Wednesday, June 9, 2010

First Annual Summer Pottery Open House

The kiln is loaded and I'm planning to heat it up tonight for a couple hours, let it soak all night, then fire it off tomorrow!

I haven't been feeling stressed out until this week. It seems like so much of the preparation is going to have to wait until a few days before the event!! I can't prepare the food too far in advance (and I'm not sure how much, or even WHAT I'm going to serve!!!)

No reason to clean the house yet, it'll just get filthy again. The studio's not ready, Steve's still working on my exhibit. Most of the work I already have made is priced. I'll need to have some cash on hand for change.....well, hopefully I'll need change. I'm wondering if I should have made arrangements to accept credit card payments. From what I've read about fees, it may not be worth it at this point.

I have sent out an event invitation via facebook and am considering using Constant Contact. It's an email marketing tool that we used when I worked at Bear's Mill.

Here's the part that's probably got me stressed most. I ordered post cards from an online service called "Overnight Prints." (Again, a business I dealt with when working at Bear's Mill.) I ordered the cards by a date that I thought would give me enough time to distribute them. I ordered them May 26 and they estimated my delivery date to be June 4. That should've given me 2 weeks to hand-out and mail the postcards. I don't recall that we ever had a delivery problem with this company when I worked at Bear's Mill. Unfortunately, my order didn't get "processed" in a timely manner.

Even thought I kept checking my online status, I wasn't too concerned until last Friday when I realized that the cards should've arrived in that day's mail. Of course I didn't realize this until after business hours. Which means that my problem wasn't addressed until Monday. I was loading the kiln that day and didn't check my email until after hours again.

They had responded to my inquiry, apologized for the delay, refunded my shipping cost and assured me that they were "working around the clock to get us back on schedule." Unfortunately, no mention was made of when that might be!! So I sent another email thanking them for their response and asking if it might be possible to get an estimate of when my postcards might be arriving.

I received an email yesterday stating that my order had "gone into production." OK, that still doesn't tell me when it's shipping, or how. Suddenly I'm getting panicky (note to self..........panic sooner next time!!)

Here's what I've learned from my experience:
  • Place printing orders early enough to allow for mistakes and delays
  • Check order status online and by phone if necessary.
  • If the estimated delivery date and the order status don't seem to correspond - CALL!!
  • If they haven't sent me tracking information a few days before my estimated delivery date - CALL!!
  • The squeaky wheel gets the grease - CALL!!
Yesterday I started debating whether or not I should change my Open House Date to the following week-end and put computer labels on the postcards with the new date. I decided not to do that. Hopefully it wasn't a mistake.

I'm glad to have had this happen for my Summer Open House. I will utilize what I've learned and apply it to my Christmas Open House which I'm hoping will attract more customers. I'm sure I'm going to learn a heckuva lot MORE once I've actually had my Open House!!!!

I need to make a trip to Bear's Mill to pick up a few more pots to beef up my inventory. And, for some DUMB-@$$ reason, I agreed to start teaching a pottery class at the local Art Center. It starts next Tuesday (IF anyone signs up for it) and I'll be teaching Tuesdays and Thursdays for 4 weeks. So I need to pick up clay for the students before the first class. I think in my mind I was envisioning being able to tell students and parents about my upcoming Open House. Now I'm thinking it was not a smooth move.

OK, DEEEEEEEEEEEEEP breath. maybe another deeeeeeeeeep breath. Burst into tears. Cry on husband's shoulder. All better now.

I will end with a quote that helps me keep things in perspective:
"Do what you love, love what you do, leave the world a better place and don't pick your nose."
- Jeff Mallet, Frazz, 08-03-04

(I would add, " public.")


Dennis Allen said...

Good luck with your sale. Don't forget Clay Alliance members can use the club emailer to send notices of shows and openings to all other members.

Hoosier Mama Now said...


Bless your heart, I had forgotten about that perk and will take advantage of it!! Thanks!


Nu Kua said...

Hi there from amsterdam! :-)

Thanks for your comment on my blog.
It is nice to hear I'm also not the only one with nerves and (self created) deadlines.....

The sale was very good! I had very little visitors but they all bought something and had pretty good feedback so I'm very pleased with my first ever open studio.
I'm planning my next one after summer.

And I have experienced it as a big learning-event!
I know what you mean about printing orders.... mine came in on time but to get them to come in on time I had to pay more.... what a waste of money!

Oh well, I had a lovely time with friend that came to visit and the feedback gave me more courage to go on and that's something to be grateful for I think.

Lots of success with your sale and remember to enjoy it! :-D