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Ceramics and Pottery Business Idea

People have used pottery in trade and commerce for nearly 8,000 years making the pottery business one of the oldest businesses known.

There are also nearly as many pottery styles as there are potters!

With this kind of history on your side, why not start a pottery business?

You have all of the equipment – the wheel, the kiln, the tools, and you have been making your pottery as a hobby.

You would love to start selling it, but aren’t sure how to go about it without opening a shop or spending money advertising yourself.

Starting Your Pottery Business

Well, the good news is that you have a number of options for starting your pottery business!

  • Identify shops and galleries in your area that would be a good fit for your style of pottery. If you do modern or abstract pieces, they would not be suitable for a country-look furniture store, for example. Find a metropolitan-look store instead.
  • If you make large format pottery pieces, seek out decorators and upscale furniture stores. Their customers are often people with large houses and offices, and occasionally something large is needed to fill a certain space.
  • Let local non-profit organizations know that you could make gifts for board members or small items for fund-raiser souvenirs.
  • Make ceramic beads and pendants and market them to bead stores and jewelers. Take it one step further and contact web sites that sell artisan-made jewelry components, and get the name of the person to send samples to so that you can follow up with the person.
  • Get into local craft shows. Have information about you, your pottery, special techniques and glazes that you use, and how to care for and use the pottery and place in the bag with purchases. Send postcards out to your friends and family with the event information, and have guest book at the shows so that you can start a mailing list.
  • Send a letter and brochure to the large businesses in your area who meet with clients in their offices. They might be interested in custom coffee service sets with their logo or company colors on them. They might also be interested in holiday gifts for clients and employees.

Selling Your Pottery

If you sell pottery at retail yourself, you will need to check with your state Department of Revenue as to whether or not you need a seller’s permit and whether or not you need to collect sales tax and turn it in to the state at regular intervals.

If your pottery business sells products at wholesale to shops or web sites, you may need to ask for the company’s sales permit number in order to show that you were not supposed to collect sales tax on those transactions. Price your pottery in such a way that you make a profit, and that the retailer can also hope to sell them.

In other words, be flexible—what you don’t collect at the time of the sale may be made up by selling in volume. You will have to weigh whether it is worth your time and effort to sell more items at a lower price.

Galleries may take items on a consignment basis. You should have a signed consignment agreement, and often the gallery will provide it. You need to have an inventory list detailing every piece and its value, and have a gallery representative sign that he or she received it.

Check with an attorney or accountant as to what kind of business entity you should have for your pottery business, if any. If you bought your kiln and other equipment in a different tax year than you began selling your pottery, check with your accountant as to turning the items into business assets and being able to expense the items on your tax return.

While you are handling the details of setting up your business, keep on producing your pottery, and soon, you will be ready to roll out your first product line!

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