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Stephen

Member Since 28 Jan 2013
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 02:12 PM
*****

Topics I've Started

Wholesale Marketing Materials

10 January 2017 - 08:12 PM

For a marketing piece I am sending out to a few hundred gift shops I had originally planned a 9 x 12 envelope with a full sheet flyer, letter of intro and an order sheet.

 

I am now re-thinking it to be a color tri-fold brochure with a couple of product examples prompting a visit to my website or call for a product presentation.

 

I was hoping someone here my provide some feedback on any mailings they've done and what the piece consisted of and response rates.

 

I am also trying to decide if I am going to just mail all at once or stagger them by a week sending maybe a 100 each week. Mae Rae suggested in another post that any marketing needs to happen by early February before first half of year budgets are committed so I can't drag it out too long. 

 

 


Wholesale Minimums

05 January 2017 - 08:42 PM

I live in a large metro and want to expand wholesale. It works for me. I would rather ratchet back doing so many shows and build wholesale to fill the void. My production times are improving to the point that it pencils out for me even at 50%. My main wholesale is specialty mugs and the wholesale price is $12. My hiccup is the time it takes to fool around with orders of just a few mugs. I would much rather have a 20 mug minimum. That's a $240 hit plus shipping. This would produce a $35-40 shipping to most shops in my area. There are three additional very large metros within 3 hours of me so if I get interest I figure I can keep expanding my reach until I have the amount of wholesale to meet my needs.

 

I am planning a marketing piece to generate interest and I really do want to pick up accounts so I don't want to be out of the ball park of the small gift/craft shops I will be pitching to. I could try it and see if I get interest with such terms and adjust but I would rather not misfire as this marketing effort, as small as it is, is still a big expense for my little studio and I don't want to waste the money or time pitching unrealistic terms.

 

So I thought I would ask you guys for input. 


Should You Think Production Process If You're Not A Production Potter?

20 December 2016 - 08:59 AM

This is not a question but rather just something I though worthy of debate.

 

In a recent thread a student and I kind of gave opposite advice to a person learning to throw and it peaked my interest. The student was recommending leaving an abundance of clay and trimming to form and I was recommending throwing to form and trimming as a finishing process only. I don't in the least think the student is wrong, far from it. That's one of the wonderful things about pottery, we can all approach our work the way we want to and the end result is what counts, you as the potter get to make the decisions on how you get there.

 

When I started throwing I left to much clay routinely and trimmed to form. Time didn't matter so spending as much or more time trimming a piece was just fine. At that point in time since throwing was still somewhat frustrating and intense, trimming was also my most enjoyable time spent making a piece. It felt so liberating to be able to simply correct weight and surface issues with my trimming tools.

 

It caused me problems, big problems, when I made the shift to doing this to make my living. Suddenly spending 10 minutes throwing a mug and twice that time cleaning it up with my trimming tools became a serious problem. One of the first stark realities in this business is that you can't sell what you don't have. You're not going to have a $3000 show if you show up with $2000 worth of pots :-)

 

Easy fix right? Wrong. I had to make tons of changes in how I throw and after doing it the other way for so long that took a lot of effort. I had to really tear my whole process down and re-learn movements that now had been reduced to muscle memory. My mental check off for things to pay attention to on the wheel expanded and changed. 

 

I do think I make better and more consistent pots now than when I relied on trimming too much but seriously I'm not putting down the other approach just curious how others approach this. Obviously many people have no serious intention of ever selling in volume so trimming to form if that's how they like to do it works fine. Others sell such high-end work that time is not as much of a consideration and they are going to adopt a method to what works best for them.

 

I guess my whole point is that many part time potters have aspirations of doing this full time at some point in their life and if that's the case I think this debate might help them make decisions now that might help them later so they can plan their work and production schedules differently when they are starting out so as to be realistic about how many pots they can make in a day of studio work and how they are going to accumulate enough in inventory for well stocked shows and keep it stocked as they sell. As a dream its real easy to fill in the blanks with 'it will work out' thoughts but when faced with making X amount of pots today that includes trimming what you already threw, throwing more, glazing, loading kilns and a gazillion little details to running a pottery business ya really have to accurately plan your approach. 


Vent To Empty Garage Overnight

14 December 2016 - 12:34 AM

OK I'm bisque firing in a temp studio in a garage. As such the vent is not perm installed but floor mounted and the hose is running to the outside under a partially opened garage door. Since its cold out I want to just pull the hose in and shut the garage door and let it vent the heat directly in the garage so the room stays warm and will be easier to work in tomorrow morning at 6. Is there a hazard to the rest of the house doing this? The temp is passing 1100 now.


I'm Trying Not To Be Angry But

01 December 2016 - 06:27 PM

A show I was signed up for this weekend was just canceled, 4:30 in the afternoon on Thursday before the two day Saturday & Sunday show. At 2:30 the director sent out a query to see who was available the next weekend if they moved it. I was actually driving to their offices (2 hour drive round trip, because I was told by the director that I had to pick it up because it had the parking pass. The parking pass was paper and obviously could have been emailed). I responded to the email query no because I'm booked the next two weekends. I was driving so couldn't say anything else.

 

At 4:30 when I got back from this wasted 2 hour drive I get an email:

 

A decision has been made to postpone the event and move it to the following weekend, December 10 and 11, same times.  I know many of you stated that you are unable to attend the event if it was postponed, it was also decided to cancel the xxxxx xxxxx Fair due to a lot of vendors being unavailable. We will make refunds to each of you.

 

They have been doing this park fair for 30 years so it's not a case of being new and working out the kinks. It was also supposedly juried. Is this as bazaar as I think it is. I started to respond and after writing a half a page stopped myself because I am new to this community and don't want to start making enemies right off the bat.

 

Because I just moved my studio and had to restart my inventory from scratch I was unable to do shows until starting this weekend so I booked 3 straight show which will constitute my entire Christmas income. To say its an inconvenience is a huge understatement.

 

I know life is short and since I very much doubt I can now book this weekend tomorrow I will just tuck my head down and try to make the next two shows even better. Besides they obviously didn't spend a dime on advertising.

 

Boy I so wish I could tell them what I really think. It would be a bad business move but would sure make me feel better B)