As my business grows I'm constantly thinking of ways to do better. Here is my list of things to improve for 2024 with detail below.
1. Provide listings for finished work before sharing online.
2. Make better use of my website.
3. Record firing costs in kiln log.
Provide listings for finished work before sharing online
This one has been on my mind a while after watching how other potters share their finished work and sell it in hours.
My error really hit home for me when I saw some art online that moved me enough to consider buying if the price was something I could handle. I looked all over the place and I could not find a listing for it anywhere. It was so frustrating.
Sitting back being annoyed, I realize that I do that all the time. Hypocrite!! Hee hee.
I've gone down the road of contacting an artist to get a price, got sticker shock and then felt embarrassed and slightly obligated to buy even though I couldn't afford it. Don't worry, I didn't succumb to the guilt, but I sure felt it.
I understand why you wouldn't want to contact me for a price, I get it.
So starting now, I'm trying to control the "OMG lookit this!!" excitement I get after opening the kiln. Control myself long enough to make a product listing. This will be very challenging.
Make better use of my website
I truly LOVE having my pottery in the shops I'm in, and I think pottery sells better when you can make the connection that comes from holding a piece. That said, some things happened in 2023 that smacked me right in the heart: Facing the closing of one of my favorite places.
In my attempts to "pivot", to find a way to recover from the loss, I realized that I need to take responsibility for my own success by giving more attention to my website and encouraging people to buy directly from me.
My website had some issues.
The shipping calculations were ridiculous so I set out to fix that and I did.
I was focused on stocking the shops more than anything else all the while neglecting my own website, and in turn, really only making my work available to locals. That's not bad, locals are wonderful and very supportive, but I also want to branch out.
I'm really no good at product photos and I don't have the patience for it. I hear all the time that the work is more beautiful in person. I wish I had the ambition to be a genius at product photos, but I'm not there.
The studio was getting crowded, so Aaron set up a spare bedroom for all things website: The photos area, a packing area, and shelves to hold my web inventory. What a guy!
I set out to stock the site in time to offer sales for the after Thanksgiving shopping, and I did it! If I keep my first resolution, I will have new work going up regularly, and I can keep things fresh by moving work from the website to the shops.
I'll still be in shops, I'll still make new work for the shops and share when I'm restocking. Good news: The loss that broke my heart has been worked out and on top of that, I have plans for another location in the new year.
Coming soon I will improve my custom orders page so people know what to expect. Again, trying to cater to people like me who have a fear of the unknown, are semi-shy and don't like pestering people.
I'll re-establish my Facebook and Instagram shops, and I'll set up my Google merchant account so my work will show in searches.
Record firing costs in kiln log
The basic tax deduction for energy costs for a home based business uses a percentage of square footage dedicated to the business against the annual energy costs. So if the business occupies 10% of your home, you can deduct 10% of your energy costs.
In our case, I'm certain that the costs of running the kiln far exceed the result of that calculation. It's about $6.00 per firing and I've done 105 firings year to date.
My kiln allows me to program the current energy costs (KWH), the kiln's wattage, and then at the end of a firing I can review the details and the energy costs are calculated and displayed. The data is only available until the next firing is started, so I need to get the costs before running the kiln again. I want to develop the habit of logging it so I can share that with our accountant to increase our deductions.
So there you are! Let's see how we do. If you catch me slipping please call me on it.
We're excited to see what 2024 brings!