Ulrika Weijmer | Episode 319
Ulrika Weijmer is a potter situated in Varberg, in the west coast of Sweden. Her first contact with clay was in 1982. Since then she never stopped learning and exploring the possibilities of clay. At first she worked as a journalist but for the last 10 years she is a full time potter. She has a large studio in an old bulls stable in the country side. Ulrika works mostly with stoneware and porcelain but also raku and sawdust firings.
Number 1 brand in America for a reason. Skutt.com
For all your ceramic needs go to Georgies.com
You said you are not much of a planner but you have to have some kind of system in place. How do you systematize your work week?
At this moment where there is a low season, I plan most of my workshops. I have to plan this time which is every Tuesday night for example and every Thursday night. And then I work in between but sometimes I take the morning off if I know I am going to be here until 9 in the evening. So I don’t really systematize. I don’t have any opening hours at this time, it’s just in the other half of the year. I say to people you are welcome when I am here and I am always here so it is not a problem. Yes, that is my big problem is the planning and the systematizing.
How do you know how well your business is doing?
Well I know by the figures, if they are steadily increasing.
How do you track your sales and your stock?
I have a cash register and there I can keep track of course.
So it is an old-school approach.
Yes, but it is an online cash register. I have everything online so I can see and I can look at the figures. So everyithing is by the book and receipts on everything.
How do you go about marketing yourself at this point?
Well,I found that advertising is to throw your money in the ocean. I mean advertising in newspapers. So I only market and advertise online. Mainly by Facebook and all of us here on the farm are in some of the tourist magazines. That’s about it. So I have a very low marketing budget and it works fine actually.
You are a little bit out of the way out of town. How hard is it for your customers to find you?
Actually it is not hard at all because from the town I am speaking about it is maybe a ten minute drive. Also the tourist area with all the summer homes is about five-ten minutes from here. So people find us, it is no problem. We have signs by the road and so on.
Do you give discounts and freebies away to friends?
You know, that is a good question. From the beginning I did that a lot. If you buy five mugs I give you one for free. Then I thought, why should I do that? I think my pricing is fairly low. If they want to buy my pots I think they will pay full price for them. So I don’t do that as much now as I did before, but you know, sometimes it happens. Also a customer who is coming back, I tend to like to reward them for coming back.
You said your pricing is fairly low. Do you feel that you should be rewarded more because you are hand-made as opposed to mass production? Do you feel like you are being under-rewarded?
Yes, I feel that my mugs should cost more. Some people say, I could get a mug at IKEA for five bucks. Then I say, then you can go to IKEA to buy your mug. It’s something with hand-made stuff. You can’t get that feeling with mass produced stuff. Of course I think it should be higher priced and my mugs are very much more expensive than one from IKEA.
If you could go on vacation anywhere in the world where would you go if you had to go this week-end?
Maybe it would be too far to go this week-end, but I would love to go to Japan. I would do a pottery tour in Japan. Or China as well.