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Stephen

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Everything posted by Stephen

  1. hey sorry I pissed you off, din't mean to. Everyone has to make their own decisions and only you have all the info to make the right one for yourself and your business. I was just tossing out some thoughts hoping they might be helpful. I'm certainly no expert and any and all of my advice might not be right for your situation.
  2. just read your post while I was typing, nah I would never send a repaired piece to a wholesaler. Epoxy is not near as infallible as you think. We've used a couple over the years for designs that used epoxied parts (I forget the brands off the top of my head but they were 2 part and the 'right' ones to use) and we had a few failures and stopped selling those designs. Very popular and profitable but didn't like that they could separate even though they were solid when made. Fortunately the the failures were ours and a family member and we never had a customer complain. Over time there will always be a chance of the repair failing and it just seems unfair to sell that to a retailer for them to resell to their customers. I would also bet that if one of your retailers got a pot back that clearly had a repair by you that account might be in jeopardy. Don't mean to be preachy, just an opinion.
  3. I agree with Liam that just absorbing them into your own garden is a great way to go and trash the rest. A fail is a fail and just a cost of doing business. There is always, always going to be a failure percentage and if you start trying to eliminate or reduce this by repairing cracks or allowing obvious flawed pots hit the market it is a slippy slope and really seems like a bad way to go. That said we have done a box or two of heavily reduced two of 2nds with really really small defects and nothing 'repaired'. Personally I think 2nds should mostly be small glaze defects that keep it off the shelf but otherwise a perfectly fine pot. The defect is perfectly noticeable and the person picking up a 2nd will often ask why its reduced and you can point it out. A slash across the bottom with a sharpie might be a good way to make sure most others know its a 2nd if your worried about rep. I think a lot of people that buy pottery understand the slash or 'x' on the bottom indicates a 2nd. One bright spot is that clay and glaze is cheap so it's just time, spread the labor cost across the pots that make it through the process and price accordingly by using a plug percentage for failures.
  4. poor dad, just trying to help. Good luck with the fix. If you can even it out and then drop the lid down then Dad did actually help by solving the original problem, just didn't know how to finish the job is all.
  5. Its a cool design, bet it sells well. If you are doing this to build a company and brand you might approach your video as a marketing tool to build backstory as opposed to talking to other potters. People that buy handmade tend care about the fact that what they are buying didn't come out of a million square foot factory in China. YouTube is a great place to post your video and embed on your site. Good luck, be sure and post your video so we can check it out.
  6. unless I missed it in the responses it didn't see mention of just climate humidity. Certain times a year (now in a lot of places) humidity is really high so gallons of water might be normal. I have a niffty little deal that sits inside with a remote like piece outside and it shows inside/outside temp and humidity. Something like that might help her to zero in because if the humidity in her house is not a bit less than outside there is probably an issue, otherwise maybe she is just taking a lot of water out of very humid air.
  7. Is this just a test? Great idea and pot. Is this an original design? The issue I see between the two pics ss the pour sprout. The 2nd picture shows what I think is a better execution of this. Way to go on figuring all of this out, have fun!
  8. Yeah most potters seem to think it's not worth the aggravation. I guess it depends on what it is though. A 3-$400 art piece can work out but most pottery just has no where near enough money involved to even consider custom unless you just want to do it. If you truly count all the time and add in some emails and back and forth it can get goofy from a money standpoint unless there is plenty of profit. For personalized stuff just add in a large fee to make it work if you want to offer. Just discussing the fee will make people stop and think about the extra work and it gives you an opportunity to talk about it. That way even if they decide to pass they may be more likely to understand. I think often people in your life space may be confused and think they are doing you a favor by asking you to do a custom order and have no idea that its going to take a bunch of extra time and often include making extra pots to make sure good ones survive the process.
  9. yeah asking a bunch of potters about cracking, crazing, shivering or dunting will require pulling up a chair :-)
  10. Hi Erik,

    Is your business still for sale? 

  11. Sorry to hear about the miss. Don't let one show sour you on the whole thing though because there are plenty of shows that do deliver a lot of people. I would suggest just checking out shows in driving distance first and then doing them the following year if they have a large turnout, have the right vendors and everyone seems to be selling stuff. It does feel great when you sell and really sucks when you don't. I don't think many potters make much from even good shows once you honestly factor in all the labor and cost but one thing that always stands out when there are a lot of people though is that the interaction directly with customers is really helpful even if you are going to sell in other ways. The guys here that seem to make their living from shows all talk about traveling for a lot of them and having done some of that I know first hand you can really lose your a$$ on a low revenue show if you add in a bunch of expenses.
  12. May be a dumb question but have you contacted peter pugger support? They are still in business and going strong.
  13. aah, like Johnny I thought you were wanting to do this with a current load. Another option is to have more than one kiln. It works well using a couple of kilns in tandem and no surprises from rushing things. One thing that I always worry about is unseen issues that my customers may find later.
  14. If you need insurance be sure and check with your agent about whats insurable.
  15. Ya know while it is possible to drive generic traffic to sites I think really most potters that sell much through their websites probably are out in front of customers all the time and the website becomes an extension. In the old days repeat customers would pick up the phone but these days drop by the site. Facebook pushes of kiln openings and new pots. Show customers picking up cards. They know the potter and the pottery already.
  16. Yeah I am just going to go back to the slab roller and work on making that process smoother. Besides there's not any more room in my studio anyway :-)
  17. Hey Mark, I did contact Bailey and the main take away was keeping in mind that the barrel has to be reloaded frequently for tile so there's that. I also wonder how fast it is. I haven't found a video yet and some air powered things such as jacks move pretty slowly if there's resistance and clay extruding is going to offer a lot of resistance. If you were buying this for health reasons that wouldn't matter but if speed is an issue then it makes it a lot slower than the hand lever one or the one called big blue from North Star that has a wheel. I'm coming to the conclusion that this isn't the answer for me.
  18. Ya know you have two problems, process and business. I would look for slip casting classes. While pottery classes for folks working in ceramics is a good thing it sounds like this is a slip cast business so a pottery class may have very negligible value if you are planning to keep this business going as is and may well just get you all confused about it all. You are not trying to decide on the direction to go with pottery, you want to know how to use the stuff you have. A generic pottery class would be fun and certainly dial you in on working with clay forms but slip casting is not the same thing and the class may not even cover it at all or just clip past it quickly and running electric kilns may also not be covered in any kind of depth. If I were you I would go on an information blitz, watching every you tube video I could find on slip casting and order any books you can find on amazon. You already have all the equipment so using the that information you should be able to get going. Sometimes it is good to just go at it. If she has not fired those kilns in a very long time it might make sense to have a kiln person or at least an electrician check them out for safety before you start using them. Has the business been running right up until now? I mean are clients expecting delivery of products or is just just a case where she had run this business in the past so all of the equipment is still there? You mentioned a Christmas tree mold but it's mid October so unless you are planning to man a booth at some Xmas shows Xmas buying by businesses I think is long over unless she has some orders already. Good luck!
  19. Thanks guys! Yeah the presses are great but not so much for field tile. We are adding a small arbor one this week to get away from the mallet pressing. For field tile I use a flip over air release mold for 4" and get about 20 an hour when everything is said and done and they are ready to bisque. To do 6" inch one that way I would have to buy another frame and just find I am not really interested in continuing using molds (even air release) for field tiles. There are a number of pretty expensive solutions (Baily's, RAM and Peter Pugger all sell several) but not going there either. Just a small shop and buying one of these expensive options will sap so much profit out of things for so long into the future that just not interested. They also kind of diminish the hand made aspect of selling an expensive are tile installation. It is part of the backstory so getting too mechanized I think does matter. This week I am going back to the slab roller for all sizes and really eval that again. I have some plunger type clay cutters for 4" & 6" tiles and I am going to see what my finished hourly output is. If I could get it closer to 50 tiles an hour working at a normal steady pace I would be really happy.
  20. Ya know that might be right on but then you are driving your customers to a large platform with lots and lots of cheap imported machine alternatives to what you sell. I can't really wrap my head around that being a good thing to do. I did set up a store last year one rainy Sunday with bank accounts and such and a few products loaded and a link from my site to it but having trouble getting motivated to load more. Everyone seems to talk about a perceived value of having a store there but no one these days seems to ever talk about making any money from it. Lee if you're wondering it really is just a few hours or less process to get it all setup. Since you sell on your regular site you can just use the same pictures and blurps. They do charge though per product so to have 40-50 items up is like paying for another website. edit: when I say no one and everybody I am talking about potters. I get that a bunch of people make money on etsy.
  21. That's what I left out, I plop a half kiln shelf on top the sheetrock.
  22. well there's an idea, I will give that a go, thanks!
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