Is pottery your hobby? And you want to make money by selling pottery? If YES, read this article and learn how to start a pottery business from home or a private studio with a small investment.
Pottery making as a hobby in an amateurish way is a completely different thing than starting a commercial business. Statistically, the majority of all small businesses-pottery and otherwise-fail within their first five years of operation. Definitely, the pottery business demands proper business planning and exploring different marketing avenues. However, you can take several steps to ensure that your business succeeds.
If you are already a potter or enjoy clay modeling, then starting this business is just perfect for you. In addition to that, you can consider starting this business both on a part-time or full-time basis. And the most interesting thing is that launching this business doesn’t demand a lot of capital investment.
Here are the 10 Steps to Start a Pottery Business
1. Understand the Local Market
Like any other small manufacturing business, it is essential to gather information regarding the local pottery items market demand, competition from other local pottery-making players, and pricing of pottery pieces in the local market. Much will depend on the nature of the pottery business you have in mind.
You must identify how many other potters there are. What type of pots do they produce and what techniques do they use? Whether they sell their pots from their studios or workshops. How much do they charge for their pieces? Who are their customers? What other goods and services – if any – do they offer? These all will help you in crafting your business plan and determining the business model.
It is advised to do detailed market research and collect as much market information as possible. This information will help you in planning better and explore the market gaps more wisely.
2. Get the Required Skills
Even if you can produce different attractive pottery of your own then also taking professional courses matters a lot. There’s no formal education required to enter this field, but pottery classes are recommended in order to learn the basics of the craft.
Generally, you can choose undergraduate degree programs in ceramics, but there are also ceramics training workshops run by community and private organizations.
Actually, undergraduate degree courses provide students with skills-based lessons, such as wheel shaping, hand molding, relief-mold construction, and kiln safety. Also, you learn about monitoring clay thickness, making uniform pottery shapes, clay carving skills, and glazing techniques.
Apart from this, you can consider other learning resources too. You can consider reading books and ceramic-related business magazines and journals. These will also help you in getting a lot of information about the current trend in the industry.
3. Craft the Pottery Business Plan
Crafting a business plan is a must when you want to make money from your pottery business. And sincerely, your business plan must include how you will going to operate the business. How are you going to sell the products and to which demographics?
Additionally, you must include the financial cost analysis. Decide, whether you will run the business with other employees or not. And calculate an expected ROI and break even.
4. Name Your Pottery Business
It is without saying, properly naming a business is extremely critical to the overall success of any enterprise. Select a catchy name for your pottery business so that customers can easily connect with you when they consider buying pottery pieces. Furthermore register a relevant website domain, so that creating a website in the future does not pose any problems. If the chosen domain name is already taken, make some changes and register it before anyone buys.
5. Register your Pottery Business
To run a legally-compliant business, it is mandatory to register your business. It holds the same in the pottery business too. Every country and state offers a wide range of business formations under which business activities are run. Select the one that fits you best based on your scale of operation.
For example, if you are from the United States and searching for a business formation that can protect your personal assets in an event of a financial dispute, forming an LLC is a better choice. Talk to a local attorney and finalize your business structure.
In some states, you will need proper licenses and permissions for a pottery business. Generally, most businesses are required to collect sales tax on the goods or services they provide.
If you want to establish a pottery studio, then you will require a Certificate of Occupancy (CO). A CO confirms that all building codes, zoning laws, and government regulations have been met. So, it is always better to talk to a local business consultant before initiating the business.
7. Ensure the Location
If you want to start and operate the business with a small investment, then it is better to start as a home-based. However, a commercial pottery studio has more potential for earning revenue. Even, if you start the business from home, you must determine a space for work and keep the products. In addition to that, you must have the right storage facility for raw materials.
8. Procure Pottery Supplies
After determining the space, you will need to procure several pieces of equipment and tools for operation. As a matter of fact, you don’t need any major equipment for making pottery pieces from home for your own use.
It can be done manually with your own hands. However, for business activities, you will surely need some tools and equipment. One can The type of equipment needed to make pottery items will largely depend on the specific products that you want to produce.
The three major tools that are required to make pottery pieces commercially are clay, pottery wheel, and ceramic kiln. There are three main types of clay that are used in making pottery items. They are stoneware, earthenware, and porcelain clay. You need to select the one that fits best for your pottery items.
Below we list down some of the important equipment and raw materials that you need to make pottery pieces:
- Hand tools
- Carving and decorating tools
- Glaze and colorants
- Pottery Wheel: ranges from $950 and $1800
- Storage and display shelves, including a place to store damp pieces
- Kiln: manual or computerized, ranging from $2,000 to over $10,000
- Pugmill: costs anywhere from $2,300 – $8,400
- An Extruder
- Slab Roller
9. Fix Pricing
You will need to determine what type of product you will produce and at which price you will sell them. Basically, if you plan to set up a pottery unit it is likely that you will produce some or all of the following:
- Mugs, plates, cups and saucers, teapots, jugs, egg cups, and so on
- Serving bowls, serving plates
- Decorative or commemorative plates
- Decorative bowls, vases, and pots
- Ornaments and objects
- Garden pots and planters
10. Make Money by Selling Pottery
Finally, you will need to explore the marketing avenues for selling the products. Broadly, you can sell the products in two ways. Either in retail or wholesale. Otherwise, you can explore both ways. For retail, it is always better to set up a pottery studio.
Hiring a tablespace in the craft fair is a good idea for selling pottery items. Additionally, you can consider online selling. There are several online places where you can sell your handmade pottery products.
Apart from marketplaces, you can set up a small online store of your own. It is not costly these days. Additionally, you can maintain the online store easily. Also, use social media to the fullest for promoting your pottery business.
Is Pottery Business Profitable?
Yes, pottery is a profitable business. As per the latest study, the global pottery ceramics market size was valued at USD 10.72 billion in 2021. It is expected that the pottery market is expected to expand at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 3.8% from 2022 to 2030.
How Much Does a Potter Make?
According to industry experts, the average income for a new pottery worker is around $25,000 annually. More experienced potter workers earn an average annual income of more than $50,000 yearly.
How Much Does a Pottery Wheel Cost?
The cost of the pottery wheel ranges anywhere from $50 to $300 depending on the size and type.
What pottery items sell best?
Here is a list of the most popular pottery items that have a good demand:
- Handcrafted Mugs.
- Soap Dishes
- Tea Cups
- Plant Pots
What are the main types of pottery?
Broadly, there are three main types of pottery. These are earthenware, stoneware, and porcelain.
Conclusion: It is seen, many hobby potters want to convert their hobby into a business. However, most mistakenly thinks a big investment is needed to start a pottery business. For them, this article we hope will clear those doubts and inspire them to start a successful pottery business.
About the Author: 99businessideas.com led by Rupak Chakrabarty is committed to helping beginners, entrepreneurs, and small business owners in starting, managing, and growing their businesses.