Amelia and I have commonly enjoyed exploring our creativity. Through art classes at school, Amelia had a few opportunities to explore working with clay, and she loved her results. This piqued my interest too, so we both enrolled in a workshop at a local pottery studio to learn the craft while spending some quality time together. We discovered an absolute love for working with clay, and our results were surprisingly lovely.
Knowing we are creating beautiful pieces of useable art inspires us to continue to be innovative and customer-focused. Whether we are adding shiny gold accents to give each piece a personal touch and a gorgeous shimmer or we are turning a small vase for a single stem flower, we love making pieces that will enhance the lives of those who invest in them.
We continued our journey with pottery by seeking out more advanced workshops, learning new techniques and exploring our own favourite ways to work with clay. Over time, our love of working with clay led to an abundance of beautiful, one-of-a-kind pieces of pottery. This inspired me (Julie) to share my entrepreneurial experience with my young daughter and teach her how you can turn a passion into a profit. For over 20 years, I owned a successful home décor store, and I was more than thrilled to mentor my daughter as we set out to create a pop-up pottery store in the very location where my former store had been.
We were fortunate as the very first studio sale we had was extremely successful, so we hosted another. This then opened the doors to wholesale and retail opportunities, as well as, local consignment placements in unique boutique shops.
Through this experience, Amelia was able to see the appreciation customers have for her functional artwork. One of Amelia’s unique talents is sculpting tiny things, and people have fallen in love with these. She is so proud every time she sells one of her original pieces of art.
Amelia now recognizes that she has the ability to earn an income while doing what she loves. She has gained interest and sincere respect for learning the skills of running a small business with her mom. Two key business fundamentals she has learned include how to be responsive to a company’s products’ supply and demand, as well as, how to balance material expenses.
If it wasn’t for my mom’s encouragement I probably wouldn’t still be doing pottery. She has inspired me to make the time to be creative even at the busiest of times with my schedule. I am glad she has because I enjoy working with my mom. She is knowledgeable, helpful and brings lots of ideas and inspiration to our projects. We really enjoy each other’s company and spending quality time together.
Senior high school work keeps me very busy, but I always look forward to playing with clay. It is a nice creative break along with the fun pop up sales that we do now and then. I am learning a lot from my mom’s years of business experience. And, I love seeing customers getting excited about and purchasing our work—it’s so rewarding!
I, however, have a passion for working on the pottery wheel and challenging myself to continually create larger and more robust pieces like a big salad bowl and tall vase.
The world of clay is fascinating; there is always something new to try; and/or a method to explore; a new tool to test—it never gets old! And, neither does the business aspect of this creative endeavour, especially when it means sharing my knowledge and experience with my daughter. “Keep it fun and simple” is our motto.
As a mother-daughter team, we are working together to develop a strong brand using a distinct colour scheme and continue our signature flavour of pretty pottery as we collaborate our creative talent as potters. My retail experience taught me the importance of merchandising the products in an enticing and artistic way, creating collections that work together visually. In our first sale, we almost sold out—our pieces looked irresistible with fresh florals and botanicals, supported by our display of colour collections. We also collaborated with a few other potters to participate in the sale and put together a creative marketing campaign to bring friends and family to our pottery events using the power of each potter’s connections.
Amelia and I are regularly on the lookout for new ideas, and we often are inspired by the work of other artists who come up with original ways to work with pottery. This means precious time spent together, exploring boutique shops, art shows, craft fairs and markets. We love to see the creative work of others, and it is such a fun way to connect us as mother-daughter! Amelia is discovering that working can actually be super fun.
We weave our pottery business around our busy lives. Amelia is a teen who loves dance, rowing, student council and soccer, and I’m a house designer, cookbook author, nutritionist and mom of three. But, no matter how crazy our schedules get, we always take time together each week to ensure our business is growing and that we are continually producing pieces we are proud to sell.
Helpful Tips to Craft a Business Together
We have discovered a few master tips that we find helpful as we develop our business together:
1. Come to the studio with an open mind…and let your creativity take priority over purpose. This is when the pretty pieces happen!
2. Find the joy in the whole process and don’t get frustrated with failed creative attempts. It’s not worth the worry…it’s just clay…make it a joyful learning process.
3. Price it to sell affordably so everyone can enjoy your work and so that you can continue to make more while being creative together.
4. But…don’t under-price your pieces. You want to be rewarded for your efforts and have the funds to continue creating.
5. Be open to opportunities and suggestions and then act on those that fit your business model. (Pop-ups are our best bet as a new business right now.)
6. Teach or learn something new when you have the opportunity…be daring and explore new techniques.