How to start a successful pottery business the right way...
AKA: The Ugly Truth about Shops and Galleries
You wake up in the morning...
Make yourself a fresh cup of hot coffee...
And stroll into your very own garden studio, with the sun on your face, and the whole day ahead of you - free to work on whatever you want.
You've got no pressure of going off to work because you live solely off your ceramics. Your creativity pays the bills.
Ah, that's the dream!
And lots of hobby potters do dream about having their own studio.
But many believe that making the transition from hobby potter to full-time potter, is a very expensive process.
And it's an easy mistake to make.
You look at successful potters from around the world...
See photos of their work and their studios and start to make a mental checklist. You think to yourself...
To start with ceramics I need the following things:
- A Studio
- You either need to renovate a room in your house (the garage or basement)
- or you need to build a purpose-built studio somewhere.
- A Pottery Wheel
- A Kiln
- A large number of different clays
- Lots of storage (drying racks, magic damp boxes)
- A sink with the right sink trap
- Pottery Tools (sculpting tools, trimming tools, ribs, wires, bats)
- Glazes - Homemade and store-bought
- An extruder
- A slab roller
And that's just the big stuff!
When you start to go through the list and add up the costs, it gets quite daunting...
Because when you go through this dream list of equipment...
It can all add up to tens of thousands of dollars, if not more!
The mistake of believing that there is a massive up-front cost to starting your own ceramics studio is what stops a lot of great potters making it a successful career.
"Success is not something you can buy."
If you think that the only reason you're not currently successful is because you need a new wheel or a new kiln, then I'm afraid I have some bad news for you.
"It's not the tools that make the artist."
If you're in the mindset that you have to create your perfect studio space and own all of this equipment before you find success, then what's probably going to happen is that:
- You wait for ages - saving up to buy everything
- You get into debt and have to work a full-time job - not related to ceramics - to pay off your bills.
- Your monthly bills will be greater than your income from your ceramics.
So, if success does not depend on lots of money...
Then what's the right way to become a successful potter?
- Becoming a successful potter does not depend on owning expensive equipment.
- You shouldn't spend hundreds or thousands of dollars on equipment before you have started to sell to real customers and made real money.
- It's much harder to make a successful business if you are starting out with a lot of debt.