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"Its a matter of how to shift your thinking now" - Mark C

This corona event has created a paradigm shift.   Some things may return to normal but I'm not expecting it to go back 100% anytime soon.  How you adapt to the shift is important.

Some changes:

1.  Online sales have gotten a big boost.   Not something I want to do with pottery but I can't ignore it.  We've seen 2 ppl here counter with creative delivery strategies.

2.  A certain % of the population may avoid crowds for quite some time.   Younger people don't seem to bother about this.  Only had my store reopened 3 days and I haven't seen anyone over 50 in here.  I'm not 100% positive they will reopen my large sales venue even by October (Canton Flea Market).  Crowd phobia will affect shows and bricks & mortar retail but have the most effect on shows.    Bricks and mortar could pick up some from customers that will avoid shows.

3.  Revolt against Chinese imports.  Definitely a certain segment of customers are thinking about this.  I've seen customers say "I don't want to give any gifts that have those gold "made in China" tags on them.  This is something that can help potters.   

Any dates on when shows will start back?
 

 

 

 

 

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My frustration is not with the citizens so much as the govening state to state -every one on their own deal. The world wide pandemic needs a at best well thought out science based world response-ok ma

I say “absolutely!”

I'm still fairly inexperienced at selling online. I did my first "real" online sale this morning (meaning it wasn't just a sale of leftover pots from my open studio, these were pots that I made expres

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I have one once a month outdoor art market that has let the artists know that they are planning to open in late October as long as things don't become bad by then and they will let us know if things change. Thats the only info on any shows taking applications i have heard about. I know my July show is canceled. As the venue has decided they will not be opening until august for more than 10 patrons in the building at a time. 

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Florida is getting slammed now-some business may not be worth it?

We are in late phase two with 3 coming soon. Our sleepy county is doing very well with only 9 active cases.Its the tourists that will blow it up for us  here as summer comes on.

Sales are picking up in my outlets now.

Having the organic natural food markets venues (4) was alife saver for me.They never closed and since galleries where closed folks could still find pots.

My show customers have contacted me thru the web and placed orders every week as well and this seems to be a weekly norm now. I only have one show in October that has yet to cancel. I plan on not going  at this time -its in NV and some states just seem not to get this that travel is a spreading thing.

I 'm resolved to this new normal and am fully enjoying the doing less with clay break. I miss the shows but am over it for now.

I think young people are not as aware of whats going on and there numbers even here are up for infections .

We canceled our local fall art show (i'm a board member) a few weeks ago. We did it to protect the community. There is a greater thought process than the individual in these times.

Finding a way to sell work now is just  shifting your way of thought  about it. Shows will not  bsafe for some time.

 

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Our area is strange, as we have not had many cases or deaths in Blair county, PA. I hear things like "fake news", "media exaggeration", "all political", "Democratic demogory". Makes me wonder. How many people have to die before people realize there is a problem?

 

best,

Pres

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I'm in Texas and everyone is certainly acting like nothing ever happened. No one, well almost no one, around here is wearing any face coverings at all and no distancing to speak of other than maybe the check out lines having spaced x's to stand at.

My family is having big get together's (without me) and my niece's 3 year old's dance studio had a big outdoor recital (pictures showed like one person with a mask). Local monthly, juried, art show is happening. I went to Lowes and me and a couple of really old employees were the only people I saw  wearing anything and the store was packed. Even the employees aren't wearing anything.

Really shocking. No wonder we are in the top 2 or 3 states in new cases last few days.  I'm in between Austin and San Antonio in an 80k tourist town so I don't know it the metros are acting different but I think everyone, around here at least, has gone right back to the old normal and have just accepted the risk and don't plan to do anything to mitigate it.

It kind of tells me that if so many people in the middle of this thing are acting like this then when this is over nothing will really have changed much and people will drift back to what was normal 6 months ago. 

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Its not South Korea -wish we could learn from others-watched the frontline show on Covid a few nights back. Worst is yet to come I think . 

Americans not to smart  really especially with lack of national response or even a plan that works. (I'm staying out of any politics as its the rules) We all are going to take a huge financial hiot as well as a huge loss of life. That show pointed out simple math if the shut down started in late February 80% less deaths now. Simple math.

Its up to each of us here in good old USA to figure it out.

Around here its masks or no entry-in all stores.Since each state has its own take its going to take much longer to get it controlled .

Pottery every other week is my plan now .

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also if they had done rolling closures in places that had cases instead of shutting down everything then they could shut down areas that have lots of cases. As it is there is just no will to shut any area back down no matter how bad it is or gets. The national approach might have worked if kept inplace for really long time but they should have known that was not going to be paractical. I think now its going to just revert to hurd immunity. Yeah it affects us all regardless of politics.

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I believe the results, or the lack of results speaks for themselves. Lack of good planning, and States that are doing well and those that aren't shows the way, not that many will pay attention.

 

best,

Pres

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I went to visit my father the other day. I  wore a mask when out of the car, getting gas, and going into the Pilot for a restroom stop. On the way out an old van from Texas pulled into the store lot to park near entrance. Maybe 9 people got out of the van to enter the store, all ages. None were wearing masks, all in a party mood, must have been to get out and stretch. They wore no masks in the store, no distancing. How could an area defend themselves from the virus if this disregard continues? Maybe I am just unjustly fearful.

 

best,

Pres

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Almost no masks here either.  And every business that doesn't mask up will give you their reasons for not wearing them.  I already had it, herd immunity, it's only the flu, those cloth masks don't make any difference, it's violating my rights.....on and on.  

But for me and mine, we wear masks, carry hand sanitizer and gloves with us, and mostly stay home.  And do what we can to help our locals that need assistance.  It will be up to us to take care of ourselves.   Yep.

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5 hours ago, Mark C. said:

Pres everything in Texas is bigger except the thinking

harsh...

ha ha, ya know I have lived in the Bay Area, LA, Seattle, Austin/Houston/Dallas/San Antonio and I can honestly say that the big/small thinkers are everywhere. Sometimes you get 55/45 so one dominates for a while but for all practical purposes I think this country is pretty evenly split with just a 5% swing back and forth. Now notice I stayed away from politics because I didn't say who was big and who was smallB)

 

Edited by Stephen
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My frustration is not with the citizens so much as the govening state to state -every one on their own deal. The world wide pandemic needs a at best well thought out science based world response-ok maybe every country but for heavens sake not every state on their own because of extremely narrow minded thinking situations.. We are all in this together as one we all know this. It will be all of us working together as one to defeat this thing-thats just the way it is.Opening and closing depending on the way the wind blows is not going to get the quikest ending. In my short life there has never been a magic vaccine that worked for the whole planet (yes we are all in this as one) .This is the time in our lives to act in the greater good for each other and do the right thing no matter what your top state official is suggesting.

I'm a big fan of community thinking and doing what you can in your own life for the greater good-in fact thats why I post here.

I was out of line on the Texas thing and I own up to it. It still is a big place but this thing is bigger than us all but if we all work together maybe just maybe we can get it suppressed sooner than later.

Edited by Mark C.
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Ok, folks. Thank you Mark for walking that back a bit. There are people we’re going to agree with and disagree with everywhere. (Even Canada).

I can understand and respect being frustrated with a government response to a crisis, especially when desired results aren’t happening.  The only nod to politics in any way here will be an encouragement to vote. Mine will be the last words on this topic here, folks. 
 

And on that note, I am now going to encourage us all to return to the original topic in this thread, which is what the new paradigm for selling our work might look like.  Have folks given any thoughts as to how funds that might have been spent on show applications and booth fees might be reallocated in their businesses? Is anyone considering things like Facebook ads, marketing courses of any kind (on or offline)? Is anyone choosing this moment to wind down some of your efforts like Mark mentioned? Has anyone considered hiring a virtual assistant to do some of their online marketing?

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I keep dragging my feet on the online selling.  I really do.  It is hard for me to put all that together and quite honestly I guess I don't want to.  So yes, I may spend some money on help for selling or at least a consult.    I am frustrated beyond belief with 2 of my consignment situations.  The 3rd one is amazing!.  Since watching many people on here including @GEP (who I am fairly certain sold out in 4 minutes this morning) it does seem we all have to find what works for us and our level of tolerance and skill.  I always knew I was skilled at in person sales, but I didn't realize until now that I liked it as much as I do. 

I have listened to Mei Pak you tube lessons.  She is very enthusiastic and has great ideas.  Her focus is a bit different than mine, but I definitely learned some things.  I have maker friends who have been taking online marketing classes and webinars trying to up their game.  It has given them a boost.  Mostly I feel I will have to find the path that works for me, keeps me safe and healthy and allows me to continue making pots!

Roberta

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I'm still fairly inexperienced at selling online. I did my first "real" online sale this morning (meaning it wasn't just a sale of leftover pots from my open studio, these were pots that I made expressly to sell online). Although it sold out quickly, my overall feeling right now is I miss shows! Online selling is a very different animal than shows. I had to field irate emails from customers who had items in their cart, but didn't pay for them fast enough, and lost out to another customer who paid more quickly. "If I was standing in your art festival booth holding a pot that I intended to buy, would you let another customer buy it first?!?" Yes, I got that note today. And a few more from people telling me my cart "didn't work." I had to explain what an "abandoned cart" is and that this is exactly how it's supposed to work. I did explain how this works in advance a few times before the sale, but I guess you can't expect everyone to read the fine print.

So I asked another potter who does a lot of online selling if he still deals with these reactions even though he explains how the cart works on his social media all the time. "Every time" he said. 

I miss shows. Shows are much more civilized when you can deal with people in person. Online selling is the wild west. 

Edited by GEP
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Glad at least it was financial success for you-even though it has its ups and downs. I to miss the shows-I like the people part -I have always known that. I like to hear about the work and get feedback from actual customers whom I get to know over 10-40 years. I have resolved myself to quit thinking about  and being bummed about shows this year .This week is my 1st week I have not shipped out any work and I feel good about that as well. I have never enjoyed shipping work as there is a disconnect for me after a lifetime of shows with the customers. I now settle for them calling me and ordering direct. Its better for me than a true online sale. I get a better feeling from that contact  vs an e-mail transaction which has no heart.  I have transitioned my fairs so I have a large summer fishing/diving season when the ocean condition are best. That said my biggest show now is in early August (cancelled) and the 4th of July. 

Shipping out boxes of work is not the same as wrapping a pot and handing to a customer.I do  get that. I can tell you feel similar GEP.

and yes people do not read stuff ,never have.

Edited by Mark C.
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22 hours ago, Roberta12 said:

 The 3rd one is amazing!

Ya know if you like dealing with the 3rd shop then all you have to do is key on finding however many of the amazing ones you need to hit the number you want for cosignment. This group was 1 out of 3 but the next group might be 2 out of three. Also it will prob get easir to identify situations that dont work and as you get used to it less stressful. Mark  C has had some great shops for decades and he has mentioned some go south. Nature of the beast.

edit: It can be really hard to make a bad situation better and often not worth the effort. Maybe you are not dropping a bad consignment quickly enough.

 

Edited by Stephen
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I think there are so many options in terms of consignment shops as every place wants essentially free pottery to sell. (this was before covid) .There is no reson to stay with ones that are learning or just plain bad business people . I have seen way to many poorly run buinesses  that actually hang in there for decades. I suggest looking for some new places -the main idea is get it all straight at the begining so if it dows not work out its easy for you to walk away from.

I'm down to two consignment stores now-one is my best seller (50/50%) Just opened a month ago and can allow 3 customers in at a time. (she grosssd 1,500 in my pottery last month -she has a online shop  and is very good at marketing)The other still closed (older owner) is a 60/40 % split. I have no idea when she will reopen.

They have just opened up our County to outside tourist travel so very slowly we will get a lesser tourist season (this area is a huge draw for tourists  -Redwood National Park-and large areas of beaches and forest with no people .Cool coastal summers as well-people coem to baet the heat inland (today it's 108 inland)

I turn down any new request for consighment these days -but I know pottery sells well and all shops want it-just be picky on what shops you want to approach .

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@Stephen and @Mark C.  Yeah....good advice from both of you.  It's tough when it is small town and everyone knows everyone and you are friendly with people , but you both are absolutely right about looking for new places and trying to make a bad situation better....sometimes just not worth the effort.  Business and friends just don't always mix.   And that is one reason the 3rd situation is working well, besides well organized, consistent, and in a tourist area, I am not friends with that business.  It's a working relationship, period.

rh

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Turns out my nursery accounts for my planters are looking up.  People are largely stuck at home and if they have a plant hobby, that's a good release for their time.  Consequently, the plant nurseries are doing well.  I don't know that I'm going to make up for the lost sales from the club sales, but I'll be happy to carry some inventory into next year.

From what I hear, my favorite camping in the Sierras is jammed.  Some things are going to be busier than normal this summer.

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