Posts made in October, 2011

Pottery for Sale (Part 3)

Posted by on Oct 29, 2011 in How-to, Selling Pottery, Shows | 0 comments

Another selling venue is a craft show or festival.  Finding shows is easy – in fact you may know of an annual show in your area.  A brief on-line search can help you find other shows and get additional information such as dates/fees/requirements. There are two types of shows: juried and open.  Open shows charge a fee and you are accepted as long as there is available space.  Juried shows have an application fee and they charge a booth fee once you are accepted.  A panel reviews applications with current photographs of your work and booth; then they select artists who fit their show’s criteria. Before you consider a craft show, you need a large inventory of pots to sell because it takes a lot of pots to fill a booth.  In addition, you will need to consider how you will display your pottery.  Some shows provide tables/chairs but most require that you have your own tables and display equipment.  For outdoor shows, a tent may be necessary. Most shows require that the artist is present in the booth during the show (people like to purchase pottery from the potter); and, some shows will not allow artists to share a booth.  A guild or organization may be permitted to have one booth and this may alleviate the burden of making a large number of pots or staffing a show for several hours/days. Another consideration is how to take payments.   You will need to be able to make change for any cash payments and decide whether you will accept personal checks.  Credit cards are much easier to accept with Square but it requires a smart phone or an IPad with wi-fi. You need a tax identification number in order to collect and pay sales tax.  In fact, some shows require a tax identification number.  This sounds complicated but it isn’t too bad.  Check your state’s department of revenue web page.  It will give you the guidelines for application. Craft shows are a lot of work but they give you a great chance to interact with customers.  In my experience, the feedback has been encouraging.  And, I have even had some great suggestions for things to...

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Pottery for Sale (Part 2)

Posted by on Oct 26, 2011 in How-to, Selling Pottery | 0 comments

Selling your pottery is a multi-layered decision.  You must be confident in your work (or desperate because you are drowning in bowls and mugs) to put your pottery out there. My first selling venue was a local art gallery.  This was a good opportunity for me because the curator was one of my former pottery instructors.  She was encouraging and guided me through the process.   I filled out the paperwork and left an assortment of pots for the board to jury for their sales gallery.  I was so excited (and relieved) when my pots were accepted into the gallery for sale. When considering a sales gallery or store, do some research.  Review the establishment’s sales/consignment/commission policies.  Then, visit the store to evaluate if it is a good fit for you and your work.  A practical resource with valuable guidelines that I used when I approached other galleries is “How to Sell Your Ceramic Artwork Through Galleries: A Guide for Ceramic Artist”. It may be a bit nerve-wracking to approach a store or gallery, but if you are sensitive or shy about you pots or if selling makes you uncomfortable, it might be easier for you to have a third party handle the sale. Even though there is a commission charged, selling through a third party has other advantages.  The store handles paying sales taxes and credit card fees.   Also, selling through a store can be a good solution if you have limited inventory because you don’t have to fill a large display space.  And finally, your pots are exposed to many potential buyers.  With these benefits, stores/galleries are a good sales outlet for many...

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Pottery for Sale

Posted by on Oct 24, 2011 in How-to, Selling Pottery | 0 comments

Occasionally, I get asked about how to start selling pottery.  First, let me say that I don’t think selling is indicative of success.  For most people, pottery is a hobby, an opportunity to be creative, or a chance to make something handmade to enhance their lives.  And, for most people, hobbies don’t need to make money. Nonetheless, there is a different form of affirmation when some one purchases something you’ve made.  It shows that they recognize the time, craftsmanship, and creativity demonstrated in your work; and, they are willing to pay for it.  After all, if you give some one a pot, it is unlikely that the gift will be declined.  Most people accept the gift and offer some compliments of thanks.  Given this general graciousness of people, I have always felt uncomfortable giving a pot that wasn’t my best (well, my best pot at that time…). But all of this is a parenthetical side-note to answering the question of how to sell. Selling your pottery is a multi-layered decision.  You must be comfortable and confident in your work – at least enough to take the first step and find an outlet. Perhaps the easiest outlet where you can begin selling is within your sphere of influence such as work colleagues, friends, or neighbors.  Most people are very enthusiastic about purchasing pots from a potter they know personally.   This is a great way to sell a few pots without needing to have a large inventory and without needing to figure out credit card payments. A word of warning…it is common for people to make requests (a blue fruit bowl/ large mug/brown and green teapot/ etc.).  This can be quite challenging.  And, such a project can motivate you or it can lead to unnecessary frustration if it is too time restrictive or not within you current ability.  In short, know your limitations, know thy glazes, and sell what you are confident about. In the next few posts, I will address other selling...

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We’re So Square, Man

Posted by on Oct 20, 2011 in Selling Pottery, Shows | 0 comments

We just finished a marathon show run  – three shows in three weeks – 6 days of craft shows.  Part of making pottery is finding avenues for pot disbursement and craft shows are one of those avenues. As a by-product of selling, we have had to figure out how to take payments.  Cash and checks were easy solutions; but as we started to attend larger shows, credit cards became a necessity.  There are a lot of services out there – all with various fees and commitments.  Recently, we switched to Square.  This service offers a free credit card reader, no monthly fees, no contracts, and 2.75% transaction fee.  It requires a smart phone or IPad and internet access.  It doesn’t require a business bank account and is very easy to set up.  Deposits are made directly to our account and I can download a transaction register which itemizes each payment and its corresponding fee. I can’t say enough about this product.  If you have a business or any need to take payment by credit card, this is a great...

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Autumn Leaves 2011

Posted by on Oct 19, 2011 in Craft Show, Shows | 4 comments

Highlights from the Autumn Leaves Festival in Mt. Airy, NC: Really beautiful weather Huge attendance Very friendly vendors Being asked if we were from Seagrove Being told that our pottery was prettier than what some one had seen in Asheville The gentleman who purchased our largest bowl (10lb) to serve his Aunt’s potato salad sent us the family recipe Hearing some fantastic live bluegrass music Seeing our booth lit at night – it looked great Listening to people talk about coffee mugs as they chose one from our mug...

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