Tuesday, 14 October 2008

Pottery for Profit

Pottery making at home used to the the fashion of the 70s, I was one of those who took it up, but seemed to have died a death with the import of cheap mass produced pottery ware from third world countries. Yes they are well made and practical at the price they are being sold, but certainly not unique which is what many buyers look for in this day and age of copied goods.

There are still many who still indulge in the hobby of pottery and of those many make a living out of it. There is no reason why anyone with a little artist flair and a little learning can't do the same. There are still many places where you can learn the skill of pottery, many at night school (or day school for that matter). There are correspondence courses, many websites that give advice and tips to improve your pottery skills.

You can start straight away without any need for kilns of firing equipment. There is clay around nowadays that do not need this process. Just make your pottery let it dry out, paint and you have a finished piece of pottery ready to make you money.

When you start off you need to try and make simple products such as ashtrays, picture frames, eggcups, even clay buttons. There are many product you can make easily, and much is left to you own imagination. Once dried and painted these products can look just as good and any item you can find in a shop. Even better, the appeal is for something that you can't buy in a shop.

You will find your own style within a short time and know what you are best in whilst remaining fun as well as profitable. Pottery should give you a lifetime of pleasure from both the pastime and funds you should receive for your products.

As mentioned, it is suggested that the non-firing clay should be used in the first instance until you have built up a little experience, you can then go on to bigger things such as a potter's wheel and kiln. There are many second hand products on sale. This is not an expensive as you think. There are modern potter's wheels that are fro sale new for around £20! this was found on eBay at the time of writing this blog. Firing kilns are slightly more expensive but I have seen some selling for around £100 second-hand. With this you could have the complete pottery set up for under £150 plus the cost of clay. Not many other businesses could be set up for this amount of money ready to go! In one school I was teaching at they were giving away a firing kiln for nothing! Just put a few feelers around and you will find what you are looking eventually.

If you have this pottery equipment in place, you could also set up a sideline business and hire out the use of the equipment. There will be many who would want to have a go and willing to pay £X for the time spent plus cost of materials used. This just needs a little ad in the shop or local press and more income from your pottery business.

Selling you goods is the next step and as with all businesses that have something to sell the normal marketing routes can all be taken up. As it is an individual art personal to you a website that is dedicated to your pottery is a good idea with many pictures and price lists of your products. This website address can then be circulated in conjunction with other form of ads to refer to. The more you market the more you will sell but is doesn't need too much investment, just time and effort. Friends and family are a good start and local shops that might wish to spare a little space to sell. Car boot sales should also get you lots of business throughout the year, you can even give demonstrations if you hook the potter's wheel to the car battery, you will be surprised how much more you can sell if this is done.

How much do you charge for your pottery?

This will find it's own level, but if you make it too cheap you will be undervaluing your products. At the same time don't price it out of the reach of potential sales. If you have no idea where to start, my suggestion is have some friends around and ask them how much they would be willing to pay for your goods. Take note and add 10% to their valuation. This works quite well when I was selling similar products a few years ago.

The bottom line is to make a profit and there is not reason why you shouldn't if you approach this like any other business.

www.pottersconnection.co.uk/ - A good place for starter kits ranging from £20 to £1200.

www.sheffield-pottery.com/ All pottery products up for sale by mail order. This gives you a good idea of prices from new.

www.craftlinks.co.uk/ A site that give many sources of organisations nationwide to do with pottery and pottery groups.

www.infomat.net/ A directory with a wealth of contacts giving advice, materials and courses throughout the UK.



No comments: