Friday, April 25, 2014

Pushing Through

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 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?


DirtKicker Pottery said...

If I were in your shoes, I would give Etsy another try. Your work is fabulous and it will sell on Etsy. You must be willing to invest the time required to get established. You can't just list an item and that's it. You need to make sure your title and tags are good so people can find you in a search. Etsy has published lot of good information that can help you figure it out. You also need to hang in there and be patient. It takes time to build an online customer base. If you are willing to do the made to order thing, you can list photos of your past work and when someone buys it, you just need to make it. (I personally think made to order is stressful). There are all kinds of potters on Etsy selling a ton of work and many of them are not as talented as you are. Maybe this is the right time for you to get give it a shot.

Lori Watts said...

Believe me, I knocked myself out photographing, writing and re-writing descriptions,listing, re-listing, tagging and researching tags, and every kind of promoting on Etsy, for two years. During that time I spent more time trying to make Etsy work than I did actually making pots. Just didn't work for me, and ran into a LOT of money, what with all the re-listing to stay on top.

I do shop on Etsy, especially for soaping supplies.

I've had better luck promoting my own website, but it will never replace in-the-clay sales.

Chris said...

I don't think anything is rude in this day and age where manners seem to have disappeared. The worst that will happen is that they will ask you to make an appointment or leave. The best is that you will get your pots in front of their faces. Prepare a handsome modest display case on wheels, have more complete handouts, and give it a try. Can't be any worse than making yourself puke before making phone calls.

Lori Watts said...

Good point! I have a phone phobia; face-to-face interactions don't slay me nearly so much.