In a recent post I mentioned we were making changes to the way we're stocking the shop this year and we're ready to share that news! You'll now have a few different ways to shop our handmade pottery, so you can pick the options that work best for you! Our new shopping categories on the site are available as a drop down menu under the "Shop" tab. We're now offering: Pre-Order, Ongoing Editions, Limited Editions, and Artist Originals. Let's break down these different offerings and how this new system will better serve you.
Pre-Orders: Released Monthly, made to order. This offering is years in the making. We've always been a small batch studio and we love that because it let's us focus on the details and provide exceptional customer service through developing ongoing relationships with our customers. Small batch isn't going anywhere.
The new Pre-Order offering allows us to better accommodate your larger requests without sacrificing what we do best. Once a month we'll open our available Pre-Orders on a first come first serve basis. Simply visit the Pre-Orders tab to view available items, enter your desired quantity at checkout and we'll create your set just for you, shipping it out in a few weeks once it's custom made and finished.
That dream dinnerware set, we can make it happen and it's easy to start this collection as a Pre-Order. Click here to shop.
Ongoing Editions: Released Weekly, as available. Fan Favorites live here. Those tried and true, utterly us products like our rose and gold rimmed dessert plates, our best selling ring dish colors, and our chic 22k embellished dinner plates are listed in this category. Our goal is to keep these products in stock for you all the time. In some cases we'll sell out (we think that's a good problem to have, thank you!). If you missed the items while they were in stock you can now place your order as a Pre-Order for select items and they'll be made just for you!
Remember, you can also signup for an email notification for any out of stock products and you'll receive an email the moment they're back. This is a great option for items we're not currently offering as a Pre-Order.
Limited Editions: Released Monthly. Available only for a limited time, in this category you'll find short run color combinations and new glazes that we're only running for a limited time. Once they're gone they're gone!
Artist Originals: Released Monthly. Each release will have a central theme. Every piece in this category is entirely made by me, Lindsay Emery. I designed every piece throughout the Suite One Studio brand over the past nine years, growing to the point that I now have two helpful artists working alongside me everyday to create our Pre-Orders, Ongoing Editions, and Limited Editions.
The Artist Originals are my personal self expression as an artist working in clay. Each piece is entirely one-of-a kind and meant to push the limits of my techniques, skill, and creativity.
I'm so excited for the opportunity to provide you with larger sets made just for you, and continuing to stock those special pieces you know and love, while also now working more one-of-a kind pieces into the mix! This is going to be FUN! I can't wait to see the beautiful collections you'll curate from these new options!
Thank you for being here and supporting my handmade business as we grow into this new chapter! Be sure to checkout the upcoming release dates below!
xoxo LindsayUpcoming Release Dates:Limited Editions:Valentine's Day Collection: Available 2/1 at 4 PM EST.This collection includes new designs like our Geometric Jewelry Dish shown above, a limited time return of our Amaranth glaze on select items (only available in February), and many other exciting new Limited Editions!Artist Originals: Coming Soon!2/4 Cheeseboards and CheeseplatesWeek of 2/11 Elevate: A Pedestal Collection (launch date coming soon!)
How I Made A New Income Stream for My Business with A Chairish Vintage Shop: One Year In // How I Made An Extra $8k Doing Something I Love
It made sense to open a vintage shop online after a series of small pop-ups here on my ceramic site were a big hit. I love vintage design. I studied Art History in college-- even more than I studied ceramics! I'm a bit design obsessed. Beautiful things that function well, sigh, is there anything better? Making ceramics is how I express this love for beautiful, functional objects. Collecting vintage is another part of that same joy.
One of my favorite weekend activities is trekking through local consignment and antique shops looking for gems I can't leave behind. There's only so much stuff I can justify keeping in my own home... that's where my vintage shop on Chairish comes in!
I'm frequently asked about my Chairish shop: how I collect vintage, how I price my vintage finds, how I store and ship everything, and the biggest one of all: Does Chairish actually make me any money? I'm just over one year into having my Chairish shop and I'm sharing all the details with you in this post including how much money I made from selling vintage last year and how hard it actually is to run an online vintage shop.
How I Collect // What comes home with me and what I pass over
I have an informal set of rules for deciding what I'll buy when I'm thrifting. The major things I consider are: Condition, price, is it by a notable designer, is it time-period specific design, color, material, and then wrapping it all up together-- how do these details compare to current home decor trends?
I usually only buy things in perfect or subtly used condition. A piece from a notable designer or luxury brand are almost always going home with me too if they're priced right (more on that in a second). Mid-Century items do very well on Chairish, and I pay a lot of attention to trending colors in interior design too. Those details become a mental checklist for me when I'm vintage shopping.
I only collect items that I'd actually live with, and this alone weeds out a lot of junk because I'm pretty picky. I ask myself: If I buy this item and it doesn't sell, does it still serve a purpose in my life? Will I be happy with the price I paid for that purpose to be served if I end up living with this piece? This light for example currently hangs in my kitchen's dining nook and I love it!
Pricing for Profit + Sales // Making money while keeping inventory moving
I always look at the comparables online when considering a vintage purchase to get an idea of the market value and demand for that item. My go-to resources for price comparing are: the Chairish Pink Book, Etsy, Ruby Lane, 1st dibs, Replacements, and Ebay. My goal is to make at least four to five times my initial purchase cost while pricing fairly for the item's value.
Chairish makes it really easy to mark items down if they're not selling. I tend to mark down once every 2-3 months by 10% until an item sells. If an item's potential profit becomes too small I usually opt to either keep the item (remember I already decided it can serve a purpose in my life) or I'll gift it to someone I think will genuinely enjoy it.
Setting Limits // How much I collect at once
This is a very important point! I can't stress this enough. It's too easy for a small collection to morph into a pointless hoard. I refuse to live that way, and find that clutter is a major cause of anxiety in my life. To fit the senseless accumulation I set limits for my collecting in two key ways: A dollar amount limit and a space limit.
One of the reasons I started selling on Chairish in the first place was that I had too much vintage from my prop collection that I used in photoshoots for my online ceramics business and I was running my entire business from home. There was stuff everywhere and it caused a lot of stress. I've now sold through most of that initial stock, and I don't want to find myself back in that same situation. My solution isn't to stop collecting entirely because I truly enjoy it, but to scale back, collecting more thoughtfully.
I now have designated areas for storing my vintage: two of these Ikea cabinets and a small stack of larger items at the studio that I keep organized together even though they don't fit into the cabinets. That's it! If the items don't fit in those designated spaces I don't buy them. At one point I had three dining room table sets which I thought would be great for photographing my tableware but instead they just became a huge trigger for my clutter anxiety.
For the money limit, I used to limit my spending to reflect 50% of the money I'd made the month before on Chairish, but then my sales began picking up (yay!) and I realized how much I loved having less stuff in my house. So I cut that budget waaaaaaaaay down. The last three times I've gone thrifting I set a $30 budget and still walked away with incredible finds!
Let's Talk Money // Can you actually make money selling vintage online?
YES I've now sold 96 listings on Chairish for total sales of: $7,995.92 since launching my shop there November 2017. Based on my total sales, my average sale price was $83.29. Most of my items were purchased for well under $20 each, so I'm looking at a comfortable return for my purchase cost. In many cases I'm hitting that 5x goal with a few higher and lower returns worked in. I learned a lot about what sells best in my last year selling vintage and I'll be working for even better returns in 2019 armed with that information.
Okay, but how hard is it to run a Chairish shop and make money?
Buying vintage to turn a profit does take a certain know-how to make sure you're stretching your dollar as far as possible for the best return. For example, I know Mid-Century design is a big hit with the Chairish buyer, and I find these designs easy to recognize when I'm thrifting so I've made many great flips with this type of product in my Chairish store. Chairish sends out a very helpful guide recapping trends from previous seasons and outlining what they'd like to see more of on Chairish. This guide is so helpful and definitely guides my purchases.
One of my favorite things about Chairish is how consistent the listings look on the site because their photo team edits out the background on all of the submitted lead photos. I love this feature! I don't have to spend much time or effort on my listing photos, aside from using great natural light and using a tripod for a crisp shot. A couple small adjustments in photoshop and their team's background editing ensures I have a great image ready to share on social media every time!
Do I recommend Chairish?
100%. I don't have a single negative thing to say about my experience selling on Chairish. As a business owner with plenty of other things on my to-do list each day I love that Chairish handles the lead photo editing and all of the customer service on the site. These two things have made a huge impact on my ability to keep up with running my ceramic business; starting a brand new business, The Studio Source; all while still selling vintage online!
Selling vintage does take care, time, and research but if you're willing to commit those things to it, I've found Chairish to be the perfect partner to make it possible to add another revenue stream to my art and design based business.
I hope that was helpful! To check out the latest in my Chairish shop click here.
Selling online as an artist didn't come easily for me. In 2009 when I started my business it was little more than a way to make some extra cash to pay for more clay so I could keep my hobby going. I was still a college student working multiple jobs and attending part-time classes watching as all of my peers began to graduate. I felt left behind, directionless, and broke. On Facebook I'd seen a college friend mention she was beginning to sell on Etsy, and not knowing what it was about I looked into it. That same afternoon I opened my Etsy shop.
I had plenty of pottery sitting around that I could sell... in theory. But I didn't know how to sell online, or how to take a halfway decent product photo, or how to write about my work objectively in a compelling way. I didn't let any of that stop me. I learned every single thing the hard way through sheer determination.
Early on I met fellow just-getting-started artist, Allie Dattilio. We met through Etsy and began exchanging emails. We shared the highs and lows, and encouraged each other over the years as our online art businesses grew.
We didn't set out to start a business together. That happened very organically. We recognized a need for a community for artists selling online that not only offered support, troubleshooting, and feedback but one that also got right into the nitty gritty of being a successful online entrepreneur.
Running a growing art business isn't only about the feel-good creative side of things. There are important business tasks too like bookkeeping, taxes, diversifying revenue streams, and understanding business acronyms like ROI, SEO, and TOM and how they relate to your business. Considering we'd both created thriving online businesses as artists we decided to create that community ourselves: The Studio Source.
This upcoming week on Thursday, 1/17 we're opening The Membership for a limited time (only until 1/22) and we'd love to have you join us! All the details about The Membership are here. Be sure to join The Waitlist for an email notification right when The Membership opens!
photo credit: Jacob Buwalda
Sometimes inspiration strikes and it doesn't totally align with our mantra of "Making Mealtimes Beautiful" and that's okay. Usually this comes in the form of my painting practice at home, an avenue of creative expression that I don't bring into the commercial side of Suite One Studio (well yet anyways!).
Right now I'm utterly fixated on making porcelain tiles to create a faux-wall to live behind my pottery wheel now that I've moved that into the commercial studio and out of my garage where it's been living.
Why a tile wall? There's the practical side that it'll be very easy to sponge away clay splatter messes while keeping the walls in the studio that we painstakingly painted a year ago looking fresh and new. And then there's the answer that basically any Millennial-run business probably considers: It'll look super good on instagram.
Not to mention I'm really enjoying the process of making the tiles and my little throwing corner needs some personality! By making the wall on removable panels it becomes movable and impermanent, which factored into the thinness of the tiles. If I ever make tiles for a permanent wall I'll make them thicker and heavier. (Just putting that out there if anyone wants to explore that project together in the future! I'm game!)
On instagram I've been sharing process photos from this project including this one above of those same glazed tiles before they were glazed, right after unloading them from a bisque firing.
Originally I planned to glaze the tiles all the same color, but while in the middle of glazing I felt inspired to mix it up a little by playing with my rose and white glaze. As more tiles come out of production I'm excited to rearrange them until I get the layout just right. I'll share the project as it unfolds right here on the blog and on instagram-- which if you're not already following I'd love to have you join me there! I share daily in my stories and feed, and you can catch all kinds of behind the scenes happenings!