How to get Polish pottery wholesale and retail and catalogs from the main factories.
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About Polish Pottery
One of the most popular products exported from Poland is Polish pottery. Polish pottery is made generally in the City of Boleslawiec Poland. Factories do not locate outside the area because the clay used in the process of making Polish pottery is a unique clay that is found in the Boleslawiec region only.
Boleslawiec Polish pottery fits into the broad category of Ceramika Artystyczna or Ceramic Art. There are many forms of Ceramika Artystyczna in Poland and the Boleslawiec Polish pottery is just one of them.
Polish pottery comes in two basic styles. There are the old traditional patterns that are generally blue based are, for the most part, of German origin. Before World War II, the city of Boleslawiec was part of Germany and was known by the German name, Brunslau. But when the borders of Poland and Germany were moved after World War II, the city changed names.
The more modern Polish pottery designs are in fact of Polish origin. These designs are more ornate than the original German designs. The newer patterns for Polish pottery have become very popular in their own right. Many of the newer designs are limited edition and many are made to order only.
The biggest market for Polish pottery is in the United States. Limited amounts of Polish pottery are sold in Canada. There is very little Polish pottery sold in Europe but for that that is sold to Americans on the US military bases in Europe. In fact, it was the people on the US military bases in Germany that made Polish pottery so popular. They brought it back to the United States and actually developed the market for the Polish companies.
Polish pottery is classified by pattern and by quality. First a couple words about the quality of Polish pottery. That is something that most people do not understand fully.
Most Polish pottery manufacturers reserve the right to ship up to ten percent of their pottery as second grade in any wholesale order. What is interesting is that most Polish pottery distributors do not know that this pottery is second grade. Part of the reason is that they do not know what is considered second grade Polish pottery.
In the manufacturing process of Polish pottery, the clay is fired before painting. Anything that comes out of the oven that is not perfect is discarded before painting. So in all cases, even second grade Polish pottery is perfected formed and fired. The clasification to second grade comes as a result of the painting process. If there is a small defect in the pattern, a piece is classified as second grade. These pattern defects are normally so small that even pottery distributors cannot see the defects.
Some patterns are classified as Unikat. Unikat, in Polish, means unique. This pottery is not unique. It is just that the factories offer some patterns at a higher price and limit production. Because they limit the production, the demand for these patterns goes up and with it the price.
The production capacity of the Polish pottery manufacturers is rather limited. In some cases the Polish pottery factories are months behind in supplying their orders. There does not seem to be any relief in this supply line because the limiting factor is the number of painters that are available.
The painting process for Polish pottery entails two methods of painting. The traditional method of painting is to use shaped sponges as stamps and to hand stamp the patterns on the fired ceramic. Hand stamping is done on regular and Unikat pieces. In fact, a great deal of the Unikat that is signed by the artist is just hand stamped pottery. And even in the Unikat lines, there are second grade pieces that are shipped without marking them as second grade.
The second method used for making Polish pottery is to actually hand paint designs with artists brushes. The pieces that you get when you get this pottery are, in fact, unique. Even those patterns that are not sold as unikat are unikat in that each piece is painted by a trained artist.
Many people want to buy Polish pottery factory direct or buy Polish pottery at wholesale prices. Because of the huge demand for the Polish pottery, the factories have set factory minimums. The factory minimums not only include dollar amounts of pottery, but also the number of pieces of a particular sku and pattern in that sku. Doing this limits the number of people who can be distributors of Polish pottery and it makes it more efficient for the factories to produce.
There are many opportunities to sell Polish pottery. Many people sell Polish pottery on eBay but the results there are not the best. There is so much competition that the price margins are very low. It is only if one sells odd pieces that are not commonly available that one will find success. And to sell Polish pottery on eBay using drop shipping is not the wisest either. Drop shipping cuts into profit margins because of the added costs that drop shippers apply.
If you come to Poland, it is very likely that you will come to either Warsaw or Krakow. Many people are disappointed to find that in Krakow their are very few places to find Polish pottery, even on a retail basis. There are, however, a few places in Warsaw where you can buy Polish pottery retail. There is also a factory store for Polish pottery in Warsaw. They are a bit off the beaten track, but they have a decent collection of Polish pottery available. The selections vary with the season and with what the factories have on hand. The Polish pottery manufacturers have as a main priority the supply of their customers in the US. So the inventory in their factory stores are generally those extra pieces that they have at the end of production runs. The product is the same quality as the product that they ship internationally. It is just that the offering changes.
A visit to Boleslawiec Poland is something enjoyed by many people who have time and the inclination to travel. The city has a great history and has many events related to Polish pottery, ceramics and art.
Polish pottery is a stoneware product and is dishwasher safe. It can be used in your oven or in a microwave. You only must be careful to follow the rule of putting a cold piece of pottery in a cold oven and a hot piece of pottery in a hot oven. It is definitely not fragile, but one must use judgement and not shock it heavily with a sharp temperature change.
The paints that are used in Polish pottery are lead free. Polish pottery manufacturers provide safety certificates at the time they export. These safety certificates are checked at the point of entry in the country of the importer. Without the safety certificate, the product cannot enter the country.
The most popular patterns for Polish pottery vary with the regions that sell the product. In some areas, people do not buy one particular pattern. They mix and match. Their table may be set with different patterns at each place setting. In many military families, however, the patterns with motiffs patterned after the American flag are used. In those cases, everything is set out in the same pattern.