search  current discussion  categories  business - sales & marketing 

answer to sales

updated thu 25 jun 98


Carolynn Palmer on wed 24 jun 98

We make a living from my pottery and "sale of my pots alone." My husband (not
a potter, but an excellent business manager and mechanic), my daughter, 4 cats
and 1 dog live off the profits of my studio. We have both been doing this
since 1988. I have potted full-time since 1974.

We make strictly functional pottery, high-fired stoneware in electric kilns.
My husband goes to the mine to pick up the clay, mixes it in our old Bluebird
mixer, pugs it in a de-airing pugmill and brings it to me to throw and slab-
build with.

I do all of the throwing and most of the slab work, trimming, mix glazes,
glaze and decorate (I do highly decorated pots with lots of time-consuming,
Sumi-e brushwork overglaze), load the kilns and sometimes unload the kilns.

My husband usually unloads the kilns, packs the pots, travels to shows, sets
up the booth, sells the pots, does the book work, loads and unloads the van,
builds and maintains the displays, contacts the customers, packs the wholesale
orders, answers the phone, maintains the vehicles, kilns and other equipment.
(He also washes dishes and sometimes cooks dinner, helps our daughter with
homework and busing her to her many activities.)

We sell most of our pots at retail shows across the country, augmented with
some wholesale sales and some consignment sales.

YES. The
market (buyers) have forced me to make what sells, in colors and styles that
they dictate. In order to make a living, I create what will sell. (I love
green and brown. But blue sells. I love making really big jars with complex
lids, but bowls and baking dishes sell. So, I make a lot of blue bowls and
baking dishes.)

Although, I love what I do (even the production throwing), over the years I
have learned to keep some time open in my schedule for purely artistic,
creative work. --I've always said that if I won the lottery, I would go
right on working the same long hours in my studio, but what I made would
change - drastically!

"Words of wisdom..." If you have clay in your veins and you love making pots,
make pots.

Carolynn Palmer, Somerset Center, Michigan