Charan Sachar’s ceramic work is a visual delight. He talks about his inspiration and super-smart marketing techniques.
ABI: What percentages of retail and wholesale are you doing with your line?
CS: Currently I have a 50-50 split for retail and wholesale. My wholesale line has my functional work and for retail I have some functional production work but focus more on one-of-a-kind sculptures and platters. Keeping my retail inventory one-of-a-kind also makes it challenging to make distinctive work which keeps things exciting in the studio. I do foresee including my one-of-a-kinds for wholesale sometime in the near future.
ABI: Tell us how you became inspired to create your distinctive designs.
CS: I spent a significant time of my life in India. The things that influenced me the most were the fabrics, colors and embroidery I saw when my mom ran a boutique making clothes for brides and bridesmaids. I wanted to develop a technique with which I could get the textured fabric look and feel.
My approach to making my work is to see what is made with fabrics like handbags, pillows, skirts, saris, etc. and then create them in clay with the functionality of the piece in mind. Handbags turn into butter dishes, pillows into salt pepper shakers, etc. My work also reflects my love for Bollywood movies with all the music, singing and dancing giving it a whimsical dynamic look.
ABI: How do you promote your collections to galleries?
CS: I have experienced very often that galleries mention that it is hard to pick what they want for their store. To make it easier for them, I promote suggested starter packages which would include my best sellers.
Based on the stores’ price points and the kind of customers they get, I can create other packages as well. I have been thanked by several gallery owners for doing this. Occasionally, having incentives on shipping prices or an additional free item also helps.
ABI: What advice do you have for other artists who want to sell?
CS: I have found that it really helps to test your products and prices in retail. Having a good one-on-one interaction with customers gives a clear understanding of what colors are trending now, what customers are asking for and what are your best sellers. This information is really valuable when talking to gallery owners as well.
As mentioned above for wholesale, making packages has worked well for me. But rather than just mentioning what the package contains, it really helps to display and show them exactly what it will contain, so they can visualize it in their stores based on their space.
Collaborating with other artists and businesses to exchange information, resources and doing mutual promotions is also a great way to keep the artist community strong and growing.