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Advice for Those Seeking Pottery Careers

Making a living from my work was something that found me slowly. For many years I was really hesitant to give up the security of another income. Becoming burnt out from wearing too many hats at one time and the feeling of never being able to focus completely, was a key motivator for me to pursue my work full time and make a living from it. I sell my work through a multitude of venues. I have an online shop where I sell directly to customers. This has broadened my spectrum of buyers to a world market.

It also helps to supplement my income, since I can sell my work for retail prices. I love having direct contact with my customers as well. The relationship aspect of selling my work, without a middle person, is really wonderful and I enjoy knowing where my work is going. I participate in a couple of local craft shows each year, and I host annual open studio and holiday sales for more advice see this post on open pottery studio sales. I sell my work in galleries and participate in as many shows as I can handle. I find showing my work really helps it to stay fresh.

How to Start a Pottery Business | How to Start an LLC

In the past, a large part of my sales were from wholesaling my work, though that model is really tough to pull off with one-of-a-kind handmade work. I find the time it takes to make the work, handle all the details that must go into creating a wholesale line—like keeping up with communication and paperwork—is far too much work and really does not pay off.

In , I decided to start writing a blog, http: At the time, there were only a few blogs covering the topic of ceramics, and I thought it would be fun to give people a glimpse into what was happening in my studio as well as provide a dynamic aspect to my website.

Doing this was, by far, the most advantageous way to promote my work. Because of the blog, I was able to share what I do with a much broader audience than if I was only showing my work in galleries and at craft shows. It also expanded my community of fellow potters and ceramic enthusiasts, as well as people in the design world. Selling on Etsy and promoting my work via design blogs has resulted in a great amount of exposure that I may not have received otherwise, including giving my work international attention.

The internet is a really wonderful tool for potters and artists to utilize to promote themselves and their work. However, this does not come without working at it.

Managing an online shop, writing blog entries, keeping up with correspondence [and staying up to date on social media] can take up a lot of time. I know many potters who are not tech savvy and find it difficult to transition into the digital world, but an online presence would go a long way toward growing an audience for their work. Customers tend to look for sets, not individual pieces.

A full dinnerware set -- soup or salad plate, dinner plate, lunch plate and cup -- can dramatically boost sales. Avoid time-consuming traps, such as custom orders for individual pieces or making replacement items. It's impossible to replicate another potter's techniques. In addition, rely on reputable suppliers that provide reliable customer service.

If your supplier delivers a bad batch of glaze or clay, monitor how the problem is resolved. If it's not to your satisfaction, find another supplier. To maintain consistency and minimize defects, simplify your production process. Keep glaze and clay body formulas simple, rounding off formula numbers. For example, if you're using Certain ingredients, such as dyes, coloring oxides, stains, binds and suspension agents, require that you use the exact amount. Even tiny changes in the cobalt oxide used can produce very different results.

Situate your equipment for efficient production, such as putting your clay near the wedging table. Then, put the table next to the pottery wheel. Once you're ready to start your pottery business, follow these steps to ensure that your business is legally compliant and avoid wasting time and money as your business grows: A clear plan is essential for success as an entrepreneur. A few important topics to consider are your initial costs, your target market, and how long it will take you to break even. Form a legal entity.

How to Start a Pottery Business

Establishing a legal business entity prevents you from being personally liable if your pottery business is sued. You will need to register for a variety of state and federal taxes before you can open for business. Open a business bank account. A dedicated checking account for your pottery business keeps your finances organized and makes your business appear more professional to your customers. Set up business accounting. Recording your various expenses and sources of income is critical to understanding the financial performance of your business.

Paint Your Own Pottery Businesses

Keeping accurate and detailed accounts also greatly simplifies your annual tax filing. Obtain necessary permits and licenses. Failure to acquire necessary permits and licenses can result in hefty fines, or even cause your business to be shut down. Insurance is highly recommended for all business owners. If you hire employees, workers compensation insurance may be a legal requirement in your state. Your brand is what your company stands for, as well as how your business is perceived by the public. A strong brand will help your business stand out from competitors.

Establish a web presence.

Getting Started

A business website allows customers to learn more about your company and the products or services you offer. You can also use social media to attract new clients or customers. Keep a guest book from each event that you attend and create a mailing list. Send out mailers, via email or postcard, reminding people of your work and including contact information. Post pictures of your work on Instagram and other social media sites. Many artists have found great success holding online auctions. Have a billboard or sign prominently displayed. It should include all contact information and encourage customers to visit your studio.

Reduce Personal Liability Structuring your business as a limited liability company LLC ensures your personal assets are protected in the event your business is sued. Form an LLC in 5 easy steps. How much can you charge customers? What are the ongoing expenses for a pottery business? How much profit can a pottery business make? How can you make your business more profitable? Some pottery entrepreneurs have reported higher earnings by integrating the following into their business plan: Crafting products that appeal to several markets.

Diversification is critical to every successful business.

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Collaborating with other artists in your community - this is a great way to grow as an artist and businessman and serves as a powerful networking strategy.