I took a pottery class in 2008, right before I was married. It was loads of fun, very messy, and I loved it. I got pretty good. Good enough that I was motivated buy my own second-hand equipment and start making pottery myself. I found a little shop that specialized in local artisans and they loved my stuff. I thought I had this work-at-home thing in the bag.
When I say I got pretty good, I mean that after hours of tedious work, I could produce something that looked cool. I had trouble making things in consistent shapes or sizes, much less making them efficiently.
My one redeeming product was face-pots. These ugly/cute creations are a dime a dozen in my home in the foothills of Western North Carolina, but in eastern Virginia, they sold quickly and for a good price. But when I did some figurin’, I found the time it took to create my pottery was cutting into my profits: the business was failing. I was just too slow.
The reason my pottery business failed wasn’t because the market wasn’t any good, or because I didn’t know how sell my wares–I just wasn’t a professional. I was a beginner. My husband and I calculated that it would take me about a month to make enough inventory to sell at a single weekend crafts festival. I just wasn’t experienced enough to produce the amount it would take to cover my expenses and overhead.
Even so, I would have kept plugging along if I hadn’t had a baby. Thank goodness I did, because I believe I would have frustrated myself to death, trying to work at a professional level with barely a semester’s training and some old equipment. I realized making pottery my way–at a turtle’s pace–didn’t mix with the short nap times of my child. And you can’t just leave pottery and come back later–the stuff dries too quickly.
The time came. I had to sell the pottery equipment.
The silver lining is that I got a really good deal on the equipment and ended up selling it for more than I had in it (Craigslist, of course). I just didn’t have the expertise to make a living with pottery. But the experience taught me something–I had some gumption, some creativity, and folks who thought I produced something worth paying for. It was a step up from the misery of Mary Kay, but far from finding my niche.
Even so–that ferocious face pot lives on somewhere, in somebody’s home. How cool is that.
‘To be continued…