~ Creating a matrix of healing for the planet ~
B U S I N E S S 2 B U S I N E S S
Time flies and we are getting closer to our annual Wabi-Sabi (seconds) sale (TBA in August).
After doing the numbers, and facing the harsh reality of running a ceramics business in Los Angeles (with all that it entails),
if we want to survive and thrive as a company, we have to streamline even more,
making it necessary for us to do another clearance-event soon (don't know when/where/how just yet).
The most successful companies have less than 10 products ... is that where we are heading?
But I want to offer 10,000!
My creating self is fighting this with all its strength!
Yet this is no longer a hobby, the lives and well being of my employees is more important,
making this business succeed is more important than my ego and the inner-child who wants to throw a tantrum.
It is hard, very very hard, I am sad as I write this because a piece of me is grieving the attachment to each of the pieces
that were handmade w/ love and care ... thinking of the resources and time that we spent on them.
Even if I know better, a little piece of me is experiencing this as a failure,
and I have to admit feeling a bit of shame around this process ... talk about humbling!
I know each piece will be loved, and at the end of the day,
they were created with the intention of creating a matrix of healing for the planet,
and by making these pieces more affordable, the work will make many lucky souls happy
and that gives me the strength to continue.
I know it will make space for the best sellers, give us more space in the studio,
it will be easier for inventory and organization ...
but why is it soooo hard to let go?!
I am now at the service of the business and have to set aside my creativity for the greater good.
Stay tuned for more info and dates regarding these events ...
Running a business can be such a soap-opera .... cue the violins please ...
Thanks for reading.
FYI - On July 1, 2018, We will be raising prices on a few items.
Happy new year!
We are extremely grateful for your continued interest and support!
So far this year, we've had to aggressively streamline the collection
to make the studio more effective as we experience many new changes and challenges.
We've also had to increase some pricing to reflect the increase in raw materials,
minimum wage, taxes and the overall cost of doing business in California.
Below is what I wrote back in July 2017, but it still applies!
Changes are slow ... and even slower than anticipated ...
so we have to adapt!
Thank you for understanding!
As an artist, it is an extraordinary privilege to create work that resonates with so many of you. Transitioning from hobby to business has been, and still is, quite the journey, even a few years later … ; learning something new everyday and making more mistakes than anyone could ever imagine – but what lessons learned! High-fire ceramics is a medium unlike any other and in such, creates its own set of challenges and issues way too long to include here. Don’t be fooled by an Instagram post, the reality behind that image, the amount of time, soul, loss, sweat and tears behind the work is quite intense! I am exited by the passion the work inspires and would love to please everyone. However, we are not a 3-D Printing facility. There is a long and costly journey that happens between an idea and its physical incarnation! There are hundreds of sizes, shapes, and objects I would like to create but at the end of the day we are not serving anyone in the long term by having so many variations while still discovering our own processes. Except for a few classes at a local studio, I’ve had to learn from failures, again and again and again, and seems like I’ve been learning backwards, but that has been my journey. It is what it is. Doing everything “wrong”, but it has been right for me - so far.
That was then, this is now! Time changes, realities and financial obligations change! We want Humble Ceramics to be around for a long time. We want to be able to offer a line that is timeless, classic, and which is as relevant and elegant today as it will be in 100 years. A line that can fit as well in a finca on the island of Ibiza, as it would in a Kyoto Temple, a New York penthouse, a rustic shack, a farmhouse, a minimalist loft, the desert of Mongolia, and everything in between! In order to do that, we have to change everything about the way we make the work, change the studio flow, our process, our inventory, etc … and in such, we have decided to reduce the line to the best of ‘the best sellers’. Many of those changes will probably take a good year or two to implement as that too is a slow process and has a learning curve! But what you see on the website under “products” is what we are currently offering. We can always add more later, though right now, we have to focus on the essentials and the core of our line. A few select stores will be carrying our one of a kind pieces until we run out ... and we still have to glaze all our discontinued bisque inventory ... hence the studio clearances ... which will happen until all is gone.
As of today, we will only be offering Snow White on Greystone to retailers. A few selected stores will be carrying the Snow White on Sandstone, but those will be few. We are also discontinuing the Brownstone and we will no longer do custom work, experimental glazes, in-between sizes, alternate colors or the likes until we are fully efficient and profitable. We need to focus, simplify, restructure and use our resources more intelligently. By doing so, it will make our studio flow more effectively, our inventory more precise, your wait time not as long, it will help us reduce loss (of actual pieces), have less waste (of raw materials), less packaging, less storage issues and less headaches trying to make it all work! Simplifying is not only good for every one of our elves and our work environment, but is also more eco-friendly (again, too long to describe all the reasons why here). Every action creates a butterfly effect, and we want that effect to be positive and upwards. We understand that waiting 3 months for a few pieces is not ideal … but you have made us into an unexpected brand, with very VERY high expectations and we’ve been trying to keep up, but now, we must adapt to our current reality in a “swim or sink” moment.
If you are in hospitality, you will have access to more colors as long as you buy all overruns if any. Wabi-Sabi pieces will be sold during our annual Wabi-Sabi (seconds) sale.
As an accidental entrepreneur, I have put everything (time, money, energy and soul) into this as I am extremely proud and believe wholeheartedly in Humble Ceramics, its direction and its potential. But the pressure of wearing so many hats is becoming too much to bear and I will not last by keeping the way we have been going. This is also an attempt to reclaim time for myself, and stop isolating due to extreme fatigue. The exhaustion is hard to live with on a daily basis. Working 16+ hours a day, 6 to 7 days a week for the last 5+ years is not the answer, for my body or my spirit. Even if I had the strength, it's just not healthy and does not set a good example. There is so much more I want to accomplish and having a heart attack or falling into a deep isolating depression does not serve me, the business, the people who work with me, my friends, family, customers, my community or society in a positive and healing manner. “The candle which is light to others consumes itself” – Nomad proverb This change will also serve my own sanity. Though I am proud of what has been accomplished so far, and have to pinch myself on a daily basis to make sure I'm not dreaming, I feel there has to be a better way, especially if we are here to stay for the long run … or at least that is one of its goals.
We thank you for understanding and respecting our process (with all its flaws and imperfections) … we are a metaphor for our own work and our own selves … we are a work in progress.