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corona virus may effect sales

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My favorite spring consignment location has shut down for 3 weeks: Peek tourist time for that location.

Anyone else expecting or experiencing the same problem?

I don't blame them for erroring on the side of caution.

 

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3 minutes ago, karenkstudio said:

My favorite spring consignment location has shut down for 3 weeks: Peek tourist time for that location.

Anyone else expecting or experiencing the same problem?

I don't blame them for erroring on the side of caution.

 

Well my first show of the year looks like it's being cancelled, so that won't help sales

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I have an upcoming show on a UC campus in California  in May  and expect it to be cancelled and day now. (its my only spring show)No big deal for me but others will suffer.

I think many fairs/festivals will be cancelled in next few months for sure-I'm hoping the summer season will be ok but we shall see. I know tourist sales in my outlets will be less for sure.The economy will slow and thats world wide as well.

I'm still throwing and building up stock-pots do not go bad like bread.

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1 minute ago, Mark C. said:

I have an upcoming show on a UC campus in California  in May  and expect it to be cancelled and day now. (its my only spring show)No big deal for me but others will suffer.

I think many fairs/festivals will be cancelled in next few months for sure-I'm hoping the summer season will be ok but we shall see. I know tourist sales in my outlets will be less for sure.The economy will slow and thats world wide as well.

I'm still throwing and building up stock-pots do not go bad like bread.

That's right!  It's sounding more and more like here in Seattle we will end up quarantined at home, and I've got a half ton of clay and a full ton of reclaim to recycle so I could stay busy for a while.

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This is my first year to try to do several outdoor shows, and one is already likely to be rescheduled. I was so excited to be getting accepted into a number of shows, and I quit my membership at the cooperative gallery to concentrate on fairs. I hope as well that the summer will start to return to normal.  I was hoping to buy a new kiln this year, but that may not happen. We are lucky in that we can continue to work, those with individual studios, and you're right, it's not going to get moldy or rotten!

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My show schedule so far is the best it has every been- several really good shows I don't always get into- so I'll be bummed if they get cancelled. It will definitely hurt my income if I lose half my show sales. More than that, though, I'm concerned for all the artists that make the majority of their income from art fairs. A good percentage of artists at shows do it full time, and they could lose out on months of income. It's not like they can just go do shows somewhere else- Corona is everywhere. If schools shut down that will cut into my kiln repair business for a few weeks, but probably won't be a big deal. Luckily my classes are going strong, and probably will continue to do well since they are small groups and  so many other activities are being cancelled. My classes are small, so the threat level is low, plus my students are really good about not coming in when they're sick anyway.

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Feel bad for those of you that will struggle because of this. life is getting real. I work at home and we are using the time to build inventory. one positive of pottery is that x amount of hours have to be spent making stuff so a few weeks of months geared toward inventory can help later. I get of course that if you need this month's revenue to pay bills that won't help. I wish you all well in navigating this crisis.

 

 

Edited by Stephen

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Bad situation. I hope "we" as a nation learn from this hard lesson and make some real changes real quick, in terms of systemic preparedness, intra- & inter-agency communication/coordination, economic safety nets etc. 

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As of about 5:00 today, the Alberta Health Authority has asked that all gatherings over 250 people be cancelled. So there goes at least one show, probably two out of the three I’ve gotten into so far. The third one is in 6 weeks, so we’ll see what happens between now and then. 
 

I haven’t fleshed out the details, but I think it might be easy to organize a few of the other vendors, tap our mailing lists and do some online as a group. We were all planning on having the stock to hand anyways, and if we can encourage our folks to support small and support local, we could have a thing. I am unwilling to give up. 

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My next shows are mid-April and mid-May. No word yet if they will be cancelled. My hopes are low for the April show. I normally choose the non-refundable hotel option because it’s cheaper. This time I only booked cancellable hotels, just in case.

I’m still producing as usual. If the shows are cancelled, I’ll have extra pots for summer shows, and I’ll take some time off. The loss of income isn’t fun, but this is a good example of why small business owners need to be proactive about cash flow. I’ll be fine. Even when there’s no pandemic, any show can be wiped out by bad weather. 

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37 minutes ago, Callie Beller Diesel said:

As of about 5:00 today, the Alberta Health Authority has asked that all gatherings over 250 people be cancelled. So there goes at least one show, probably two out of the three I’ve gotten into so far. The third one is in 6 weeks, so we’ll see what happens between now and then. 
 

I haven’t fleshed out the details, but I think it might be easy to organize a few of the other vendors, tap our mailing lists and do some online as a group. We were all planning on having the stock to hand anyways, and if we can encourage our folks to support small and support local, we could have a thing. I am unwilling to give up. 

I'm preparing for an online studio sale now because I'm fairly certain this show will be cancelled and I don't know that I'll get my booth fee back since it is non refundable and so is the business license for that city.

So I'm hoping to still have a sale that weekend, but just online instead of in person. I think we can flip this to a positive even though right now everything seems negative.

I have the store infrastructure, I have the camera, backdrop, lights, etc for high quality pictures, I have the ability to live stream and do demos during the sale, and right now I'm planning on combining it all into something special just in case.

 

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I'm in a good spot as inventory building is what I need now as I let it get lower than its been in years with last years remodel sucking up lots of my time. As well as my Bali dive trip for 1/2 of November. Since I have the 3 markets (literally) as well as the gallery outlets even if shows are cancelled I will have some income trickle in as they are not all tourist spots. I'm also well set for retirement so its not going to be felt much for me. I am like Neil as I know many who need the art show $$ to make it day to day. I diversified to 3 income streams 30- 40 years ago and this is another good reason for having that avenue. of course when I dis that from a natural non thought out set of circumstances (dumb luck) which paid off years later. I wrote about this in My C.M. article a few years ago. Its never good to have all your eggs in one basket.

If I can stack up tons of boxes of priced work for the future it will be more fun time later underwater or other activities besides clay.

 

 

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10 hours ago, liambesaw said:

@GEPkeep in mind the SBA has 50 billion in low interest loans to hand out it things get down to emergency levels.  It's not ideal but it's better than missing a mortgage payment.

Liam, this is not how I operate. I hate borrowing money and hate paying interest, no matter how low. My comment says that I always keep enough cash flow on hand to survive missed shows. Shows are 95% of my income, but like I was trying to say, I know it’s a risky business and therefore I stay prepared. I’m not going to brag about my specific finances on the internet. I’ll just say that, like Mark, I am already set up to retire. 

Edit to add: This is part of a broader concept for anyone who wants to be self-employed. When I quit my last full-time job to become self-employed in the 90s, I promised myself that I would always buy myself health insurance and start a retirement plan. Then when I quit design to become a full-time potter,  I knew the income would be less predictable and therefore I promised myself to manage my cashflow accordingly. With freedom comes responsibility. 

Edited by GEP

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not meaning to get into a financial lecture but (that means ones coming) any young potters out there reading this, time is your best friend. If you are 35 or younger and you put the equivalent of a modest car note in a market fund each month you will be a millionaire when you retire if the market does the same over the next 35 years that it has over the last 50. Time is very powerful for smart 30 somethings. I didn't think I would get old either but I did and you probably will too.

 

  image.png.7a8e1dd8edf857ea2db75c1a649ae6d5.png

Edited by Stephen

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Actually Stephen, I am in the same mind frame as you! I should not complain about my finances, as I am not solely supporting myself but adding to our income. I got scared in my early twenties (I'm almost 50 now) when reading about what could happen to women in their older years, so I began putting money away for retirement then. Use this opportunity to invest more in your retirement savings!! I already did so, even though it feels a little scary. 

I am new to this being my job, but not new to saving money. I also hate debt, and paid off my college loans 3 years early, never carry a balance on credit cards. I think I still live a little bit like the post-college me who didn't know what she wanted to be when she grew up and flitted from one low paying job to the next. I still shop at thrift stores and only buy used cars, but now at least my only roommates are my husband and our pets! 

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Yes my point was that if a small business owner misses say, all of their shows this year, there is relief in the form of special sba loans.  I wasnt suggesting people take one out if they don't need it?

 

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49 minutes ago, liambesaw said:

Yes my point was that if a small business owner misses say, all of their shows this year, there is relief in the form of special sba loans.  I wasnt suggesting people take one out if they don't need it?

 

Ok, if the advice was meant for everybody, why did you tag it with my username?

ps, if the advice is for everybody, I still disagree with it. Working potters should avoid debt like, well, like a contagious virus. And we certainly shouldn’t borrow a whole year’s worth of living expenses. It’s possible to plan ahead for being out of work for a year. And if you’re not prepared for that, an extended work outage means you need to get another job, not a loan. 

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1 minute ago, GEP said:

Ok, if the advice was meant for everybody, why did you tag it with my username?

ps, if the advice is for everybody, I still disagree with it. Working potters should avoid debt like, well, like a contagious virus. And we certainly shouldn’t borrow a whole year’s worth of living expenses. It’s possible to plan ahead for being out of work for a year. And if you’re not prepared for that, an extended work outage means you need to get another job, not a loan. 

I'm actually not sure why you were tagged lol

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I've got two good shows in April, and two good shows in May, possibly a third that I haven't heard back from yet. The first show is April 5, and they sent out an email yesterday saying that as of right now they're going to stay open. It's way up north in Wisconsin, where they have very little to no Corona activity yet, so hopefully that will hold. The second show is in Milwaukee about 6 weeks from now, so that may still happen too, if the next month goes well with everyone being vigilant.

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It’s interesting seeing the different responses. Our governments are heavily encouraging everyone who can to work from home, universities are all going online and social distancing is being heavily touted. The small business community is encouraging people to buy gift certificates or pay for services in advance, to stock up at local stores instead of the big box guys, get your coffee beans from your local coffee shop, etc, and to still support their local artists.They’re using it as a bit of a rallying cry to come together as a community and make toilet paper hoarding jokes, as long as there’s no touching or coughing involved. If folks are being obliged to stay home for a few weeks, some nesting (and new pots purchased online?) may be in order. If we don’t get the same number of sales online as you might get in a good in person market, you also won’t have the same overhead.
 

As I recall in Mea’s analysis from a few years ago, her online sales were reasonably profitable, she just prefers the in-person sales. My own minor efforts since the start of the year bear this observation out. I paid for an upgrade to my weebly site that allows me to make 10 sales a month (it’s the second to last possible upgrade), and it’s paid for itself and then some. It was about $300, so comparable to a small to medium sized show. It took me a day or two of poking at it to figure out exactly how to work it, and I wish weebly had a more step by step guide, but when I needed help I could actually phone someone and they were pretty nice.  I have to stress I have been seriously slacking in promoting it or even updating it regularly, but it is profitable.

 I am currently compiling a list of other artists I want to work with who were also scheduled to be at some of the recently cancelled shows. Since we have the stock anyways, it makes sense to pool together with some friends to promote an online show/sale so we can take advantage of each other’s mailing list and social reach. I’ll be reaching out to them later today or earlier tomorrow with a plan outline so we can hopefully not take a total bath this spring. 

 

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11 hours ago, liambesaw said:

Yes my point was that if a small business owner misses say, all of their shows this year, there is relief in the form of special sba loans.  I wasnt suggesting people take one out if they don't need it?

 

Good share. Plenty of businesses take advantage of business loans in a crisis and stay in business because they did. Taking on too much debt or never taking on any are polarizing debates but I fall on the side of just doing ur homework and make sure the debt you take on makes sense to your business. Not all debt is bad and likewise overspending can sink your business. SBA loans should not involve personal guarantees and l would really try to draw that line. A failed business is just awful emotionally but debts that follow you for years can be crippling. If your business can't get a loan without personal guarantees then that likely means it shouldn't get a loan.

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7 minutes ago, Stephen said:

Good share. Plenty of businesses take advantage of business loans in a crisis and stay in business because they did. Taking on too much debt or never taking on any are polarizing debates but I fall on the side of just doing ur homework and make sure the debt you take on makes sense to your business. Not all debt is bad and likewise overspending can sink your business. SBA loans should not involve personal guarantees and l would really try to draw that line. A failed business is just awful emotionally but debts that follow you for years can be crippling. If your business can't get a loan without personal guarantees then that likely means it shouldn't get a loan.

Exactly!  I guess right now the rest of the country is kind of oblivious to what is happening here in Seattle, but we have had hundreds of small businesses already shutter their doors, there is no "get a normal job" available right now.  It is truly an economic crisis locally.  Where I work we have gone from 10,000 in daily sales to 4,000 and it's supposed to get a lot worse.  If your choice is taking out a subsidized sba loan or losing your house Im going to guess a lot of people will take the loan.  

Good luck to all as this virus spreads, we are at the epicenter and it is truly a nightmare.

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