"So, is this pottery thing just a business? Are you in it for the money?"
....after we stopped laughing at the notion of "...in it for the money", we'd most likely answer that we're in it for the living. And even if we didn't make money from the pottery, we'd most likely still find a way to keep our hands in clay.
And that difference of perspective between the joy of clay and the necessity of business is also evident in the way I like to sell my pottery.
For over thirty years now, I've chosen to sell all of my pottery at art fairs. Sure, most of the reason for that is the fact that art fairs have always been the most cost effective way to market pottery. But an equally important part of that choice for me has been the face-to-face contact between me and the people who are choosing my pottery to take home with them.
That personal contact is both gratifying and educational. The feedback -- both positive and negative -- helps me improve my pottery in ways that less personal marketing could never do. And that personal contact helps to reconfirm that a livelihood chosen with something in mind besides simply "business" was a worthwhile choice.
And so it was that when trying to decide whether or not to venture into internet sales, the choice was not all that simple for me. I could see the sense of a market expanded into areas of the country to which I've never yet traveled (for art fairs). And last year when gas went over $4.50 a gallon, I could certainly see the wisdom of being on the road less.
But I wasn't sure how much I'd like the impersonal nature of the whole internet thing. It just struck me as odd to make such a hairpin turn down the marketing highway from personal contact to nothing more than words and pixels on a computer monitor.
But it hasn't been exactly as I expected. Though I never meet the people who now live with the pots I make, I do get feedback. I do hear what folks like and don't like in the pots. And I've come to know a few people across the country -- people that I'd never have otherwise met.
Through a paypal glitch caused by neither of us but requiring further communication, I had the pleasure of talking to and further "meeting" my best Etsy customer, Doreen. From that brief but friendly phone conversation I came away knowing that my pots were in a VERY good place, indeed.
And now (my long-winded introduction coming to a close) I've had the further pleasure of great "feedback" from a customer who found a very special way of showing me my pottery in its new setting.
Nancy McKay bought the teapot (pictured above). Nancy is a very talented photographer who graced me with more than just a written post thanking me for the pot. She added beautiful, artful photographs (below) of the teapot in its new home. I think I could grow to like this new internet marketing.
Thank you, Nancy!