My Year in Making: Susan of For Pete's Sake Pottery

Ever feel like it's hard to know if your business is "normal" or not? If other businesses experienced the year in a similar way to you? Or maybe you have a hard time zooming out to get a big picture perspective.

If that's you at all, then we've created The State of Making: An Online Summit just for you (and the thousands of others like you ;))! It's a multi-day event that will feature experts and other makers sharing their perspective on the year in making and what lies ahead for the holidays.

Interested? You can read all about it here

We are featuring the stories of maker and their years leading up to the summit. Today's post looks at the year for maker and #ahasmember Susan of For Pete's Sake Pottery. We look at the growth and the changes she's made and where she's headed for 2017.

Q: Tell us a little bit about yourself and your business.
A: I am an artist and painter with a passion for retail. I have been painting and creating my entire life and love every minute. I started my business when our son was born and have been growing and fine tuning it for years. My primary sales are through Etsy and Wholesale accounts.

Q: Overall, what did the last year look like for you?
A: Last year was phenomenal. My business has been growing steadily for the last five years and really hit a peak last year when a major retailers contacted me to purchase my line.


Q: What is the biggest lesson you learned?
A: Make sure you charge enough. I tend to doubt myself as a I price for wholesale and have learned that I can not and should not under value my time and talent. If a client is purchasing a large amount of one item, make sure you review your profit margin before pricing it again. Review how fast it sold, how many sold and the time you invested before sending out an updated price list.

Q: How are you anticipating and making changes for holiday 2016?
A: I have used all summer profits to pre-purchase my best selling items. I started Christmas immediately after Derby. Derby is my largest season. I have had my son create a catalog for wholesale with a master price list.

This has been a great addition. I would be so busy creating and moving on to the next project that I didn't take the time to review what was best and why. Do this reflection after every season to prepare yourself for the next. I will also be continually cleaning up my Etsy listings and promoting on social media. The two go hand in hand.

Q: What about your 2015 holiday? Or are the holidays not your “big” season?
A: 2015 was a whirlwind. For the first time I sold almost every item I created for the Holidays. In years past I would store my leftovers for the next holiday. My biggest season is the Kentucky Derby with Christmas being a close second.

Q: What was your proudest moment of the last year as a business owner?
A: My proudest moment last year was seeing my work in a major retailer in my hometown. I am sometimes in denial about my gift and this was a moment that I had to stop and pinch myself for. I mean I just started painting when our son was born primarily to supplement our income with me quitting a full time job. Getting to this point was beyond my dreams.


Q: What is one business tool or product that became invaluable to your business this last year?
A: Instagram. I love this platform. You can post as much as you want and tag it with just about anything. I have gained more views and followers as I learn to tweak my page. The ease of sharing this on my Facebook page is priceless.

Q: What business tool or product did you decide, “Nah, actually I don’t need to deal with this”?
A: I have not embraced LinkedIn like many of my peers. The connections I have made through Etsy, Facebook, Instagram and this group are more than enough.

Q: Where can people find you online?

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We are looking back and looking forward at all of the changes that have happened in the maker industry this last year. From craft shows to wholesale to Etsy. We're talking with experts, insiders and makers alike.

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