My guess on #1 would be a gum, tragacanth maybe? Have you read through the Mike Bailey and Michael Hewitt article thats here on identifying unlabelled materials? They have a few methods of trying to determine what unknown materials are. Not sure what you mean for #2 and #3 being "stone". How much of the materials do you have? Might not be worth the effort trying to figure them out if it's just small quantities.
if it's just a few pieces that you're more worried about, you could treat them separately.
I have put a piece on my pottery wheel to turn while I get a hair drier on it, or if your oven does low temperatures consistently, you can put it in there
here's a story that I just have to share, as part of the pottery bloopers.
I made my partner 4 matching beer steins for Christmas. They were incredibly elaborate, my first real attempt at sgraffito, and I spent a ridiculous number of hours on them. Once I finished carving, I decided to speed them up just a little bit, and I put them in the oven on low. I checked on them every once in a while and they were doing great. I had to leave the house on a quick errand, and I decided to be responsible and turn the oven all the way off while I was gone.
her comes the fun part.
that oven knob was completely misleading, and I ended up turning it to full blast broil instead of off!!
I ended up coming back to the house with my partner, and I shooed him away so I could take them out of the oven and keep the surprise going...
they had EXPLODED. as only pottery can. every one of them had burst into shards and crumbs.
I cried and cried and cried and showed him the pieces, and told him that under no circumstances was I remaking them and that he was getting NO Christmas present. There were very bitter tears that night.
and then, the next morning, I got up again and started remaking them. he was VERY surprised that christmas
so, if you use the oven, make sure it says LOW, not BROIL
Notice that Mailchimp calls the people on you list "Contacts" now, instead of "Subscribers."
This is because they're really trying to integrate all your email AND social media contacts into one neat, easy, one stop shop for all your internet marketing needs (cue 1950's hand model moves). I think in a lot of instances, it's offering more functionality than tiny businesses like a lot of us here need, but it does leave room to grow. (Their new expanded business model is not without privacy issues, but that might be another long post altogether. That's what's at the heart of their falling out with Shopify.)
Mailchimp doesn't want you to delete your contacts entirely, in part because they can still charge you for archived contacts, and in part because they want to be able to use the demographic information from everyone possible to create duplicate audiences for any ad campaigns you might build on Facebook and Instagram. If you're not running ads, it's probably not worth worrying about archiving folks on your list, if you want to weed people out. A cynical part of me says the only reason they allow you to delete subscribers at all is that under Europe's GDPR laws, you have to be able to completely delete someone's stored data history at their request.
I see you asking what others do to get in front of their customers to see if you can find things that will also work for you. I can describe what I did in my beginning, but it's important to remember that there are lots of circumstances that may be different. Having done a lot of looking myself at what people have done to support themseves through clay successfully, I can say that for every person who says one way of making an income is the only way to go, there is another person who says that method is totally unprofitable and to not waste your time. Your personal circumstances will affect your decisions, and how you choose to live your life and fulfill your obligations will all play into how you structure your business.
All that said.
I took advantage of small and medium sized, good quality shows to introduce myself to my community and gather emails. These gave me enough experience and feedback that I was able to get into some larger shows that are more lucrative. These small shows can teach you a great deal about your potential customers, how to stay organized, how to behave professionally, etc etc. etc. Probably 80% of my income comes from shows, and I've built my peer community here and made contacts that led to me getting into some retail locations. Also, they are a good place to gather emails.
I went to networking groups to introduce myself to the small creative business community. You typically don't go into these things knowing exactly what will come of it, but trusting that something will come of it. Pro tip: bring business cards, for the love of all things holy! And follow up with people afterwards. We all like thank you notes.
I do a farmer's market in the summer where daily sales are variable but nice, but I also tend to get a lot of orders and other opportunities there. This particular farmer's market works because there have always been potters at it during its 30+ year history, and people expect to see pottery there. Working this market also gets me a spot in their highly lucrative Christmas sale. Also, gather emails.
I have social media accounts that are useful tools and have the potential to be monetized. It is my firm belief that social media is a good way to build peer community and get opportunities through. It can be monetized and you can make sales there directly, but it's a much better idea to use it as a funnel to get customer's emails so you can market directly to folks. At the end of the day, you don't own your social media accounts, and you're at Mark Z's mercy if he decides to change algoritms and you loose your visibility. Those who spent tons of time building audiences 5-10 years ago on FB organically are now obliged to buy their follwers back through ads in order to maintain their visibility. Since Facebook owns Instagram, they are already making strides in a similar direction. Social media is an awesome tool and one I'm a big fan of, but you need to understand how that tool works properly in order to use it to your best benefit.
I have an Etsy shop that I tried the "set it and forget it" method. It was a spectacular failure. I tried focusing on my keywords on the Etsy site itself. Also no dice. I put some more effort into driving my own traffic through my website and social media, and had much better success. I buried all of my shipping costs into the listed price of the item and offered free shipping, and that worked rather spectacularly! Etsy can be a really good place to begin: setup is easy, they have some great photography tutorials that are geared towards this specific purpose, the payment gateway is secure, and despite recent price increases, their fees are still pretty affordable. You need to remember a few very important things though:
-Etsy is much more interested in promoting their own brand than yours
-They do not guarantee you traffic, and
-The terms of service prohibit you from collecting your customer's emails for your own marketing purposes on their least expensive service offerings. (They may have added that capability to the more expensive tiers that they're introducing now, but I haven't checked tbh.)
I suggest Etsy as a place to begin and to learn, but if you want to sell professionally or in quantity, it's a good idea to have an exit plan to something you have more control over. I know others have different experiences of Etsy, but that's what happened to me.
While it is a slow moving project, I'm in the process of building a Shopify website with the goal of phasing out some of my less lucrative in-person shows. I'm taking the booth fee from one of my shows where I only made booth plus expenses, and putting that into the website startup, learning about FB ads and having a budget for them. I'll keep you posted on how that goes.
You may have noticed that the one thing I think is a really good idea to do regardless of where you choose to sell your stuff, is to get people's emails so that you have your audience consolidated in one place. Being able to communicate with people who have told you "yes I want your email newsletter" is the strongest marketing tool you can own. It doesn't have to be onerous to write a simple newsletter with a couple of shiny images and your upcoming events in it once a month. I think keeping it simple and straightforward is best, in fact. But those are the people that are your audience, your tribe, and the folks that are willing to support you and your work. It's a good idea to keep them in the loop so they can do that.
Hi and welcome!
So my brain is looking longingly at your $75 rent plus 20% comission situation at that boutique. In order to cover your overhead for being in that store (not talking about the rest of your costs or making profit, just the expense of being there), you only need to sell $100 or more of work every month. That's about 3-4 mugs, assuming prices in the $25-30 range. That's one pot a week. That's pretty good! If it were me, barring anything weird like 3 months straight of no sales at all, I'd try the venue out for a full year. You want to establish your presence there and to take advantage of retail cycles. You're going to earn a lot more in the months of November and December than you will in January and February.
I think the big question here is how you want to try and market your work. Marketing is different than selling. Marketing is finding the right audience of people who will love your work and want to buy it. Selling is closing that deal. If you want to make sales, you have to do the marketing part first. I have lots of thoughts on this subject, but my lunch break is almost over, so I'm going to write more on this tonight.
I am soooo lazy. I made a bowl. then squished into a square/rectangle shape. When it was leather hard I cut small wedges out of two opposite ends. This is where I place the wire to hang the pendents after the bowl was bisqued fired. This way if the glaze dripped, the bowl caught it.