Learn How to Become a Successful Ceramic Studio Owner

Become an even more successful owner of your ceramic studio – read and let these inspirational articles pave your way to long term profits.


Successful Ceramic Studio  FOREWORD Clay is one of the most commonly found materials used by mankind. Its history goes back tens of thousand of years. The exact date of its origin, when man mixed clay and water, formed it and heated it, is lost in history. We know, though, from the shards and items found, […]


  Successful Ceramic Studio  Why a book on ceramic studio business? Well, there are many reasons, the most important being that when you are an entrepreneur, working 12 hours or more a day and being up to your neck in one’s daily challenges, there is often little time to consider basic questions about your business, […]

Chapter One. Welcome to Successful Ceramics

                                                  Face  your business challenges.    All of us involved in ceramics as a business know how fascinating, challenging and, yes addictive, it is. Ceramics, in all its embodiments can be technically complicated so the learning curve can be steep and long and really never ending. It’s creative, rewarding and highly satisfying. It opens a new […]

Selling or closing down your ceramic business

Chapter 32 We have earlier touched on the sensitive issue of how to deal with the fact that – one day – your business will either be closed or sold (Refer to chapter 30: “Will your ceramic business last forever?”). This issue is where I see most ceramic studios, in fact, most small businesses in general, […]

Creating outstanding customer service in your ceramic business

So far, in this book on successful ceramics, we have dealt with customer service several times. But the activity itself has been hidden within other chapters, such as marketing, your business plan, your finely tuned promotions, your hiring criteria and others, but we have not focused a chapter exclusively on this subject – your most […]

Will your ceramic business last forever?

CHAPTER  30 This chapter sets the frame for your general approach to how to structure your management of what you should consider as the “indefinite” time line for your ceramic business. As an owner of a pottery, a teaching ceramic studio, a specialty ceramic studio, a PYOP  (Paint Your Own Pottery) studio, a ceramic distributorship […]

Keep that fire in your belly burning

As an entrepreneur, you have shown that you have strength, belief in yourself, skills and endurance. What is the most important trait? I will get back to that later in this chapter. Another question – what is the most common characteristic amongst those peers that have most success? I will come back to that as […]

Promotion, Part Three: A Crucially Important Part of Your Open House: The Follow-up

Promotion, Part Three: A Crucially Important Part of Your Open House: The Follow-up Scenario: It’s Monday morning, the first day of the week after your open house. Yesterday, Sunday, was pure relaxation, re-establishing your balance and giving you some perspective.  Now follows the final and closing chapter of your Open House. The Follow-Up  True to […]

Part two. Successful execution of your Open House

Successful execution of your Open House On the morning of the day for the Open House, you, along with your employees and temporary assistants (if any) arrive two hours early – before the actual event opens. You gather everyone around you for a final review of everybody’s special assignments. Check your notebook and go over, […]

Ceramic Studio Promotions Part One

Promotion: “The act of furthering the growth and development of the sale and acceptance of merchandise through advertising, publicity or discounting.”  Webster’s Dictionary. Your ceramic studio’s best low-cost promotion – an Open House (OH) We live in a society of continuous bombardment with arguments why we should buy, accept or rent, well, something. This comes […]

Understanding Profit In Your Ceramic Business

CONTROLLING YOUR CERAMIC BUSINESS Part 1, Understanding profit By managing profits in your ceramic business like a pro you secure a prosperous future. We all think we understand what profits are. It’s one of the most used terms in everyday life.  However, for a ceramic business owner it helps to dig a little deeper to […]

Managing the most important asset in your ceramic business – YOU

Your business can only survive, let alone succeed and prosper, with you as the owner and manager. Are you taking care yourself the right way? To answer it honestly, this calls for some self-examination and soul-searching. Let’s look at some of the most important aspects. Here is the wise advice I got from my father-in-law, […]

This Ceramic Business e-book helps you succeed

It’s not easy to operate any business successfully over a long period of time. Yet, that is what you promise yourself to do when you are managing your ceramic business – and what you promised yourself to do before opening your own ceramic studio. If you are totally convinced you can do this without help, […]

Ceramic Business Financing – Part 3: Where do I find the Money?

This article builds on Parts 1 and 2 in this miniseries on Financing a Ceramic Business. In a market niche of small ceramic arts businesses, there are no easy answers to where to find money. It’s a very personal question and one with very personal answers. For start-ups Since the amount of money would not […]

Ceramic Business Financing – Part 2: Money you need for your business

How money is generated Armed with the wisdom about how you should think about financing your studio (see part 1), let’s start to work on how much you need and, later, some ideas where to find it. Your needs will be totally dictated by the stage your business is in. Not yet started? Recently started? Mature? […]

Ceramic Business Financing – Part 1: Money Makes the World go around

When you are in business – big or small – you will need money to operate it. To finance your business right is crucial to your survival and the more you know about it the better off you are. You can survive, at least temporarily, with less inventory and less capital equipment, such as kilns, […]

Elizabeth Nields – a potter sans pareil

Elizabeth Nields has been residing in Otego,  Upstate New York, (near Oneonta), for a long time. Her path to the present was preceded by the most outstanding education in the art of ceramics one can think of. Born in New York City, she completed her undergraduate studies at Radcliffe University in Cambridge, Massachusetts, studied arts […]

What do I do when my business is down?

Remember what we said in the beginning of this article series? Look under category Start-up: “Think about your business to last for the long run.” We all wish that our sales curves would be that ideal straight line going steadily upwards. year after year. And your profits along with that line.  Since, when you start […]

Drive, Flexibility and Speed made this potter’s success

Meet Jennifer Kemper I have known Jennifer Kemper for a long time – she actually worked in my ceramic company for quite some time here in Oneonta (Upstate New York) , but the pull from her entrepreneurial spirit made her leave and seek success in her own business. During the time she was  working in […]

Meet Alice Siegfried – A Classic Potter

I had met Alice Siegfried, well-known potter in my hometown, Oneonta, New York before, and bought some of her work. So I decided to seek an interview with her for my article series, “Successful Ceramics”. It was a “just in time” decision. It turned out that Alice had decided to retire after her next firings. […]

Ceramic Studio Marketing, Part 4: Your Blueprint

Looking back at the previous three chapters on marketing, you can now embark on a most productive journey – on how you build into your system, (including the time to create and follow) a blueprint for marketing success. We discussed in the first three parts of this 4-part section of marketing: a. How to determine […]

Ceramic Studio Marketing, Part 3: Who is my customer, where are my customers and how do I reach them?

Based on your definition of your product, which in turn is dictated by the real needs of your customers, you can correctly define what your product or your services (such a teaching) – have to be like. Types of businesses, by need. If your customer is looking for recognition, self-gratification, creativity, social interface, entertainment and […]

Ceramic Studio Marketing, Part 2: Pricing for Profit

Click here to read Part 1 of Ceramic Studio Marketing Pricing right is of overriding importance in running your own business. Your pricing dictates survival or failure. Therefore, think about it all the time – every day, week and month. A good price can turn into a bad price within a very short period of […]

Ceramic Studio Marketing, Part 1 – Product

Do you know what you are selling? The word marketing is so overused these days that we seldom think of it as anything but just a bit more than advertising and promotion. By definition, marketing is “the process or technique of promoting, selling and distributing a product or service”, or “an aggregate of functions involved […]

Your personal business plan, Part 2

One of the reasons I recommend three years as a period for your business plan, is that you can easily break it down in three parts – year one, two and three. This will make it easier to follow, check up on, and – when needed – to make corrections. A plan is a live […]

Your personal business plan, Part 1

When you hear the words “business plan” you may shrink back conjuring up hours of detailed work involving looking up past records and projecting into the future – work that really only belongs to big business, not your small business. Let me tall you that you have far from the right impression of what a […]

Sign of Success: More Overhead – Part 2 of the Overhead Monster

Adding Manpower You can find part 1 of the Overhead Monster here. I wish to thank all artists that have contributed to this chapter. You should talk to a successful ceramic business about hiring employees, then add your own experience. That approach makes a lot of sense. Your ceramic business, whether it is a small […]

Meet a Porcelain Artist with a loyal client following

Meet Mary Anne Davis All budding ceramic artists should talk to Mary Anne Davis, owner of Davis Studio in Chatham, New York. A lot of wisdom can be collected over a very short time when talking to a successful professional such as Mary Anne, with many years of experience. I had the opportunity to meet […]

The Overhead Monster in your Ceramic Business – Part one

This story is heavily influenced by my interview with Mary Rab of the Benson Agency Real Estate, which is the leading brokerage firm in the city of Oneonta, NY. She had a lot to say about carrying overhead… thanks Mary! The definition of overhead costs is the same as for fixed costs in accounting lingo. The […]

All types of business require specializing – ceramics is no exception

Few people outside the ceramic industry understand how big and how diversified it is. It’s one of the biggest industries on this globe – and always was – from days immemorial. You use it at home every day, porcelain, stoneware and earthenware in the form of bowls, plates, pizza stones, ash trays, sinks, toilets, tiles […]

Top 10 questions you should ask when selecting your accountant

If you have read my article on the selection of one of the most important support members of your ceramic business, you know that selecting/keeping a first class accountant ranks very high. Recently readers have asked: Which questions should I ask? It’s a tough question to answer in a concise way. Ranking the questions in […]

Think about your business to last for the long run

You have probably heard about businesses that are hundred years old or more and still active, and growing in both size and recognition. Do you think the founder thought it would last such a long time? Well, in many cases we don’t know, but you can be sure that more of them started based on […]

Can you combine business with your passion for ceramics?

Can you combine business with your passion for ceramics?   Few endeavors lead as seamlessly to business as ceramics. There are professionals in one or many facets of ceramics and they all have a story to tell how their business got started. They put their education or natural talents to work and suddenly experienced a […]

One of your most important business decisions in your studio

Being in business – any business – means having a strong underpinning of people you trust. There are dozens of decisions you have to make daily. All of them should fall within the structure and goals of the business you are running. This is as vital to you as a one-man/one-woman business as for General Electric. So, how […]

Thinking right about your ceramic business

The first thing you have to realize is that you are the business. A potter is in business even if it’s small as said in the previous chapter. You have to learn to separate your warm feelings about the product from the objective analysis of what the business demands. A business is like a person […]