Today we talk to Nancy Blokland of Nancy Blokland Pottery about her experience in pottery, what Etsy means to her and she also shares some business advise with us. Enjoy Nancy in her own words:
In pottery all pieces thrown on the wheel must be "centered".
This has been a good metaphor for life.
I have been in the crafting business, primarily selling pottery for more than 25 years. I still continue to learn and try to keep up with emerging trends in finding my pottery “new homes” (read sell). What I have learned is that it is really important to pick your venues both retail/wholesale and sales.
Researching who your client population is, or who you want it to be is key. Is the store/sale I will have my work at a draw for who I think buys my products, or could it lead to future sales. I have found that doing fewer, bigger sales is a better investment of my dollars and time as I can check out the sale the year before, talk to other vendors and have a sense of how I need to set up my booth and what products to take.
When considering venues, I need to be smart about how much packing and carrying of those fragile items I want to do, i.e. The Winnipeg Folk Festival, Handmade village. If my objective is to move product there, it makes no sense to take a lot of teapots or serving dishes, they just won’t move. For a sale like that, where people are walking and carrying things in backpacks, the item needs to be small and well packed. Customers need to know that what they have bought will get home in one piece, literally.
Etsy for me is not moving lots of product, but I enjoy having yet another on-line presence and the spin offs of posting my up to date works for sale on both my blog and Facebook. At 20 cents per item, that is pretty inexpensive advertising. I also get a kick out of having mugs and tumblers go to Texas, England and California.
My favorite item in my shop is my wine tumblers, new, different and easy to ship. This is a serious consideration for a potter.
My long term aspiration is to build up my on line presence and sales and reduce my need for doing so many shows in the fall.