Remember the Wish Book? My children certainly do. By the time I wrenched it from their marker stained fingers to find gifts I could afford to buy them, the Sears Christmas catalog would have circles and squares and stars and names and numbers over most of the pages. It was so full (I have four children and they had so many wishes) that I’d have to have secret conferences with them to get a bit of translation.
People have been buying through mail order catalogs for so long it seems it’s always been around. In fact, it has, almost. Benjamin Franklin is thought to have created the first mail order catalog to sell scientific instruments and book in 1744.
And we all know about Monkey Ward…or Montgomery Ward, the ‘real’ name. Ward and Sears really changed retail shopping with the introduction of their catalogs. We are still getting catalogs, mostly office supply catalogs and at Christmas many trees are sacrificed to the commerce gods. Our favorite catalog for all time, though, is the Grainger, or the bible of tools, manufacturing and fix-it up people.
So selling out of a brick and mortar is a time-honored tradition and one that we are comfortable with. I for one like to shop online and from a catalog because I am lazy..that is I don’t want to drive over 90 minutes to get to a good mall. Shipping is cheaper than driving, too. The wide choices just aren’t available to me. I can buy anything from anywhere in the world and from any artist I fall in love with. Sometimes better than traveling. And it’s fast. I can get so much done when I shop online and then BAM! I’m back to work or hanging with the fam.
I can fill our virtual shelves with work from our studio and then, go back to work in my studio. Since I have a gallery I can honestly say that I’d rather spend more time making and less selling, and the internet is great for that.
But, wait, what? Does that mean I don’t like talking to my customers and friends in our gallery? No, it means I like it too much. Where would I be without our customers and their feedback? I would be lost, really. If we didn’t take the time to talk to our customers we’d never find out what they like or want when it comes to art in general and pottery in particular. And then our conversations can end up touching on all aspects of our lives..so sometimes I spend too much time gabbing away. That’s a big reason why I like selling online. It helps me with my non-existent self-control.
That and selling at 2am. Waking up to a sale. I do like that. Boy do I like that 🙂