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DirtRoads

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About DirtRoads

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  • Birthday June 1

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  1. I've gotten 2 small grants and a SBA loan. I have one year to start paying on the loan and show what it was spent on, maybe not pay all of it back. Not at all sure if that will be the case. One of the state grants, which was $2k, I didn't even fill out an application. All this money floating around. I can't see where we won't have increased inflation.
  2. Tinsel & Treasures, Lafayette LA Junior League show just announced going virtual. Virtual fee is $250. Booth fee (10x10) there would be around 1K. Baton Rouge Jr League also virtual, with a fee of $250. Booths there about $1500. I've seen other market shows going virtual. I would expect all the Junior League shows to go virtual this year.
  3. That's good to see. I'm thinking this will be a decent year in my free standing store front, but won't hit last years record sales. For people that have no shows ... got to get your product out there for Nov/Dec.
  4. June sales were down 16.7%. However, I have 3 employees not working (collecting unemployment) so my net is 27% so business is cash flowing. I am considering downsizing. It's been several years since I made, glazed and sold a piece of pottery myself.
  5. What I am seeing is that customers will not skip Christmas buying. I wrapped up 6 pieces for Christmas yesterday. Customers are focused on occasion buying at my store. Birthdays, weddings .... less self purchase. Going to start collecting numbers on this. I'm planning on 4th quarter. Fall events are getting cancelled. I have my one fall event, which I advise. They won't call it off but even if they have it, I'm not going. It seems the under 50 market is just going ahead with the idea of "lets get it and then we have immunity". That person I mentioned walking around that event, knowing they had symptoms, outright said that. The over 70 market is going to wait for a vaccine. I think you will see some variance in 50 to 60 ... even up to 65. At 65, many will shelter in place. Get your product situated for November/December gift sales
  6. Well ... they had this event Saturday. Found out today that someone who had gone to the event tested positive for covid today. I know they had light symptoms on Saturday. No idea if other people will get it from this contact. This does it for me ....... I won't go to anything in crowds until Covid is gone or they have a vaccine. Another 8 day event that was scheduled for the end of July has been cancelled. Someone saw me at a meeting, spread this around and both my brother and myself have gotten calls telling me to "vote" yes to have the event. I've told them I was just a consultant for some marketing, nothing to do with having the event. Some of these calls got very aggressive insisting I vote yes .... my brother and me telling them I don't "vote". It's pretty clear to me there won't be events this fall.
  7. I found this to be a great assessment of USPS shipping: https://www.craftserver.com/topic/113686-usps-shipping/?_fromLogin=1 Another thing I learned is to ship pottery in double boxes. And instead of buying 2 boxes, make a box form for the inner "box" with cardboard. Just wrap it around the item and secure with packing tape. Make sure this inner box does not use, stuffing with newspaper, peanuts or packing paper. I use Instagram and Facebook for jewelry sometimes. I have envelops ready and send first class. I just use Pay Pal. All people have to do is email you the email address they use on pay pal. It's easy and customers seem secure. You just send pay pal request. No cc's or anything. No cart needed either. I usually number my items A, B, C, etc., and limit it to 5-7 choices per campaign. Last one I did about a month ago, I sold 27 bracelets. If you don't sell online, this is an easy way to get started. Just a pay pal account and an email and you get your money.
  8. I've been doing marketing consulting since 1983 and retail since 1993. I have never seen such a shift in thinking. Event retailing is really being pushed. I've analyzed several market research studies and event attendance intentions has dropped significantly. (30 to 50%) Online is EXPLODING. I'm not sure of the degree to which some events can spring board back to normal, after the Covid is gone. Bricks and mortar retailing store fronts are condensing. We will see less retail locations after the Chapter 11's at year end (Limited brands, J.C. Penny's, etc .. list is extensive) I think store fronts will remain and the remaining stores will fare okay. I'm seeing enough customers but sales are down because I've lost a lot of my tourist business. That casino near me still isn't open and Covid is wrecking the Natives ... someone that is Native that I have known most of my life just died at only 71 years old from Covid. But I'm still pulling down a good profit, with employees laid off drawing unemployment. I'm writing off the 20% annual revenue I get from my 2 shows as I don't think the October show will go. My online sales (jewelry only) are way up .. Christmas level (which aren't that much because I don't push that) We need to share everything we know about online. I have a great shipping post from another forum. Can I share it here?
  9. I've been doing more consulting than usual and the outlook is online. Shipping is hitting Christmas numbers. The outlook for shows is not good. "A Christmas Affair", the Junior League show in Austin, Texas cancelled their 5 day November show. Here is the plan for Hollydays, Junior League of Baton Rouge: (Long but some of you might find it of interest. This has been a major event for over 20 years) Retail is being SHOVED to online. Hollydays Merchants: We promised you an update as soon as we had one, so here are a few exciting changes for Hollydays 2020. Because there is still so much uncertainty surrounding the time line of COVID-19, and for the health and safety of our community , we have made the difficult, but very EXCITING decision to move forward with a Hybrid Hollydays, which includes a virtual market!! We are working tirelessly to build a unique and functional platform that attracts shoppers and merchants alike. See below for a sneak peak of our homepage, which includes pricing and availability: ONLY 200 spots available starting at $250 per square. each square links directly to YOUR e-commerce site So what are you getting for $250? In addition to heavy promotion on social media and digital platforms, we are leveraging our marketing budget to drive traffic to your e-commerce sites and using geo-targeted advertising to expand your customer base. We truly believe this is an opportunity to build a virtual market that works in conjunction with a physical market to create an immersive shopping experience for years to come! For those merchants who had already committed to a physical market and paid your deposit, you will be refunded in full and you are not obligated to participate in this virtual option. However, we sincerely hope that you choose to do so! I'm floored by this ... a Junior League show going to online selling.
  10. Pieces turned out perfect with just a 5 degree offset. The other kiln with a 15 minute hold. Thanks again!
  11. They took the Covid report off of Weather.com.
  12. Thanks! I knew there was some way but I wasn't sure what it was .. "cone offset" thanks. Ok found it and changed to 9005 ... 5 degrees less. Will report on results!
  13. My area is opened up now. Very few wear masks now. Store traffic is lighter without much tourism but almost everyone that comes in buys. Average sale is up. I got one good sale from a nearby golf tournament last weekend. The casino is still closed but golf course open. I think customers are distracted from Covid because the media coverage is not as intensive and was focused on all of the looting and rioting for a few days ...... I think Covid 19 is not top of mind now. (I've heard from customers , I NEVER watch news). I am seeing a lot less concern about Covid. June is going okay.
  14. I fire to cone 5 but one of the kilns is slightly hotter than the other. I balance one kiln by putting a 15 minute hold. Is there a way to slightly reduce the firing time (other than watching) and cut the kiln off at 2152ish vs 2167? I have L&L quad pro's. The color is slightly different in the 2 kilns on some glazes. The hold really balanced out the cooler kiln and its perfect now.
  15. Amazing work. "each piece comes in a wood box" and "he apprenticed for 5 years."
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