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Saturday, 28 March 2009

Pigs coming out of my ears!

Hubby Joe was kind enough to offer me the opportunity to submit a quote (is this how you say that?) for an order of hand-made piggy banks he could use for his business,
Now, I personally think I've won the contract (even without submitting a quote), but he was quick to clarify that my status as "wife" had no bearing on this process at all.

Hmmmn, I guess I will be taking this seriously after all, considering I need the money and I need the experience learning how to cost for purposes of winning contracts in the future.

So, after looking back at some earlier research I had done on this subject from a few years ago, in addition to some training I recieved at a CockPit Arts session AND recent reading - I figure I will need to do the following:
  • make a prototype of the item, making sure to calculate clay and other materials used per unit

  • once prototype reviewed and accepted by hubby "aka...client" make a few more units, taking care to quanitify time required per unit, and reconfirmation of clay and glaze materials (and any other additional items needed) used per unit
  • determine cost of firing items. THIS IS DATA I HAVE BEEN MEANING TO GET FOR A YEAR NOW but haven't gotten around to it. Get the kilowatt/hour charges from the electricity supplier and work out the rates....

  • consider my wage and profit margin
  • add all costs together for each unit, use this to determine total cost for total order

  • figure out time frame required to complete order

  • submit quote and keep my fingers crossed!
I guess this is a process much in keeping with the design brief concept I used to touch upon with my students in the City and Guilds 7922 Ceramics course. Sadly, I never had that much experience with this process so my students kindof lost out on this front.

I am wondering what other potters do to win contracts or orders?

About two years ago, I did go through an intensive exercise similar to this in preparation for an open house in which I was going to be selling my wares. Although I didn't have a client as it were, I did work to a very strict record keeping procedure, logging every minute and ounce of materials used for each item I made. This real data was then used to calculate a final price for each item, taking into account margins, wages, etc. What was shocking to me at the time was just how much everything was going to cost if I paid myself a decent wage!!! In many instances, the forms were coming out at double what I knew was reasonable to charge.

I wonder with a bit more making experience under my belt this time around that my making time will have decreased, thus reducing the total wages i would have to charge.

Who actually works these quantities out? Are potters actually, on the whole, charging a total price which accounts for a wage to be earned? I would love to hear from someone who does!

Well, to end on a happy note, here is a photo play by play of my journey making piggie banks!

These little vases had no idea they were turning into little piggies!

After a little bit of work, they emerge as very happy pigs! I wonder which one you like best - I need some help on this one!

With cute bottoms!

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