Tiffany Thomas | Episode 383
Tiffany Thomas is a potter and painter from Florence, South Carolina, where she grew up in a large family on a farm outside of town. Tiffany found art at Francis Marion University and immediately fell in love, immersing herself into clay and painting. Tiffany received her BA from Francis Marion University in 2012 and she now runs a brick and mortar artisan shop and art studio in a revitalized area of downtown Florence.
Tiffany’s clay work is carved porcelain gemstone pieces and layered abstract paintings. Tiffany’s gemstone pottery depicts the fragility of humanity- it’s her way of coping with racism, fear, and confusion. While growing up Tiffany was deeply sensitive to the world around her and often retreated into herself for comfort. During her teenage years, Tiffany dealt with bullying and racism, but didn’t develop a way of healing until she found solace in clay. Tiffany’s work has evolved from carving words and phrases of self care into her pieces to layered complex gems that depict positive thoughts and emotions. The lush, overly layered colors and textures mimic a constant reminder to be gentle and take care of one’s self. The world can be harsh and strenuous. Tiffany’s hope is that her work calls you to admire and remember the preciousness of life.
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What is one of the things you have learned about running a business that you wish you knew from the very beginning?
Cash flow. (laughter) Understanding cash flow and understanding the business aspect of talking to other business owners. Owning a brick and mortar is totally different from owning a home studio.
How do you assure consistent cash flow?
Pray. (laughter) One of the main things I do is I try to use a lot of hashtags on my work and I try to reach out to different people who have larger accounts for features. That is one thing that has helped me a lot. And I am pretty strategic and realizing who my clientele is. You know, like not reaching out to people who I know who don’t have the clientele that I need.
That’s pretty bold to go to a larger account and ask to be featured. How do you go about that?
First you follow them and see what they do. You also try not to badger them. You talk to them on their Instagram, not through Direct Messaging. You talk to them and create a relationship.I know some people who create work and send them to influencers, but I’m not there yet.
Do you try to get featured on other ceramic accounts or other bigger accounts that would be potential buyers?
I actually don’t go to ceramic accounts. I go to something that is more casual lifestyle. I try not to go to other ceramic accounts because usually they are about their work. I like to reach out to accounts that are crafting and creating in general rather than specific ceramic accounts.
How does that bring back actual sales to you?
This is not a good way to live. I kind of live by the seat of my pants. I am really bad with phrases, so I don’t know if by the seat of my pants is actually the right phrase. I think I am just that way. I think it is from my family and from the way I was raised. So if I do have a sale I kind of gauge it by people who message me. There were potters that I admired who used Instagram to sell their work. I thought if they could do it, I know I could do it. Then I started looking into getting people to feature me, using hash tags, and talking to people on Instagram and building relationships. Slowly I started building followers and that kind of turned into more and more sales.
How many hashtags to you put on your posts?
I put a good bit. I put at least fifteen. I think Instagram changed their hashtag allowance though because it used to be thirty, but I don’t know if it’s that many anymore.
What is your perfect date night for you and your fiance?
Probably just sitting on the bed and watching YouTube videos. (laughter) I don’t really get to relax a lot and I don’t like to dress up, it’s not my personality. So sitting in bed an watching YouTube videos is the best.