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wholesale advice

updated mon 30 jun 97


Dan and Joanne Taylor on thu 19 jun 97


Hi Vikki and Libby,

First observation is that, as hard as this may be to accept, you obviously
are not making things people want to buy. You'll have to deal with this
problem first or trying to convince stores to buy your wares will only be
a further exercise in frustration and disappointment. They're not saying
you don't make good stuff...just not the right stuff. Wrong color, wrong
surface, wrong shapes...hard to say, but you have to deal with it. I would
suggest, anytime you approach a shop with negative results, ask them why
they don't want it. My marketing approach, FWIW, Once you find a
pattern/color that buyers like, make a whole bunch of items in the same
pattern. Get them collecting instead of just buying one pot. Then set
your wholesale price at half of retail. No haggling. Payment in 30 days
for known or established outlets, C.O.D. for others. If you don't get
your money in 30 days, explain to them your are a potter, not a banker.
If they persist in late payment...cut them off. This may seem ruthless but
believe me, it saves a lot of hassle and headache and if you have a product
that sells well, you'll never be without another store that would like to
carry your wares. Good luck!

Date: Tue, 17 Jun 1997 19:40:24 EDT
From: Vikki Dow
Subject: sales advice needed!

Hello all-
Well, after putting all our time, energy, heart, soul and money into our
pots, we just finished our second retail craft fair...and we did much worse
than anticipated. We have several artist/crafter friends here who have
given us feedback, but they aren't potters, so we are seeking feedback from
you all. What did we do wrong?! We were told we have a nice display,
gorgeous work (all functional pieces) , reasonable prices... yet we didn't
make back our booth fees at either fair. We did get a couple of wholesale
contacts, so that was exciting, but ... we're desperately trying to figure
out how to do this (selling our wares). Any advice???? Do any of you make
enough at retail fairs to make a living? Wholesale? Which way should we
While I'm asking questions, any advice on how to do wholesale would be
greatly appreciated as well. One woman is interested in our rice bowls for
a small chain of stores - she gave us her card and said to call. We plan
on doing that promptly, but we're a little unsure about protocol. Read up
a bit in the books, and past posts, but still feel a bit vague. Do you set
up a meeting to go over details, or do you work it all out (prices,
quantity, dates, etc.) on the phone? Do you "haggle" about prices, or is
the standard wholesale price 50% off retail? The stores are all within an
hour of our home - do you generally just send shipments, deliver, have them
pick up...?
Whew! Thanks in advance for any help-
Be well.
Vikki and Libby
Stilltree Pottery
Oakland, CA