In with the new

MEjulietmacleod2014

Happy New Year! I really hope 2014 proves to a great year for everyone.

I’m looking forward to all that this year will bring and as always I’ve got a long list of things that need doing such as:
Developing my collection
Creating a logo
Designing some business cards
Doing my tax return

But the main thing on my mind now is trying to sell some work. I’ve been thinking of starting an online shop. Does anyone have any good pointers about this… Ebay, Etsy, Big Cartel, Facebook, Shopify or my own website? I’d really welcome any advice you have to share as to be honest I’m finding it a bit of a minefield. Thank you.

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19 thoughts on “In with the new

  1. I can’t really offer any advice however I did start an Etsy shop some time ago but didn’t really do much with it because I’ve been too busy with my ‘day job’ so it’s just sitting there empty at the moment. Back then I did a little research and learnt that some people start with Etsy and then after some time they move to their own hosted site or keep both. Either way, from what I can tell a lot marketing work needs to occur to increase traffic to whatever site you end up using (which is what I didn’t do). Another tool that I came across was Wazala. Really easy to set up and seemed quite cost effective. Also, you have to think about whether you want your online shop to be ‘housed’ with your blog. If that’s case your blog will need to be with WordPress.org (rather than WordPress.com). If you stick with WordPress.com you can still link via the usual way to an external online shop. Look forward to hearing how it goes…
    Row

  2. It is a huge maze, the idea of selling ceramics online . I follow some potters, who, appeared to have sucesseful online etsy stores, they left because etsy changed their policy about handmade, and started allowing mass produced stuff. I still maintain a small shop there , as well as big cartel, with 5 free listings . I post on a facebook page (pottery by john foster ) as well as three blogs and a website. the website is cumbersome, takes a lot more work and is much harder to update. I use go daddy as they seemed the easy way to go . While i originally didnt get into ceramics for money , it is wonderful to have my work validated by someone exchanging money for it . The best method i have found for moving my work out of my studio is , having open studio sales, art fairs , pounding the pavement and getting it into a few shops around town, and the 4or 5 opportunities to do shows per year ,here in sedona, Az. good luck whith whatever you choose, and keep us posted on which direction you go , as i would love any insight you have .
    thanx
    John

    • Thank you John and Happy New Year to you. I think I’m going to do something similar, in that I’m going to try a number of approaches. Selling at fairs and open studios appeal to me most, although my studio as it is would only fit two people in it at a time… something I’m hoping to remedy this year. Fingers crossed.

  3. I have found the best way for me is to sell my work myself – as a previous writer said, fairs, studio events, and finding stores and galleries. It seemed to me that there was so much work on sites such as Etsy, etc. that I would be lost – I did try Etsy, but since my work is all one of a kind, setting up each entry wasn’t worth it to me. And I do enjoy doing fairs and talking to the buyers myself. I think people like to meet the creator of the handmade things they are buying – it’s not something that is easy to do anymore in so many spheres of our lives.

    I hope you have me on your list as a potential customer. I love your work.

  4. Hi Juliet, I also started an Etsy shop some time ago. Things didn’t sell particularly well ( I think most of the traffic is American and the postage costs are off putting), and I got fed up of having to keep a box of stock for the sporadic sales that did come along. I now sell through madefromscotland.com who charge an initial start up fee and then some commission on each sale. The obvious benefits are that they do all the marketing and promotion of the site, including advertising abroad. Sales have been ok with a definite peak over Christmas, however I did find that packing up individual sales and posting them out became a bit time consuming. Overall my work sells best through the shops and galleries I supply although the commission and postage is a killer, I haven’t tried a big fair yet but 2014 might be the year.
    I hope you can sift through everyone’s advice and find something that suits you, good luck and all the best for the new year!

    • Thanks Jo. I’ve been looking at madefromscotland.com amongst others and they do appeal. I’ll definitely try galleries too, but you’re right about the commission being off putting. I’m hoping that if I’m successful with them it will be worth it as they should raise my profile. Hope 2014 is good to you… Have you thought about doing Potfest at the Palace – they’ve got reduced prices for SPA members. Looking forward to meeting you at Kindrogan.

      • Still contemplating Potfest, just a bit worried I won’t be able to produce enough work………..maybe if I start now!
        I’m sure your work will be snapped up by any galleries you approach. I also think it’s worth having a simple website with current images on it as galleries seem to trawl the internet looking for new work to show.

      • Thanks for that Jo. I’m sure you’d be more than fine for Potfest. I’m doing the one in Penrith in August and already panicking… we’re supposed to have builders here for three months come Feb! Aaargh.

  5. Hi & happy new year! Online is a good way to get interest, publicise open studios, show work. The trouble with the online shops is that if they are working well they get more and more makers signed up, which drives prices down. Your work needs to compare well in style and price even with these additional makers or there are problems – people think the work is bigger, or the picture’s misleading etc, and you have to refund them and have work returned. Even top sellers on eg folksy don’t sell a lot, so it ends up being about the same amount sold as a craft shop/gallery, but much, much more work and disruption. Some online places charge upfront fees as well as substantial commission, so it’s worth working out how much you would have to sell to cover it….
    I’m still trying to work out a way to do online despite all this – I think only selling some things, small ‘special’ batches, and things hard to compare but eas to post is the way forward?
    best of luck, c

    • Thanks Carys. All that you mention is why I’m struggling to make a decision about online selling. I do know of people who just post individual pieces quite well on Facebook but that requires building a big following first… hmmm. Happy New Year to you.

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