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Straight Shot coffee mug in Blarney Stone glaze

What’s New at Sunset Hill Stoneware?

Sunset Hill Stoneware has had an eventful year so far. Here are some of the biggest pieces of news our team has to share with the world as of November 2019.

Mike Weber, potter at Sunset Hill StonewareBreaking World Records

This November, Sunset Hill Stoneware is going where no pottery like ours has gone before. One of our fastest potters, Mike Weber, is going to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for throwing the most clay pots in one hour. Right now, a potter in Arizona holds the record, having thrown 193 clay flower pots in an hour. Mike has been training to surpass that number within the next few weeks.

For his part, Mike feels confident that he can break the record. When we talked with Mike shortly before Halloween, he was able to make a single pot within 15 seconds.

We will stream Mike’s attempt live on our Facebook page on Nov. 14, 2019. Sunset Hill Stoneware is encouraging art classes at local high schools to tune into our livestream event so they can see Mike in action. On top of that, we’re inviting local news outlets to film his attempt at breaking the world record, plus an official adjudicator from Guinness World Records.

New Glazes

We’ve finally perfected the formula for making tricolor glazes! To celebrate this breakthrough, our crack team of mad scientists have developed three new tricolor glazes over the past few months.

Poinsettia coffee mug from Sunset Hill Stoneware

Old Glory, our debut tricolor, came out just in time for Independence Day 2019 and features our Oatmeal glaze based in red and blue for a patriotic twist. However, this glaze works for all seasons. We’ve seen it paired with everything from mugs from state parks to coffee companies and breweries. Although it’s a premium glaze, Old Glory is unlike anything else we sell and well worth the extra effort.

Following that, we decided to go for a more festive spin. Poinsettia takes the classic Oatmeal base and pairs it with a red top and green bottom. While this glaze is a shoe-in for Christmas, it would also work wonders for Cinco de Mayo, Italian festivals or anything in between. We’ve already seen a few customers get the party started with Poinsettia, and we’re looking forward to seeing it on many more mugs in the future.

Rounding out our newest tricolor offerings is a glaze with an Irish flair. Blarney Stone features Oatmeal, orange and green for a distressed look that works for just about any Irish-themed event. Whether it’s for St. Patrick’s Day, an Irish festival in the middle of summer or almost any other event, Blarney Stone brings the gift of gab anywhere it goes. Whether it’s for beer or coffee, we’re thrilled to see the stoneware paired with this glaze going into next year.

On top of our arsenal of tricolor glazes, we’ve also added the classy Rustic Rose, Desert Cactus, Toasted S’more and Blueberry Muffin to our selection of more than 70 glaze colors. Each of these colors is in our glaze gallery, complete with photos of each color on our customers’ mugs.

Our Biggest Sales Month Ever

September was historic for us. We sold thousands of mugs to businesses and organizations across the country and the world. All of those mug sales culminated in the highest sales month in our company’s history. It’s a far cry from where we were when we started 20 years ago in our tiny pottery studio, so we’re proud that we can both sell and produce so many mugs in just one month.

A lot of this revenue we enjoyed during September came from businesses getting ready to give or sell mugs during the holiday season. However, we can still take orders for December delivery. Anyone interested in ordering mugs in time for the holiday season is welcome to order within the next few weeks. Beyond that, we also encourage people to use our Priority in Production program if they’d like to get them a little sooner.

Learning Lessons in E-commerce

Zulily logoWe’ve talked before about how we debuted our Online Store back in 2018. Over the last few months though, we’ve expanded our presence into other parts of the online marketplace. We now have a page on Amazon Handmade, a platform geared exclusively toward artisans so they can sell their handcrafted wares online. We also began a partnership with online retailer Zulily.

However, the transition wasn’t easy. In fact, it took a lot of hard work to get our brand onto both of these platforms. To get Sunset Hill Stoneware onto Amazon Handmade, we had to fill out a lot of paperwork and wait for Amazon to grant us approval to host our products on their platform. Once we finished the application process though, we could sell any of our stoneware products directly to anyone looking for a quality handmade mug to start off the morning.

Working with Zulily was fairly easy for the amount of mugs we ended up selling. However, the biggest challenge was setting up our system so it could be compatible with theirs. After a few weeks of trial and error though and with some patience on Zulily’s end with us, we were finally able to participate in multiple mug sales. We sold dozens of mugs through the online retailer, and we look forward to working with them again in the near future. It’s also a great way to promote exclusivity with unique products and designs, so we would recommend working with them to any retailer seeking to expand their online presence.

Giving Back to the Arts in Our Community

As we look toward 2020, we’re also looking at new ways to give back to the arts in our community. When we experimented with our processes this year, we found ourselves with extra kiln shelves. These shelves are usable and functional for any ceramic work and can withstand our highest firing cycles. They also have many years left in them; we just have too many shelves for the kilns we use.

It’s no secret that we support the arts in our local schools. That’s why we’re putting out the call to donate these kiln shelves. We’re encouraging local high schools, colleges and community art programs to contact us directly in the new year if they need new kiln shelves. Those who would like some good-condition kiln shelves for their ceramics program are welcome to inquire with us at info@shstoneware.com.

So far, 2019 has been a big year for Sunset Hill Stoneware. We’ve pushed the boundaries with new glaze colors, and we’re always looking to break records. We look forward to seeing what will come of the remaining few months of the year, and to 2020 beyond.

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