Making pottery may sound like a hobby, but for Tom and Betsy it is their business and passion. Between them and another potter, they produce nearly 5000 pots per year. 70% of that work is sold on their website but Clay Coyote also has a store front in Hutchinson, Minnesota. Their work focuses on pieces for everyday use; such as casseroles, vases, tableware, oil lamps, mugs, bowls, etc. Recently Clay Coyote added a flameware line of cookware that will withstand direct flame cooking, making them one of only four potteries in the US doing handmade flamewar.
As one of Vivid Image’s earliest customers, Clay Coyote has gone through several website redesigns and added a blog, where they write about pottery, food, and cooking. They also have a fun “travel mug” photo blogs featuring a Clay Coyote mug in different parts of the world. Clay Coyote is very in-tune to their target audience and keywords since they have highly specialized customer segments and a competitive market. For Clay Coyote, a key reason for choosing Vivid Image was because they were a local Southwest Minnesota business. Tom values the face-to-face communication with the Vivid Image team and sees things happen quickly. He remarks, “Our last team had a good sense of urgency on tasks.”
Tom, who has a background in marketing and advertising, looks back to when they first brought their business online, “We started the website in 1998 as a catalog so people who saw us at shows could refer to it and then call to order (this was four years before the online shopping cart).” Clay Coyote was ahead of the curve with technology and found that many people still wanted a printed catalog sent to them. But by October 2001, they noticed a shift when women starting shopping on the internet. Clay Coyote adapted quickly and again teamed up with Vivid Image to add a shopping cart to their website.
Clay Coyote has come a long way since their first website in 1998 and adding a shopping cart in 2001. They recently worked with Vivid Image to upgrade to the e-commerce platform called Volusion. Although the transition to Volusion was challenging, overall they have found it to make a positive difference to their business. Tom has noticed, “Our employees who work on Volusion, like it compared to what we had previously for managing and editing our e-commerce business.”
“Our employees who work on Volusion, like it compared to what we had previously for managing and editing our e-commerce business.”
Today, the majority of Clay Coyote’s business comes from their e-commerce website. Tom explains, “It’s taken awhile, but we’re finally getting up into the 65-70% of overall sales coming from the web. 75% is probably going to be tops since we are limited in supply.”