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Clubs Bring Steady Revenue to Ceramic Shops: Article or Project

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When I had my fully functioning ceramic shop, I was continually looking for ways to keep the customers entertained as well as ensure a steady income, especially during the slow times.

To keep my customers coming back I set up various clubs and once they took off, my shop was a beehive of activity all year.
A ‘club’ is a group of ceramists who meet with a specific goal or purpose in mind. These can be scheduled groups or for drop in traffic.

Make sure you have some kind of display and visible advertising for your clubs. These will draw interest and potential members.

Clubs are a great way to keep the customers coming back and many can be adapted for online sales as well. It is a great way for you to be able to plan stock. You have time to pour up a quantity of the next featured item.

The Koffee Klatch

I had several Koffee Klatch clubs working. One kind was formal where everyone showed up at a prescribed time and the other was informal where the people meandered in as they chose.

Basically members were charged a small ‘membership’ fee. This fee covered the cost of each member to make their own coffee mug with their name on it, and free coffee for life. A pot of coffee (or hot water for those who preferred tea) was provided at no cost for the club members. Their mugs were hung on a rack on the wall in the classroom in clusters for each ‘group’. This encouraged others to join and make their own. I made sure the club mug was one of the travel mugs that did not tip over, so that there were less chance of a mess while they worked on their ceramics.

Members were given a punch card which was marked or punched every time they made a purchase. When their purchases reached a specified limit, they received a free gift. This usually amounted to about 10% of the set card limit.

Nativity Club

Nativity sets are a huge project. Most customers were afraid to start one because of the time involved. Starting a Nativity Club at the beginning of the year is an ideal solution. Each Month a different piece of the set is offered with class time to complete that piece. Consider including free firing for the first piece to entice them to get started. If they start in January, they will have the set completed by the time Christmas rolls around again.

Ornament Club

This can be an inexpensive way to draw in the customers. Each month, provide members with one or two ornaments. Provide class paints for them as they complete them. At $5 a head, you will be amazed at how many people will join up.

Build a Village

Similar to the Nativity Club, offer a different building or accessory each month so that people can systematically build their Christmas village or a village for all year display.

Technique/Project of the Month

This is one that I encourage shop owners to charge well in advance (more than one session at a time) Perhaps quarterly fees. Membership fee can be nominal and based upon teaching only or can include the bisque/project costs. Each month offer a new technique and have the bisque (or greenware) on hand for the members to have access. These should be simple make-and-take projects. The important thing here is variety and speed. These should be one-visit projects.

Fund Raiser Clubs

For a set fee, customers can come in and choose from a pre-selected number of items that they can complete for themselves or as a donation to a specific cause. A portion of the ‘fee’ is for the group who organized the club. This is great for schools, charities, scouts, etc.

Birthday Club

Have you customers register their email address and keep a calendar of your customer’s birthdates. Consider sending them a Birthday Card. Everyone who comes in on their birthday receives a free gift – usually a small ornament or magnet (or some other small item) of bisque. Can also be a bottle of paint, a paint brush or any other item you can come up with that is within your budget. Their email may be used for online advertising.

Customer Appreciation/Buyers Club

Provide a punch card where you can record the amounts your customers purchase. Have a customer appreciation day where they can receive free merchandise equal to a percentage of the amount they spent up to that date.

OR

When they have purchased a specified amount ($100 or $200) they receive a percentage of that amount in free merchandise.

Put your imagination in gear and see about setting up clubs of your own.

 

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Clubs Bring Steady Revenue to Ceramic Shops

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