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CERF research findings and selling from your studio


#1

Hi all,

As I noted before, I am house sitting for potters and spending too
much time reading through their library of Clay Times. However,
having reached the Jan/Feb 2005 issue, I came across an article on
research done by the Craft Emergency Relief Fund (further details at
http://www.craftemergency.org/) that gave me pause.

Median annual gross craft sales=$53,000
Median annual net earnings=$8,000

Yikes! And there’s more like that. However, what interested me most
is that the most growth is in studio/showroom sales, while the
biggest decline is in wholesale craft show sales.

This is born out by the anecdotal evidence presented in Clay
Times–the potters who are making a living (sans day job or teaching
gig) almost all say it’s because they sell out of their own
showrooms, usually in rural areas (tourists + low costs = survival).

What does this mean for jewelry “craft artists?” Unlike most
potters, most of us have security issues, so we tend to not want to
sell out of our studios (or even to tell people where they are).
Could there be a relationship between this and what I noticed at last
years ACC in SF? There seemed to be, proportionally, a lot more
jewelers than usual, and one of the most famous and successful told
me the show was a wash.

Maybe some of you have some wisdom to share about this dilemma. I
now feel that my (very!) long term “business plan”–to aim for Buyers
Market, so that I could do 2 shows a year and not have to rep
myself–makes no sense. And that my instinct–to stick with glass and
silver, rather than aim for high karat gold and pink sapphires
(except for my own pleasure, when I’m already rich enough to afford
that!)–might be on target. Has anyone who works solely in silver and
otherwise “non-precious” materials ever had a robbery? Do you sell
out of your studios and find this profitable?

Lisa Orlando
Aphrodite’s Ornaments
Elk, CA


#2
"Do you sell out of your studios and find this profitable?

Yeah, this works great for pottery. I am a potter now, switching to
jewelry. Pottery… there’s nothing to steal, maybe your gram
scale. I would not invite the public to my studio to buy jewelry. I
am from a bad neighborhood originally, which gives me a healthy
amount of caution. Of course, the people on your mailing list are
probably not going to be casing the joint.

Potter’s are selling lots and lots of 2nds at home studio sales,
this creates a frenzy atmosphere, I know a guy who makes 10 grand at
his once a year sale. For jewelers I think the best thing is to be
invited to sell at another crafts persons studio sale. Lots of
people do this, because it makes stopping buy more interesting and
want to come back next year.

If you must have a jewelry home studio sale, the people to invite
are; everybody that you know or meet or are acquainted with, people
who have made purchase from you before, and people who want to be on
your mailing list. I wouldn’t get on all the holiday crafts person
guides or put up flyers, that would get worrisome. These guides are
really big in Portland and I have never heard of one problem among
potters.

I have been selling pottery at local artists markets in Oregon. We
(potters) all notice that there are more and more jewelers (not so
much metalsmiths), and they are getting the most money. The local
weekend market in Ashland which is really small…only the jewelers
make good money. Everything else brings in grocery and beer money
wages…not good beer mind you.

Bye now, Holly