Part 2.

I've blogged about my Home Sale HERE and HERE and HERE.  This way of selling, right from the studio, has always been my preferred way of moving my pots.  It was important to me from the beginning to know my customers and to have that personal relationship with the folks who were buying and using my work.  It also allowed me to keep my prices low and probably sell to folks who otherwise may not have bought handmade pots (this is my perception, I could be a bit too romantic about this).


Mel Jacobson, who is the moderator of the listserv Clayart, has always said, take care of, and market to people in a 50 mile radius of your studio and that will be a great base of customers.  Of course I think this greatly depends on where you live.  I live 60 miles from the biggest city in NC but I sell more pots to people from my county than from the city when I have a studio sale.

I've never liked consigning pots to shops or galleries.  In my opinion I am stocking their shop for free.  Yes I may get 60% or 70% of the sale but I just don't feel like the owner has fully committed to me.  How do I know if they are really displaying my work in a good way or promoting it, are they trying to sell it or just using it for filler and window dressing? Now there are exceptions of course.  I do have good relationships with a couple galleries that I consign to.  I do not just consign to anyone who asks.

Still, I'd much rather a gallery buy from me directly.  This means wholesale which is 50% of my retail price.  If they are spending that money then I pretty much believe that they are going to try and sell my work.  I only began pursuing galleries for wholesale in the last few years.  I was more confident in my work and wanted to get it out there in the world.  It did mean I lost personal contact with my customer, but hopefully folks can find me on the internet if they try; some of them eventually make it out to the studio.

About a year after I switched to earthenware and started decorating more I raised my prices.  Right now my prices are almost double what they were when I was making salt glaze pots.  My thought process has changed, I feel better about the work and I feel like I am producing a consistent line of work within the ranges, asthetically and monetarily, that I am able.

I called Jeff Oestreich a few years into making pots.  I asked him how he marketed his work.  He told me about selling from his showroom, selling at exhibitions, and though galleries.  His bottom line was, "I don't put all my eggs in one basket."  I think that's good advice.  I would add to that, Pick and choose carefully where you put your eggs.

One of my setbacks early on was that I set myself up with preconceived notions about many things.  I could have tried a bit harder to market myself, but fear and doubt held me back.  Being self taught and never having gone through an apprenticeship or art school program meant I had to learn on my own.  I had some good role models and mentors that I am thankful for.

I'll leave it there for now.  More in Part 3.  Please leave any questions or comments in the Comments section.  I'd like to hear what you have to say.