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Mark C.

Member Since 09 Jan 2012
Offline Last Active Today, 06:41 PM

Topics I've Started

Back To Clay Work

27 January 2016 - 12:36 PM

Well my time off clay is ending. Back to studio work on Monday. Tax prep almost wrapped up trees pruned (still need oil spray) Installed a water meter on the well so we now have leak detector and will know usage (never knew for past 43 years what our water usage is?)

odd jobs done. Studio cleanup is progressing nicely.

Galleries are needing work and I'm getting tired of digging thru the van looking for it. So its back to the shop and get the kilns going again.

Have enjoyed my break this year even though its been very wet. We have had 30 inches since the 1st week in December.

The apple trees had some light freezing this year which is good for them as well.

As I mentioned already in a post demand for pots seem up already this year and of course what people ask for you are out of. You may have 25 boxes of pots but the ones some gallery wants are the ones you do not have.

I have shipped out more than usual amount of wares already this year . I also have had the usual e-mails this year that seem to vanish into what I call crags list zone-that is they inquire -you follow thru and never hear back.Seems this is the new normal for many-the joys of non actual contact with humans -you really are not committed thru an e-mail it appears .(this is a whole area of subject matter with the new customers of today)

For me I'm low on large and huge mugs now and really need to get back in the saddle and get them processed.

Next show is in Early April in another state far far away so I have lots of stock building time for that.



Ceramic Income Streams For Studio Potters

19 January 2016 - 08:48 PM

I have said this more than a few times as a functional potter to try and spread out your income sources. As time goes by your situation can change and having various income source points helps as some fade away or others change.

This year during tax time mine are roughly as follows-it changes slightly year to year but this is a rough estimate for 2015


Wholesale           15%

Fairs in state       20%

Fairs out of state 40%

Consignment       30%


I realize these do not total 100% but they are rough enough for you to get the picture. The thing I like is no one stream is enough to really affects me all that much. I can choose to pick up more of this or that as change happens.

For me I’m getting tired of traveling with a 1-ton van of pots so much. I used to do over 20 K miles a year for decade’s on the van now its less than 10k (the van is used only for business and is parked between shows)

So I’m cutting back on some shows hence my show income will shift. I can choose to make it up or let it go. In my case I’m letting it go. Or I’m thinking I will-it really has not worked out yet.

I have had a mix for 40 years now and like most things about it. Having a check come in the mail from others selling my work is refreshing just as it is to return from a far-flung show with a bag of money.

I had given up wholesale for about 20 plus years and have brought it back into the mix.I have cut it back 5% since 2014 numbers

If your starting out consider more than just a few income source points –in the long run this diversity will help you.


One last note as this has been well covered by Mea’s posts.

 I make more money with my wares at art shows than the other sources but that said if you just limit yourself to this one income in the long run you will have missed some business connections that later in life can help you. This I have seen with other potters when they aged and only did shows in their career and now wished they had other sources to fall back on. Those sources at one time courted them but they turned them down and now wish they had a few.

Creative Wholesale

18 January 2016 - 08:18 PM

Since it number crunching time of year I thought I would share another way to approach wholesale.

I’m not big on wholesale but I do some of it in my mix of pottery income. I stopped wholesale many decades ago but have two exceptions to this now.

I was thinking about doing less art shows so one idea was this- (keep in mind I have done them for over 40 years now)

Over a decade ago I approached a food business that’s a local institution with a creative idea. It does a booming business so I had this thought about selling just a few items in my line. I suggested Mugs in 3 sizes. I would set the final price and for every mug they would get a fixed price of that sale-about a third of the price (actually just under). I would take care of keeping the back stock inventory full and they would keep the shelve inventory packed. I would bill them quarterly. I set the price so we would have good sales meaning they are affordable but still profitable. I can at any time change the prices (which I just did). At that time I suggest testing the whole idea like a test run to see how it worked. If it did not work well than I would buy my stock back so it really was a no brainer for them. As it turned out it has been a huge success .

Over the years we also tried cereal bowls for a year and they were to slow so I switched them out to a huge mug so now I have 4 mug sizes (it’s a collage town so kids like a huge beer mug).

This past year we came close to grossing 13k in total sales and I keep just over 2/3 of that.

I am one of the one of the best sellers in their non-food items line

Every year this sales number grows-its used to be less than half this.

It’s worked out well for both parties and we both are happy.

I get to do one less art show in another state so that overhead is gone although it factored in to the wholesale sales to some degree.

This shop is in town and I get there once a week usually anyway to check stock (I live out of town) I can can back stock enough for many weeks except during high sales times.

I mention this agreement because it’s not the usual keystone 100% markup as in traditional wholesale models. The owner was willing to try a new idea and it’s turned out well for us both. They can sell a quality hand made product to locals and they soon realized it also brought customers in from out of state even looking for my work which was a big surprise for them.

If you can think out of the box with a business plan it sometimes can pay off.

Strange Start To The New Year-Bus Tours?

14 January 2016 - 08:32 PM

Every year I have about the same schedule going into the New Year.

Close up and pack up the pottery booth on Xmas eve.

Take a week off along with my wife’s time off.

 After new years start doing data entry and working thru the reports for our tax accountant. Clean up the studio and reorganize the van and put away the x-mas booth, lights etc. (it’s used only at xmas)

If its not raining I will prune the orchard and the ornamentals between tax prep


Now some years no one calls for pottery after Xmas for many months (I have lots of local gallery access to my wares)

Some years a few calls or e-mails-but that’s the exception

This year has been really different

The phone calls and e-mails have been coming in strong. I have shipped out pots made sales from the studio-galleries are calling-I have orders (not custom work) now for spring to ship

Now you may think great but I think I need a break.

Today’s call from a local senior center was the topper

Which is saying something as I have some very strange pottery calls in 4 decades about ceramics

The director asked if I would set up a bus tour with them as my name came up from some of the seniors. This is what happens I thought when you have been selling for over 40 years in one place.

I said no not because it’s not a good idea more because I’m a small studio and its just not big enough for a bus load of folks. Even if it’s the 12 seater style bus. I did make a suggestion to take them to our local clay arts center-it’s a better place for them anyway.

On a side note I stopped selling soup tureens a few years ago-the market just died. I had 4 left and I stopped taking them to shows. They have been here in a box for a few years.

A customer called yesterday and bought two today from the studio

It’s just been a strange start so far this year.

Good Deal On A Brent Splash Pan-One Day Left

12 January 2016 - 06:41 PM

There is a good deal on a Brent splash pan on e-bay-one day left

free shipping .

I have zero to do with it just saw it while surfing. Under cost for sure if you need one.