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I have gotten lots of 1-2 and 3-4 mug orders all over the country -they come in near daly now-its starting to wear on me-I usually take some mugs (once I know what size they want -as i make 5 sizes) and put them on a white piece of paper and label the paper with numbers-send them a photo and they pick from there. (my colors are all differen).Little did I know this would be new thing?mugs to Montana -mugs to Utah etc ect

I'm close to turning this over to one of my gallierys as they do online heavy right now.

I'm not a ones twosy potter-I can do it for a limited time as it takes to much time.

In the course of a year I get these orders but never in this volume of a daily request  like now-they all seem to wonder how to pay and how it all works

its taking time away from what I need to be doing.

Yesterday I dropped off pots to all 4 of my super  markets as they are moving product steady now as business is picking up

My best selling Gallery now can acomadate 3 customers in her store at a time now.-last month she sold about 1k of pottery-not terrible considering she was closed except for curbside pickup and online

 

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yeah it does not take much back and forth to take the profit right out of it does it. Cool though that your customers are missing you at the shows and want your mugs enough to jump through some hoops. They could go to dozens of ecom stores by great potters and buy mugs with a lot less hassle but they want yours.. 

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Business is picking up at all 6 food outlets as well-just took in 6 boxes of pots to two of my bagel shops

The reason they want my stuff is all about a large customer base built for many many decades.

Its also about the pieces they use daily and want more if broken. You know your favorite cup deal-its really big in this world.

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There’s ways to do it more efficiently. Farming it out to a gallery is definitely an option. Building some systems and placing some limits on it is another: define clearly what you are and aren’t willing to do is important to keeping your time respected. Batching your shipping so you’re only doing it once a week is a perfectly acceptable business practice. If you want  (key words there) to make these things available to your customers, be prepared and do it properly. Take images of the 24 mugs (or whatever) that you made for online sales as soon as they’re out of the kiln. Leave them in an area with your packing supplies so you’re not running all over the place trying to find the right thing. Put the photos somewhere your customers will look (email, social media, poster on a fence post, whatever). Let them make their choices. Document all the orders as they come in, and process the money as they purchase. Charge flat rate shipping so that it’s easy and fast to quote. If they get overcharged a dollar or two, consider that a service fee to you. Do the packing and the shipping on the designated day so it’s not taking up so much time. We are creative thinkers here. There are ways to solve the problem.

 

If you don’t want to do any of this, then don’t! You’re the boss. Getting to make the rules is one of the job perks of being self employed. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Closed 6 weeks  March 16 to April 23. 

Missed Canton MS Flea Market (7.5% of yearly sales)

Sales slump of 33.34% at retail locaion for 2020, compared to 2019

May Sales Down 10% 2020, compared to 2019

41% decrease in total sales (Canton plus storefront)  for 2020

The first time since opening storefront July 2011, that I've seen a slump in sales.

A downward trend BUT the May numbers are encouraging.   There are still customers out there.    I was happy with only a 10% decrease for May.  I've heard repeatedly, that a lot of boutiques in my area have a limited amount of product.    I took off that six weeks and made a lot of pottery and filled in my fragrance line, making a lot of candles.        This past week, I got a group of 3 RVer's from Florida heading out West.   That was the first I've seen this year.    Two weeks ago, there was a senior golf tournament at Pearl River Resort and that brought in a few good shoppers.   Today 3 shoppers came over from Tuscaloosa, Alabama ... so customers are starting to move about

I'm seeing Christmas gift purchases now so I'm projecting a pretty good 4th quarter.    Not as good as 2019, but good.   If possible, you need to find a location to get some of those 4th quarter sales.    I've heard at least 20 customers say "they want American made gifts", "nothing that has those gold "Made in China" tags.   I've been questioned on my jewelry but it hasn't reflected in sales.  I've replied honestly that I don't know of a U.S. made source for jewelry findings like simulated pearls.   Most of my jewelry is assembled here.   

If you are dependent on pottery for personal income, you are going to need to get your product in front of customers.   The paradigm has shifted.    And you will probably have to shift something in your distribution.

I've decided to downsize.  I enjoyed that 6 weeks off way too much.  Right now I'm operating with 0 employees but one is coming back this week.

 

 

Edited by DirtRoads
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I'm expecting a 50% hit this year on sales-I have ramped down production  to account for that.Its just a guess really. Since all my art fairs are toast this year (I'm not going no matter  what as a senior )They have mostly all cancelled anyway.Thats about 30-40% of my sales. Galleries are reopening  slowly so wholesale and consignment sales will start to drift back in but at reduced levels. My main gallery can let in 3 customers at a time. My guess is down 40-50% . Whats left is my natural foods whole sale accounts which are strong  all thru this for the most part . I expanded to the largest store in our area about a month ago and its working out super .I quarterly bill them so its a bit soon to tell . 1st quarter was down slightly, with a few weeks into the pandemic. 2nd I expect about the same.

I'm enjoying doing the other project s in life every other week now.Making  headway on long put off jobs.

I'm trenching about 300 feet and putting in solar project conduit(1-1/2inch)  and some back up water and power underground services to well and adding some new hose bib services in distant areas on property as well as new line(low pressure)  from 6600 gallon rainwater tank farm to garden.. I did all this once back in 86 so this is round two.Its kicking my butt.

 

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I'm glad you've got the other revenue streams and that there are some postitives at least!

My increased online efforts have actually put me on par with last year's spring results, and have been more profitable because of the lower overhead. To qualify this though, my first quarter is typically extremely low, but I'm finally putting solid effort into a consistent, organized presence on social media and seeing concrete results from it.

I don't expect the pattern to hold over the whole year though. Numbers of Covid have peaked and are still in decline, and I'm thinking people will be cautiously optimistic by the time my farmer's market opens for the summer in about 3 weeks, as long as there's not something ELSE that happens.

Whoever keeps holding 2020's beer needs to stop the enabling.

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I should also add that e-mail and phone in orders are on the rise and boxes are shipping  out every week as well-direct sales.Its adding up.-Also got the large wholesale gallery check today which is the order I dropped off two weeks ago in Santa Rosa to a distant gallery (near Hearst Castle) I have never been to-they opened for the memoral day weekend (allowed to now) and sales where up they said.

I have cleared most pottery stuff (I need to throw a few 6# bowls this week) so the trenching job gets done.

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My biggest show of my year in early August contacted me today-their board voted to cancell the show this year. its what Though would happen-its in Wasington Sate.

The director said all energies are into next years show. They have 3 options for your payments-refund is one-rolling it forward is another-which was my choice. The 3rd was donate your booth to them as they are a community non-profit as well. I paid last November (2019) so its been gone a long while .

One last show in October out of state (NV)  that I have not yet heard from and I'm guessing they will cancel as they are a nonprofit for a small community hostpital.

 

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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.

Edited by DirtRoads
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