search  current discussion  categories  business - sales & marketing 

bye bye blebs & selling from home q & $$$

updated thu 26 feb 98


Phyllis Biegun on wed 25 feb 98

Dear Clayart community,

Remember me? About a month ago I was frantic with stoneware tiles bloating.
Well, I just put the last batch in the kiln and the tile installers are
standing by... Thank you all for your help. The problem was solved by firing
more slowly (75 degrees F in one kiln, 100 degrees F in another) and to a
lower temperature in one kiln (decreasing by 10 degree increments to a total
of 50). Thought somebody somewhere might like to know how it all turned out.
I also learned to stop depending on controllers so much and to use cones (I'd
sort of let that slip).

Now for my next question. I live on a main road in an affluent suburb.
Zoning laws allow professionals such as doctors, lawyers, teachers, artists
(clay artists?), to have offices in their homes. I have considered putting
out a sign and turning a section of my house into a showroom. But I feel
uncomfortable about total strangers just driving up and coming in. So on one
hand I feel like this is a great opportunity, on the other maybe I'm just
asking for trouble. What do y'all think?

Finally, is anyone out there willing to talk about money? How much do people
make and how do they do it? I show minimally, a few local galleries, a small
local show, sell mostly word of mouth. I have a home studio, work about
twenty hours a week, make 8 -12K per year and keep most of it because my
overhead is minimal. I approached a long time potter I admired and asked
about expanding, doing shows, and was shocked when she told me she doesn't net
much more than I do and she works a whole lot harder to do it. If I put a
lot of money into big shows, photography, display, and a lot more time into
production, will I end up with increased gross profit but the same old net
(with a lot more risk and a lot more work)? Will I then need to produce more
to cover the overhead by hiring assistents and getting a bigger space...and
could I make enough to make it worthwhile? Okay, how much? What do other
people make as a one person shop? I would really appreciate hard core, nitty
gritty answers.

Finally, I feel badly when I hear impatient comments about the ridiculous
things customers say at shows - they are ignorant but we are all ignorant
about something.