William Moon | Episode 323
William Moon is a studio potter working in Potter County, Pennsylvania. He was introduced to ceramics in high school and fell in love with the wheel. After military service, he pursued his dream and started Imagine Peace Pottery in 2015, producing ware which combines beauty and function. Mainly self-taught, he looks for mentorship by his friend, Richard Lang, a longtime, functional potter. His goal is to eventually produce woodfired pottery, at the end of his dirt road in the country. When he is not busy being a “stay at home dad” for his children, he can be found in his studio, listening to music and turning pots.
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You had a new direction you wanted to go in. How do you open that discussion with your wife, your partner, on changing directions for your life ?
We had been out in Warren, Pennsylvania for awhile and I was working at a co-op there. I just said, you know, and I think she knew that I was really miserable at the amount of time that I wasn’t being productive at work. Although the money was kind of good it just seemed like we were running into roadblock after roadblock there. I was throwing again, I bought a kiln but we couldn’t get the kiln wired in. The landlord wouldn’t let us wire it in. I just kind of felt like I was spinning my wheels. We have always been really open and honest with each other and her business was kind of taking off at that point. She said, you supported me while you were in Service and I was pregnant. I think now we are in a place where you could work part time at your dad’s business and you can start throwing pots again. So that’s how we kind of changed direction. And she didn’t want me to get electrocuted working on power lines. It was pretty easy to think it might be safer to be a potter. It just came through honesty and she’s been really supportive of me.
What are some of the critical steps you took to be able to quit the job, move back and start a new business?
So we had to know where we were at financially. One great thing is my dad owns a family business. He has had it for over 20 years. My family has always been really supportive. My wife financially was in a really good position to help me out. A lot of the steps were just being on the wheel as much as possible. Moving back and helping out at the business part time and help my wife out with her business part time. That freed me up to make more pottery. And honestly I listen to you and in 2015 you were like: I have this free potter’s seven day workshop. I thought I will click on that and see what Paul’s got to offer and you essentially walked me through all the steps I needed to build a website. It was actually pretty easy to do once I followed the instructions and learned the importance of starting to build your list and getting your name out there.
What was your best take away from the 7 day Potter’s Workshop?
I think building the website because I am not tech savy at all. Your step by step instructions on purchasing my domain name and how to use Godaddy and Bluehost really helped me. It spurred me in the right direction to get that done.
Do you see growth in your business since you launched?
When I started in 2015, I will be honest, I was really nervous to do that. So I was working at my dad’s full time and I just told him that I wanted to do pottery full time. I was really tentative and wasn’t sure if my work was going to sell. Another opportunity came up through the old school that I used to go to as a soccer coach. I started to do the part time soccer job as well. So have I seen growth, yes and no. I have seen it grow very slowly. We just bought a house and set up a studio space. Right now we are just building up inventory and we are going to try and have a big sale here on the property in the summer time and start throwing things up on Etsy and see what happens.
Tell me about the value of partnering with your wife to run the business.
She’s like my boss. I mean she’s awesome. We disagree on a lot. Specifically shapes.But she’s a rock. She started her business from scratch. She sells 99 percent of her work on Etsy. She grinded it out going to shows and making 5 dollar sales to where she’s at now.
What is your number one tip for someone who wants to go full time?
I am going to toot your horn a little bit. I am going to say, listen to you. Not just because you have a great voice,Paul. Honestly, the amount of people that you get on the show, even if I disagree with some of the things that people say, somebody always has something to offer. You can take all these different artists and follow them on Instagram or Facebook and listen to the interviews and you will always pick up a nugget of information. That’s my first tip and my second tip is whether you are a hand builder or throw on the wheel you just have to make and make and make.
If you could go back and spend the day on the battlefield with your buddies, what would you want to say to them?
You know, I see a lot of those guys. I talk to quite a few of those guys. But specifically if I could go back and talk to Kielin, I would just give him a big hug and tell him that I loved him and how much he meant to me.