Artist Spotlight: Bay Pottery

Artist Spotlight: Bay Pottery

Lily McMichael, Broadway, VA

Bay Pottery was started in a beach house by the Chesapeake Bay in the 1970's by Joseph & Rheba McMichael. Rheba would hand throw pottery and Joseph would delicately paint each piece to be sold at craft shows and local stores. Some 50 years later, Bay Pottery has relocated a few times, improved its pottery line, and is now in hundreds of stores, galleries, and homes all over the country.

Describe Your Work

Bay Pottery pieces are durable high-fired porcelain stoneware with reduction glazes that are fired in kilns at a temperature of 2400 F. Bay offers many different designs inspired by nature that are all microwave, dishwasher, and oven safe that never lose color. Each piece is touched by hand at least 20 times throughout the process!

How did you get started in the crafts business?

Back in the 1970's, Rheba took a pottery throwing class at her college and fell in love. Joseph used his knowledge of design, business, and art to create the Bay Pottery known to many today.

How long have you been wholesaling?

Bay has been wholesaling since it started in the 70's!

What are your top 3 marketing methods for reaching new buyers?

Some very important marketing techniques have been business cards, sending product lists by mail, and most recently - social media.

What percentage of your business is Wholesale? Retail? Commission, etc.?

About 90% of our business is Wholesale as we have been selling to stores for a very long time and have developed business relationships.

How has IndieMe helped your business?

Indieme helps to expose us to stores and galleries who have not yet seen our products but would do very well carrying our line in their shop!

What advice do you have for new craft artists?

The first and most important part of selling wholesale is to find a "niche" that sets you apart from other vendors. Try to create a product that is unique and stands out, this way you can be highly desired by customers everywhere.

What advice do you have for new craft galleries?

Don't underestimate the value of craftsmanship! When wholesaling, it can be easy to get too busy and send out any product you can - but stores and galleries are looking for products that are high quality.

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