Saturday, January 9, 2016

Goal Setting, January Too Oh! Won Six

Bisquing today. It's nice to hear the hiss of the burners again. Usually I don't fire in January, but this year I have an order waiting - nice - and it's not nearly so cold, also nice. While the kiln is firing, clay work is on hold, so now is a good time to clean, and to do a little goal setting.

2014 was the Year of Always Working. I can't say I loved the Year of Always Working, so 2015 was the year of rebalanced working, to concentrate on efforts that result in income. I am leery to change anything, since this approach has been effective, but I miss some of my old pursuits. I hardly blogged at all last year, for example. That is only partly a result of the rebalance; the other part is that I started to become aware that people read this blog - kind of a lot of people! And it made me self-conscious if I didn't have something new and fabulous to post. I didn't want to disappoint people with a lot blah-blah posts (like this one! :) ) but the tutorials are much more time consuming, so...anyway, short story long, I was overthinking it. Just going back to posting whatever I feel like, hopefully at least every week.

January is also when I assess accounts. I used to think any account is a good account, but that is sadly not true. A consignment account that does not send regular checks is not a good account, no matter how much I like the people, or the aesthetic of the store. That doesn't mean they can't become a good account, maybe with a different mix of work. Stores more than an hour or so away from me are tough to refresh, though, and there's no guarantee that the new work will do any better. In general it's better (for me) to do wholesale if the location is more than an hour away. I do make exceptions to this; sometimes I come to regret them.

It looks like one nearby consignment account will be converting to wholesale (yay) and I am asking another, far away, if they will go that route. I have a line on a consignment gallery only about a half hour from home, though they don't have a website or, apparently, email (whyyyyyyy?) and the number I have for them just rings and rings. I'd like to add one more wholesale account, perhaps out of state, for the spring season.

As I can never have too much inventory, one area I can improve on is winter production. It's easy to dial back in the winter months, because there's no pressure, but before I know it spring is here, and I am scrambling to get work fired for stores. This winter I will complete one firing cycle every...six weeks? That seems reasonable, one in about a week and then next in March, then at the beginning of May. That will have me going into summer with plenty of work for my established accounts, and for responding to opportunities as they arise.

Now: art fairs. Should I do one? Should I do more than one? I need to decide this week if I am applying for the Portland Fine Craft Show in August. This will be the second year of this show, and while I heard mixed things from artists last year, I think it has the potential to be great. But then I remember I don't have a truck, and Portland is an hour would be a pretty big headache to do it, involving bringing the display and bins of pots down in multiple trips over the course of a week when I go down to teach my classes. When I was younger I would have said Hang the hassle! Full speed ahead! But I did lots of dumb things when I was young, so maybe that shouldn't be my standard.

Probably I should just apply, and then decide, if accepted.


Tracey Broome said...

Nice to lay out a plan in January. Off to a good start there!
We always do our taxes in January, so my plans usually happened after tax time when I saw where I wasted money and where I made money. Why it took taxes to figure this out, I don't know, but it worked for me :)
Happy planning!

Lori Watts said...

Oo, good idea.

smartcat said...

It sounds (reads?) like you have found a certain way to deal. Nice to see you blogging again!
January is seeing me planless, but not clueless! After the bout with Lyme, I feel like I am just getting my equilibrium back!
As for doing the show, would it be feasible to rent a small trailer to get your stuff to the site. If you can rent by the hour you would just need it for delivery and return. I don;t know the availability in your area, but it may be a solution. I do hope whatever you use you will have some help. Shows are exhausting!

Ron said...

I'm trying to blog more and also read more blogs. Like yours!

I would like to get a bit ahead this winter and make some good pots so I won't be stressing later on. I get stuck easily. I just need a plan that says, 'when stuck make 6 mugs'.

Good luck figuring out the accounts and show stuff. I am applying to shows this year. I did very few last year. But we need the money and I'm gonna give it a shot. It seems that as potters/artists we always have to re-assess, figure out what is working and what is not. It's tiring but sadly it seems that very few things are constant in this lifestyle/line of work.

Ok, Good luck!!! Make great pots!

Lori Watts said...

I like the idea of a strategy for unstucking! Like, decide ahead of time that when you can't decide or can't think of anything to make, you'll just always do X thing, whether you think you need to or not. So much of getting unstuck is just getting moving.

Brenda Neall said...

I'm thinking all potters past and present go thru the same reassessing process every Jan .... plus studio cleanup/toss out. Funny how everyone lands on the same page in just about all facets of their production. And good to hear from you ... no matter the topic. I enjoy your posts and your self deprecating sense of humour :) .... Happy January!