Matthew Vrettas | Episode 295
After starting pottery as a couple’s hobby, Stephanie Yap and Matthew Vrettas started Ghost Wares together in their tiny home studio. After leaving his job in interior design, Matthew took over the making and day to day operations, whilst Stephanie is involved on a broader level, balancing this with her career as a freelance graphic designer.
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What is one of the things you love most about owning your own business?
The flexibility also the way you meet people. It’s very different to working full time and you are kind of obligated to meet them. Whereas when you are a business owner all the decisions are yours.
If anything goes wrong it is your fault and if anything goes right you can praise yourself for it. You arrange to meet people and the interactions feel more genuine.
How important is photography to building a business and a relationship with your customers?
For us it is vital because we don’t have a store it is the only way we can communicate directly with our customer. It is something we can control and we get to try and explain what it is we have done. Yeah, it is kind of our only avenue so it is important.
I saw a picture of you working in a spotless environment. Do you tend to work very neat and tidy?
Definitely. We make a lot of our own clay. There is some really good local clay so we mix things together and add oxides and try all sorts of things. But every time you switch between those clays everything needs to be spotless. I spend more time cleaning than I do almost anything else. I think at least.
Why is cleanliness important in a studio?
Because I get really involved in what I am doing. Having everything tidy and set up and always good to go just helps keep a bit of the noise out of my head. It helps me focus. I don’t know, I think it’s important. It also means that if Steph gets an opportunity to throw she can just walk into the studio and it is good to go. It’s not my studio, it’s ours.
How much of a marketing background do you or Steph have?
Not much. Steph has some from the graphic design work she does. She works with some marketing departments so she has a better understanding than me. We do not have a massive background on it.
What is a weakness and what is a strength in your marketing?
I think the biggest weakness with our marketing is that it is not consistent enough. That’s a tricky one because I am pretty happy with where things are leading with marketing. It’s difficult to find a weakness but I think not being consistent, not posting enough, getting information out there, not putting things on the website, all of that. I make a ton of stuff, it just doesn’t all make it to the website.
A strength is having a plan. We market our products through photographs, so that is Instagram and our website and a bit on Pinterest actually. And also through wholesales where people can actually interact with the product and that makes a massive difference.
If you could be one of the X Men, which superpower of an X Men would you have?
Can any of them change time? Because that would be a handy one. I think there are a lot of things I’d like to experience again. It would be nice to just see things in a different way. If you could go back in time, I wonder how differently you would see things. It’s not that I have regrets, it’s just that time is always running out. There is never enough in the world.