Carolyn Edlund | ArtsyShark.com | Episode 23

Carolyn Edlund

Carolyn Edlund owned a production studio for over twenty years, creating ceramic jewelry which she sold retail and also wholesale to hundreds of galleries and stores. Today she is an art business consultant, the founder of ArtsyShark.com and the Executive Director of The Arts Business Institute. She speaks at workshops throughout the country and writes extensively on the business of art.
Carolyn Edlund at the WheelWHAT IS THE NUMBER ONE THING A POTTER SHOULD DO TO SUCCEED AS A BUSINESS POTTER?

The number one thing, not only as a business potter but I think as any business person, the number one thing is you must be persistent. If you give up then you have chosen to fail. I know in my own business, i was not only persistent but relentless. Stick with it and get through those speed bumps and you’ll be better off.  You will get some traction.

Carolyn Edlund ABIWHAT ARE SOME OF THE BIGGEST MISTAKES YOU MADE AS A CERAMICIST WHEN YOU FIRST GOT STARTED AS A BUSINESS CERAMICIST?

When I first got started I was making functional pieces and I was just kind of making whatever struck me at the time.  So I did not have a cohesive body of work. I did not have a signature style.

WHAT IS A GO TO RESOURCE THAT YOU THINK WOULD BE CRITICAL TO KEEP A BUSINESS RUNNING?

Carol Edlund ArtsySharkI’m old school. I use a lot of online sources, but I actually have a Daytimer. I keep everything in front of me written. You have to keep yourself scheduled. I always do a TO DO list every day.  Evernote or TO DO LIST may be a good place for that.

BOOK AND OTHER RESOURCES

Book Cover 

Crafting as a Business Wendy Rosen

American Made Show 

DON’TS AND DO’S

DON’TS

Don’t discount your work because you fear that it’s not selling.

Don’t come across to customers like you are an amateur and unsure. Be the expert. You have authority in that you’ve created this body of work.

Don’t live inside that little box. You’ve got to step outside, stretch yourself, take that risk. Make a commitment to talk to people and publicize your work.

Don’t ever use poor photographs of your work. Honor your work by taking fabulous photos or have them done professionally.

DO’S

Do understand how to price your work.

Do come across to customers in a consultative way. Who is the expert on your work.? You are. Make suggestions of things that might work for them.

Do use beautiful photographs of your work.

CONTACT

Arts Business Institute 

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  • Maud Andersson

    This episode was really great! This is so much what is going on in my mind right now. I’ve been a potter sins the late 90s (mostly part time). Now I’m going to study “Creative Entrepreneurial” for one year and at the same time work with my company. Thank you so much!!

    • Paul Blais

      Maud, I am sooooo happy to hear that this was good for you. Thank you for leaving a comment. Yes! Study that entrepreneurial approach to creativity. Lots of love to you.

    • Thanks for your comment, Maud and I’m glad you enjoyed our conversation. Absolutely learn as much as you can about business as a potter. I think a lot of what you will learn will come from doing, too – so throw yourself out there and experience. Best wishes for success!
      Carolyn

  • Hey fellow potters, I want you all to know that Carolyn has great info on wholesaling, but also does so much more.

    I initially contacted her for help with possibly establishing a wholesale line. But, after our first consult, I have been focused on a different direction entirely. She has helped me clarify my “audience,” my business, and my marketing. I have goals and action steps. While I had to do the work of figuring it all out, develop the plan and put it in motion, she has acted as a coach and given great insight.

    A big THUMBS UP for Carolyn Edlund!

    • Thanks Patricia for your kind words and also for referring me to the Potters Cast!

  • Interesting interview… I subscribe to Carolyn’s blog, so even though I am a painter, I thought I’d check it out 🙂
    Of course not all applies to what I do (not just medium-wise, but production-wise) but there were some very good nuggets in there!

    Mahalo for sharing…
    ~Donia
    ethyrical artist
    http://DoniaLilly.com

    • Thanks for your comment Donia and for subscribing. You are right that a lot of business strategies apply, no matter the medium!

  • Paul, I listened to 3 episodes back to back in my studio yesterday (love that you’re on Stitcher now) and really feel like you’re hitting your stride! I get so much from each one of your “potcasts” and appreciate that you feature a variety of guests including well known and less well known potters, and people like Carolyn from ArtsyShark. I don’t always follow up with the show notes, but I did this time. Thanks!

    • Paul Blais

      I am so glad you liked this episode! I am also sorry that I am responding to your comment SOOOO long after your initial comment. Somehow I just never saw it 🙁 But I am so glad I did. Lots of love to you!

  • Wow! So much great information in this episode! I hope that you can get Carolyn on another show, Paul. Thank you so much, Carolyn for sharing great tips and advice for us all!

    • Paul Blais

      Arnold, your wish is my command! Actually, I was just thinking it was time to get her back on the show. Thanks for your comments.

    • I’m happy to join you anytime, Paul! And even though I work with all types of artists in every medium, I built my own business as a ceramic artist and so clay is always closest to my heart. You have a wonderful community here and I want to congratulate you on that!