Making Pottery to Sell

By Eric Hammer

Many artistic types of people love making pottery. The stuff is relatively inexpensive to make in terms of raw materials and tools and it is beautiful when done well. The problem however is what to do with the pottery you made. Do you hold on to it? Sell it? Give it away? Well, the holding onto it method doesn’t work very well if you make a lot of it and giving it away has limited value. However, you can go ahead and sell your pottery and even turn your hobby into a business.

Now before you rush to put price tags on your pottery, keep in mind that selling pottery is work. It’s a business just like any other one and you need to be prepared to put in the time an effort to learn how to be a business person and to sell your pottery.

In other words, it’s not enough to simply make the stuff and hope someone buys it. You need to keep close track of costs and especially of your time as you make the stuff. The single largest cost of your pottery business will in fact be your own labor. As one blogger on the subject we looked at says, "every time you touch the pottery, your costs go up."Pottery

How Much Can You Make?

Making money with pottery can be a bit tricky to do. One professional in the pottery business reported that he grossed $100,000 but netted only $15,000 for his trouble. Therefore, it’s difficult to quantify. The catch is that if you don’t count your time in making the pottery pieces, then the material is quite cheap and if you are good, you can make a handsome return vis a vis the raw materials (it’s not uncommon to spend $5 for raw materials and sell the resultant piece for over $100). The catch is to keep track of your time so that you charge a fair price based on the amount of time it take to sell your pottery.

Ways to Make More | Related Opportunities | Tips

The single best tip we saw for making pottery for sale is to keep track of your time. If it takes you 15 hours of labor to make a piece of pottery for sale, then the fact that you spent just $5 for the raw materials is not really that important. What’s important is to get paid for the workmanship you put into your masterpiece.

Of course, alongside making pottery for sale there are any number of other activities you might take up. You could also paint or you could collaborate with someone else who makes pottery and offer to do the glazing and decorating while they make the actual material.

For that matter, if you are not particularly artistic, you can also easily become a middle man, selling pottery on behalf of artists who would much rather be practicing their craft than pretending to be a business person.

Qualifications / Requirements

There are actually two things you’ll need in order to be successful in making pottery for sale. First, you need to have talent for making pottery. And that means more than making the misshapen lump of an ashtray that your mother proudly displayed when you brought it home from camp. Your craft can’t just be good enough – it has to be exquisite. If your stuff looks like it could easily be in a fancy shop selling handmade gifts, then you are ready to sell your pottery. If it looks like the sort of curiosity that someone might hold onto because their friend or relative made it for them, then you need more practice.

However, even if you have the minimum requirements to make professional quality pottery, you are only halfway there. The other thing you’ll need in order to make pottery for sale is professional sales knowledge. You have to be able to think like a businessperson when selling your pottery or you will never be able to earn enough to make it worth your while. If you don’t have the skills needed for that, consider taking on a partner who can guide you in selling your work for what it’s worth.

First Steps

Start by taking an honest look at the pottery you are producing. Is it really up to the standard where people would pay to own it? If it is, great, then start looking for places to sell your work. eBay is a good place to start since you can reach a global audience, though keep in mind that your work will be worth less there than if you sold it in a trendy local shop. Once you have gotten comfortable making pottery for sale, you can move on to create your own web site and try to get your work into local shops on a consignment basis (this means that you get paid when they sell your work).

Resources

eHow: How to Sell Your Handmade Crafts in Six Different Ways – An unusually in depth article from eHow with lots of great ideas for selling pottery that you make. This article also includes links to a number of additional helpful resources.


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Every Way to Make Money | Making Pottery to Sell