Meet the Maker – Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics

Chloe Tate

This week in our Meet the Maker series, we’re getting to know Jen Kuroki, the playfully creative and talented ceramic artist behind jen e ceramics!


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


LBC: What inspired you to take your leap as an entrepreneur?

Jen: The company I was working for asked if I would transfer from Los Angeles to Chicago. I love LA! I stayed, quit the job and started freelancing design and producing ceramics full time.


LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Jen: I honestly had no vision for the future. I never imagined I could have a business doing ceramics. Things just started happening organically. And lucky for me, I still love it.


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Jen: Ceramic objects that smile.


LBC: Where can we find your products?

Jen: On my website at, in my Etsy shop, and through some stockists: Schoolhouse Electric (online/Portland), Potted (Atwater, Los Angeles), Leif Shop (online/NYC), As of Now (Los Angeles), Verve Coffee (Los Angeles), Rare Device (SF) and upcoming on FAB (online).


LBC: Walk us through your typical work day.

Jen: There is no typical day and my schedule really depends on the current projects, orders and events coming up. I still have some graphic design clients, so I go back and forth from the computer to my ceramics studio. It’s a juggle. And then there’s all the packing, shipping and administrative work!


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


LBC: What are 3 things makers should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Jen: Starting a small business is truly a passion project. You must love what you do. Is it something you can devote your life to? Know that you will have to pay more taxes as a small business owner. Plan accordingly. Do you have an additional source of income until the business takes off? Do you have any money saved? How streamlined is your production process? Rethink old practices and integrate new ones.


LBC: When you’re overwhelmed, what brings you back to focus?

Jen: A fun session on the ceramic wheel, making work for myself. I ignore orders for a little bit and explore new forms and shapes. The spontaneous “me time” allows me to remember how much I love working with clay. Play helps mitigate the pressures of the business.


LBC: Tell us about a few of the best business decisions you’ve made to date.

Jen: I’ve tried to make it a habit to say yes to scary things. Leaving a 9-5 job was the best decision so far. It’s been challenging, but I feel like the quality of my life has improved so much. Another great business decision has been getting a business credit card. Make the business pay for the business.


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


LBC: Please share one obstacle from your business experience. How did you bounce back/overcome it?

Jen: When I first started, I was presented with a massive project of producing the ceramics for a new hotel. I knew nothing about the business of ceramics, but thought I would be stupid to turn down the order. The relationship lasted a couple of years and they were hard years filled with excruciating hours. And although I would have done it completely different now, it was an incredible learning experience. I was able to learn quickly about production, my physical limits, the necessity of terms and conditions, streamlining designs and processes, and the trials and tribulations of pricing.


LBC: Is there a cause or organization that you contribute to that you’re particularly passionate about?

Jen: Sierra Club. Their motto is “Explore, Enjoy, and Protect the Planet.” I can stand behind that one.


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


LBC: What are 3 essential resources in your business toolbox that you can’t do without?

Jen: I’m still super backwards when it comes to business efficiency. I got a business credit card last year, which I love. I tried using Quickbooks and despite all the recommendations from fellow freelancers, I hate it. Maybe I need to take a class, but it ended up creating more work for me and my accountant. And I love my Passion Planner! I’m somewhat of a Luddite (may be my problem with Quickbooks), so writing things down really helps me keep my goals, appointments, to-dos, notes, thoughts…all in one place.


LBC: Suppose we had a time machine. If you blasted ourselves forward a few years, where would we see your company?

Jen: I would be working in a larger studio with at least one full time assistant. I have so many ideas and not enough time!


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


LBC: What’s your spirit animal?

Jen: The Hawk. Some of my friends call me the Oracle. Haha.


LBC: Tell me a few of places on your travel “bucket list”.

Jen: Cinque Terre, Italy; Patagonia, Argentina; and Katmai National Park, Alaska.


LBC: What’s your favorite quote and who said it?

Jen: One of my favorite quotes: “Forever is composed of nows.” –Emily Dickinson


Meet the Maker - Jen Kuroki of jen e ceramics


Thank you, Jen, for sharing your talent with us!  We absolutely love your work and we look forward to all the wonderful things ahead for jen e ceramics! We’re cheering you on…


Want to see your brand featured in our continuing “Meet the Maker” series? Drop us a line: hello AT Please use “MEET THE MAKER” as the subject line and be certain to include your web address. We look forward to hearing from you!


About the Author

Chloe Tate

Once described as “relentlessly cheerful,” Chloe is a lover of all things colorful and practically every fruit known to man. She lives in Atlanta and divides her time between supporting Lucky Break clients, keeping shop at a local artisan market, and event planning for business conferences. She’s also working on the launch of her skincare line while finishing her degree in Organizational & Leadership Studies. True story: Chloe shares 50% of Lela’s DNA and is poised to inherit her obscenely large shoe collection.

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