Sunday, October 21, 2012

that conversation again

The frequent topic of frustration and sometimes bafflement- pricing.  I had an email conversation going on last week with a woman who makes and sells butter from an upstate New York dairy.  She was inquiring about getting hand crafted french butter crocks to sell with her butter rounds. Great idea, and I was flattered she tracked me down.  Course, I don't know, she might have sent the same email to a dozen other potters. So, I quoted her the price I sell these locally- $35.00, knowing it would be a little high for a bulk order, but I thought I'd give it a shot. Too high.  I came down to $30.00.  Silence.  Dead Air. In her response after my first quote, she suggested a simpler design for a lesser price.  My reply, along with the $30.00 offer, was the factor that dictated the price was the time spent fitting and measuring while throwing these.  If you are not familiar with a french butter crock, the part that holds the butter also functions as a lid.  So you have to fit a pot, which is also a lid, inside another pot.  A lot of stop and measure time.  Plus, basically, you are getting two pots in one.  Maybe it's just me.  If I made more of these maybe I'd be able to churn them out like a machine and instinctively know when I achieved the right height and width. Or, maybe I could be less fussy about the fit.  Not going to happen.
After a few days went by I emailed her again and suggested that a local potter might agree to make these at a cheaper price in exchange for the publicity plus there would be no added shipping cost.  I guess if someone lived within 30 or so miles of this dairy they could pick up a little business that way.  With me in southeast Ohio and her in upstate New York, I don't see that working out.
Freshly thrown french butter crock parts. Lid (left) holds butter.  Crock (right) holds water.

Once both parts dry to leather-hard they can be trimmed. 

Working on these honey jars too.  Same kind of lid as the french butter crocks, but a lot easier to fit.

Also threw a lot of knobs and some small nesting bowls.  The bowls are meant to be used as prep containers.  I'm looking forward to having fun with glazes on these.

Some mugs for a commission and more honey jars. Once pieces are well on their way to being dry and no longer need covering to make sure they dry evenly I take them out to the shelves by the kiln. 

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