Right now things are so hopping at the studio, one of my two kilns are always firing. I'm so glad my power bill is on auto-pay so I don't have to see how much energy I'm using. Can I just say that any ceramicist who says they are "green" is full of shit? Okay, got that off my chest. Back to the subject at hand. Things are hopping not only because I have a lot of wholesale orders, but I overbooked my orders and so we are behind. Not too bad, but still lagging.
For years with wholesale, I would pretty much wing it: I would take whatever orders came and try to space them out so I didn't get too bunched up. But when I hit Philadelphia the last time I decided to get a system. I sat down and tried to figure out how much pottery I could pump out in a week. I figured I could do $2000 a week, and I booked the time accordingly. I printed out a little calendar, and every time I took an order I would put the total on that week. When the total reached $2000-- more or less-- I would move on to the next week. Great system, if you know your limits, which I clearly do not. As it turns out, I overestimated just a teeny, tiny bit. I'm seeing the result right now. Late orders.
I try as hard as I can to intimidate my wholesale buyers so they won't bother me with pesky questions like, "where is my order?" and I have caller ID to screen out those calls. But still, it's kind of a drag to be late. Mostly because I have a strong desire to be organized and efficient, and when orders are running late I feel twinges of failure and guilt.
If you want to tackle the beast that is wholesale, you must be organized and realistic about how much you can create in a given amount of time. Us artistic types always think we can do more than is humanly possible; that's just a given. Know that this is true for you also, and when you consider what you can make in a week, cut it in half. Just do it! Because when you think about all the extra stuff that comes up, not to mention the days when you simply can't make anything, cutting your expectations in half is a kindness to yourself, and to those pesky wholesale buyers.