search  current discussion  categories  techniques - slips 

wholesale shows/was colorful slipware trends...

updated fri 16 aug 02


OWLPOTTER@AOL.COM on fri 16 aug 02

"Will those of you who are really running a business pleas step forward?
I have thousands of great high end shops and galleries who need your work.
Wholesale price range $50-$1,500." -Wendy Rosen

I am one of those potters who have run a real business for over 30 years.

We had a most disappointing experience at the Philadelphia Buyers Market in
February 2000.

It was our goal to sell more wholesale rather retail by the year 2000.
Having successfully retailed my pots and windchimes at over 40 retail fairs
each year; we sorted out my very best sellers and went to the Chicago Gift
Show with George Little. Wholesale orders were extremely slow for us. "What
is your minimum?" was the first thing out of every single buyer's mouth and
it was downhill from there.

After talking with Ms Rosen at a retail show, we applied for the Buyers
Market, and re-thought our sales approach.

We asked for and received much advice from veterans of the show. We had
impressive brosures printed up with photos of our work, along with detailed
price lists and order blanks. We borrowed a second bank of Halogen lights to
spotlight our work and tried to incorporate all of the advice we possibly

We had never seen such a large facility with so few buyers. Most of the time
our aisle was so empty, it was like the show had never opened its doors.

We took $2200 in orders. Three of these were from our own long-time buyers
to whom we had sent post cards.

So actually we took only 4 new orders totalling less than $1000. AND only
one of them re-ordered.

When I called the other two to find out if our pots were selling for them,
they explained that they had indeed sold them already, but didn't wish to
re-order, because they had a limited clientelle and liked to have something
NEW in their shops instead of re-ordering from artists they had already sold!

Even though we still want to wholesale a larger percentage of our work, we
had to scrap our plan to attend the Buyers Market for at least three years in
a row; we just couldn't afford to pour any more money into a losing venue.

Because these experiences were so-o-o awful for us, we are reluctant to
invest any more money in wholesale shows.

We do have some wonderful wholesale accounts, but every single one was picked
up at a 'retail' show!

-Terry and Carolynn Palmer
Somerset Center, Michigan
-Just one "Real Business's" experience!