Peter Sheldon & Ellen Woglom | Episode 221
Sheldon Ceramics is located in the Silverlake neighborhood of Los Angeles, CA. Sheldon Ceramics is owned and operated by ceramic artist, Peter Sheldon, and all around awesome fiancé and business partner, Ellen Woglom. Together, Peter and Ellen create beautiful, one-of-a-kind, functional wares and accents for the home. Each piece is crafted by Peter to embrace the unique variations and personality of the materials. Peter and Ellen hope to provide something that will be used and enjoyed for years to come. Whether shared around a dinner table with friends and family, or displaying fresh-cut flowers, their pieces are designed to enhance the home.
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Is it important if you are going to be a production studio to focus on specific lines?
P: I think so, I mean it totally depends on your business model. If you want to wholesale your ceramics, if you want to have a store, if you want to create a brand then I would say absolutely.
What’s a challenge with working with your significant other in a business? And what’s a blessing?
P: One of the challenges is, certainly when things don’t go well there’s obviously downs when the work doesn’t look the way it should or the firing went poorly or whatever it was, you can’t leave it at the office with your boss and come home and bitch about your day. You both go home together, so that’s definitely challenging. Probably the best thing is feeling like I have a really solid partner and we get to share all the successes together. I feel so lucky to have her in my life and in the business. It is really comforting and reassuring.
E: It is difficult to leave it at the office sometimes when things don’t go well. The stressors that you have are the same stressors so you are then both stressed if something didn’t go right or an order got messed up. On the upside, my parents ran a t-shirt business, my dad was an artist and my mom ran the business side of things and they ran it out of our barn. It’s really nice to imagine if we do have kids to both be able to have a flexible schedule and not have to make certain sacrifices there. It’s nice to be in this with your partner and be growing something together.
How important is the idea of planning and setting goals as a business?
P: I think it’s really helpful. So we have a business plan and that was really great to set some goals for the next few years and also outline steps we can take to get there. I think it helps to keep people on task and it helps prevent people from getting distracted.
Ellen how have you used social media for social marketing?
E: Our biggest strategy is engaging the community. If I were to just post photos there (a) wouldn’t be a whole lot of traction there and (b) it wouldn’t do a whole lot for us. By engaging the community I am both making people aware of our ceramic work but I am also establishing relationships. We follow lots of other potters and their work and we comment with them and we are following their work and they follow in return. They might post something about us or we post something about them and it just sort of spider webs and gets bigger and bigger and your presence gets bigger and bigger.
Using the correct hashtags is really important. Both things that pertain to the work like stoneware or hand made ceramics or cone ten or whatever it is but also finding there are hashtag movements on social media. For example one is called makers gunna make or makers movement. So it’s a matter of finding the right hashtags and making sure you use those on your photos as well because other like-minded artists or individuals will be looking through those threads and galleries looking for people and artwork and inspiration. So using both hashtags that are part of a movement and using accurate hashtags for your photos so if someone is looking for say a ceramic milk bottle or a white stoneware bowl or a pink coffee mug or whatever it is,then they can go to Instagram and put in that hashtag and hopefully your photo will be one of the options.
It’s also important to be inclusive, we ask questions or opinions like, What do you think of this glaze? We do a thing on Sundays where we do an Instagram sale for one of our seconds. We will do a fifty percent discount or thirty percent discount on something we can’t sell in our collection. We use it as a platform to sell pieces that maybe did not turn out as we expected. Some people don’t care about a little blemish, they like it because it feels more unique and handmade to them.
If you two could be a super-power team what two super powers would you have?
P: I’ve always been partial to flight without wings.
E: I would be invisible.