Postage, packaging and insurance
Postage from Australia is not cheap, because we're a long way from EVERYWHERE. It's nothing like shipping from the UK to the USA. It used to take me 7 - 8 hours to fly to London from Charlotte NC, (plus another hour flight up to Aberdeen from London, plus changeover/layover time of course). London to Brisbane (here on the East Coast) is 2 flights and about FORTY hours all up. Hopefully that gives you all some sort of idea why it's so expensive. Insurance also is not cheap. Australia Post charges $2.50 per $100 of value for extra cover, so it adds up really quickly, the more expensive the piece is. I always ship airmail and fully insured, and where possible, I ship express air. I say "where possible", because if the postage calculated by the shopping cart has not charged enough to cover it, then it will go airmail, insured. So, bearing all that in mind, I've had to adjust both my pricing a tad and my postage charges a tad, as follows:
1. I've added $5 to the price of everything to cover the cost of packaging. The box, the peanuts, foam, bubblewrap, 3 different types of tape, whatever kitchen sink I have thrown at it to try and get it to you in one piece. It all has to be paid for.
2. The higher value the piece, the higher the insurance costs. Therefore, on the higher end pieces, I have adjusted their postage cost to the next rate. For example, a high end curio size will now ship at Classic rate; a high end Traditional will now ship at Large Traditional rate and so on, so that the insurance costs are covered. I hope this makes sense.
At the end of the day, if you don't like the postage costs, don't buy it, simple as that. This website is full e-commerce with a "real" shopping cart just like the big boys, so if you put an order all the way through to checkout (because it will calculate dependant on your destination) and find the postage and insurance is too much for you, just abandon the shopping cart, simple as that.
As a rule of thumb, it takes me an hour to build a box, wrap and pack the horse, print the necessary paperwork, fill out the customs declaration and seal it all up, and I don't get paid for my time to do that. Therefore, I'm trying to keep mail outs to once or twice a week, because they take up a lot of time and I don't have an offsider to help LOL.
In 99.9% of cases, I sell directly through this website. It's full e-commerce, offering Afterpay, Paypal and Credit Card through Stripe. So it's fully encrypted and secure. The only reason you should have to contact me via messenger (you can do that via my Facebook Poole's Pony Pottery page) or by using the contact page regarding a sales piece, is to check (for example) the size of the piece (although it is in the item description), or maybe you're at work when a sales piece is released to the website and you want to buy it but can't until you get home from work; in which case I can put it on a short term hold - until you get home and tell me you're ready to purchase, when I can make it available for you again.
I say all this because I believe in "first come, first served". I don't do eBay any more as it's too expensive, that's why I have this e-commerce site. And except for incredibly rare occasions, I don't do Facebook "Auctions" where you have to put offers in comments. I don't do "mates rates" or "first dibs" or any other kind of special favours, so there's no need to message me asking for anything like this. There's also no need to ask if something is available for sale, because if it's available, it's ON THE WEBSITE. If I haven't done a FB/Instagram promo announcing a piece for sale, its NOT for sale! If you're too late and it's already sold, it will say (on the website shop page) either "out of stock" or "sold", as it's fully automated, just like any other online shop, and better luck next time:-). Just because I share photos on my FB page, doesn't mean it's automatically for sale. For one, I create for my own personal collection. Also, the piece is probably still in progress OR, it might have a problem that makes it unsellable. I did have to put a stop to a few people who kept using messenger to ask me things like the above - I just don't have the time to deal with it. I'm one person, doing everything (and until January 2022, also running my own business), so I'm not being mean LOL. I literally do not have a magic button outside that I press and "out pops a china horse". Sometimes I wish I did;-).
The more peace and quiet I have, the more time I have to create! I'm sure any of you who have contacted me via messenger, the website or email directly, would have to agree that I am always polite and helpful:-). Thanks in advance my lovelies, for bearing this in mind.
How do I price the pieces?
Well I certainly don't get paid for my time, because if I did that, each piece would start at around $2000 and THEN add manufacturing costs. I have to figure out costs and how much it has taken to create the piece from start to finish. Some are handmade, completely from scratch (please see the PROCESSES page for more info), some are mass produced, purchased pieces, like Franklin Mint Porcelain or Beswick Earthenware. I'm not doing many Beswick or Royal Doulton these days, as they are just too expensive to procure here down under, they pretty much all have to be imported. Right now, I do NOT produce super high-end fine art/bone china pieces. I don't have the equipment or the products to work with bone china, and to be honest, it's way too expensive for me. My goal, is to produce reasonably priced, quality handmade collectibles (from my own moulds) and reasonably priced, quality hand-finished collectibles from other mass produced products, in either earthenware (like Beswick, Royal Doulton or Hobby Mould) or porcelain (like Kaiser, Hertwig, Franklin Mint etc). That doesn't mean that they're cheap. Handmade, hand finished and quality all take time, knowledge and skill. So what I'm saying is, my sales pieces tend to be priced in "hundreds" rather than "thousands", but that doesn't mean that there won't be the odd expensive one OR bargain basement one!
At the end of the day, pricing is based upon two overriding factors: the complexity and quality of the finish, AND the price that I am willing to part with it for. I'm not selling "needs" here, I'm selling "wants", so if you want it (more than I do), buy it, if you don't, then don't, simple as that;-)
Flaws or Character?
Each piece is either handmade from scratch, OR I'm refinishing by hand, an already manufactured piece. So each piece is going to have it's own idiosyncracies, but that doesn't mean it's flawed per se, it means it was made with love, by hand. Please see the PROCESSES page for more information on how I produce each and every single item from my home studio pottery:-)
Returns & Refunds
I strongly suggest that you take photographs of your box and the packaging, as you unwrap and unpack. I have recently started adding an "unboxing information" insert to every package I send out, to help you. I do my utmost to pack my pieces really well, however, sometimes things do happen in transit. In the event of damage, please take your photographs and shipping information to your post office and file an insurance claim for damages (if it's minor, you can obtain a repair quote before you do this). I do not refund for breakages, because I pack really well, but I cannot control what the postal service does. I know some people do offer refunds on damaged items, but I do NOT, that is what you have paid your insurance for. Please allow time for the claim to go through, especially if you are outside Australia. It can take Australia Post some time to process.
If you are unhappy with your piece in any way (colour, markings, stance etc), please return it EXACTLY the way it arrived (eg packed the same, and sent airmail or express mail and fully insured, whichever way it came to you) and within 30 days of receipt and I will refund your total purchase price in full, no questions asked. You will receive your full refund when the item is safely back in my hands.
This e-commerce site has three payment options as follows:
Payment in full, Credit card, via Stripe.
Payment in full, Paypal (my hosting platform is not set up for Paypal in 4 unfortunately).
Afterpay, pay in 4 fortnightly instalments (you pay them, they pay me).
I am not taking longer time payments at this time for a couple of reasons. First of all, my pieces are priced in 100's, not 1000's (generally speaking, there may be the odd one or two occasionally). Also, once again I don't have time to chase people for money. I didn't do that with my Personal Training Studio, where all my clients were local, they were all on direct debit; so I'm not going to chase people around the world for funds either.