Happy New Year! Vacation is over, time to get back to work! Well, almost. I have given myself some time off during the holidays and after my last market in December to decompress. I am starting to think about planning for 2023, and looking for ways to be even more efficient. For one, moving into a larger studio space I'll be able to work smarter with all my equipment, materials, and storage within arm's reach. Where I would like to improve is staying on top of supplies. While moving down to the studio, I realized I was on my last box of porcelain clay. I have a little time before I start heavy production up again, but it did spark a feeling of panic. For one, there are still supply chain issues. Second, if I do get a big order suddenly, I'm not prepared to fulfill it.
I decided to take a look at how many mugs and vases I sold last year to help estimate how much clay I should plan to have on hand. I sell other items, but I thought looking at mugs and vases would be a good base for my calculations. Let's see if this all makes sense in writing.
In 2022, I sold 318 mugs, which was about a 15% growth over the number I sold in 2021. I sold 269 vases, which was up 25% from the previous year. I'm will be conservative and guess my growth this year for mugs and vases will be 10% and 15%, approximately 350 mugs and 309 vases. I've found I can make about 22 mugs per 25lb bag of clay and 20 vases (various sizes) from the same about. This tells me for 2023, I'll need 16 bags for the mugs and 15.5 bags for the vases. That's 787.5 pounds of clay which is 16 boxes of clay. The type of clay I buy is sold in 50 pound boxes which tells me I need 16 boxes just for the mugs and vases I want to produce. Now because I know I'll be making other pieces, I'll round it up to 20 boxes or 1000lbs of clay. That's a lot of clay, but when I think about the number of times I've driven back from Kingston, NY with a truck bed of clay, it's not unreasonable. Now to see if it is in stock!
Having written these numbers down, I feel like I have a good handle on the clay needed....next up, I need to figure out how to estimate the amount of glaze each piece uses. Currently, I use commercial glazes and with some accurate note taking, I will be able to determine how many pieces a pint can glaze. Not only will that help determine what I need to keep in stock, I hope it will also help me better understand the amount of raw material I need to buy for mixing my own glazes, which I would like to start doing in 2023....let's see if I get that far!