Geographical location and it’s effect on an art business

James Pagni

Where are your pipes made?
We have been making pipes for 5 years, and depending on when you read this it might be more. A simple answer to this question is, our ceramic pipes are hand made in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Now the reason for you reading this might be pretty basic but I wanted to add a few things about geographic location and it's effect on business. At the start of an art business, someone is usually trying to get things going and doesn't think about the local audience, where they are located in terms of shipping, and what benefits their location holds. For example, we live in a state that has a lot of Mormon influence and that's fine but they are apposed to the idea of pipes. So maybe that could be seen as a con that's hard to work with. On the other hand you might live in a state where recreational cannabis is legal so the general mind set of that state is excepting of pipes.
Why does the location matter though? Well if you start like we did by selling on the street with a vendors license, then you might run into your communities audience. Often times the Mormons would ignore us or sometimes some would let you know how opposed they are and then it's done and everyone moves on.
Selling pipes on the street in Salt Lake City Utah
Same with smoke shops for when your trying out wholesale. A legal state will have dispensaries and smoke shops. Where we only have smoke shops and more then half of them only buy china glass.
So locally you have an idea of what can exist there. Now the thing about living in less competitive odd place out, is that if you are consistent and keep shops stocked up or if everyone knows where you'll be selling on the streets during the summers, then you'll be building your products awareness in the city. There have been many times selling on the streets when someone says oh I saw or got one of these pipes at the smoke shop near by. And so if your area is not to accepting of pipes, then do it because most everyone else will be deterred or will give up in a number of years. In early 2019 I went to a shop and asked where the local glass was and they said that most of the glass blowers who sell to them stopped and I was the only one in that shop that we'd all been stocking for 2 or 3 years. It is a hard gig but if  you can stay strong and consistent then you will be heading down the best path.
The last thing we will touch on is shipping. Now shipping prices have gone up since 2015 but it is currently pretty constant in terms of price to ship somewhere. The real factors are primarily the weight of a package and they are even adding prices for various sizes at USPS. For example, if you are shipping under 13oz then USPS will ship for less then $5 but if weighs over that then you'll be paying $8 or more. Once you ship out of the country it is expensive regardless, so keep that idea for another day unless your customers tell you other wise. Lastly for shipping I want to note that you can get free shipping supplies from USPS by going to their site and creating an account. So overall shipping location doesn't matter as much as it might have in the past.
To end off, there is a few valuable things to take away if you are inspired by the idea of making your own art business and want to know how location may effect you. Have this basic understanding in the back of your head and you'll do fine. If you have any questions, send them our way.

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