Planning for the future in the present

Do you have a clear process?

As a creative, I used to have this idea that I should go with the flow, create when creativity hits me, when motivation strikes…

Yes, I’m a creative who solves problems with design, and that may not be your creative way, but whatever way you are creative, with numbers, knowing laws, creating content etc., it works the same.

If you are waiting for motivation or creativity to come to you, you will most likely que the crickets or be frantic scrambling to get things together as time runs out. 

What I have learned is: you can train your creativity, it’s just like any other muscle.

Oh processes, it’s like angel music to my ears! The more I can streamline and create processes, the easier it is to both create and plan for the future. It also makes handing off tasks to others or new members of your team much easier, especially as you grow (or are planning for it to grow!).

If you don’t run your business with different processes, start by writing down what you do step by step, like you were teaching someone else to do your job.

When you have that list, you can start optimizing that process by removing things you might not need to do or perhaps you combine things, creating more time for yourself.

You can have processes for just about anything, such as onboarding clients, different projects, scheduling, receiving feedback, how you build a website, information collection, the list goes on.

Then, when you need to do a task, you pick up a process and start with step one. No need to wait on any creativity or motivation.

Having these processes also means starting to get a great grasp on how long something takes, giving you an opportunity to plan ahead.

One important tip: These processes need to be reviewed frequently, as your business is a living and breathing entity and things constantly change as you grow.

Do you have something that you can turn into a process and be more consistent and effective with?

A big bonus: I don’t know how often I get clients pointing out how they appreciate and value our process, how they feel inspired by it, and some even mentioning they are “stealing” ideas for themselves.  So, it’s not only good internally, but also a tremendous benefit for who you work with as well!

Are you planning for growth? Look for things you can simplify and turn them into optimized processes.

Business Highlight: Clay & Craft

We take pride in highlighting incredible companies all over the world.

From Melbourne, Australia to San Diego, California, it is a pleasure to highlight businesses that make a greater impact in their own unique way.

This week, our team at KHD is proud to highlight Clay & Craft, a popular pottery and ceramics studio located just a few miles up the PCH in the quintessential beach town of Encinitas, California. 

Whether you are interested in taking a class or looking to add some color and uniqueness to your kitchen, be sure to stop by Clay & Craft the next time you are in the neighborhood. There is nothing better than supporting local, especially a business made up of talented, authentic artists.

On the topic of business, I want to highlight the beautiful branding Clay & Craft has created. With the use of natural colors, clean fonts, and a navigable site, it is clear they value the customer experience. 

We sat down for a chat with local ceramist, Emma Storm, to learn what this studio is all about!

Emma Storm (@mudd.hands)

Well, if you are working at Clay & Craft you must be a talented ceramist! Can you tell us a little bit about how you got started?

I started doing pottery when I moved to San Diego in 2018. I was looking for a new artistic outlet and I had always wanted to try pottery. I never got to meet my maternal grandmother, but she was an artist and a potter and I grew up admiring her art in our home, so ceramics felt right. I completely fell in love with the practice and hope to continue learning and throwing for life!”

How did you hear about Clay & Craft?

I had left my previous job in July 2021 and decided to dive into art full time. Two days later a friend sent me Clay & Craft’s Instagram post advertising that they were hiring, so I jumped at the chance! It felt like the universe had aligned to bring us together!”

Why do you love Clay & Craft?

“I love Clay & Craft for a lot of reasons. Mainly because Nicole (the owner) has provided such an awesome environment for people to come create, learn, and enjoy the craft of ceramics. I love helping people learn how to throw; watching them go from never having thrown on a wheel to them having made 3 or 4 pieces by the end of their lesson is such a privilege. I love the process and seeing clients be proud of themselves and in what they made.”

Do I need to reserve a time to come to Clay & Craft? How does it work?

Yes! You can reserve a time for either a 90 minute private or group wheel lesson. Our website makes it super easy with available appointment times listed, just click and book! We also offer Handbuilding workshops and Wheel Time for seasoned potters. And, in the coming months the studio is expanding and we’ll be offering more classes and workshops.”

I’ve never thrown before, will someone be there to teach me?

“Yes! When you book a wheel lesson, an instructor will be there to teach and guide you every step of the way.”

I am experienced and i'm just looking for a wheel, can I throw in peace?

“Yup! We offer 90 minutes of uninstructed wheel time (by reservation) for those who are confident in their throwing skills to come in and work at their own pace.”

What can I make at Clay & Craft? Do I get to keep it?

You can make whatever you want! One piece is included in your lesson and any other pieces you make are an additional $10 firing fee.”

Are there any community events we should know about?

“We offer group workshops each month. An annual Sample + Seconds sale and plan to host a social event in the coming months once we complete our studio expansion. We encourage people to follow @clayandcraftco to stay in the loop.”

What is your favorite piece to make?

Everything! Everything I make is special to me. Being able to create something useful out of earth is the coolest thing to me. Drinking coffee out of a mug, eating off of a plate or bowl or watching a plant grow in a pot I made is a really special feeling.”

If you could describe the feeling you have when you are on the wheel, what would it be?

“When I’m throwing a piece on the wheel, I feel zoned in. In that moment, nothing else matters but being present with the clay. It’s a peaceful feeling.”

How can we support you? Where do you sell your pottery?

Come book a class at Clay + Craft! Follow us on Instagram @clayandcraftco and you can follow me @mudd.hands.

Nicole has her pottery on the Clay + Craft website as well as in the storefront of the studio.

I sell all of my work through a friend, chef, and author of cookbook “s h i n e.”, Sylvie Coulange. You can find my pieces on her site or through my Instagram @mudd.hands.

The holidays are around the corner and nothing is better than a homemade gift. We cannot wait to see what beautiful pieces come from the talented hands of Clay & Craft!

How to personable without taking it personally

With growth comes more responsibility. This one hit me hard this year.

At every stage in business you run into problems, just at different levels and price points.

I got the opportunity to look over all my contracts, and it wasn’t just for fun, it was because they were being challenged this year.

When it was first being challenged, I went into a dark place wondering,

“How the heck did this even happen? How can somebody misunderstand me so much?”.

Sure, I could have handled things better as there is always an opportunity for improvement. I couldn’t help but think, “How can somebody be so incredibly unkind? How do I show this person how to be kind? How do I “raise the tides” in this situation?”

I care deeply about my work, my team, and my clients. I believe this dedication largely contributes to where I am today. When somebody thinks the opposite of my intentions, it is extremely challenging, one I took it personally.

And to add onto that…you know how bad things come in three? Yeah, might as well do it up right 😉

I was in this dark place for a couple of days until one of my mentors hit me over the head and woke me up. It’s not for me to teach somebody who is not asking for advice, rather I need to show up as the person I want to be. This is something I know but somehow, I got side swiped and lost footing.

When out-of-character things happen, often it is not about you but the other person

I reflected on this experience by looking at myself and how could I have done better, focusing on how I can practice on responding in the healthiest way rather than reacting. I believe in treating people with firmness to not let them walk over you yet treating everyone with kindness. Maintaining your confidence and kindness shows others that you can do strong business in a kind way.

Although in this situation I honestly wanted them to “eat glass” most of the time, it was not an easy feat! Kindness and gracefulness is much harder than lashing out at somebody. That is probably why I think kindness is so badass!

Problems are growth opportunities.

How can I do things differently and better next time?

I came out of this with clearer boundaries and guidelines around all we do.

I don’t need to go to their level, a dark place, nor is it on me to teach them unless they ask for advice.

With boundaries and guidelines, I can still be my personable self without taking it personally.

Although I must admit I’m not super excited about having so much legal stuff, I prefer the good ol’ handshake, but as I say when it comes to branding – clarity feels so good, and it really does in legal situations as well. It removes questions and confusion.

We all win.

Having clear boundaries and a lot of personality within that space works like a charm!