California-based Heath Ceramics, well known to many Etsy vintage sellers and mid-century design fans, received the 2015 National Design Award from the Cooper Hewitt Smithsonian Design Museum.
The award category is the Corporate and Institutional Achievement for Product Design, Industrial Design, Crafts.
From the Cooper Hewitt Museum about the National Design Awards…
The National Design Awards celebrate design as a vital humanistic tool in shaping the world, and seek to increase awareness of design by educating the public and promoting excellence, innovation, and lasting achievement in American design.
Read more about Heath Ceramics and the National Design Award on this National Public Radio Report (NPR) here.
You can also listen to the radio broadcast by art desk correspondent Mandalit del Barco (featured on the program All Things Considered on 10/15/2015) here.
More about the Cooper Hewitt Museum, founded in 1897 by the granddaughters of industrialist Peter Cooper…
Heath Ceramics items were among my first listings when I opened up my Etsy Vintage Store this summer, and represented my 6th, 8th, 9th and 10th sale, right after the sale of vintage Dansk, Fiesta Ware and Pyrex items.
A Heath ceramics collector who bought my Heath items left the third (and 5-star) feedback for the items and store — after taking a chance buying from a store with (then) ZERO reviews.
I love vintage Heath objects, and can’t wait to find more to list on the store, that is, if I can resist the urge to KEEP them!
One of the most challenging thing to do once you’ve set up shop in Etsy is to figure out
How to price your vintage objects
The language and description to add to your item listing
Until I set up my Etsy store, I didn’t know that Heath Ceramics, based in Sausalito, California were highly collectible. I bought the plates years ago because I liked the simple design, the look of the glaze and colors.
I also had many pieces from the Franciscan Pottery Company in the “Jamoca” line, as well as various plates and creamers from other Franciscan lines. Initially, I did not know that they were Franciscan. I just liked the colors and the shapes and picked up pieces here and there, over the years.
If writing is not your thing (I’m so-so at it) or you find it difficult to be creative with your words (as I do), then searching within Etsy to see how others describe similar items should get you inspired to write up descriptions for your first listing.
I’ve visited stores with very minimal words in their listings and some with long, super detailed descriptions.
I like information, so I tend to want to add more, rather than less.
I also think it is best to give your potential customer as much information to accompany the photos —- and leave it to them if they want to read the nitty gritty.
Along with looking within Etsy for similar products, you can do a Google search or search within EBay for product listing descriptions. If the company who made your product is still operating, then it is easy enough to get information simply by visiting their website.
Based on the information I gathered, I listed my Heath Ceramics Sea and Sand plates with the following description:
Classic and durable Heath ceramic dinner plates in beautiful Sea and Sand glaze, coupe shape.
The Heath company was founded in 1948 in Sausalito, California. They are known for their simple yet thoughtfully designed table ware.
The design and durability stands the test of time — thus becoming family heirlooms.
Many of founder Edith Heath’s original pieces are housed in permanent collections of modern art museums (MOMA and LACMA).
I thought it was a good start!
Getting a bit of history on the company made writing a description more fun, and for me, was an interesting process.
Next up were my Franciscan dinnerware items, and I posted this description:
love the Franciscan line of ceramic dinnerware in the “Jamoca” pattern.
The neutral, dark brown color can easily pair with your other tableware collection, and the golden yellow scrolls, filigree designs are very pretty.
Franciscan Ceramics started under California-based Gladding, Mcbean & Co., and was later purchased by Wedgwood, then the Waterford Glass Group.
Jamoca is a discontinued pattern.
The Etsy item listing manager allows you to “copy” an existing listing.
In the case of the Franciscan tableware, this was a great feature as I was able to just copy most of the listing for the dinner / salad plates / footed cups & saucers, with all the information and product tags I already created.
Very nice, and time-saving, especially if you have many pieces that you want to sell separately.
For collectible and known / popular dining and table top items, the website that sells replacement pieces is a good resource to get an idea of market price (and their availability) for pieces you are listing to sell. It is a terrific starting point for pricing.
I then checked EBay to see how many other sellers have the same or similar item for sale… what is their price?
And within Etsy, how many sellers already have the same item? What condition is it in? Is mine in better condition or less so?
Once I have done my research, I then price the items based on
what is available on line to replace these items
how many other listings there are, both on EBay and Etsy
And based on the condition and availability (is it rare?) I establish a price that I think is reasonable and fair.
Your thoughts? If you have tips to add on how to price your items, or additional ideas, please do comment.