Learning to Pivot & Finding My Niche

Stories

Starting Out

When I started my ceramic business 3 years ago, I was still teaching art to high school kids while managing my shop as a side hustle. Having been trained as a traditional potter, I was mostly focused on making wheel-thrown functional kitchenware. I worked so very hard to make unique work that others loved but found that no matter how hard I tried, I wasn't getting into the markets I wanted to be in. I fought off all the usual demons: imposter syndrome, compare and despair, scarcity model thinking. Torture!


Deep down, I loved the idea of making ceramic jewelry, but I was super scared to try and break into what I was always told was a saturated market. I mean, if I can't get into markets now, how am I ever going to get in as a jewelry person?! I would always bring some jewelry, but only a limited selection, and it was kind of off to the side of my "regular work".

 

A Turn of Events

Then a friend and fellow business owner challenged me to bring only jewelry to my next market. I cringed with worry and dread, but I decided it was worth a shot. That market was the best one I had ever had, and the feedback was overwhelming. Not only was there a market for my work, but I felt like I had something to contribute that people were clamoring for.

Since then there has been no turning back. I now design for and run October Forever full time, which specializes in statement studs and dangles for people who identify as free spirits. I love creating work that makes people look cute and feel beautiful while being comfortable enough to get all the things done!

3 Questions to Seek Your Niche

What do you actually want to be spending your time doing? When you picture yourself working at your ideal job, what are you doing? Are you designing and sending things off to be made from a partner? Are you at the wheel or workbench for 8 hours a day? One of my favorite potters, Nick Joerling, was asked at a workshop if he had assistants to make his glazes. His reply was perfect. He said- you know? There's really no step in the process that I don't want to do. Figure out what you like to do and maximize your time doing that. 

What's your Venn diagram look like?  What is it that you do other people would be willing to throw down some sweet sweet cashola for? What is the intersection of what you are good at, what others need, what does the world need, and what do you like to make?

What is your motivation?  I find this to be the hardest question to answer. What is the reason you keep making things? Do you need it to be your business, or can it be something that you do your own satisfaction?  What is your #1 reason you keep coming back to this practice?
 
Thank you for reading my story! 
Creatively, this is what I have been up to

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  • Enis on

    I love your story. You inspire me.

  • Josh on

    Cool story!


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