I can't say I'm fully recovered from my pukey meltdown of yesterday, but I was able to pull myself together enough to make some phone calls. In some cases, no one answered the phone at all. Ever. I called several different times, at different times of the day...no dice. Also, their extensions don't work. In others, I got a receptionist who directed me into voicemail. In only one case - a Maine store - did I actually reach someone and make an appointment. I will probably get that account.
This is what frustrates me: when I actually get the appointment - when they see and hold the pots - I get the account every single time. I'm not exaggerating: I don't think I've ever gotten in to see the buyer or gallery/store director and gotten a "no." This is how I know I'm not deluding myself. The work is not lacking. That isn't the problem. The problem is that I can't get them to answer the damn phone. Or email. And just showing up is obviously rude, all agree. I would never do that. So what's a poor potter to do?
I know what I used to do: I used to go the the American Craft Council wholesale show in Baltimore. But that's thousands of dollars, just for the booth fee, and never mind gas, hotel, and meals. Oh, and I'd probably have to rent a truck. And building the booth can run into some serious money also. To do all that I'd have to put thousands on my credit card, which I am extremely reluctant to do.
So, back to what I can do, and you know what? It's a learning process, like everything else about this business. Back when I collapsed everything I made on the wheel, I didn't quit, I pushed through it. I pushed through the lumpy and unlovely early efforts, the glaze failures, the firings that didn't reach temperature, and I will push through this, too.
How about you? How do you approach stores?