This week I've been completely wrapped up in finishing the Japan order. I will do a complete post-game analysis, with pictures, next week when the order ships, a full 10 days before my original ship date. More on that later. I've been glazing, day after day, which leaves me a lot if time to think. This is a sampling of things that have happened and stuff I'm thinking about.
Today, I had a client pop in. I donated a piece of pottery to him for a fund raiser, and he was returning a display prop. Naturally, I was very busy, and not in the mood to chat. Of course, this guy loves to chat, and he especially loves chatting with artists and supporting them by passing on his acquired wisdom and thoughts about art and creating. He said to me, "Don't go too commercial Whitney. It's your unique ideas and vision that keeps you viable in this market." "Yeah yeah yeah." was basically my response as I hustled him out the door. I gritted my teeth a bit with annoyance as I got back to work, then realized that this guy is an angel, delivering me a very important message, and I best heed it. My annoyance evaporated.
Speaking of annoyed, here's another note to self: do not press "send" button on email to customers when heart is beating at a faster rate than normal and your brow is screwed up in impatience and anger. I know this already, yet there are still times I do the exact opposite of what I know is the right thing to do. This is especially true when I am under pressure from other orders-- ahem--, or am lacking sleep. Last week, I had a customer ask for free shipping because their order was accidentally undercharged by about $50. I screwed up the coding on a "buy now" button on my website. A mistake, by the way, that the customer did not feel compelled to point out themselves, I just happened to catch it when I noticed a weird product code when the order came in. Yes, I do all of my own coding and website design. Yes, I am amazing, which I felt this customer was not fully appreciating as they tried to jab me for the $12 ship charge. I denied their request, huffily, from my phone, when I was in the middle of throwing pieces for the Japan order. Why am I checking email while I am throwing? Because my phone is encased in a clay-defying plastic case, so I can. Customer insists, while asserting they like to support independent artists over pottery barn and crate & barrel, but I really need to act like them when I "make an error" by giving free shipping. I raged all afternoon and into the evening, composing scathing and drop dead emails, which I fortunately did not take the time to actually compose and send. I didn't care about the money, it was the fucking principle. By morning, I was normal again, having had a full 9 hours sleep, which also meant I didn't care about the $12 or the fact customer felt compelled to point out my errors. I wrote a very nice email, patched the whole mess back up, and remembered to deal with annoying customer requests when I'm relaxed and fully awake.
I mentioned in a recent post that I do not have time to hedge orders at the moment. This means making a bunch of extra pieces to get one perfect one. I usually make at least one extra on special orders, or on orders that make me feel insecure. Often, this one extra insures that I get the perfect set of four, or whatever perfect thing I'm trying to make. It suddenly hit me the other day that the one extra I'm making may actually be the screwed up one, that the original set may have been perfect to begin with. Hmmmmmm. Something to think about. Hope everyone has a great weekend as I pack up my Japan order! If you live in the Bay Area, feel free to stop by with pork sandwiches, beer, and apples. That's what I like. Just don't stick around to chat, or you may find yourself hustled out the door as I eat your lunch.