Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Off to the Bronx...

I will be shipping a package to NYC (specifically the Bronx) today. It contains a cute little jar that was purchased from my Etsy shop. I must say that trying to figure out shipping costs for things before you sell them is a bit tricky. I knew from the outset that I would probably not get it right the first time and would probably end up either grossly over estimating shipping costs, or even worse, under estimating them. If I overestimate, that is fixable, as the extra can be refunded to the customer. It is the underestimating that is the real problem. Before I listed anything on Etsy, I did a quick survey of other Etsy shops selling roughly the same thing as me to try and figure out what they were charging for shipping. I also focused on those shops that were Canadian to try and get a handle on how much they were charging their US and international customers. But still, I have never shipped pottery to the US, or internationally for that matter, so the whole pricing thing was still a bit of a mystery. I have since discovered a couple of charts that are buried a couple of layers down on the Canada Post website that explain (that’s generous) how things are priced for shipping to the US. If you can keep your parcel under a certain weight (2lbs) and try and keep the dimensions of the overall package on the small side to reduce your “volumetric weight”, then you will only pay about $12.66 to ship to NYC by ground, otherwise, it jumps up to about $20. I am still not sure if my package is under the size and weight limits, but we shall see. Pottery is a tricky thing to wrap too. It’s fragile, so lots of packing materials go into ensuring it arrives in the same number of pieces it left in (usually 1). You need at least 2-3 inches around your piece to make sure there is enough room for the bubble wrap and extra padding, so your box size increases rather dramatically. At this point, I am not even considering the cost of the packing materials themselves. I went to the post office on Monday to pick up some bubble wrap, tape and brown kraft paper. That alone cost me over $11, but will wrap a few packages, so probably $2 or $3 went into the packing supplies for this one. My pot sold for $25, and shipping was charged at $14, so if by some miracle this comes in at $12.66, then I may just have guessed my shipping costs correctly, give or take a buck. If not, then this “road to riches” through pottery is going to be hard and all uphill (one can dream can’t they?).

This weekend is a long weekend (Victoria Day) and while most people take advantage of the nice weather to go camping, or go to their cabins, or whatever, I will be in the studio, as per usual. The Mad Potter’s Sale is quickly approaching, and I need to get one more load fired off before then, so I am hoping to load a bisque on Friday and then a glaze on Sunday. I have yet to price anything, or set in stone what I am taking (mandatory catalogue sheet). I hate catalogue sheets. In fact, hate is not a strong enough sentiment. I loath and detest them with a passion usually reserved for things like war & puppy kickers. For the amount of work that goes into putting them together, I don’t see the benefit. I like the way we do it at the Fairview sale. Blank sheets, price sticker goes on sheet when sold (re-written for security sake) and totaled. Catalogue sheets really mean nothing to me. For instance, if I have 10-12 bowls of similar sizes, then they will all be the same price, so when one sells, I can’t tell which one it was that sold by the catalogue sheet, unless I get really, really descriptive when writing them up, but that takes way too much time, and how many different ways can you describe a bowl in 2 inches of space? I never look back at my catalogue sheets (maybe I should), but I can usually tell, at a glace, what has sold really well, and what didn’t. It becomes very apparent when you are wrapping up your stuff at the end of the day too. The other reason I hate catalogue sheets is that I am a prolific potter for the amount of time I spend in the studio. I always take way too much stuff, and that means having to catalogue approximately 100 pieces that I know will never all sell, but I don’t want to limit my potential, so I tend to bring it all and cross my fingers.

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