?

Posted by GEP on 04 January 2017 - 10:01 AM

2/10 net 30 is not very common in the wholesale craft world. There are some large retailers who buy handmade work (eg Uncommon Goods) who will ask for such terms, so it's helpful to know what the terminology means. But most craft retailers are small, locally-owned businesses, and suggesting those terms will seem out-of-place. The culture of wholesale craft shops is actually very respectful and responsible. They want to earn your trust, and they will pay you on time. If you have a customer with a tendency to pay late, offering them a discount is not appropriate in this culture. Instead you should ask for payment on delivery, or just walk away.

#119768 To Wholesale Or Not?

Posted by GEP on 03 January 2017 - 07:27 PM


If you are fairly new to selling, then I think you should accept every opportunity offered to you. There's only one way to find out if the wholesale format works for you. It works for some potters, and not for others. It does appear that successful wholesalers have one thing in common: very fast production speeds. So pay attention the the advice "speed counts" and "time yourself." I sold my work wholesale for about 9 years. I wasn't a particularly fast potter when I started, but I became one out of necessity. It's great training. So even though there are some aspects of wholesaling that I didn't like, I would do it all again anyways because it trained me for fast production. Those skills are incredibly valuable to any potter.

Net 30 means that your work is delivered with an invoice, and the payment to you is due 30 days later. A very common wholesale payment standard is for your first order with a new account to be paid upon delivery. If you are delivering the work in person, you get paid before you leave. If the work is going to be shipped, you call the customer when the order is ready, and they pay you before you ship the order. If this first payment goes smoothly, then you extend Net 30 credit for future orders.

#118493 I Fixed My Vent Hood Today

Posted by GEP on 15 December 2016 - 02:58 PM

I don't know if "fixed" is an accurate word, but still I'm feeling proud of myself anyways. My 15 year old vent hood has been running loud for a few months, sometimes making weird noises. I got through the holiday production season praying it wouldn't die in the middle of a firing. 


I was just about to order a new one today, but thought there was one thing I needed to try, before throwing out a big piece of equipment and spending $500. I needed to try vacuuming out the fan, in case the problem was just dust buildup. I took off the duct and looked inside. I didn't see much dust, but I saw a lot of rust on the fan blades. I vacuumed as much as I could. When I turned it on again, it coughed out a bunch of dust then started running quieter. Then I got really inspired and sprayed some short bursts of WD40 up into the motor. Now it sounds normal again. 


Based on the rust, this is probably not a permanent solution. But I don't have to buy a new vent TODAY.

#118417 Chip Card Readers. How Do You Like Yours So Far?

Posted by GEP on 14 December 2016 - 10:34 AM

I am hereby going to stop complaining about chip cards. I spent the last two weekends using my new Square bluetooth chip card reader, and I had no problems with it at all. The connectivity and processing were very fast, battery life was great (accidently left it in my booth one night, still worked the whole next day without charging), and overall it was very reliable. It impressed a lot of customers too.

Granted, one show was indoors in a big city, so my cellular signal was strong. The other show was in my house with a wifi connection. So I have yet to try it when the cellular signal is bad. But I can plainly see that this piece of hardware is in a different class from the plug-in chip card reader.

I'll shut up now!

#118408 Get Your Customers Addicted To Your Pottery

Posted by GEP on 14 December 2016 - 09:03 AM

It will take years but it will pay off.

I want to highlight this short but crucial sentence. It really does take years. The customer doesn't become attached until they have used your pots in their home for some time. The attachment grows when they learn that you are consistently accessible when they need more. And that the experience of buying from you is fun and makes them feel good. I am starting to understand this. In recent years, I have noticed growing number of customers who seem to be addicted to my pots.

Many newcomers become discouraged when they aren't an overnight success. There's no such thing! Just remember, if you're doing something that can cause a big audience to fall in love with you overnight, they will forget you and fall in love with somebody else just as fast. A solid customer base takes time, consistency, backbone, time, quality, integrity, time ....

#118321 Had My First Sale Event This Weekend...and So Many Questions!

Posted by GEP on 12 December 2016 - 09:16 AM

"Great artist" and "professional artist" are two different things. One isn't superior to the other, they're just different things. They require different skills and priorities. You can be one or the other. You can be both or neither. 


If you want to be both, draw a Venn diagram that defines "things that satisfy me artistically" and "things that others will buy" and you have to stay within the overlap area as much as possible. 


For me, this is not a suppression of creativity. It is an added dimension of creative challenge, to find solutions within tight parameters and real consequences. Personally, if I did not have the pressure of breadwinning to consider, I would be very bored. 

#117943 Electric Vs Gas Firing - Surface Look - Clothes Or Skin

Posted by GEP on 06 December 2016 - 10:14 AM

This past weekend, I surprised yet another gas firer when she asked, "this is all reduction fired right?" and I said "No it's all cone six electric."

Although I will respectfully disagree with Neil that borates are the problem with cone 5-6 glazes. I love gerstley borate. I think the problem is Zircopax. Makes such flat colored glazes yuck.