Hadley Sedgwick | Episode 316
Hadley Sedgwick is the owner, maker, and designer behind Hadley Clay Studio. Since 2009 Hadley has been creating custom pet mugs from her studio on a little island off the coast of Georgia. Hadley has a passion for animals, fascinated by color, and is a sucker for good design.
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How do you put your own creativity into your work when other people are giving you the direction with their orders?
I struggle with that because some people really have their mind made up about what photo they want me to work from or what angle and I just look at it and think, this is a terrible photo and I just cannot work with this. I don’t tell them that I try to suggest other things. So it is kind of a struggle with my vision and their vision. In that case it always does surprise me that I will end up making the piece and doing it the way they want it and then it turns out awesome and I think maybe I am being too close-minded. I feel like a lot of the best ideas that I have had and best suggestions have come from these customers who have had kind of outrageous ideas.
How do you set your price for each work?
I guess I am always playing around with that. I try to make the base price affordable or at least not completely outrageous. Compared to pet portrait painters I am way under price. I have a base price where they just get the picture on the mug with no extras and then it goes up from there if they want any bling to it.
How do find inspiration to go to the studio day after day to make work for other people?
I feel like it is the stories behind each of the pieces that really inspire me. When I get an order, it’s not just, here’s a picture of a dog. It is a chapter about this dog and how they met. Sometimes I am just getting tears in my eyes reading this. They are really touching stories and the relationship people have with their pets-they are family members! So I think that is what inspires me. I want to make them a picture and I want to do a good job.
Let me ask you about luck versus hustle. It seems like you had some crazy lucky things happen so how do you feel about the relationship between working hard and luck? How does it play out for a person’s success?
I’d say it goes hand in hand. I think working hard is important and if you are not working every day or you are not working hard then good things won’t happen to you. I think it just goes hand in hand. I don’t know, I feel lucky that I have had some opportunities but I feel like I deserve it. I mean I feel like I have been working hard for years.
If you were to choose one place to keep your marketing going would you stick with Etsy or would you go with Instagram?If you could only choose one?
I would probably stay with Instagram. I think there is a lot of potential there. Although it is still just an app and could disappear. I think Etsy might be with us longer. I don’t know but I love the Instagram community. My Instagram is a way to connect to the outer world.
What is the most common question people ask you when they find out you are a potter?
I guess they ask me , Oh do you have an oven? That is what they call a kiln. Or they ask, Oh can you have my daughter over and teach her how?Stuff like that, which I am like: No. I am not a teacher.