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## potters income, making a living

### pikestudiospottery on mon 9 dec 02

Making a living as a potter isn=B9t that difficult if you have two things=
.
One is a good sense of design best acquired by taking a college level desig=
n
course, and a willingness to work a lot harder than most people would like
to. When you=B9re working for yourself doing something you love, then what
else could a great life be about?

My wife Connie and I have been doing pottery full time for nearly
thirty years. It=B9s been harder for us than most due to health problems on m=
y
part, but after making approx. one quarter million pounds of pots, we think
we=B9ve just about got it figured out.

If you want to know how much money you can make being a potter, you
could start with this simple idea. Decide that you will produce \$1500
average of wholesale priced pottery every week for a year. Total gross sale=
s
for the year are \$78,000. That's 200 \$7.50 coffee mugs that retail for \$15
each week, or 38 casseroles at \$40 wholesale. Make a chart like a
thermometer on your wall. Put 52 lines representing your 52 weeks of
production up one side and corresponding numbers at each line going from
\$1500 on the bottom line up to \$78,000 on the top line. Each monday morning
you fill in the thermometer for how much actual production you have
accomplished week by week. With something as silly as this, you will be abl=
e
to make many informed decisions about where you should be going and what ne=
w
things you may need to do to make a reasonable living. When I was starting
out I would see the end of the week getting nearer and I wasn=B9t yet at my
projected production so I bought a small TV set and would stay up some
nights throwing pots and watching late movies. When you count your
production, you count your throwing production only. When you throw a
casserole body, you count that at the full wholesale price. When you throw =
a
mug, you count it at full wholesale value. You will begin to notice how muc=
h
time you spend at real production and how much time is spent doing the many
other jobs necessary to finish pots and fire and glaze etc. Every hour you
spend packing pots to ship to a shop is an hour of production lost and
eventually you will see how precious production time is. You will find ways
to get more production time. A pug mill increases production time, having
your clay delivered, not having a telephone in your studio, hiring a couple
of part time artist type people to pug clay, sand bottoms, load and unload
kilns, mix glazes. So much to do and so little production time.

If you make a \$10 wholesale pot and it costs you \$5 to make it and you
sell it to a store for \$10, you just made \$5. If you sell that same pot to =
a
customer for the retail price of \$20, you just made \$15 or 300 percent more
profit. If you sell that same pot from a reputable consignment shop and you
get 60 percent of the retail price, you make 40 percent more profit than if
you sell wholesale. The bottom line is if you can set up your studio in
cheap commercial space where you can sell directly to your customers, or yo=
u
conduct your own sales to your customers not at commercial crafts fairs, yo=
u
can make 300 percent more profit and that can more than offset the added
costs.=20

If I were starting out today, I would find 4 more pottery inclined
people and set up a communal studio in a small town just out of commuting
range to the city limits of a fairly large city. When you live in a small
town, there are less distractions and you can better learn your trade. Ther=
e
are lower prices for rent or purchase and lower overhead makes it easier to
maintain when you are just beginning.

We send out a newsletter three times a year to our 2000 customers on our
mailing list. Each newsletter is sent out to announce two sales one week
apart. One sale is at our studio in High River and the other is at a
community hall we rent in Calgary, about 1 hour away. The Calgary sale is
for our customers who can=B9t make it out to the studio sale. We now sell 90
to 95 percent of our work through our studio sales, 2 higher end farmers
markets in the summer where we sell lots of pots and get our mailing list,
and a couple of small exclusive craft fairs.

see some of our work, Go to http://pikestudios.com I=B9m sorry a couple
of the links might not be working as well as they could but there is a lot
of information to see. If you go into articles and information, there is a
two page magazine article written for Alberta Venture magazine that about
says what we have done over the years and doesn=B9t have too many errors.
There=B9s also a nice article I wrote in our newsletter about the 102 steps t=
o
make a coffee mug. We take the job of educating and entertaining our
customers very seriously.

pottery career.

Bob Pike

--=20
Bob and Connie Pike Pike Studios Ltd.
Mailing Address: 1303-10th Ave SE, High River, Alberta T1V 1L4
Phone 403-652-5255 Fax 403-652-5255
Studio Location 70-9th Ave SE, High River
http://www.pikestudios.com
=20

### Catherine White on mon 9 dec 02

Bob,

Many thanks for a well-thought-out approach to selling. I want to get to

I went to Google Search and they give the same web site address:
http://pikestudios.com
Best wishes,
Catherine in Yuma, AZ
My inability to emulate occasionally results in originality.
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