Monday, January 20, 2014

Focus


Today we had our first shipment of bubble wrap and boxes for 2014. Now to find a way to squeeze them all into our storage room! We use a lot of free priority boxes from the post office but we have some items that just don't fit into them, although we have been known to be very creative in combining two small boxes to make larger ones. These bundles of bubble wrap are gigantic and we have been going through them rather quickly which leads to the subject of this post.

FOCUS

As 2013 was coming to an end, Jeff and I looked back on our business practices for the year.

We are very happy that we followed through with our plan to focus on selling our pottery through Etsy. We set goals and surpassed them. Yay! 2014 will be even better.

Then there are shows... we don't do that many and this year we are dropping Festival in the Park in Charlotte, and looking for something to replace it. There are a couple we are considering. Not sure I want to do anymore shows than we have in the past, but if something looks promising we may consider it.

The biggest decision we have made, going into the new year, is to discontinue our membership in the local co-op gallery. Our sales were down, despite our best efforts to figure out what would sell there.  When we did the math we realized that with the annual and monthly fees we were taking home 50% of our sales AND working three days a month. It just makes sense for us to send more work to the consignment galleries that take 40% of sales. The time commitment to the co-op was to cutting into my studio work. With three extra days a month I can make quite a few more piggy banks to sell on Etsy!
We will miss being part of the co-op. Belonging really gave us a sense of community and we will miss that, but it was time to move on. Our term will end on February 28th.


2013 had a very happy ending for us, and I am looking forward to 2014.









6 comments:

  1. You are inspiring me, Michele! This year I will get my Etsy shop off the ground. Really just a matter of choosing stock and trying for some decent photos.

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  2. Bubble wrap and foamies: the word has gotten out and EVERYBODY and their cousin has filled my studio, garage, EVERYWHERE with shipping materials. I have not had to buy any in a couple of years. I come home and there is a ton of once used stuff waiting for me on the front porch. The wife is on the bus coming home from work and some stranger gives her a bag. A sister-in-law in NYC hands her a bag of foamies in a restaurant (we asked that she not burden us, 200 miles from home, with a big bag of foamies to take home, whilst in a nice restaurant, but the sentiment is nice). The other day, a friend was loading me down and said "you could say no" and I said "its like FIELD OF DREAMS, 'build it and they will come'. I fill up the studio to bursting by October, then suddenly it is going out every day and then it is Christmas and IT IS ALL GONE. Happens every year :)". I like the coop I am in, although SHEESH, how it hangs in there finacially is a mystery...nice people and love, probably...but the terms are a zillion times easier than the ones you mentioned there :)

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  3. Suzie - go for it and best of luck!

    Gary - Free packing stuff is always good! We occasionally get free pnuts but that's about it.
    Our co-op works like this... 10 members each working 3 days in 30. Rent and utilities are divided equally. If you sell a ton you are doing well... if sales are low, well do the math. How does your co-op operate? Is it by commission on sales only?

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  4. You've inspired me to spend more time in my Etsy store and it's already starting to show some improvement. It is a big time commitment.

    Like Gary, I get a good bit of my shipping materials from friends and neighbors. It's really helpful and great for the environment. Of course many of your neighbors are potters too so EVERYONE wants the free peanuts.

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  5. We have a room that gets piled up with small cardboard cartons that come from Laura's one day a week job at the local grocery shop. Quite fun to be sending pots away in something that once held bananas or baked beans! The Co-op thing is always in my mind. The one I belong to sounds like yours in that it was set up that all members pay an equal monthly fee to cover rent and other expenses. In our case there is no commission... It certainly favors those that sell well, but is very hard on those of us that don't. The equal share of costs thing sounds good in theory, like some other economic theory, but it is quite unfair in practice! I think it is probably fairer to have a more modest monthly fee, plus a commission on sales. What those that sell well don't like to admit is that their sales actually cost money, in bank fees and packing costs. It is very hard to find a system that suits everyone, and recognizes that all members are essential and contribute, even if they don't sell well.

    Glad that Etsy is working so well for you. I'm not sure that it would for me as I am so far from the rest of the world down here in NZ, and postage is very expensive, but I might also try some on line sales this year and see if I can make them work.

    Happy New Year, Pxx

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  6. Peter, we thought like you when we signed up for the coop that splitting all the costs equally and no commission seemed very fair. If everyone sells well it is a good thing. but that rarely happens. If you only sell a $100 and another member sells $600, and costs are shared equally... you are losing money.

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