Selling Pottery

Common Questions

Posted by on Feb 13, 2013 in About Me, Shows | 0 comments

Although pottery isn’t my full time pursuit, I treat it professionally.  That means, I set time to work in the studio and then go there; I maintain a website and have business cards; and, I keep financial records.  Since I often get asked logistical questions about A Bit Off Center, I thought I would share a few of the most common ones. You make a lot of pots; when do you do it?  Each week is different; but, essentially, I work a few afternoons from 4 til 630 and Saturday with Julie.  I have a studio at home, so I often work for short sessions on ‘off’ evenings.  I enjoy my studio so it isn’t hard to find time to get in there.  Pottery keeps me from watching a lot of TV! How did you get started selling?  I wanted to make better pots so I made a lot of pots.  Julie and I knew each other from the community studio so we worked together for company.  Then we saw a local Craft Show and split a booth. Is it hard to get into/do craft shows?  Some shows are juried which means you submit photos of your work and they select the participants.  Other shows are entered by paying  fee.  Neither is difficult (except it helps to have really good photos).  Doing the shows is a lot of work and planning.  It requires having a booth (tables/shelves/tent), getting enough pots made, and making provision to take payment. What is your best seller?  Mugs.  Everyone likes mugs.  We also sell a lot of small bowls and chip and dip servers. What is your biggest expense?  Glaze.  It is expensive and we use a lot.  But, last year, our booth fees were almost as much as our glaze expenditure. I wouldn’t want to make things because I have to.  How do you do it?  I think it is a mind set.  I don’t feel like I have to do anything.  It feels like I get to make pots and I like multiples – they feel like another opportunity to do it better or...

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How to Have a Good Show – Part 1

Posted by on Oct 6, 2012 in Craft Show, How-to, Selling Pottery, Shows | 2 comments

This is my busy season – between September and mid-December, I have 4 available Saturdays.  I say available but what I mean is I have four Saturdays that are available for studio work.  The rest of the weekends are obligated to visitors, trips, and craft shows.   I have been thinking about craft shows because I was recently asked to evaluate some local shows.  Also, I saw an advertisement for an indoor craft show that claimed weather would not be a factor.  The truth is, weather is always a factor.  Even if the show is hosted indoors, when the weather is bad, people don’t come. Shows are good for many reasons – so it really depends on what your goals are.  If you need exposure or recognition, there are shows that are good for that.  If you want to support a charity, then there are shows that provide that opportunity.  If you need to make money, then some shows can help you do that better than others. There are services that evaluate shows for artists.  For a small fee, they provide show history, average attendance, event description, average sales for various price ranges, show fees, and application information.  All of this information can help artists select shows they think will be successful shows for them.  However, in my opinion (which is what you get if you read this blog), there are things that I can do to contribute to a successful show and there are things that I can’t control that will make or break a show. Elements of a successful craft show that are out of my control but should be considered before deciding to participate are: Advertisement – I believe it is the show sponsor’s responsibility to advertise the show dates and times.  All shows expect the artists to promote the show by letting people know that the artist will be there.  Although this is a reasonable expectation, if it is the only means of advertisement, then the show is usually poorly attended.  A few ways for you know this in advance of the show is to research how long the show has been held and how many artists return each year.  Also, go to the show the year before to evaluate the crowd size and feel for the event to see if your craft would be well received there. Weather – Unfortunately, weather is a factor that you won’t know how it will affect the show until after the show.  (But I guess you could consult the Farmer’s Alamanac before committing to a show.)  This year, we participated in two craft shows that set attendance records because the weather was beautiful.  Craft shows are a numbers game – the larger the attendance, the greater opportunity to make sales.  And, people come if the weather is nice.  But if it is cold and rainy, fewer people come even if the show is indoors.  Some shows are ‘rain or shine’ which means there are no refunds for fees because the ‘show will go on’.  Consider the time of year and level of risk you are willing to take.  Remember, if you do enough craft shows, eventually there will be wash-outs. Distractions – Shows that offer various forms of entertainment are a mixed bag.  Although bands, amusement park rides, chicken-plate dinners, and children’s activities may get people to come to the show, it doesn’t mean they are purchasing handmade items.  But, it can provide a lot of exposure. Entry fees – Some shows charge an entrance fee.  It seems most of these shows are indoors and the fees off-set some of the show costs.  The theory is that any customer...

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Bele Chere

Posted by on Jul 27, 2012 in Shows | 0 comments

A Bit Off Center is making our first appearance at Bele Chere – and we are thrilled!  If you are in the Asheville area, please stop by our booth and say hello.  We are in the Art Park, Booth #20.  We would love to see you and to show off our ‘new’ booth (new banner and table cloths).  The show runs Friday (12-8), Saturday (10-8), and Sunday (12-6). We have been making pots in preparation for this show; and, this week, we have been packing bins and the van.  We are ready to...

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Posted by on May 22, 2012 in Shows | 0 comments

We just finished our second craft show of the year.  Artsplosure is held in downtown Raleigh and is hosted by the Raleigh Arts Festival.  The festival includes musical performances, interactive art exhibits, and a juried craft show (which means your work has to be accepted) that hosts about 150 artists.  This was the first year that we participated in the festival and according to the news, it was the largest attendance in the show’s history. The show was a lot of fun for us for so many reasons.  The weather was great and our booth was on a shady street.  The festival was well organized with lots of vendor amenities like designated parking for artists, a hospitality suite with food and a bathroom, and helpful volunteers.  The crowd was fun and dogs were welcome which made everyone more interactive.  It was one of the best shows we’ve...

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Let the Shows Begin!

Posted by on Apr 24, 2012 in Shows, Uncategorized | 0 comments

I love making pots but a consequence of prolific work is what to do with it – which is why we began attending craft shows in 2008.  We have been busy in the ‘off-season’ making pots, trying new ideas, and applying for shows.  A Bit Off Center is pleased to announce that we will be attending the following shows in the upcoming...

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Open House and Studio Sale

Posted by on Nov 21, 2011 in A Bit Off Center, Shows, Studio | 0 comments

Our first annual Open House and Studio Sale is complete and it was a success.  We really enjoyed visiting with everyone who stopped in.  The weather was so nice that we were able to keep the garage doors open.  And, because we were set up in the garage, we were able to work on glazing some pots as well.  Overall, it was a really great weekend.   Thanks to everyone for all your kind words and continued...

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