Saturday, July 23, 2011

Too Much of a Good Thing...

I enjoy making yarn bowls, especially the carving. But I've had to work hard to come up with a design for the open part of the bowls (the section that is carved through the rim) so that it is wide enough for the yarn, but not too fragile so that it will break or collapse during the various steps necessary to making them. My first design was okay, but I decided it needed to be wider. Then I tried to make a large spiral, but there were way too many casualties! Then I tried several variations of a spiral that is, essentially, the number 6 and finally settled on one that seems to work well, both technically and aesthetically.

So, what is my problem now? The problem is that I've become too successful! I am now the queen of the yarn bowls... Of the last 24 items I've sold in my Etsy store, 14 were yarn bowls. With a few exceptions, they sell within a few days of listing, and I am having a very hard time keeping them in stock, particularly the green ones. I am now down to 4 unloved bowls (all blue, who would have thought?).

I like making them... they are selling well... so???  The thing is that all I make are yarn bowls! They now take all my studio time and I miss making other things. Most importantly, I miss my creative time in the studio.

I am at a loss about what to do... I thought that I would just ride the wave and that soon enough everyone would have a yarn bowl and things would quiet down. But that hasn't happened and it doesn't look like it's going to happen any time soon. A very savvy potter friend suggested that what I need to do is raise my prices. I suppose that another alternative would be to simply tell all the people who write asking for "this same bowl in green (or blue, or yellow)" that I am no longer taking special orders and that the only bowls available are the ones in the store. What would you do?


julie cavender said...

Love your yarn bowls. I never knew the yarn needed a bowl until I started on Etsy!

Molly @ Walking Through Life said...

Maybe you can just raise your price for special orders? Tell them that the bowls in stock cost $$$ but a special order bowl will cost $$$$ due to the fact that you may get stuck with the ones in stock already. Many people may just choose the cheaper of the 2 choices. Do not just make one thing all the time because you will get burned out on it and you'll lose that special thing that drives you into your studio. You have to have that balance between work and "good for your soul" pottery making :)

KayzKreationz said...

I'm so glad you're yarn bowls are selling so well. I've tweeted about them several times. They are my favorite item along with your Berry colanders in your shop. Although all your items are wonderful. I like the idea by Molly about perhaps raising your prices for special orders. But I think the idea of just telling customers that the only ones available right now are the ones in your shop is great. And then ask them if they'd like to sign up to be notified when you have new colors/items listed in your shop. That way you don't spend too much time making them and not getting to play with other things. Plus you get new customers following your shop/items.

Graciela Testa Lynt said...


@Molly: That's a good idea to put a price differential on the special orders!
@Kay: Many thanks or promoting my work!!!!

Natalie -- NKP Designs said...

Yep, if you want to work on other things, just raise the price by five or ten dollars.

Your yarn bowls are beautiful!