Sales fatigue

Pull it together Gillies! You can do this……

Roughly four months of solid work gearing up for the holiday sales events have left me sleep deprived, undernourished, and swamped with pots needing homes. Somehow I planned it like this. I must be a genius! No, really……

Actually, my studio life is so out of balance at the end of a sales scenario like this that I usually end up questioning why I do it the way I do it. I spend a good few months making new pots, drying them, storing them, cramming them on every available surface, consolidating them, moving the dried ones out of the way for fresh ones, all of which I sort of like doing, and then another month and a half of nothing but firing and glazing, glazing and firing, in an unending seeming loop that by the end of it seems like a scene from my own nightmare version of a Potter’s Hell. Yech! I haven’t touched fresh clay with intent in way too long……

Add to that that this is the final weekend of my Holiday Sales Extravaganza and I’m seriously fatigued. I love seeing the folks who show up to claim pots for their own lives and others’, and I wouldn’t trade that for anything. Its just back to back to back events leaves me feeling like I’ve been left out in the sun too long. The only balm is that I get to see folks I don’t always cross paths with. I get to hang out, catch up, hear some stories, and maybe tell a few of my own. If I wasn’t actually selling pots it would be a good version of a Potter’s Jubilee.

But it is a sale, and I’m also busy getting the word out. And I don’t doubt that recipients of the email sale notifications are fatigued by the back to backness of it as well. Too much of even a good thing can have negative consequences….. The number of folks opening the email dropped by about 7% between the first and second sales, and a further 13% between the second and third sales. Which maybe makes sense because many folks have already made it out. But I do worry that I’m overloading inboxes and interest, and I don’t want to push things too far.

Which is why I made this my final sale email of the season:


Carter and Friends
Holiday Potters Market

Howdy all!

This weekend will be the last of my 2014 pottery events. I apologize if the emails have been coming fast and furious. I’m just grateful for your support and generous understanding of how the message gets out. Some potters only have two sales a year, and that’s such a slim chance to make an entire year’s worth of income. I promise, no more emails until May of next year 🙂

So, this weekend I will be setting up again. This time I will be joined by the fabulous Farmington potters Geoff Pickett, Nancy Green, and Jeff Bishoff. They are all such talented artists, and between the four of us there will be plenty to choose from. The weather will be nice, so the pots should look really good in the sunshine and near 60 degree temps. It will definitely be much nicer than the chilly rain we had to suffer through last Saturday…..

So come on out if you can! I’ll have the kids section as usual, and still have the majority of my pots left to find good homes. And if your shopping is done for this year, please still come on by and say “Hello”. One of the real treats of doing these events is seeing all the folks who care about what we do. There isn’t much support for the arts these days. There isn’t enough local shopping these days. But you guys are out there making it happen! Thanks so much for believing in what we do 🙂

And if I don’t get to see you, Have A Great Holiday Season!

All the best!


Saturday Dec 13th &
Sunday Dec 14th
10 am to 4pm
572 Nantahala ave
Athens Ga

Work by Nancy GreenngWork by Geoff PickettgpWork By Jeff Bishoff


About Carter Gillies

I am an active potter and sometime pottery instructor who is fascinated by the philosophical side of making pots, teaching these skills, and issues of the artistic life in general. I seem to have a lot to say on this blog, but I don't insist that I'm right. I'm always trying to figure stuff out, and part of that involves admitting that I am almost always wrong in important ways. If you are up for it, please help me out by steering my thoughts in new and interesting directions. I always appreciate the challenge of learning what other people think.
This entry was posted in Art, Ceramics, Clay, Creative industry, Pottery. Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Sales fatigue

  1. Stephen says:

    So how did ya do? I know you struggle with putting on your marketing hat and this was a grueling three weekend marathon. Would love to hear some overall thoughts on all three weekends both from an artist standpoint AND a business perspective. Did it leave you pumped up and enthusiastic about the new year? Do u normally do a three show stretch each year or is this a new effort?

    • Ahoy Stephen! Happy new year to ya 🙂

      I think the sales went very well, maybe not as well as last year when I first opened it up to three weekends, but in a ballpark I am comfortable with. I am glad I’m giving folks the option of three weekends to do some pottery shopping. As I state in the post I’m seriously fatigued by the end of it, but I have the pots for it and I’ve prepared well enough that it makes no sense not to do it.

      One down side is that after so many really good pots have sold the ones I am left with are not always my favorites. Some are still very very good, but generally the best have all found new homes. This skews my feelings about the inventory I have left in bizarre ways. On the one hand I’m over joyed that so many good pots sold. On the other hand just looking at pots I’m not a big fan of undercuts my joy. Maybe the best thing to do post sale would be to smash all the leftovers so you avoid that judgment (just kidding! (sort of))?

      Artistically I am motivated to get back into some wet clay, and this year it will happen sooner than other years. I usually take a breather to recharge my batteries, and I’ve done a good job so far of reclaiming my sanity, but I can feel the itch of needing to make new things already. I just hope I didn’t p-ss away all the warm winter weather we had these past few weeks lying on my couch like a vegetable. If everything is seasonal, post sale is the season for me to creep back into a cocoon. The butterfly awaits!

      Hope all is well with you!

      Best of the new year to ya!


  2. Stephen says:

    Sounds like a great end to a great year. Looking forward to a new year of your great post! Hope you enjoy your new round of making. I would say remember to have fun but I know you always do.

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