Potters & Sculptors - Making Rock from Mud
Currently I am trying to build up enough items so I can have some semblance of a "store" when I start selling. Most potters I meet, scoff at the idea of trying to sell ceramics online, saying that the customer has to have a tactile connection with the piece to close the sale. While I agree with the sentiment, huge numbers of craftspeople have websites and online stores. It's doubtful that they would do that if it doesn't produce results. I think that some are much more comfortable with Web technology, and in tune with a time-pressed buying public that may not have time to visit studios and/or arts and crafts fairs. I just found Etsy, and was very impressed with their Website and the setup for sellers. It is more similar to ebay than to online galleries that want big commissions. Please take a look at Etsy and comment, or let us know of other arts and crafts sales opportunities you know about both online and real-world. Another online arts and crafts site is Yessy which is quite similar to Etsy in both name and content.
Update July 10, 2012 - Please note that this discussion was started 4 years ago.
In the meantime an etsy potters interest group was formed on our network, and much discussion has taken place there: http://cone6pots.ning.com/group/etsypotters. That group now numbers 55 members. Among them are half a dozen or so leaders who have done the work and made their etsy storefronts into profit centers for their businesses. We should hear from them, as well as from the unsuccessful and/or inexperienced naysayers. When the group was very active last fall, a number of them seemed pleased with their etsy experience.
Personally I never sold an item on etsy (I never had more than 12 or 15 items listed at any time, and did little to promote my store.) I did get many sales from locals who I saw my work on the etsy site and then made it a point to show up at a sale or to contact me to make a purchase.
How is the goodsmith thing working for you? I would also like to direct your attention to the discussion we have about starting our own ceramics-only, multi-vendor online mall.
I had been using the Shutterfly site for family photos. Then they came up with a "share" site. I've set up my on line gallery there and have complete control over it. It is free. I print the link to it on my business cards so when people ask if they can see things on line I have that to point to. I do not sell there, it is just a gallery. Another plus is that I can have photos of things I've sold or given away just to show a range of work. Here's the link:
I've been doing street shows at the gallery night locally in Pensacola. I feel as if I am just getting going.
It really helps to have at least of few pages of items. Once I had a few pages of items I started to make sales. I do both made to order and ready to ship listings. It takes awhile to learn how to tag for seo, etsy searches etc. Here is a team that focuses on SEO. http://www.etsy.com/teams/11352/relevancy-and-seo-for-all-etsy-shops.
It is also harder for those who do not use PayPal for payments. If something goes wrong and you do not get what you paid for or they are dishonest is other ways, PayPal will help you get your money back. It has happened four times to me, I have been using PayPal to purchase things for about 10 years or more and thye helped me get my money back. It took time but one of the purchases was costly and was Christmas gifts for five of my grandkids. So, if you are not using PayPal I suggest looking into that. I hope you are having more success at it now. If you are one who travels, we have a thing here is Ohio every year....over Labor Day Weekend they have the Coondog Trials. It is a really big thing, they used to be in Kenton but then the town there screwed things up with them and now they are being held in Lima Ohio every year. That is good for sellers, in Kenton there was always at least a two year waiting list, now, in Lima, Max has a lot more room and he is just starting to send out mailings to new people interested in selling there. The office number is: 419-225-8545. If you want more info send me a message requesting it. My email is email@example.com. It is worth your time to try this place at least once. You have to be able to set up on Weds and Thurs that week, and Max said you will even sell things while setting up, but over the weekend you will sell things. Don't just bring the expensive things, do bring some, but bring some of the cheaper things too, something you think just turned out ugly, bring it. The small things you sell will pay for your table, which is $55. The big dates this year is Aug 30, 31 and Sept 1.