In 2010 we built my tiny 10’x10’ studio in our backyard and I made one of a kind ceramic work that was shipped off to galleries and exhibited in the occasional show here and there. When we moved into a new house four years ago I decided to rent a studio away from home and then two years later I moved locations in the middle of a hurricane and power outage. In total, I’ve been paying rent for four years this month. I’ve written before about how increasing my overhead costs changed the way I work. I switched from one of a kind work to more production style, gift-able and functional ceramics that could be easily mixed and matched in the home. With the production style work came slightly lower price points and I have really enjoyed being in control of selling my own work whether that happens face-to-face in my brick and mortar showroom or online through my webshop.
As I look ahead to the future and think about what is to come for my little ceramics business, there are so many thoughts swirling around my brain. This morning I said to my husband, “I guess it’s probably a miracle that I’ve managed to pay my rent and labor costs and overhead these last four years.” And he said, “No. It wasn’t a miracle. It was lots of hard work on your part.”
He’s correct. It has been hard work on my part but also on the part of so many others. Most nights I come home exhausted and just want to put my feet up and my husband cooks our dinner. On Saturdays when I’m working, he’s doing the laundry so that we can spend our Sundays together without doing chores. Except during the holiday season when I’m also working Sundays. Just today he moved some shelves in the studio that are too heavy for me to lift. Not to mention a few months ago when I insisted that the entire 1000 sq. feet of baseboards in the studio needed caulking as a last stand against the ants and other unmentionables that had been trying to sneak in. The man is a saint. Or a hard working economist who works for me on the weekend for peanuts.
There have been others. A friend who showed up to help me re-paint the walls after mishaps that were beyond my control. Another friend who help me pick out planters and flowers and spent her day off re-arranging my showroom in preparation for the holidays. There are my artisan vendors who make me look good with their gorgeous handmade products. The friend who sneaked in and mowed my lawn before a big event.
Most especially I appreciate you, my loyal customers. You continue to shop local and handmade. You bring your friends and parents and sisters. You show up right when I need you and I want to say thank you. Although the future is always unknown, I want to give you all a huge shout out. We’ve accomplished a lot over the last four years and that’s really something for all of us to be proud of.