Julie Guyot Studio

It's the most wonderful time of the year...sort of.

Julie Guyot

The holidays are quickly approaching and while we make our preparations, we also reminisce about the holidays of our childhood. Maybe you’re thinking about time spent with family, decorating the tree, listening to Christmas music, baking cookies and opening gifts. This time of year always reminds me of one particular thing. My dad walking through the house, muttering under his breath those three special words: “I hate Christmas.” Christmas Eve was a special time for most people, a time to begin a couple of days off of work and to travel and spend time with family. It was also the day that would begin and end my dad’s Christmas shopping.

Looking back on my childhood, clearly it was my mom who took care of Christmas shopping when we were little. We always got some things that we wanted and then there were things that might not be on the list but that my mom just knew would be right for us. I am not kidding when I say that my dad shopped on Christmas Eve. I would sometimes accompany him on these trips and I remember one year, maybe we got snowed in or maybe he was just really late getting started but we had to shop in town at the local five and dime store. I specifically remember being adamant about him NOT buying my mom a cast iron skillet for Christmas. Even as a kid I knew this was a bad idea. To be fair, I can’t even imagine the Christmases my dad grew up with. My grandparents were notorious for giving us gifts such as toilet paper and Wrigley’s gum.

When we returned home from our Christmas Eve shopping trips, he would have me wrap all the gifts because I was good at it. This was my first lesson in how the world works. Sometimes I still get fooled by this one and am always envious of people who can fake incompetency. So I would happily wrap all the gifts for my mom because my dad asked me to and because he thought I was good at something. I remember one Christmas my dad had gone out on his own and gotten my sister and I gifts. They were wrapped in brown paper grocery bags since he had done his own wrapping. I have no recollection of what the gifts were, but I do have a clear memory of how proud of himself he was that he thought of an gift on his own that he thought would be perfect for us.

Things took a turn when I was in college. I went along with my dad for another gift buying trip and we were going into the bookstore. I had a list of books that I wanted and was happy knowing that I was on my dad’s stomping ground and it would be easy for him to pick out something off the list and I would get what I wanted. I thought it was a bonding moment for us because my dad LOVED books. I thought he would look at the list and maybe comment on some of the feminist authors or ask me about what I was reading. He looked at the list, handed it back to me and said, “Why don’t you just get some of these and meet me back at the front counter.” Yep. Bonding moment over. Things got worse when we returned home and he wanted me to wrap everything, including my own gifts. I refused. I don’t remember the exact way I did it but I do remember that he seemed really mad about the way I was speaking to him.

I think about that now, 20 years after his death and I wonder if I would be happy to wrap presents for him now that he would’ve been 72 years old. I remember the times he really did try, like when I was a teenager and he got me a Navy Pea coat from the surplus store that he really thought I wanted, only to find out I was more interested in a $4 Marine trench coat from Goodwill. (He traded it in for me although he never understood why I would want the old thing.) I’ll never get to know what Christmas would be like if he were here now. Unlike Kevin Costner in Field of Dreams, I’ll never get to have that catch with my dad. (Speaking metaphorically here, I suck at sports) It’s funny how a lot of the things that used to bother me about my dad have now become the memories I have of him. They are endearing to me now because it reminds me that he was human. It makes me think that when I leave this world, maybe my friends will remember all the really annoying, bothersome things about me and wrap them in with the good things and have a good laugh. And although it hasn’t happened yet this year, when I hear my husband utter those three words, “I hate Christmas”, I’ll just turn away and smile and probably roll my eyes, knowing that it is Christmas music to my ears.

Happy Holidays


Hostess with the Mostest!

Julie Guyot

Hostess Boxes/Bags!

Have you ever wanted to buy handmade gifts for a friend but just haven’t had the time to run around gathering everything together and wrapping it up? Maybe you’re a realtor and your clients just closed on their dream home. Maybe a friend needs a pick me up. Maybe you’ve been invited to a really great party and you don’t know what to bring for the hostess. I’ve got you covered!

I’ve put together three different price points for you to choose from and I’ll wrap them up nicely into a gift bag and deliver them anywhere in Tallahassee. Or if you live out of town, I’d be happy to ship them wherever you want in the U.S.

Add a gift card to any bag or box for an additional $4.50. I’ll even make out the card for you if you’d like.

Choose from three different levels of Hostess Boxes: The Essentials Box $30, The Mid-Size Box $50 or The Hostess with the Mostest Box $75.

In town delivery is done on Mondays and Fridays. Other arrangements to pick up at the studio can be made. I will choose the style of products included in the hostess boxes based on what I have in stock. If you’d rather choose your own patterns and color options, you are always welcome to come into the showroom and piece together the perfect gift on your own at regular showroom prices. I’ll be happy to help! All of the products you see in my showroom are handmade by artisans working in small batches. Most are local, some are regional and some are national makers.

This service will launch first to Julie Guyot Insiders on Facebook on Monday, October 9, 2017. (Join our group!) Public launch on Tuesday, October 10th! 


You only get WHAT?

Julie Guyot
yarn bowls at fuzzy goat

yarn bowls at fuzzy goat

I’ve had a few conversations lately with people congratulating me after finding out that my work is being sold at certain retail locations outside of my own showroom. The conversations often shift when I spell out the details of those opportunities and it occurs to me that not many people know the “ins and outs” of working with retailers. I thought it might be a good topic to write about for you, the customer.

Most people seem shocked to learn that I only receive 50% of the retail price of my work when I sell the items to a retailer. That’s right, the wholesale price (set by me) is typically 50% of the suggested retail price of the product. If that were the case, why would I bother to sell wholesale at all? Here are a few reasons why.

1.     Money in hand.

When I turn over product to a retailer I have the ability to set the minimum order that they must place. For example, a retailer must place a minimum order of $100 and within that minimum I can also add a set minimum item number such as four sets of nesting bird bowls, five ring dishes etc. The retailers that I work with pay me when I deliver the work. (*)  This means that instead of waiting for my work to sell at a location where it’s on consignment, I get the money instantly. Although I receive 60% of the price of my work when it’s on consignment, that money isn’t guaranteed and I have to worry about inventory just sitting in a shop, not bringing me any money. This brings me to number two. 

* (I won’t go into 30 net, 60 net etc. but you can Google it and know that I rarely do this because I just don’t sell that much wholesale product.)

2.     Not my problem.

Once the work is dropped off it becomes the retailer’s job to sell it. I don’t have to market/advertise for it or get people in the door. My job was to make the product and deliver it. Done. This is a reason why some people might work exclusively with wholesale orders.

3.     Getting your brand out there or getting new opportunities.

In the town where I live, my studio is located in an area where some people don’t really want to travel to. It’s a little silly but there is a certain demographic of people who just won’t come down to the studio and therefore, probably don’t know that my work exists. Working with a retailer is a way to get my handmade ceramics into the hands of a customer that I might not normally reach and if I’m working with a really good retailer, they might give the customer enough information that they will then find me on their own for other products not sold through that retailer or for a larger, bulk or custom order.

4.     Shipping Costs.

When an artist ships work out to a gallery or a shop to be sold on consignment, (also receiving only 50-60% of the retail price) typically the artist is responsible for shipping costs at least one way, sometimes both ways if the work has to be returned when unsold. When shipping to a retailer who’s buying wholesale product, the retailer pays for the shipping.

Lately, there are a few different retailers that I’ve been working with regionally and this can be tricky because of the size of the area I live in. I live in a region that isn’t heavily populated and retailers want exclusivity. They don’t want to sell a product that is available on every corner, what would be the appeal in that? Some retailers will have a certain mile radius agreement or some just want to know that your product isn’t sold in the same town where their shop is located. I’m working with a store that has purchased some of the products I normally make and sell but with a signature glaze color that fits with the concept of their store. I have also been working with them to design some custom products that will only be sold at their store. There has been a lot of input from their entire staff and it’s been a longer process because they have very specific tastes. But they know what their customers want and this gives me confidence that the products will sell and they will be placing more orders in the future.

My favorite retailer to work with is a specialty yarn shop called Fuzzy Goat in Thomasville, Georgia. The owner, Cadence Kidwell, first approached me to make yarn bowls for her and I didn’t even know what a yarn bowl was! Over the last three years since she opened her shop, she’s given me the artistic freedom to do whatever I want to with the yarn bowls that I make for her. So unlike the previous retailer who has a lot of direction for my designs, Cadence allows me to just show up with a batch of yarn bowls that may have different colors than the previous batches I’ve delivered. She likes my style and gives me a lot of leeway to provide her customers with lots of options, even if they don’t know what I’m going to show up with. I sell my yarn bowls exclusively through Fuzzy Goat. Why would I do this with her? Well, she’s been really good to me. She promotes my products on social media every time she gets a new shipment, she tells her customers about my process and she respects me as an artist and a maker. She understands the little things that go into making something from scratch and she’s okay that my work doesn’t look like it was made in a factory. In fact, she loves that. I have received several opportunities to sell larger amounts of custom work to her customers who stumbled across my work in the form of a yarn bowl. She is the perfect retailer to work with.

I don’t sell a lot of wholesale work but it is nice to have a few orders going to keep that monthly check coming in. It supplements the sales from my showroom. Would I prefer to have everyone visit the studio or website and pay the retail price? Well, yes. But maybe then I would miss out on opportunities to reach outside of my own ideas. I wouldn’t have had the opportunity to learn some business skills from really great business owners. If I’ve learned one thing about running a business over the last few years it’s that having multiple streams of income coming in is extremely important. Wholesale orders and a big wedding order are what got me through this really slow retail summer. Maybe next time you’ll decided to purchase directly through the artist so that they receive the full retail price of their work but now at least you understand how it all works.