Mayco: Please tell us about yourself and your studio – what’s your background, why did you open your own PYOP studio, and how have you ended up where you are today?
Mom’s Ceramics: On September 1 of 2007, my father passed away suddenly and it was a very sad time for me. A local studio that I went to was up for sale and I had made an offer to buy it but was outbid. After my father passed I was driving my children crazy with my grief. The studio came up for sale again about 10 months later. My son made me a deal, he said, I am going to buy you that studio Mom, but you have to stop this crying every single day, you are making this family crazy. So on September 1, 2008, (one year to the day I lost my dad) my son purchased the studio and named it Mom’s because it was my therapy and joy to come in every day and do what makes me so happy. Painting, creating and people, next to my children, that is my joy in life.
Can you tell us a little about your space? How important is the environment?
We have 1500 square feet of studio space, a kiln room, and a handicap accessibility restroom. Its bright, warm and inviting. We have over 30,000 slip cast molds in our basement and with the exception of cups, bowls, and plates that we purchase from Mayco, I pour every item we sell. I love the creativity that pouring our own greenware allows us, I can carve, personalize and alter pieces to make every person happy.
Your online reviews are amazing- all 5 stars! What makes Mom’s Ceramics such a special place for people to visit?
I would like to think our rating is a reflection of the happy atmosphere that I work very hard to create here every single day. My sons love and generosity put me here, and I won’t ever take that for granted. I love Ceramics, and I love the people I get to share it with. I think the real reason that our reviews are so amazing is because of the fact that I don’t do this because I will end up a millionaire one day, I do this to be happy, and to make people happy, and people see and feel that. I like to make them feel they are in an extension of my home.
What are you and your customer’s favorite Mayco products to use? How do these products show off work?
Before I started Mom’s Ceramics I only ever worked with acrylics. I dry brushed EVERYTHING I could get my hands on. Literally the first week after we took over, I started trying out Mayco’s Stroke and Coat line. I experimented with washes and full strength painting. Once I was comfortable, which wasn’t long because they are so ridiculously easy to use, I started hosting seminars, a class where everyone does the same project but with their own spin on it. The customers went crazy! I find that people love to be guided when they come in to paint they don’t want to have to make too many decisions. They want an easy fun project that has a BOOM to it. So I research daily, I try to find things that are trending, or popular or things that will interest the customers and their children. Then I try out the design, n if I feel its easy enough to duplicate for the customers I set up a workshop. Most if not all have been huge successes.
Do you have a studio fee or is it all inclusive?
For our weekly regulars, there is a $6 sitting fee per week. If we have a seminar it is $35 – 99% of the time. My theory is if I keep the price reasonable the customers will come back often. If I make it too expensive they will be one-hit wonders and never come back.
We have noticed you are very active on Instagram… What other types of marketing do you use, how much time do you spend on marketing, and what has been the most successful?
I use Instagram and Facebook mostly. I tried newspaper ads, ads on pizza boxes, flyers in peoples mailboxes, ads in college journals. NONE of those brought any business in at all, and only cost me a fortune. Practically every person is on one form of social media or another. By posting a picture on both of my platforms every day or every few days, I keep my followers interested, intrigued and curious about the shop. I like to think that I am like that newsfeed at the bottom of the screen during the day. I’m not too overbearing that people wanna kill me for annoying them, but just interesting enough that they wanna see more. I also post recipes, and fun/inspirational sayings to catch their eyes
What difficulties arise from owning a PYOP studio? How have you overcome those difficulties?
It is a 24/7 type of business. Even when you don’t have customers present, there is a TON of work to do. Filling orders, firing peoples pieces, personalizing items, keeping track of supplies, and pouring interesting new things for the shelves so that people don’t get bored. I overcome the difficulties by never stopping, haha. I put my whole self into this shop. I always see the bright side, and always recognize how fortunate I am to be able to do what I love every single day. Super Blessed and I want people to know it
What types of classes and events do you offer? What is the most successful?
I offer all kinds of classes, I try to make each one not only a fun project but also a learning one. A new technique, a twist on the normal. Holiday stuff is probably our most successful type of class. My tag line in here is “This ain’t Target”. You can buy a bowl from anywhere, but here, at Mom’s, it can be whatever makes you happy.
What has been the best or most rewarding aspect of owning a PYOP studio?
Through the shop, I have been able to reach sooooo many people, and donate to so many amazing charities. I have an audience of 5000 people just on Facebook, I use that to bring awareness to the local person in our community that needs help. I raffle off a basket once a month with beautiful pieces in it. The person who wins it is over the moon happy and the person we donate all the proceeds to benefits by everyone’s generosity. So that is the greatest thing ever. My son helped me heal by giving me this shop, I help people in their times of need with this shop.
What do you see in the future for Mom’s Ceramics?
Our ten year anniversary is September 1! I hope we can do this for many, many, many more years. I just want to keep learning, creating, making people happy and inspiring others to do the same.
If someone want to start their own PYOP studio… what advice would you give?
The first five years in the shop we were lost, I am not a great business person so I didn’t know how to do what I love and connect to people outside of the four walls. The absolute greatest thing we did to boost the business was to get in touch with our neighborhood. Social media is an amazing tool. Most neighborhoods have town groups on Facebook, join them, offer specials for your surrounding neighbors. Donate back to your neighbors, go the schools and churches and give them discounts. Don’t overcharge for birthday parties, the number of parents that you are exposed to during birthday parties are worth their weight in gold. Be nice, people do not want to spend their time or money in a place they feel unwelcome or judged.