Who do I market to?

For the past couple of years I have narrowed down my market to direct sales, with some wholesale.  I’m not striving to be represented by galleries.  Yet for years I thought it was what I was supposed to do, (a little left-over from going to Alfred U).  Basically what I want is for people to use my pottery and find some joy in using it.

So in light of this realization, that I mostly sell directly to customers, I have thought a great deal these past few months about the photo’s of my work, and how they appear to pottery buyers.   I have decided to change my photos from the black/grey background (which galleries love to see) to a more light airy, “this might look good in my house” look! 

 Here are a couple of shots. More to come as I update website and etsy shop.


19 thoughts on “Who do I market to?

  1. I’m so glad you wrote this! I too have been caught in that in between world where I’ve got left over practices from my academic days that are not aiming where I need to be aiming. You put it really very clearly in this post. Now I’ve just got to reshoot all my images for etsy!

    Hey Lucy. I also Like your sentiment here: “what I want is for people to use my pottery and find some joy in using it.” I’ve been thinking about how, for many potters, this is the intention behind selling pots, but I recently read the post on Richard Jacob’s blog where he asks whether we care who buys our pots and just how collectors fit in that. It is a challenging question. Have you read his post? I’d love to hear your thoughts. I’ve got another mammoth 2,000 word post in the works that is my response to him. I’m sure you will sum up what I’ve got to say much better and in only a handful of words. Tell me what you think.

    His post is:


  2. Very nice! I share your views on the work in all aspects and especially the gallery idea. I don’t think it is really necessary these days to sell in that way and while selling local would help out local businesses, in this economy, you aren’t having to share your profits, or a percentage of it, with them to help them out too. It is really trying to find a balance and a comfort zone of where you are as an confident artist. I love your posts and so enjoy getting them. Thanks so much.

  3. I was composing a blog in my head about this very same topic when I clicked on your blog! I have had two recent experiences with gallery shows that were not so great and I am trying to figure out how to blog about that…. maybe I can continue where you left off here. I think these photos are so nice, I much prefer them to the ones we are “supposed” to shoot for submissions. Who wrote that rule anyway!? I was reading a submission guideline for a show and wondering how much longer people are going to participate with this sort of thing, they make it so difficult. Oh boy, I DO feel a blog post coming on, thanks for the spark 🙂

  4. Wow people, I stay up too late writing a blog post, wake up late and there are six comments already! I guess I touched on a good subject! I want to reply a little more, but as I said I’m late for work, and I have a loaf of crusty bread waiting to be a prop for more photo’s this morning. My goal before the crazy busy season gets here is to get all my photography done, then I will allow myself to make more pots.

  5. I’m definitely with you on the conflict of feelings…what I feel like I am supposed to do…and what I want to do. I like direct sales best, though a nice size wholesale order can make my day. 🙂

  6. Great photos, Lucy! Thanks for the post – good subject that transcends media and gives me something to think about.

  7. thank you Susie, I firmly beleive in buying local, and keeping my work local. I have no issues with wholesale, it is so important to keep the brick and mortar downtown alive, where would we be without that sense of community and town. Oh, how lonely we would be if our only form of communication with customers were through the internet and paypal! My thoughts on the “galleries’ are more about the prestige part of it, (just don’t need to chase that anymore) and sending a few pieces here or there, paying for shipping, and getting very little return, it’s a hard way to make a living.

  8. Carter, I really like what he says about the maker and the collector as being collaborators in making sure there is a future in ceramic art. But it’s not just about that for me, it’s about using pots to enhance our daily lives, and for the hardworking everyday person to stop, hold that great mug in their hands and somehow be in touch with a slower pace. Kinda like stopping and smelling the flowers… I thinks that’s what potters can do for a person in their daily routine.

  9. Wow, the photos look great Lucy!! I think its a fab idea and something I need to try on my etsy site. I think it’s really more effective. I guess I’m just a bit lazy in doing the staging. Popping the pots in the light box and shooting away is quick and easy. You’ve done a great job capturing the essence of the work.

  10. Hey Lucy,

    As a gallery/shop owner, I just thought I’d let you know I prefer the newer style of your photos, more fun, more inviting, more interesting, more likely to sell, I think! Anyway, that may be just me — I’m not the most formal person, nor do I have a very formal gallery.


  11. Hey again,
    I was just wondering, is this spot a place in your home or studio or did you make a special staged area to do these newer photos? The light looks great, as if it’s near a window.

    I’m going over to Etsy and look for some more shops that have this approach. Maybe get some ideas.


  12. Hi Ron, Thanks for your comments. This is a staged area in the loft of my studio that I call my photography studio. This particular set up is near a window, and it is natural light, preferably on a cloudy day. If it is not cloudy I set up a scrim over the window, (a simple semi transparent cloth, in this case white poly shower curtain stretched over a frame that fits over the window).
    I have worked a ton on my photo’s the past two years, I think I finally have what I’m looking for!

  13. Hi Lucy, I’m thinking that your photos should also be finding a place in those aforementioned Galleries. Congratulations, your lighting is warm and intimate, showing off your work “to a tee” (what DOES that mean, anyway??) Makes me wish I were there to share a pear and chunk of cheese… Deb

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