Lori Doty on sat 2 apr 05
I want to preface this email with the information that I am not a full
time potter but have been wanting to make the transition also have
learned a great deal from lurking her on the list for the past few
Well my husband and I have begun the looking process at houses and
business purchase for a home based pottery. I am filled with
trepidation and excitement at this time. A potter and spouse are
selling their home that has an attached studio/gallery about 2 hrs from
where we now currently live and work. Does any one out there have any
tips/ideas about building up relationships with shops in the area we
may be moving to? The couple have said a few times that they will give
us the names of places that they have a business relationships with and
a "promise" from the businesses to them to help out whoever buys their
Are there grants available to first time business persons? I know I
might be asking the wrong group but right now you all are my life line.
Thanks for any advise.
Taylor from Rockport on sun 3 apr 05
The Small Business Administration is a good place to go for information.
They live on the web at http://www.sba.gov/
Check with your local library. Often they have business sections and grant
writing sections in their collections. I don't know how much luck you are
going to have finding grants for for-profit ventures but who knows.
The SBA does give loans. You will find information on that and a wealth of
other information regarding starting your own business at their homepage.
Again with the local library (or community college or university), many such
places offer free seminars and talks about starting up businesses. Ask
around. The government pays organizations to assist
entre...howeveryouspellit!...people who want to go into business for
themselves. You go girl.
Taylor, in Rockport TX
On Sat, 2 Apr 2005 19:14:19 -0600, Lori Doty wrote:
>I want to preface this email with the information that I am not a full
>time potter but have been wanting to make the transition also have
>learned a great deal from lurking her on the list for the past few
>Are there grants available to first time business persons? I know I
>might be asking the wrong group but right now you all are my life line.
Stacey Ballard on sun 3 apr 05
I have found the best way for me, to build new relationships with
potential new shops is to call first and find out who you should talk to
and possibly make an appointment with that person to introduce yourself.
The people who own shops are usually very busy doing a number of
different things and I have found they like it when you respect that
they are very busy people. So make an appointment or find out a good
time to go in and introduce yourself and find out what their customers
are interested in, what sells well for them. If it happens to fit into
your style, great, but build the relationship with respect. Respect
their time, respect your style, and see where it goes from there. Next,
always have good contracts, whatever you do!
Hope that helps,
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Vince Pitelka on mon 4 apr 05
I can certainly relate to your question, because I can clearly remember
going through the same thing, even though it was 30 years ago. I left a
perfectly good full-time job to become a full-time potter. It was
terrifying, and it was the best thing I had done in my life up to that
point. I asked everyone I knew for advice. Today, you can ask Clayart -
wow, what a contrast. At any rate, some people tried to talk me into going
straight to high-volume production, gift shows, catalogs, wholesale reps.
That felt all wrong to me. Instead, as I approached the transition to full
time potter, my wife, son, and I took a series of trips to areas in Northern
California and southern Oregon where we thought I could sell my wares. In
each location we identified appropriate shops and galleries, and identifed
the people who made decisions about buying work or accepting new artists.
Back at home, I sent a packet of information to each place, including a
letter of introduction, photos or slides, price list, and some information
about my work and my studio. In each case I included information for
ordering, but I also offered to come show them my work in person. A few
people ordered right away, but in most cases they asked to see the work. We
organized a few additional trips to visit all those stores in person, and to
my relief, most of the ones that asked me to come show my wares ended up
After that, I tried to treat them well. I responded to their individual
needs, introducing items that they requested. I stayed in touch with each
of those retailers by phone and mail, and tried to visit each of them in
person at least once a year. The theory is that if they know your face, and
know you as a friend, they can represent your work much better, and when
dedciding who to pay net thirty, they are more likely to include you.
This system really worked well for me. In ten years of selling significant
amounts of wholesale, I only got stiffed on two orders, and those were both
places where I had second thoughts during the initial visit - one was "The
Butler's Pantry" in Sausalito, CA, and the other was "Scullery Maids" in
Jack London Square, in Oakland. They were both nice-looking places, well
designed, good merchandise, but the owners seemed a ltitle furtive and
desperate. I was still learning the ropes, and should have known better.
Both places went out of business before paying for the initial order. But
in contrast, I developed so many good long-term outlets in towns and cities
up and down Northern California and southern Oregon.
I'm happy in my job and my life, but I have very fond memories of those
full-time studio years, and as a teacher, I'm glad to have that experience
under my belt.
Appalachian Center for Craft, Tennessee Technological University
Smithville TN 37166, 615/597-6801 x111
----- Original Message -----
From: "Stacey Ballard"
Sent: Sunday, April 03, 2005 11:25 PM
Subject: Re: starting in business...
> Hi Lori,
> I have found the best way for me, to build new relationships with
> potential new shops is to call first and find out who you should talk to
> and possibly make an appointment with that person to introduce yourself.
> The people who own shops are usually very busy doing a number of
> different things and I have found they like it when you respect that
> they are very busy people. So make an appointment or find out a good
> time to go in and introduce yourself and find out what their customers
> are interested in, what sells well for them. If it happens to fit into
> your style, great, but build the relationship with respect. Respect
> their time, respect your style, and see where it goes from there. Next,
> always have good contracts, whatever you do!
> Hope that helps,
> Stacey Ballard
> No virus found in this outgoing message.
> Checked by AVG Anti-Virus.
> Version: 7.0.300 / Virus Database: 266.8.6 - Release Date: 3/30/2005
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