March madness

I can’t believe we are in March already, how did that happen? We are back in the shop 4 days a weeks, we are opening Thursday, Friday Saturdays and Sundays. It’s very quiet but with Easter just on the horizon it will hopefully pick up soon. Every year I panic thinking we are not doing well and it doesn’t bode well for the coming year and every year Steve reminds me, that it’s always like this …….and yes I always do panic!
in fact I’ve been panicking quite a bit lately. Personally the last month has been a challenging time. But also from a business point of view it’s been a time of reflection and future planning. Our lease was up for renewal. We have no complaints about our landlord and how he has accommodated us and not raised the rent. But it was a hard decision to make, to renew the lease at all.

The last 5 years have been challenging to say the least. The 1st year is always a risk, you don’t know if what you are doing is going to work. We learnt very quickly that what we did in our last shop in Hayle, was no going to work in Polperro. So straight away we had to think on our feet and make changes to what we were selling. Year two was actually quite settled, we knew we were onto a winner and things started to build nicely. Then came the pandemic! Year 3 , we didn’t actually spend much time in the shop. We were lucky we got some grant money, so that at least paid the bills. Year 4 was actually a great year. Bounce back from the pandemic, meant we did have a good year and we had expected that bounce back to continue into last year. But as we all know now, that wasn’t going to happen. The war in Ukraine 😢followed by the cost of living crisis meant we had a leaner year than expected. Don’t get me wrong we didn’t have a bad year by any stretch of the imagination, but is was down significantly enough to make us question whether signing up for the next few years was going to be a good option. Of course we had to think what we would do if we didn’t have the shop? Neither of us really wanted to get a ‘proper’ job again . But we are not in a position to retire and Steve genuinely thinks I will never be able to give up making and retire! So we decide we would risk it. And hope people’s confidence would come back during this year and beyond. But I can tell you it hasn’t been an easy decision. It’s been an ongoing discussion for the last year and I’m so pleased we have finally got all contracts signed and sealed so I don’t have to think about it any more.

This month we have also been updating and making a few changes on the website. I have been re photographing some items, like the coasters to include the new shell design, now we have retired the old shell one. But also our photographs on the website are really not great. We are learning all the time about how to get better product photos and hopefully in the next few months we will have a few better images on the online shop.

We’ve always had an issue on how do we advertise a lot of what we do on the website. A lot of what we make, are one off items. If I take the time to photograph them and list them, they may sell in the shop and almost immediately have to be removed. And we can’t really afford to keep,items exclusively for the website. Also how to you keep up with stock turn around, on one offs ? I would hate to double sell an item. So thinking I had a solution, I put some generic listings on for things like jewellery, with the idea that people email us, and ask what we currently have in stock. But in doing this I realised people could buy an item without any discussion and they may think they were getting the item in the picture, which is only really there as a reference of what I have produced in the past. So I’ve had to put them out off stock. Unfortunately the WordPress theme we have, puts a banner across to say out of stock and it will probably put people off looking at the item to see how we deal with it! 🤦🏼‍♀️ so unfortunately back to the drawing board to find another solution or to research how to change how it appears on the website.

I have managed to list a few of the slip cast pottery items I make as I can replicate these. I also realised I had never actually got round to listing our bee and flower bunting, so that’s now been added.

The shop is almost full ready for the year, we do have a little bit more stock to arrive from a couple of makers, but we have more than enough. We also have a new maker coming in soon so that’s exciting. But because we are sorted and slightly ahead of the game this year , I’ve been able to continue indulge myself in making some more pottery.

I made a whale, I’m really liking the modelling/sculpture aspect of clay. I mixed my glazes on this piece and somehow managed to get it a matt finish with odd shiny bits , rather than shiny all over, but I actually quite like it.
I’ve been frustrated at not getting good shapes for my pots and jugs. I really need a wheel and to learn to throw pots, but my studio is just not big enough. So to offset my frustration I have been exploring decorative techniques.
I played with sgraffito with coloured slip .I used as my design, a painting I did some years ago of some trees. The plate with the seahorses on, is using stencilling. The heart bowl is stamping and the last plate is my own take on Vincent Van Gogh’ starry starry night. I of course could not come close to his talent. We both loved seeing the Van Gogh experience in Bristol, last year . And this is a gift and a reminder for my lovely husband , who made sure I got to see it.

So here we are at the end of my update and if I don’t catch up before I hope you have a wonderful Easter and the weather is kind to us all.

Janice x

1 thought on “March madness”

  1. So glad you’re staying, it wouldn’t the same visiting Polperro and not seeing your fabulous shop! Can’t wait to come and stay, it’s only next week 👏🏻👏🏻. See you soon x

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