Starting a small business can be an exciting and challenging adventure. And if you enjoy creating beautiful works from clay, a pottery business might be the right journey for you. Still, it can be difficult to know where to start and how to set your business up for success. So, if you’re wondering how to start a pottery business, you came to the right place. 

This guide will cover how to start a pottery business, including: 

  • Planning for success 
  • Setting up the logistics
  • Organising operations and finances
  • Marketing to find customers 

Planning for your pottery business 

Knowing how to start a pottery business requires some planning. If you consider what you want your business to look like beforehand, it’ll be easier to prepare for success and growth. 

Market research 

Market research is the first step to planning your small business. Researching your intended market allows you to figure out demand, competition, and ideal pricing. Understanding your market will also help you get an idea of your target audience and where to find them. Your target audience is the group of people who will be most interested in your products. 

When researching the pottery market, you may want to find other pottery businesses to understand their approach. This knowledge can also help you find a pottery specialisation that sets you apart. For example, you might choose to specialise in hand-painted plant pots or coffee mugs. On the other hand, you could make various products with a set colour palette or technique. 

Skills and education 

To create pottery products that draw in sales, you’ll need the right skills and experience. You may be a natural at pottery making, or you may have taken a course or gotten a degree in this type of art. If not, consider looking into courses that will sharpen your skills or technique. 

Courses can also show you how to make pottery safely and efficiently. The stronger your pottery skills, the quicker you’ll be able to create your products. If you can make more products, you can earn more money. So, consider looking at courses in your area. Claycraft magazine offers a great list of options here

Supplies and equipment 

To create pottery to sell, you’ll likely need: 

  • A consistent supply of clay 
  • Pottery wheel 
  • Shaping tools 
  • Apron 
  • Towel 
  • A kiln 

If you want to source your own kiln, be aware that small ones can cost between £300-£1500 or more. You can find some Kiln options at shops like Hot Clay, Scarva, or Bath Potters. Alternatively, you may seek a pottery firing service. 

You will also need a designated workspace to create your pottery. Maybe you have a home art studio to work in, or you may want to rent a studio or find a shared space with a kiln to save money on startup costs. 

Sales plan 

To make money from your pottery products, you’ll need a place to sell them. You may choose to rent a space for a physical shop or sell on your website. Additionally, you could sell your products through an Etsy shop or other forms of social media. You may also want to contact other small businesses to stock your products in their shops or boutiques. 

Business plan and budget 

Once you have a clear idea of your market and how you’ll set up your business, use this information to create a business plan. Your business plan will outline your business’s name, purpose, intentions, and goals. You can refer to this plan as you start and grow your business over time. It’s also an essential part of winning investors or applying for a loan. 

On top of your business plan, you’ll need to establish a starting budget. To do this, first determine your startup costs based on your business plan. Then, consider how much it’ll cost to operate your business. From there, you’ll understand how much money you’ll need to get started. 

Setting up your pottery business 

After you put together your plan, an essential part of starting a pottery business is setting it up logistically. We’ll cover the essentials to get your business running. 

Registering your business 

To start a pottery business, you’ll first need to register as either a sole trader or a limited company. If you choose to register as a sole trader, you’ll have fewer taxes and regulations but be personally liable for your business. Limited companies, on the other hand, pay more taxes and have greater reporting requirements. But, they are separate legal entities from their director. 

You may also want to register your business name, which you can learn more about here

Preparing for taxes 

Once you register your business, you’ll need to manage and report your income for taxes. You’ll likely file these by submitting a Self Assessment tax return. 

If you choose to register as a limited company, you’ll be responsible for corporation tax on top of income tax or dividend tax and national insurance. You may also want to be aware of Making Tax Digital (MTD), a government initiative to digitise and streamline the tax reporting process. Right now, only VAT registered companies need to follow MTD processes, but it will eventually expand to include most businesses.  

Finding the right insurance 

The next step to setting up your pottery business is finding the right insurance. Insurance will protect your business from financial risk. For example, public liability insurance can defend you from any injury or damage that your business is responsible for. You may also want to look into specific pottery insurance or insurance that protects your products since pottery is delicate. This insurance will protect your business if you lose or break your stock. 

Organising your pottery business for success 

Another essential part of how to start a pottery business is keeping up with daily operations. To do this, you’ll need a strong business organisation from the start. 

Daily operations 

To organise the daily operations of your pottery business, you’ll need to keep track of your communications, timetable, sales, and inventory. To do this, you may want to use a business management tool like Google Workspace or Microsoft Office. These tools will help you keep your calendar, contacts, and documents all in one place. 

Pricing and payment methods

You’ll also need a clear idea of what you’ll charge customers for your products. Market research will help you get an idea of common price points. But, also take into account the cost of producing each product. With a sufficient profit margin, you can earn enough to make your business profitable. 

Once you decide how much to charge, you’ll need to consider how you’ll accept payment from customers. For example, you could only take cash payments. With that said, accepting cards will make you more accessible to customers. Also, if you plan to sell pottery online, card payments will be essential. You can learn about accepting credit card payments here

Business current account 

To keep track of what you spend and earn for your business, you may want to separate your business finances from your personal ones. To do this, you’ll need a business current account, a bank account specifically for your business. This separation means you won’t have to shuffle through your transactions to find those that pertain to your business. 

Financial management 

The HMRC expects businesses to maintain financial records and keep them for about six years. This means you’ll need to do financial accounting, which can be confusing if you’re not a natural with numbers. But with the right modern accounting software, like Countingup, you can stay on top of your business earnings and expenses. 

Unlike most options, Countingup is a business account and accounting app rolled into one. It offers unique features that help you manage your business finances and understand your performance. For example, you can create and send unlimited invoices on the go and track your expenses using automatic expense categorisation. 

On top of this, the Countingup app generates cash flow insights to help you understand how easily you maintain operational costs and when to cut down on spending. The app even simplifies your tax reporting process with tax estimates and MTD-compliancy. This means you can send your financial data to your accountant without worrying about errors. 

Marketing your pottery business to find customers 

Once you know how to start a pottery business, you’ll need to market your pottery to spark a customer base and start earning money. 

Website 

To make your business accessible, you’ll need a strong website. Your website is especially essential if you plan to sell your pottery online, as it will need a shop that takes payment. Either way, your website acts as the foundation of your marketing. You can add the URL to your other marketing materials for people to learn more about your business. 

Your website should have your business name, an introduction, pictures of your products, and contact information. If you have a physical shop, include your address and hours. If you stock your pottery in other stores, include information that outlines where.  

Social media marketing 

Apart from having a website, social media is another great way to market your pottery business. In fact, you can add your social media handles to your website so people can find you more easily. 

To promote pottery products, visual platforms like Instagram, Pinterest, and Facebook would be more effective. Try to post regular pictures of your products, your studio, and events you attend. You could also make TikTok videos that show your process or teach about pottery making. 

Branding 

Creating a brand identity for your business will help you optimise your marketing strategy. Your brand is the design and tone that represents your business. For example, you may choose to focus on soothing pastel colours that hint at painted pottery. Next, design a business logo that matches your brand and use it across marketing materials. You can design your logo with a tool like Canva. A consistent brand will help you appear professional. 

Events and markets 

Attending events is a great way to find customers for your pottery business. For example, you may want to set up a booth at local craft markets or run a popup shop. By displaying your products to an established crowd, you can introduce your business to a relevant audience and earn sales. 

When attending these events, consider putting together a banner and booth design that helps you stand out. Also, design and pass out business cards that will help people find you after the event. These events will help you develop a reputation and begin to grow an audience. 

Simplify your pottery business finances with Countingup 

Once you know how to start a pottery business, you’ll need to stay on top of what you earn and spend. But, financial management can be stressful and time-consuming when you’re self-employed. Especially when you want to spend your time creating beautiful pottery. That’s why thousands of business owners use the Countingup app to make their financial admin easier. 

Rated ‘Excellent’ on Trustpilot, Countingup is the business current account with built-in accounting software that allows you to manage all your financial data in one place. 

With features like automatic expense categorisation and receipt capture, you can stay on top of how much you spend on your pottery business and easily find proof for records. Plus, the app generates cash flow insights that help you understand your profitability. With these tools, you can confidently keep on top of your business finances wherever you are. 

Countingup will also simplify your tax reporting process. It offers ongoing tax estimates in the app that help you avoid surprises and save for this expense. Plus, you can share your bookkeeping with your accountant instantly without worrying about duplication errors, data lags or inaccuracies. Seamless, simple, and straightforward! 

Start your three-month free trial today. 

Find out more here.