You’ve lived on both sides of the Mediterranean for several years. Two continents separated by this mythical and mystical body of water. With all the stark differences between Europe and Africa, both do beautiful works with clay from ceramic pots to glazed plates. You’ve accumulated quite a collection for yourself, and you brought home several boxes of ornament pieces, which you will use to decorate your kitchen and bathroom. You’ve already hired a professional tile and grout cleaning service to install them in your house. It’s part of the renovation you promised you’d do after your international posting.
You want to use the materials you brought with you as inspiration for starting your ceramic business. What are the things that you need to know to start the business? Let’s look at the possibilities.
An Overview of the Ceramics Industry in America
The ceramics industry in America generated $3 billion in revenue as of May 2019. Although the number of businesses has declined and there are only fewer than 2,030 establishments currently in operation, employment has risen to nearly 14,600.
How to Start Your Ceramic Business
You have an excellent collection of samples from pots, pitchers, vases, cups, and plates. That’s already a good start. Here are a few more things you need to consider when starting your ceramic business:
- Find a dedicated space. If you’re planning to do this at home, then you need to have a separate and dedicated studio. It could be your garage or backyard shack converted into a studio. You must have ample space for your potter’s wheel, clay processors, kiln, and display racks for all your finished ceramic products.
- Dollars out. Dollars in. Be ready to spend some moolah, but don’t be daunted by how much you’re going to pay. You need to stay focus on making this venture a success. A kiln could cost anywhere between $300 to $4,000. Shop around for pre-owned items to bring down your initial cost. Given this, some experts estimate that you could spend anywhere between $2,000 to $10,000 to start your business.
- Get help. You’ll need help on two fronts, at least. First, find a mentor who can guide you through the process — someone who has an expert level of expertise doing this craft. Second, recruit volunteers or interns to help you run your pottery studio. You’re going to make a mess. There’s going to be tidying up, and then there’s organizing all the products you will be creating. You would need serious help in this department.
- Know the market. Streamline your products. As you start, you can’t accommodate every wish of the market segment you are aiming for. Do your research and determine where it will be plausibly successful for you to go. Is it a highly specialized artisanal type of product lines, or will it be the mass-market functional types?
- Be creative in moving your products. Consider marketing ideas, like a kiln opening, where potential customers can participate or observe your pottery making process. Develop a whole afternoon’s program involving drinks being served, customers trying out the pottery wheel, and displaying products that could easily be turned into a sale. The point is to drive them inside your studio and have them exit via the cash register side. You’ll have to also create your online presence—a website and social media accounts.
There’s plenty more that you should consider. But these five main points should get you excited enough to start your ceramic business.