Monday, November 9, 2009

In a time of recession, how do you survive?

I, personally survived working a ceramics production for almost 10 years. I always wondered about that because it didn't make sense.

How did it happen? I linked myself with a much larger manufacturer of jewelry and giftwares, that specialized in South Western design and sold to gift shops all over the world. I rode somebody else's skirts, so to speak.

Instead of insisting the world love my finished product, I went straight for the ground floor and began producing a product that somebody else finished.

My name was on nothing. I was nobody but I survived with my own hands. So there's an idea for you.

Snoop around and find out who might be running a large production, selling in mass and low prices. A sweat shop!

How could I work for such 'tiny' money? Simple...I cut my own costs and cut the time it took to produce, down to the bone. When I cranked up the kiln at night, it was so crammed full, it took twice the time to reach temp.

I broke down the cost of electricity, wear and tear on the kiln and my own labor cost, right to the penny. I knew exactly what I needed to be making a profit. Pride had nothing to do with business.

Could I turn out beautiful and useful things? Yes but it didn't pay. I did that in my spare time and took care of my wholesale customers.

I actually started out delivering green ware and my customer loaded it into the kilns along with their own products. I did this until I could afford my own kiln, then we made changes to the pricing for the bisque.

I continuously added new designs that I designed myself, to add to their variety. Some sold and some didn't. But I kept right on, designing and adding to the line.

I survived this way, paid my rent and supported myself for almost 10 years. Believe it or not, I got into trouble when I started expanding in size, which required more equipment and a bigger overhead. I was doing just fine, sticking to my little miniatures and selling to the bigger outfits.

Sometimes you have to get creative in your thinking. Reach out there and find others in your own category, who are profiting and expanding and latch onto them. Offer your services.

Possibly plaster figures to the craft shops for others to paint. Possibly supplying green ware or bisque to a manufacturer.  Have you visited an auction house lately? Did you know that if you turn out pitcher and bowl sets, they just might buy them at a low price or even take them on consignment for the next auction?

Find factories making things that you could possibly supply the basic components for.

When times get tough, forget the knitting and crochet. Discover something else and quick. Something like cut out wood pieces, bisque or plaster objects. Expand your horizons.

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About Me

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I'm a grandmother of 1, a ceramist, a ceramic mold maker, a truck driver and writer.

I'm also a webmaster of many and have several blogs.

I help others in designing product, make custom molds and I still do restorations.