Every artist who participates in many shows or sales knows the vendors often hear the same questions repeatedly from the shoppers. The questions vary some depending on the artists medium, but I’m sure we all hear them.
One of the questions I’m asked frequently is where my shop is located. My business cards intentially just say I have studios in Farmington and Lanesboro, but lack addresses of either locations. So people frequently ask if my shop is in downtown Farmington or Lanesboro. They often seem a little befuddled when I say I don’t have a shop, just studio spaces where I work.
Usually early in the day at sales, my explanation goes something like “I have studio space at my home in Farmington and our farm in Lanesboro, but don’t operate a retail shop in either location. I do, however, have my work available at the Market on Oak in Farmington and Lanesboro Local in Lanesboro.” By late in the day, my answers get shorter – just because I’ve said it so many times I start dropping a couple words each time.
It seems there is an assumption that as a potter I must operate a retail shop to sell my pottery. I don’t know if other mediums experience this same assumption from shoppers, but I don’t think so.
So… the third thing about being a potter I wanted to explain is –
How we market our finished products is as unique as the pottery we make. Some of us have combined retail and studio spaces open to the public during regular business hours. Some have private studios and market to wholesale/consignment clients, operate online shops, attend shows/sales on weekends or some combinations of all of these.
I operate two private studio spaces, opening them up on occasion for studio tours and sales on specific dates or by appointment. Additionally, I have wholesale/consignment clients, an online shop and attend weekend art festivals to sell my products. Being tied to a retail location on a daily basis isn’t something that I want to do, so I’ve structured my business in a way that allows me to have the freedom away from a daily shop obligation. To me, that’s the beauty of operating an art business. I can make it fit my life.
Any of the other potters who read this blog – how do you operate you business?