Perhaps I am jumping the gun, but I wanted to share my good news. I was contacted today by someone who was inquiring about the pots I have on display at Sunlife and if any of them were still available for purchase. Up until now, I have not had anyone express an interest, or contact me about them, so yes, they were all still available. I sent him a price range and thought he might be interested in one or two pots. The response back was that he would take them ALL. So if you are the one that just bought all of my pots, I thank you, A LOT.
I must say that my experience with selling my work has been “interesting”. I have met a lot of people and I have sold a lot of pots, but man, is it hard work. I get the tire kickers; the ones with $20 in their wallet who try to spread it around as many vendors as possible; or the ones that will try to chip away at your price because you should be so lucky that they want to buy your work, but at the price they want to pay. I also get the ones that love the work, and will buy a piece without even knowing how much. The ones who boggle my mind are the ones that ask that age old craft sale question “what would I use it for?”. Usually they are referring to a bowl. I mean really, what would you use a bowl for? Oh ya, the other question I get is “ooooh, I like that, but do you have it in blue?” These people never buy anything (at my stall anyway). They will not flinch at paying $20 for a temporary tattoo though…..weird.
I began selling my pots a couple of years after I joined Fairview Studios at one of the semi annual pottery sales that Fairview puts on. I was a bit hesitant and nervous, having never put my work out there for the public to openly judge, but was pleasantly surprised when I made $400. I thought that was fantastic and have been present at every Fairview sale since. I soon realized that the quality of my work was getting better and that the prices I was charging was not fair (to me). So I upped the prices a bit, not much, but enough to help me continue doing this crazy pottery thing. A couple years later, I started selling at Galleria and was again amazed that people buy my pots (I am my worst critic). I participated in a group show at Centennial Gallery and was essentially Shanghaied by a gallery member to join and start selling my work there permanently.
I like selling out of galleries for the ease. I don’t have to work hard to keep my pots on display and they sell them for me, what a deal.
I have also occasionally entered into the world of commission work. Some successful, some not so much. I won’t go into the bad, but there has been some good and that is what keeps me open to commissions. This is a scary way to sell work. It is basically like buying a house on spec. I can tell you what it will probably look like, or show you a similar example, but the finished piece probably never matches what the customer had in their mind’s eye, especially when it comes to glaze colour. Expectations rarely match reality. Although, sometimes reality surpasses imagination.
So, from kitchy craft fairs, to more sedate gallery settings, dealing with demanding and unknowledgable customers asking for the unattainable, to the most amazing clients that keep asking for work and never balk at your prices and then sometimes pay you more than you ask. It is a crazy thing trying to be your own sales person. I almost feel embarrassed asking people to pay me money for something that is not (and never will be) a “job”.