Episode 25, business tips and advice. Hello all you fantastic listeners! It has been way too long. The MudTalk Podcast has gone on quite a hiatus here over the past few months. You would think with all the social distancing and quarentining I would just be cranking out the podcast episodes. But alas, I decided to focus completely on my top priority for the year, finish my pottery studio. I’ve also been spending time with my family so we can all stay sane. But now that the studio is taking shape I hope to spend a lot more time making pots and online content. In fact, the Michiana Pottery Tour will be online this year – that’s right, you can buy pots from all the amazing artists no matter where you live! – so I’ll be making pots for that and promoting it big time. The Tour is at the end of September so go to michianapotterytour.com to find out more.
I’ve also become fascinated with the idea of branding which is perfect for this episode. I’ve been listening to and reading books, articles and even taking some courses. At the end of this episode I’ll share 5 things that could help a potter or ceramic artist improve their brand. And yes, if you are trying to sell your work, you should have a “brand” even if it is more of a personal brand instead of a big corporate brand.
Thank you for taking the time to subscribe, download, and support this podcast. Today the topic is business tips and advice so let’s hear some business tips and advice from other potters.
Littlecharliewheeler Knowing that everyone has different tastes, and that piece that disappointed you as it came out of the kiln, might be someone else’s favourite.
pipthepotterUse the shows to network.
libbeckA lesson I learned: Don’t accept custom orders. It’s never satisfying to make something as directed by a customer. It will always feel better to make your own piece. And, it’s hard to match their vision.
earthartam@libbeck Disagree. The first custom order I got was a disaster, I agree, no satisfying that guy. But I’m glad I didn’t give up on them. I like the challenge of meeting someone’s vision. After that first one I’ve never had another person that didn’t see what I do and trust me to get it done. It’s not a huge part of my business, but I do enjoy it. Tip: get paid up front for truly unique work.
claystationdhakaTreat your customer the way you would like to be treated as a customer!
thattmumHave a 20 second instagram story-style video to show anyone your work/process and be able to explain why x ( for example a teapot , costs $100.00 in time and money to make
sharfam61Have you sold online? How do you package pieces and avoid breakage and cost of shipping?
@sharfam61 i wrap them with thick bubble wrap and then fill the box with packing peanuts making sure the piece can not move at all and there is enough space on the edges to account for squish. Never had a piece break in shipping!
earthartamTreat it like a job, not a hobby. Show up everyday and put in your time.
rdceramicsTalk to every customer that comes into your space at shows and stand up. Don’t sit in the back & expect them to come to you
Anotherseattleartist Don’t give up and don’t half (heart) anything you make. People can tell.
ibtispotteryI agree with rdceramics, smile at ppl who come to your space encourage them to pic up ur pottery even when ur sure they won’t buy, tell them how you make your pots , don’t ever be pushy
JoAnn S (from facebook) Make what you love, because when you become successful at it, you will be making it….A LOT!!! My favorite thing to make was (is) mugs and now we make over 30,000 a year! And of those 7,000 go to one account. All hand thrown, and hand decorated. And be prepared to work half-days….12 hours is half a day!
These last few responses fit well with what I’ve been reading about branding.
dtaylorsatmEnjoy being different, it’s what makes you stand out from the rest.
mudbird_ceramicsMake what you love, don’t try to be someone else. Your passion & creativity will come through in your designs, therefore attracting your customer to the story behind you as well.
hillBippieClayCoCustomers are buying your story as much as they are buying your pots. I’ve found when I’m most true to myself and let people in on the reason why and how I make what I do, the connection is deeper. You’ll lose money and you’ll make money, don’t lose site of why you started selling pots in the first place. Put your passion into you’re work and be prepared to start over again and again ✨
Pirkitta P (from facebook) Have the courage to be different. 🤓 Not that I have a business yet but that is my two cents to ya all.
Yes! These four responses cover some of the most important parts of building a brand, which is a big part of marketing and running a business. You have to be your unique self so you can highlight what makes you stand out. There is a lot more to think about when you are building your brand but I’ve written down 5 things to get you started.
The first thing to consider while branding yourself or your business is obvious.
Choose to create a brand
A brand is how other people think about you and your work. If you don’t really put some thought into building a positive brand, you may be unknowingly sending conflicting, confusing, or even negative messages to potential customers. It is a lot of work but if you commit to do it, it will surely pay off later.
Know yourself and your work
There are a lot of ways to say it, but you have to find out who you are. Not just what you do, but WHY you do it. What motivates you, what drives you, your purpose for living, or your purpose for making. Giving people the reason behind what you do gives people another thing to connect to.
Know your customers
After you have figured out who you are and why you create your work, begin finding customers that will connect with you and your work. There are different ways to do this. Not everyone is going to connect with you and your work. You have to find the people that will.
Tell your story
People connect with stories. Figure out which format, style and voice is most authentic for you and your work. Not just a words, tell your story through images, videos, and of course, clay! Engage your customers, maybe even make them part of the story.
The biggest reason to put some thought into your brand is to be consistent which will help build trust. If you are inconsistent potential customers will be confused and will be less likely to interact with you or buy from you.
So, to review, 5 things that can help you get started as you build a brand for yourself or your business: choose to create a brand, know yourself and your work, know your customers, tell your story and be consistent. Hopefully that will help get some ideas turning but this is only the tip of the iceberg as they say. I’ll also be writing a few articles and maybe even create a crash course on expertclay.com in the next few months if that is something that people are interested in.
But anyway, that’s about it for this episode. Thanks to everyone who shared their business tips and advice. Thanks for listening. The next episode will be about finding your market. Until then, keep selling pots, stay healthy, and stay muddy.