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business question

updated tue 22 feb 05

 

primalmommy on sat 5 feb 05


Three or four times a year I get a request from somebody asking me to
wholesale a specialty pot I sell from my website.

Year after year I say nope, nope, nope. I like making them a different
way each time so I don't get bored, and they sell pretty quickly as it
is from my site with no advertising whatsoever - usually faster than I
can produce them.

Only the kids are getting bigger, I have more studio time, and this lady
made a pretty tempting offer. She will send her shipper to my door to
get the pots, and pay their ride; she would be content with a stripped
down version, no handles/spouts/fancy details. She is not picky about
glaze so I could make a big bucket of something cheap that doesn't move
much, to cut down on losses. (Alisa suggested nutmeg.)

This lady generally doubles the price of what she buys wholesale, but I
make $45 for this pot which I don't have to share with anybody -- and
nobody in their right mind would pay too much more than that, even
though it's a "luxury buy".

Since I have recognized that I like a challenge and sometimes do best
when given a push, I decided to try making 10 simple ones and see what
it takes.

Free clay -- but I have to wedge it. It's recycled scrap from my
classes. I may end up buying boxed clays and just throwing it out of the
bag, which seems to work fine for me (and my stupid elbow is still not
back up to standards.) But for my "trial run", no cost for clay. I have
gone out the last 2 nights and thrown 3 or 4 before bedtime.

Time: I am keeping track of how long it takes me to make each pot, plus
the recycling and etc. so I can figure out in the end whether it's worth
it. It's a 4 pound pot and I couldn't figure out why, as I made a
series, they kept getting taller; finally concluded that a) I am
throwing thinner with each one, and mostly b) I am losing less clay in
the process as I figure out what I am doing. I took a tip from mel and
picked a standard size for the openings so all my lids will be the same
size/shape and interchangeable (yes, I'll make extra.)

I took David Hendley's idea and am wheel trimming to avoid having to
turn and trim later. They are cut off with something I tried and like: a
nylon fish line wrapped around a cut off wire.

I will make a bucket of glaze just for these, and keep track of the
cost.

But at some point I am going to have to give her a price. I have to
admit that it kills me how plain these are, and I really want to give
them lug handles, but I don't want to add '"fiddling time" in case this
works well and she wants another batch and another. And mostly, I don't
want to compete with my own pots on my own website.

Maybe I should ask her for $20 per pot, and raise the price if she wants
handles or fancy stuff? I know having a nice big sale all at once is
nice, (esp. before NCECA) but I keep thinking "I could have sold those
myself for $45..."

I think the main reason I am doing it is to force myself to throw a
series of these forms, on a schedule, and that down the road it will
help me make more of the fancy ones for my own site.

How the heck do you price for wholesale, folks? Should I get some kind
of agreement in writing, or is a printed email sufficient? Lids are
really easy, so I am going to make a set with her logo, but if she
changes her mind I can make a set with my fancy decoration on top and
sell them myself. They are so plain, though.

I kind of want to distance myself from them. Like those authors who
write trashy novels under a pen name ;0) Since these are "strictly
business", I am tempted to do like David and sign them with letter
stamps "primalpotter.com" only without my name or stamp. That way if
folks want to see more of what I make they know where to go. I am pretty
sure the lady I am selling to won't include my info in the pots.

I know about get paid half up front and all that -- I am not sure I want
to commit, myself, until I see how this feels. But I would appreciate
any of the business details part of this, or advice about pricing.

Yours
Kelly in Ohio
Tony, what do you call it when you make them pay extra for whoopies?






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Randall on sun 6 feb 05


At 8:20 PM -0800 2/5/05, primalmommy wrote:
>Three or four times a year I get a request from somebody asking me to
>wholesale a specialty pot I sell from my website.
>
>This lady generally doubles the price of what she buys wholesale, but I
make $45 for this pot which I don't have to share with anybody -

I'm hardly the bastian of knowledge on this but here goes...
Generally yes, when you sell an item wholesale, the dealer/store etc
expects to be able to double that to resell it. It gets sticky though
if you sell them a pot @ $20 wholesale and they expect to sell it
retail at $40 and then you turn around and have them on your web site
or store for $30- forcing them to compete against you.


>Time: I am keeping track of how long it takes me to make each pot, plus
>the recycling and etc

You have to figure ALL costs, your time, materials, electric, portion
of the rest of the utilities used or devoted to the shop space,
insurance, taxes, advertising, mailing costs for billing or
paperwork, boxes, packing materials you buy- all of it. Generally,
wholesale people like a 30 day credit billing cycle which is typical.
My own experience with this with one store in California I deal with
now and then is- I shipped, invoiced them 30 days and waited, 30 days
went by no check, invoice them again with a reminder. Wait some more,
email them a reminder and invoice and so forth. 4 MONTHS later I
finally get my $120 check.

Months go by, they tell me they have only one of the pieces left of
the 10 and have someone who wants to buy 10, okay I make 10, ship,
invoice 30 days and wait. You guessed it- no check, invoice again but
this time I add INTEREST in red ink with "PAST DUE" wait another 30
days, add in more interest, and again it took 4 months before they
finally paid.
So now I decided if they order again it's going to be pre-paid in
full, in advance- that's it! It's not worth the headache for a $120
sized order.


>
>Maybe I should ask her for $20 per pot, and raise the price if she wants
>handles or fancy stuff?

I would say extras like this should BE extra yes, but don't settle on
$20 till you figure your full costs.

>I know having a nice big sale all at once is
>nice, (esp. before NCECA) but I keep thinking "I could have sold those
>myself for $45..."

Coulda, shoulda, woulda, point is you made money there and it's not
like these are antiques you won't ever find again and sold too
cheaply- you can make MORE of them any time you feel like.


>
>How the heck do you price for wholesale, folks?

I'm going to send you here for some general ideas;

http://artsandcrafts.about.com/library/howto/htprice.htm


> Should I get some kind
>of agreement in writing, or is a printed email sufficient?


Email is in writing, just watch doing custom pieces you can't sell
to anyone else like pieces with custom logos and then not getting
something contracty in writing about price, payment terms etc

Now I need to write our friend Mark from Studio 9 in the UK about his
excellent web site!!!

--
All the best,

Randall
Webdirector of "Randall's Lost New York City"
A historical photo essay of lost buildings from NYC's architectural history
http://www.lostnewyorkcity.com/
YIM: LostNYC2004

Elca Branman on sun 6 feb 05


You forgot to say how many of these you are willing/would want /to turn out
every month

What I think you are dealing with here is the difference between labor and
work..I loved making whatever I choose, and was willing to do some
production for $, but the production never drove the studio machine;my own
need to play in clay did.

However, all this was when my kids were grown and I owned my own life ;you
are still in thrall to your family..

Anyhow, let us all know how the story works out.. Luv Elca
----- Original Message -----
From: "primalmommy"
To:
Sent: Saturday, February 05, 2005 11:20 PM
Subject: business question

Edwards on sun 6 feb 05


Hello Kelly: This paragraph kinda says it all for me. Why would you want
to do something that you
would not want to be associated with? You can set goals and timetables
on things that you like to do.
IMHO nothing is ever "strictly business" with art. Inspiration should
come from your heart not from your wallet.
Don't get me wrong get the money thing figured out on your pots, but
when it comes to making, be as generous as nature.
I would hate it if a tree was less than it could be.
Anyway, I hope that you figure it out so that YOU are happy. That would
be my sincerest advise.
~Craig
________________
Craig Edwards, New London MN
e-mail craigedwards@charter.net
http://photobucket.com/albums/v11/credwards/
Illegitimis non carborundum

>I kind of want to distance myself from them. Like those authors who
>write trashy novels under a pen name ;0) Since these are "strictly
>business", I am tempted to do like David and sign them with letter
>stamps "primalpotter.com" only without my name or stamp. That way if
>folks want to see more of what I make they know where to go. I am pretty
>sure the lady I am selling to won't include my info in the pots.
>
>
>

John Rodgers on sun 6 feb 05


Custom order for wholesale???

I've been bit twice on custom stuff. Won't happen again.

Prepaid - it's the only way to go!!

Regards,

John Rodgers
Chelsea, AL
primalmommy wrote:

>Three or four times a year I get a request from somebody asking me to
>wholesale a specialty pot I sell from my website.
>
>Year after year I say nope, nope, nope. I like making them a different
>way each time so I don't get bored, and they sell pretty quickly as it
>is from my site with no advertising whatsoever - usually faster than I
>can produce them.
>
>Only the kids are getting bigger, I have more studio time, and this lady
>made a pretty tempting offer. She will send her shipper to my door to
>get the pots, and pay their ride; she would be content with a stripped
>down version, no handles/spouts/fancy details. She is not picky about
>glaze so I could make a big bucket of something cheap that doesn't move
>much, to cut down on losses. (Alisa suggested nutmeg.)
>
>This lady generally doubles the price of what she buys wholesale, but I
>make $45 for this pot which I don't have to share with anybody -- and
>nobody in their right mind would pay too much more than that, even
>though it's a "luxury buy".
>
>Since I have recognized that I like a challenge and sometimes do best
>when given a push, I decided to try making 10 simple ones and see what
>it takes.
>
>Free clay -- but I have to wedge it. It's recycled scrap from my
>classes. I may end up buying boxed clays and just throwing it out of the
>bag, which seems to work fine for me (and my stupid elbow is still not
>back up to standards.) But for my "trial run", no cost for clay. I have
>gone out the last 2 nights and thrown 3 or 4 before bedtime.
>
>Time: I am keeping track of how long it takes me to make each pot, plus
>the recycling and etc. so I can figure out in the end whether it's worth
>it. It's a 4 pound pot and I couldn't figure out why, as I made a
>series, they kept getting taller; finally concluded that a) I am
>throwing thinner with each one, and mostly b) I am losing less clay in
>the process as I figure out what I am doing. I took a tip from mel and
>picked a standard size for the openings so all my lids will be the same
>size/shape and interchangeable (yes, I'll make extra.)
>
>I took David Hendley's idea and am wheel trimming to avoid having to
>turn and trim later. They are cut off with something I tried and like: a
>nylon fish line wrapped around a cut off wire.
>
>I will make a bucket of glaze just for these, and keep track of the
>cost.
>
>But at some point I am going to have to give her a price. I have to
>admit that it kills me how plain these are, and I really want to give
>them lug handles, but I don't want to add '"fiddling time" in case this
>works well and she wants another batch and another. And mostly, I don't
>want to compete with my own pots on my own website.
>
>Maybe I should ask her for $20 per pot, and raise the price if she wants
>handles or fancy stuff? I know having a nice big sale all at once is
>nice, (esp. before NCECA) but I keep thinking "I could have sold those
>myself for $45..."
>
>I think the main reason I am doing it is to force myself to throw a
>series of these forms, on a schedule, and that down the road it will
>help me make more of the fancy ones for my own site.
>
>How the heck do you price for wholesale, folks? Should I get some kind
>of agreement in writing, or is a printed email sufficient? Lids are
>really easy, so I am going to make a set with her logo, but if she
>changes her mind I can make a set with my fancy decoration on top and
>sell them myself. They are so plain, though.
>
>I kind of want to distance myself from them. Like those authors who
>write trashy novels under a pen name ;0) Since these are "strictly
>business", I am tempted to do like David and sign them with letter
>stamps "primalpotter.com" only without my name or stamp. That way if
>folks want to see more of what I make they know where to go. I am pretty
>sure the lady I am selling to won't include my info in the pots.
>
>I know about get paid half up front and all that -- I am not sure I want
>to commit, myself, until I see how this feels. But I would appreciate
>any of the business details part of this, or advice about pricing.
>
>Yours
>Kelly in Ohio
>Tony, what do you call it when you make them pay extra for whoopies?
>
>
>
>
>
>
>

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Stephani Stephenson on mon 7 feb 05


kelly
can't remember if you said you had done business with the woman before
in general, she prepays on first order, or even COD

if everything works well, and she becomes a good account who pays
promptly
you can go to a 'net 30' which means you send her an invoice and
she remits payment in 30 days...
interestingly , some retailers do not double the wholesale price, they
almost triple it!
this was quite a surprise to me....
after she purchases from you she can ask whatever price she feels she
can get, which is fair.
on the other hand, you need to determine your own price, the price that
works for you.

I think it is very difficult to try and sell both wholesale and
direct/retail at the same time
because of the very issue you raise.
i.e. trying to keep your retail price in the same range as her retail
price
but then not killin' yourself every time you sell a piece to her for
half your own asking price, i.e. wholesale.

you may want to focus on one method or the other, or as you say, have
one line of work for wholesale and the other for your studio/direct
sales.

if you are going to sell wholesale, make sure you are satisfied with
the price YOU receive for the work,don't get too caught up in what she
receives
and also make sure you are satisfied with or interested in the work
itself

especially if you will be doing a lot of pieces...

if not, you may start to grumble
and that will make filling each
or-der
an or-deal

Stephani Stephenson
steph@revivaltileworks.com
http://www.revivaltileworks.com

ccpottery@BELLSOUTH.NET on mon 7 feb 05


Kelly -

I will try to help, but I think you already sense the answer.

' I like making them a different way each time so I don't get bored, and
they sell pretty quickly as it is from my site with no advertising whatsoever -
usually faster than I can produce them.'

' I have to admit that it kills me how plain these are ...'

'I kind of want to distance myself from them. Like those authors who
write trashy novels under a pen name ... '


I would always caution against doing something that numbs your soul.
Work you are embarrased to call your own hurts, and will drag you down.

Make the pots you would be proud to put your signature on, name your
price and let her worry about selling them. It's just the same as with your
kids ... you have to remind yourself of what is your problem and what is
their problem.

If she does not want to pay that price, you can still sell them with pride
from your site.

As to pricing ... the only thing that really counts is your time. There is
nothing else in your studio that costs anywhere near it. Our raw materials
are cheap and cutting corners in that area won't get you anywhere.

Wholesale accounts are usually done this way.

First order is prepaid by check or credit card. No exceptions.
Net 30 is given upon receiving three credit references ... you
phone all of them to make sure she pays on time.
Late payment put them back on a pre-paid basis.


' I am going to make a set with her logo, but if she
changes her mind I can make a set with my fancy decoration
on top and sell them myself.'

You should have payment in advance for custom work. If she
wants her logo on them, she owns them ... period.

GET YOUR FIESTINESS BACK WOMAN !!!!

Sorry to yell, but the Kelly I met and whose writings I read
would not tolerate this bunk in any other area of her life.

You are terrific, your work is wonderful and you should never
lower your standards in order to sell.

People should be given the privilege of owning a true
piece of your work. Not something you dumbed down.

A machine could march through those motions.
You will regret sending these pots out into the world.

You choose to put out your best effort in every other area of
your life and it will hurt you too much not to do so in this very
creative, nurturing corner.

Do your best work.
Charge a price you are happy with.
You will not regret it.

Chris Campbell - in North Carolina - wondering where Kelly went !!!


Chris Campbell Pottery, llc
9417 Koupela Drive
Raleigh, NC 27615
1-800-652-1008
1-919-676-2172
FAX : 919-676-2062
E Mail : chris@ccpottery.com
Website : www.ccpottery.com
Wholesale : www.wholesalecrafts.com

Michael Wendt on wed 9 feb 05


Kelly,
It appears you have received good advice from many sources, so if this
doesn't repeat what others have said too much, I look on order like the one
you have described as my daytime job. How else will we as potters build the
skills needed to make anything we want AT WILL without practice. Think of
such orders as practicing your scales on the piano.
Suppose you got a regular job somewhere to earn money so you could make pots
in the evening. Tired at the end of the day, the studio would often sit
empty .
I live next door to my studio and still we go over in the evening to play in
the clay after working in the clay all day.
Production pottery increases your skills level so very much faster than you
can imagine that as Mel says, $20, $20, $20,... can be reached quicker and
quicker.
I also say that each area of the process should be organized to increase
efficiency. If enough efficiencies are made, the work flies by quickly and
before you know it, the order is done.
Regards,
Michael Wendt
Wendt Pottery
2729 Clearwater Ave
Lewiston, Idaho 83501
USA
wendtpot@lewiston.com
www.wendtpottery.com

Eleanora Eden on mon 21 feb 05


Hi Kelly and all,

The other day 4 ladies came to my studio to buy earrings.
Immediately I was asked how much they were. $38. No, she said, she
meant what THEY would have to pay. $38. I said I had a box of old
inventory for $10-15 and they happily spent the next 1-1/2 hours
choosing earrings. At the end I casually asked how long they thought
we'd been at this and didn't point out the obvious...there is a
reason that shoppers pay the same at my house....I am giving them the
same service that they get at the store, they just get the excitement
of being hosted by the artist and the unrivalled inventory choices
as an extra feature.

This sounds like an extra good offer but if there is still this
niggling doubt, and there is or you wouldn't have asked the group, I
would say stick to your decision. The reason we make these "rules"
for ourselves is so that when the buzz is on and a decision has to be
made, we have guidelines.

Eleanora