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Show and Sell
By Ann Ruel

2. Pottery Placement
Watch for hot spots on the table. We found that pieces placed on certain corners seemed to always sell, no matter what items we placed there. The most popular hot spot for me seems to be the corner where the traffic first glimpses the pottery.  As the day progresses, you may want to rearrange your pieces, periodically. Usually traffic will make their way around to your table more than once. By creating a different look, customers will get a
chance to view pottery they may have missed the first time.

3. The Power of the “Sold” Sign
As pieces sell, don’t be over zealous to fill that space with another piece of pottery that is under the table. Instead, place a “SOLD” sign in that slot. Viewers respond with a sense of urgency when they see that something they like and may buy in the future is selling. They don’t want to miss out on the chance to purchase one of your bowls before it is gone.

4. Verbal Contact with Customers
What is the key to eliminating the competition around you? The best way I have found is to make verbal contact with the customers. Engage in conversations with the people that come by. Take an interest in listening to their stories. This will really make a difference in your sales. The customer’s unique handmade gift choice will be treasured even more if your customer can tell the recipient that they met and got to know the artist.

5. Business Cards
Business cards are another way to get your name out to potential customers. But I do not recommend placing the cards out on the table for just anyone to take as rarely does this result in commissions and usually the result is money wasted on a thrown away card. Instead, take the cards with you to the show and only pass them out when someone specifically asks for one or when someone purchases one of your items. In this way, the chance increases that the card will be saved for future reference.

6. Professionalism
To keep customers returning, you need to maintain professionalism in your work. Scrutinize your pottery before placing it on display. Resist temptation to display pottery with defects. Also maintain professionalism in your own appearance. A good tip I received from Genez Malebranche, an established and very well respected potter, is to pick an outfit “one step up” from what the customers at your show will wear..

Ann Ruel resides in Chesapeake, Virginia. Her work is exhibited in galleries throughout Virginia. She is a member of the Ceramic Designer’s Association of Hampton Roads. For comments or questions please visit her website at







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