There’s one thing that never fails to send the Team Domino Slack channel into a frenzy: a ceramics drop. That elusive status bowl or modern-rustic vase functions as a subtle flex to sip tea from on a Zoom call or casually leave flowers in on a credenza. (Because if you thought that limited-edition Nike shoe or Supreme hoodie was rare, try getting a mug from Lolly Lolly Ceramics.) Whether ceramists are selling new stuff on Etsy or their own site or to major retailers, it requires being on constant alert for an announcement (more on that, below). Here’s the insider intel on how to score that planter you keep seeing or plates from a favorite artisan.

Follow on Social Media

For brands working on very small batches, Instagram is their definitive tool for getting the word out. People are more likely to see a post on their feeds than they are to check back on a website intermittently. The Sandbox Ceramics account regularly includes an update in the bio on when the next series of mugs and pitchers will be available. While they keep followers updated on Instagram, other makers, such as Recreation Center, operate sales through their own websites, too. Insta Stories also gives fans a BTS glimpse into the process to see if a potter might be getting ready for another launch, with scenes of new works being put in the kiln.

Don’t Overlook Bigger Stores

Ever since Lalese Stamps’s 100 Day Project launched, in which she created 100 different coffee mug handles in as many days, her work has been near impossible to find. She sells the mugs on her website, but they almost immediately sell out. There’s another outlet for the designer’s pieces, though—the fashion label Madewell, which sells Stamps’s goods on its site. Fair warning: Just because there’s more than one seller doesn’t make these pieces any easier to get your hands on. Both Lolly Lolly and Madewell regularly sell out fast, so be sure to follow each account for any updates.

Courtesy of Lalese Stamps

Sign Up for the Newsletter

While Instagram is an open call for designers dropping online, some makers are giving their newsletter subscribers first crack at new offerings. Commune is constantly sold out of products—blink and they’re gone. For those in the know (read: on the email list) there’s a full 24-hour window to shop before the masses after the ceramist sends out a secret link. 

Check Third-Party Retailers

Just because designs are offered directly from a maker or licensed by brands like Madewell doesn’t mean other outlets haven’t figured out a way to be part of the ceramics craze. If a certain item or collection is sold out through the designer, try going to third-party sellers. Brands that regularly run out can sometimes have things in stock. Not Work Related still has pieces on Mociun, and Mellow is available on End Clothing, for example.

Look to the Resale Market (But Beware of Knockoffs)

Owning an original mug by a famed artist such as Peter Shire is, to some, worth spending serious money on. Upon scouring the Internet, you’ll find plenty of listings on 1stdibs and eBay offering “Peter Shire” mugs for $6,000—and $165, respectively. Investing in a dupe is fine, but resist bragging to friends about that “great deal” you found if it hasn’t been verified just yet. A sure bet: East Fork offers a discounted rate on some of the products that don’t quite live up to the brand’s standard—dubbed “seconds.” It might be a small paint mark or different handle shape, but those same defects can also be what makes them a one-of-a-kind piece. As a bonus, the company works with various non-profit groups in the area to raise money.

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