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A Mini Guide To Starting Your Own Pottery Business

Pottery is definitely one of the best hobbies you can turn into a business. Starting your own pottery business doesn't require large amounts of money nor crazy skills. As long as you know the basics of pottery making, have some practice and basic equipment, you can start selling your art either as a side hustle or as a full-time business.

 

In this mini-guide you’ll find the basic information about how to start a pottery business divided in 3 categories: The space and equipment you’ll need, the legal requirements to start a business* and how to promote and sell your art. 

Let’s get started.

 

The space & equipment: clay, wheels, kilns and other tools

While you do need your own equipment to start a pottery business, you don’t need to have your own private studio. Any space in which you can comfortably and safely work from can become your pottery studio whether that’s a spare room in your house, the basement, the garage or even the attic.

You can always find more convenient spaces as your business grows and makes more money. Just make sure to read and understand the safety information on any equipment you’ll be working with, especially kilns, as they need special setup depending on a variety of factors such as heat, size or voltage. You can read more about kilns and safety here*. 

When it comes to equipment, it really depends on the kind of pieces you will be creating and the techniques you use to create your art. 

Obviously, you will need clay. If you are already thinking about opening a pottery business, you are likely to be an expert on the matter. If you would still like to read some more information, here you can read everything you need to know about clay for pottery making.

 

You can always make pottery without major equipment by using handbuilding techniques. However, if you are going to start a business, you will definitely need a pottery wheel and a kiln, as they make the production fast and efficient. 

  • If you still don’t know what pottery wheel you should buy, here is a guide on what to look for when buying a pottery wheel.
  • Kilns come in a wide variety of sizes. They all work similarly, it all depends on the amount of pieces you plan to fire at once. At Soul Ceramics we sell pottery kilns in a variety of sizes from 0.11 to up to 53 cubic feet.

You can learn more about pottery kilns here.

You can see the kilns available at Soul Ceramics here.

When you start a pottery business, usually the kiln and the pottery wheels are going to be the two biggest investments  you’ll have to make before you start making money.

All the other tools and equipment (modeling tools, safety gear, decoration materials and other supplies) are much less expensive and they vary greatly depending on the kind of items you’ll make, so perhaps you’ll only need a few of them to start with. 

We advise you to make a list of all the tools you’ll need and check them out online just to have an idea of how much money they’ll cost. You can then add that amount up to the cost of the clay, kiln and pottery wheel and you’ll have a rough estimate of how much money you need to invest in the equipment and materials needed to start your pottery business. 

Keep in mind though, that even if you start your pottery business at home and save money on renting a separate studio, you will see an increase in your electricity and water bills.

 

The legal procedures to start a new business*

In the United States of America, the legal procedures and the filing fees to start a new business vary from state to state. You can run your business on your own as a sole proprietorship or register a Limited Liability company, also known as LLC. 

In very simple terms, being a sole proprietorship means that you are making and selling your art on your own; there’s no separation between you and your business and as a consequence, the money you make by selling pottery gets taxed as your personal income at your personal tax level. A LLC, however, is a different legal entity that you might own but that gets taxed on its own and even has a different tax identification number. So technically, you won’t be selling the pottery but the LLC will. 

One option might be better for you than others. It depends on the size of your pottery business, how much money it makes, how you might want to be taxed, how you want to protect your assets and many other factors.

In this article published by Entrepreneur you can read more about the basics about business structures in the US.

The most sensible thing to do is to consult with your CPA or tax advisor so they help you figure out which option is best for you*.

 

Promoting and selling your art: marketing for pottery businesses

If you want to start a business, marketing is the single most important tool that’ll help you drive sales.

There are several options in both the digital and traditional marketing worlds that will help you sell pottery.

Digital marketing, however, is the way to go for small businesses with limited resources. 

Digital marketing includes promoting your pottery business on the Internet through social media, your own website, eCommerce store or through other ecommerce platforms and marketplaces. Selling pottery using digital platforms is by far the best options for those who are planning to start a small business from scratch simply because it can be done quite cheaply when compared to renting a showroom or other kind of retail space.

 

There are several ways you can go about selling your pottery online. You can create your own eCommerce store and promote it yourself or you can sell your art through an ecommerce platform/marketplace that is already known and has traffic, in exchange for a commission. You could also consider utilizing social media. 

For example, you can create your own eStore and list your products on your own website using Shopify. You could then drive traffic by running paid ads on Facebook & Instagram, by building a strong social media presence and then sending your followers to your site or by using content marketing strategies to drive organic traffic.

On the other hand, an example of a great ecommerce platform where you can create an account and start selling pottery quite easily without having to deal with creating a full website and running ads, is Etsy

Etsy is a platform focused on handmade items and craft supplies in which artists, including potters can sell and promote their products. It’s not free, it charges some fees depending on the items you sell. However, you only need to pay 20 cents per listing to get started. Yes, 20 cents! 

  • If you want to learn more about Etsy and how you can sell your pottery there, you can read more about them here.
  • If you want to learn more about how to create and promote your very own eCommerce store, you can read Shopify’s blueprint on how to start an online business.
  • If you need help choosing the right equipment to start your pottery business, we can give you a hand. Check out our products page in which you’ll find all the pottery wheels and kilns for both beginners and professionals available in our store. You can always contact us and we’ll help you decide what’s the best equipment for you to start your pottery business based on your specific needs. 

Good luck!

 

Additional resources on pottery

 

*The information provided on this article does not, and is not intended to, constitute legal advice; all content is for general informational purposes only. You should not act on the basis of any content included in this article without seeking legal or other professional advice.

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Jen-Ken AF3C 11/9 Ceramic Kiln
Jessica Brooks (Oxford, US)
Perfect, simple, professional

I LOVE my new kiln!! I am new to pottery and ceramics and this is my first kiln. Great price, great customer service, easy to order and exactly as described! perfect fit for my home as it is small and fits a standard home electrical outlet without having to make any electrical modifications. SO easy to use with easy-to-read manual— my very first projects fired perfectly and I have never fired a kiln in my life before now. Perfect 04-06 range bisque and glaze just as described, which is exactly what I wanted. I couldn’t be happier with or more proud to own this equipment and everything that came with. Zero issues whatsoever with ordering and delivery, and I really appreciate that it arrived a week early with frequent communication and updates from the time I ordered, to the time it arrived, and great follow-up even after a couple of weeks of use. I never had to contact Soul Ceramics once regarding my order because I was provided all the information and updates I needed and more as my order was being fulfilled… but I have no doubt that any concerns, issues or questions I might have had would have been addressed and resolved promptly and professionally. seriously impressive, and this is a dream come true for me as a maker. I really can’t say enough about how satisfied and excited I am with this company and equipment. Thank you so much for a wonderful product and outstanding customer service!

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Evenheat Knife Oven - KO 18
Brandon Jones (New Bloomfield, US)
Evenheat KO18

Just received the kiln, so I haven’t had a chance to use it yet. Took a about 15 wks for it to be built and shipped. But it was packaged very well from Evenheat. Make sure you have someone to help you move it into place, as the kiln is not light. The drop ship was from a tractor trailer, so make sure you have room for that size of delivery truck. May update once I get to use the kiln.

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Evenheat Ceramic Kiln - High Fire 810
sandra rodriguez (Riverside, US)
Great Kiln!!

Took a while to get here but it was worth the wait!
Works great and it’s really easy to use, since we got the ramp master control. Customer service was also very nice and kept us updated on info we asked for and needed! When we got our kiln we ended up putting a dolly under the stand so we can push it around and store it easily. So far this kiln is great, especially for our small business. 10/10 :)

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Evenheat Knife Oven - KH 418
ANTHONY SOVA (Alma, US)
evenheat oven

couldn't be happier! works great, easy to program and only thing was a long wait, but that was to be expected. thanks to you all!

R
Evenheat Heat Treat Oven - LB 22.5
ROBERT WIDING (Kihei, US)
LB 22.5 AWSOME PERFORMER

So easy to use and saves time