This week in our ongoing Meet the Maker series, we’re thrilled to introduce you to Courtney of Honeycomb Studio.
LBC: When did you start your business and what inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?
Courtney: I worked as a full time potter when I got out of college, but soon had to return to the world of the 9-5 for all of those fun adult reasons (health insurance, etc). I spent the next 7 years building a successful career as a non-profit fundraiser. I always regretted walking away from pottery, but the idea of leaving a stable job to become a studio artist seemed unwise at best. In the spring of 2012, I had taken a job that wasn’t the right fit for me and, in assessing my options, decided that now was the time to take a leap and pursue a dream. I won’t say it was an easy decision, but the timing felt right and I knew I could always go back to work if ceramics didn’t work out.
LBC: How would you describe what you create?
Courtney: I create small scale, porcelain sculptures and decorative vessels. My aesthetic would probably be described a modern and minimalist with a touch of glam. I work mostly with a restrained glaze palate that really lets the beauty of the porcelain shine, and most of my pieces have a metallic accent of some kind.
LBC: Where can we find your products?
Courtney: In addition to my webshop where you can buy directly from my studio, Honeycomb Studio pieces can be found in select boutiques all over the world. A list of my stockists can be found on my website.
LBC: What inspires you?
Courtney: For me, inspiration first comes from the form. Sometimes I know roughly what I want to make, be it a vase or a lamp, and then I just keep my eyes open for a form that inspires me. I look for clean, simple lines that I know will enhance the beauty of the porcelain and then I go from there.
LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made.
Courtney: First and foremost, the decision to view what I do with a strategic, business-like mind. I think artists can be their own worst enemies in many ways, but I think of myself as 60% business-woman and 40% artist. Focusing on the business is the only way that I can continue to be an artist. The other impactful decision I’ve made is to really focus on the relationships I build with my customers (both retail and wholesale). As a small business, the fact that you’re the point person for every interaction can be a strength or a weakness. I’ve decided to make sure it’s my strength.
LBC: What’s been one of the biggest obstacles you’ve encountered during your journey as a maker and how have you managed to conquer or mitigate it?
Courtney: I think a massive learning curve that comes from starting your own business is an ongoing obstacle. When you leave a corporate job, you suddenly become your own HR manager, accountant, IT department, marketing department, customer service rep, etc. and all of this is ON TOP of whatever it is that your company is supposed to be doing. Coming from a nonprofit fundraising background, I had very few transferable skills, so I had to learn it all as I went. I’m certainly a better business owner for it, but it can be quite daunting if I think about it for too long and too hard.
LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If we blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?
Courtney: Hopefully Honeycomb Studio will continue to grow and evolve. In the near future, I’d like to move to a larger studio space which will open up all kinds of new possibilities for engaging with our customers and our community. Ideally, this space would function as a work + shop – a retail space that includes not just our own work, but work from other talented ceramicists and a studio space that will be visible and accessible for people who are interested in watching the creative process in action. I’d also really like to expand our product offerings – I’m looking into moving into lighting, which I think is really exciting!
LBC: Please share one of your favorite resources: a book, a website, an app, a gadget, an event… anything that’s helped save time, money or sanity!
Courtney: This may not be earth shattering or sexy, but Uline has been a great asset for me. When my sales volume got to the point that I felt I could make bulk purchases for my shipping supplies, my saving went through the roof! I think I saved something like $600 on foam wrap in 3 months, which is HUGE for a small company.
LBC: Tell us about a pearl of wisdom someone has shared with you. Who said it and how did it help propel you forward?
Courtney: I’m not sure that anyone actually said this to me, but as a two entrepreneur household (my husband has his own business as well), the saying “if it were easy, everyone would do it” has become something of a mantra. By striking out on your own, you’re definitely taking on more than the average person and sometimes that can be overwhelming, but there’s something to be said for boldly forging your own way in the world. I think it’s something to be proud of.
LBC: Are you a night owl or early bird?
Courtney: I’m more of a middle of the day bird. I’m kind of useless before 8:30 am and after 10:30 pm, but MAN am I productive from 9:30-7:30pm.
LBC: Do you have a favorite quote?
Courtney: My favorite quote is from Pablo Picasso: “Inspiration exists, but it has to find you working.” I take it as a call to action. Stop waiting for the perfect idea to occur – get in that studio, or office or whatever and get to work (in a good, exciting way!).
What recipe is most requested from you?
Courtney: People love my salads. I don’t know why – maybe because I make my own dressing? I don’t personally love eating salads all that much, but I do have strong opinions about what makes an acceptable salad (no cherry tomatoes!). My friends have called me the Salad Laureate and I somehow always end up being assigned the salad at the pot luck.
Connect with Courtney + Honeycomb Studio all around the web:
Thank you, Courtney, for sharing your beautiful ceramics with us. Wishing you continued success!
Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker Monday” series? Drop us a line: firstname.lastname@example.org. Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!