WORKING WITH GALLERIES

IS YOUR WORK READY?

You cannot do everything.
Narrow your focus and define your style.
You should be able to answer the question ...
"Who are you and what do you do?"
in one sentence.
Functional glazes should be Food Safe, fit well with no crazing or crawling or pitting. Use your pieces to make sure they are not heavy or awkward. Lips and bases should be smooth.

ARE YOU READY?
Swerving between thoughts of large orders & no orders?
Full or Part Time? Wholesale, Retail or Consignment?
You can control your anxiety by determining your capabilities.
How many pieces can you produce in a month? a year?
When doing the math, remember to allow for time spent on your day to day errands, obligations and appointments.

GETTING A COHESIVE LINE OF WORK
Having a recognizable style is not the same as being in a rut.    
What do you want to make?
Functional, Non Functional, Sculpture.
Decide what 
YOU want to be known for.

Arrange your best pieces and find a group of about
five to ten that look good together on a shelf.
Galleries want to see a cohesive line not a bunch of
random objects.

What forms and designs could you enjoy exploring for years?

SETTING YOUR PRICES
If you do not want to take the time to do real costing ...
set prices by others work of the same style/quality as yours.
Galleries will mark up your price by 2, 2.5 or 3 x depending
on their costs of sales.

If you want to know for sure if you are making a profit ...
do cost analysis of $ of your time to make, fire and market.
Raw materials are so cheap in clay that you should consider
your time to be your most expensive asset ... it adds to the
cost every time you touch the work.
http://juliagalloway.com/field-guide/chapter-9/notes-for-selling-on-line/    

FIND GALLERIES TO MATCH YOUR STYLE

I suggest you start small, not with the gallery of your dreams. Make your mistakes, learn and work your way up.

Visit in person and note how they treat customers, what style of work they carry and their price range. Search the Internet to find more, check out their inventory to see if it aligns with your style.

*** Consignment *** only nearby so you can keep an eye on them.
APPROACHING THE GALLERIES
Find out how they want to be contacted for new work.
Make an appointment.

Never take their time away from a customer.
Show up for the appointment on time, well dressed with inventory
well packed, with two copies of an Itemized price list.
It is also great to have hang tags and bio information.
Be prepared to discuss turn around time, minimums re-orders,
special orders and credit terms.
Practice answering out loud to build confidence.

THE DREADED "NO"
Sometimes, this simply means your work does not suit their clients'
needs ... it is not a comment on the worth of your pottery.
Ask them if they could recommend another gallery.

THE WONDERFUL "YES"

If they are buying 
WHOLESALE, the first order is pre-paid. Most galleries today will want to pay by Credit Card. If they want net 30 on the next order, they give you a list of credit references that you call and check.
If three say OK, you can offer Net 30 days with next order.
Late payment returns the gallery to pre-pay status.

If they want
 CONSIGNMENT,
make sure you get a SIGNED agreement that specifies:
What pieces you left with them.
The retail price of the pieces.
The % of the sale price you receive.
The exact dates on which this will be paid.
They are responsible for loss, damage or theft.
How long the work may be kept.
They pay to ship it back to you.
The work is your property until sold.

If they do not agree to a signed contract, take your work home …
even if they are “Nice” people.


In a friendly way, drop in from time to time to make sure they are
still solvent and your work is on display ... not sitting in the back room.

WORKING IN PARTNERSHIP WITH YOUR GALLERIES 

DO NOT undersell them from your studio.
"I cannot undersell my galleries.”
Give customers something extra rather than cutting price.

DO NOT undersell them from your website.
You could split your work into two lines ...
one for retail and one for the website.

DO NOT sell to another nearby gallery without asking permission.

DO supply your best work and send it ON TIME,
packed with care, itemized & invoiced.

DO give them hang tags and bio sheets ... with NO personal/web contact info …
put their name and phone number on them.

DO give them any special care instructions and promote safe uses .. dishwasher, microwave,oven, freezer  etc.

DO accept credit card payment.
THEIR OBLIGATIONS TO YOU

Display your work. Represent you well.
PAY you on time.

FOLLOW UP AND RE-ORDERS
A week after shipping, call to make sure the order
was received in good condition.

After a couple months call to check on sales and
try to get a re-order.

For many artists this is the worst part of the job. Calling galleries requires a good day when all else is going well. Immediately ask if it is a good time to talk since you do not want to show respect for their business. Some of your calls will be abruptly terminated, owners will not come to the phone, staff will be rude … but, you get re-orders this way. 

There are nice owners.

TIPS FOR SUCCESS

YOU have to decide who you are and what you make.
YOU decide what level of quality you want to commit to.
YOU must inspire TRUST by behaving in a professional manner.
YOU must be RELIABLE in quality and delivery.
YOU keep your prices consistent. Never undercut your galleries.
YOU have to be willing to sacrifice to deliver product and service.
YOU must fix mistakes quickly.
YOU will always be judged by your last order.
YOU should have a definite policy for refunds and replacements.
YOU must honor your agreements.
YOU should provide great images for their web site.
YOU only get one chance with some great galleries, so do it right.
YOU must aggressively assume ownership of your business.
YOUR TIME is your most expensive cost, so choose to use it wisely.

PITFALLS
New artists carry a scent that attracts sharks .... so in these financially challenging times it is up to 
YOU to protect yourself.

Get written signed contracts. 
You cannot survive if you are not paid on time.

Jump on late payers quickly. 
Repossess your consignment goods if the gallery is looking iffy.

Before you do out of area consignment, ask for a list of artists
and call them for references.

OTHER OPTIONS


Etsy requires a lot of daily work in order to get noticed.
Are you up for it?
http://www.etsy.com/

Wholesalecrafts.com works but 
ONLY if you have fabulous images, competitive pricing and an attractive line of work.
Do not go onto this site with your last $ because it costs more each month to get noticed and generate sales.

 www.wholesalecrafts.com


The Buyers Market of American Craft
is a good show with a proven track record.
http://www.americancraft.com/BMAC/

it is up to 
YOU to decided what YOU want to do
and where 
YOU want to spend your money.

Good Luck to you all!!! 

Copyright © Chris Campbell Pottery, LLC  chris@ccpottery.com