Growing The pottery Business Through Fairs | Annie Quigley | Episode 360

Annie Quigley | Episode 360

Annie Quigley of Quigley Ceramics is an actor turned ceramic artist.  When the “industry” took its toll she found a new home in clay.  Her signature style is highly detailed pierced forms.  Inspired by shadow play, she slices designs into her clay reminiscent of forests, lace, mandalas, leaves, even a sea turtle.



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Do you have a vision statement or mission statement for your business?

Wouldn’t it be nice if I did. I could go backwards and think of one. I should have one of those. (laughter)

I do seek to bring beauty into people’s lives. To being an artifact or an object that brings joy and light. A lot of my work is highlighted the best with a candle or a light so shadows are thrown. I would love to bring joy and light into the people’s homes and into their lives.

How do you go about doing your commission work? If somebody asks you to make something do you get something upfront? Do you just say, Yes, I’ll do it. ?  How do you do commission work?

Generally, depending on the piece, I will have them pay 50-75 percent up front. We will work out a price ahead of time from the size and the object they would like. The I will say I need 4-6 weeks. Then when I am all done, I will say, Hey, I am ready, I’m done and I’d be happy to ship it you once I receive that last installment, plus shipping.  Then I will ship it off. I have on my website and I will say to them, you can’t return it. Once you receive it, you can’t return it. Often with commission work I make two of the item because as we know things morph and shift, glazes change. So I will take the two pieces when they come out and decide which one is the best. I have never sent out a commission piece that I am not really happy with myself and I haven’t had anyone come back and want to return it.

Have you ever turned down a client?

I have turned down commission requests. There was a period of time when I was making piggy banks that looked like elephants, they were elephant piggy banks, and someone wanted an alligator. They also wanted a deal on the price as well.

How do you go about advertising your business?

Instagram has just been amazing for that. I never knew Instagram could be for advertisement, I thought it was for bathing suit pictures and food pictures and friends. It has been an organic, very friendly way of putting my work out there and receiving clients and receiving fans. So that’s been amazing.

How do you go about pricing your work?

That is always the big question isn’t it? At first I had a fantastic algorithm. My husband got his MBA and he sat me down and we knocked out this whole system of, OK how much time did I spend on the wheel, for smaller items I would pay myself minimum wage for that time because most any potter could do that. If It’s a larger item I pay myself 18 dollars an hour for that time. Carving, I pay myself 20 dollars an hour and then keeping in mind the cost of the clay and the glazes and the gas to get those things. Oh gosh, it was really, really intricate. So I started with that and then I saw that I needed to change things for the market because if a potter were to do that a mug would be easily 50 dollars every time and that is not always fair to the buyer. So now I really base it off of the market and what other people are charging. Then I tack on for the amount of time put in for the carved pieces etc. Then I tack on more for my favorite pieces that I am in no rush to see them go.

Do you use an accountant to help keep track of your sales and taxes and all those things? 

No, no, no. It’s all me. I am very much a little one person shop and I have only been selling, I think ,three years. My husband tells me: Annie,  it’s time to get Quickbooks, you’re a mess. So it’s usually a scramble at the end of the year.  I hate the business side of things but you really have to be a business person to make a creative life work. When I started with ceramics I decided I had to be better at the business side and I have to think of myself as a business owner.

My last question for you: What is your favorite thing to do with your son?

I just love being at home with him and watching him crawl around and discover new things. I like keeping it simple.

Favorite thing today, because it changes everyday, is he really started responding to tickeling and it’s the simplest thing in the world but to hear him laugh is just priceless.


The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett


Instagram: @quigley_ceramics

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