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appropriate online sales product design

updated sun 17 oct 99


elizabeth priddy on sat 16 oct 99

Ray's comments about the issue of how the econsumer can
get the real feel of your product online is the reason
that I have not sold online yet.

I have "built" and tested the website and have had very
favorable response to the work and ideas there, but I
don't really sell anything from there. It is an
educational site and an online gallery. My mermaid
plates and "clay portals" are a prime example of the
problem and the solution. The mermaid plates can be
sold online and the tile pieces cannot. The difference
is in the subject and the production method.

The mermaid plates are a series of about 20 plate
designs that are about women and being and the
experience of living using the allegory of the mermaid
as the vehicle of expression, ie pretty plates with an
inscription that has a little humor or a little punch
or a little meaning to complement the painted design.
The plates are all the same and the client is buying
the design. As the plates can be made as a signed
limited edition with me signing and painting and
numbering each one and keeping the design and the words
very similar and a suitable disclaimer about each piece
being individual, I can sell them online.

The "clay portals" cannot be sold that way because I
have not painted any one of them more than once and the
irregular shapes and form of the pieces is not
appropriate for mass production. In fact, the pieces
are so original that I cannot make the same one twice,
much less guarantee the potential buyer that I will be
able to make him one virtually the same as the one he
looked at online. (I also have a hard time keeping any
in stock and would not venture into the hell of showing
each individual piece, tracking it online and mailing
it out to people-perhaps if I hired someone to do that
it would be reasonable, but you all know how I feel
about trying to do everything yourself ;^} ). I did
the producton design work on the tiles to deliberately
keep them open and fresh for me for many years to come.
This same feature of the work is what makes it not
as suitable for the esales.

And the beauty of it all is that I can do both. I plan
to sell the mermaid work online as it is particularly
suited for it and there are many demographics that
might have an interest in them. And I will sell the
tiles in galleries closer to home so that people can
handle them and buy exactly the one they have, and I
can keep up with them and keep them stocked.

I also trade tiles with potters whose work I like and
who are willing to let me paint them one "on theme" but
who are not hung up on it being the particular one they
saw a picture of. I am currently getting one with
bees out for Mr. Goodrich who makes the most beautiful
and simple wall sconces I have ever seen.

Elizabeth Priddy


On Fri, 15 Oct 1999 09:17:23 Ray Aldridge wrote:
>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>At 01:17 PM 10/14/99 EDT, you wrote:
>>----------------------------Original message----------------------------
>>Well I gotta jump in here. I have tried this racket every way I have been
>>able to figure out how to slice it, short of teaching.
>>So I decided I was in the wrong place and started doing exclusively on
>>craft fairs. There is a big downside to that too as everybody knows. I am
>>at the place where I think there is a big downside to it all and you have
>>to just get better at what you are doing and be disciplined about dealing
>>with whatever marketplace you are in. Easier said than done. Thinking
>>alot about the web be a reasonable alternative?
>I believe that it is. The net is transforming business in ways that most
>folks haven't even considered. There are a number of books out by
>forward-thinking businesspeople, who convinced me that the future of small
>producers of luxury items (that's us) is in ecommerce. The middleman is a
>dying breed, though new institutions will have to be devised to make use of
>the net's extraordinary ability to put customers and manufacturers into
>direct contact.
>The problem with selling art on the net, however, especially unique but
>unappraisable objects such as those produced by potters whose names are not
>household words (most of us) is that the customer wants to hold the piece
>in her hands before making the decision. This might not be as important to
>customers who are knowledgeable about the art form, or to folks who are
>buying the piece for reasons that are tangential to the piece's value as an
>art object-- perhaps they are looking for a gift with a particular theme,
>or a piece of a specific color.
>The challenge for artisans who want to sell direct via the web is to
>somehow figure out a way to make that hand-to-art connection, or at least a
>heart-to-art connection.
>Aldridge Porcelain and Stoneware

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