MOST BUSINESSES HAVE AN ONLINE PRESENCE NOWADAYS, EVEN IF THEY HAVE A BRICKS AND MORTAR SET UP TOO, BUT THE THING WITH SOCIAL MEDIA IS THAT EVERYTHING CAN LOOK SO PERFECT, SO CURATED, SO GLOSSY FROM THE OUTSIDE. I WANTED TO GET BEHIND THE CURTAIN, INSIDE THE MINDS AND INTO THE HEARTS OF SOME OF MY FAVOURITE BUSINESSES AND FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE PEOPLE THAT RUN THEM. I FIGURED IF I WAS CURIOUS TO KNOW MORE, MAYBE YOU COULD BE TOO?
WELCOME TO MY FORTNIGHTLY SERIES THE FACE BEHIND THE BUSINESS. COME BEHIND THE SCENES WITH ME, BEHIND THE PERFECT IMAGE WE SEE AT THE STORE FRONT LEVEL AND MEET SOME WONDERFUL KIWIS DOING WONDERFUL THINGS (AND LEARN THEIR SECRETS TO SUCCESS).
I first spied Yon’s gorgeous creations at the Auckland Fair in 2014. The touches of gold on her daintily formed ceramic masterpieces drew me in. I wanted to touch them. Metallic gets me every time! I began to covet the gold rimmed nesting bowl set. It’s still on my wishlist! You know you’re an adult when you start to dream about ceramic plates right!? I bought some of the cutest little christmas decorations as is each years tradition and gifted one to each of my children for Christmas 2014. As I hung them on our Christmas tree just this year past, I was so glad to have such a beautiful trio of decorations for my kids to take with them as they grow. And in perhaps my favourite collaboration of recent times, Yon has joined forces with Emily of Shine Bright and created a stunning vessel for candles. Perfect scents in a perfect keepsake container. Definitely one of my favourite possessions right now. Anyway, enough of my rambling… I loved reading Yon’s answers to my questions – especially the one about her go-to meal.
Grab a cuppa and read all about Yon over something yummy for your morning tea break.
About the business:
Where did the original idea for your business come from?
After spending 10 years raising my 3 kids – and spending those nights playing with clay just for the fun of it, one evening I thought this is what I want to do in the day time! So I started drawing up a business plan in front of the fire one night, and slowly it became a reality. I was very lucky that my dad had a studio set up already and he offered me and table and said “go for it”.
What are you most proud of with the launch of your company?
Just how successful its been! I’m so overwhelmed with how many emails from retailers around NZ and abroad who want my ceramics in their stores. Its very encouraging.
What has been the most difficult part of your journey?
Learning to deal with the unexpected. With ceramics there are so many processes to go through before the finished product. When you have worked on a whole kiln load of work for a couple of weeks just in one firing to have it ruined. It is heartbreaking. But its onwards and upwards from that point, you can’t let it get you down.
What has been the most rewarding part of this experience?
Oh so many things are rewarding – From the opening of the kiln on a successful firing ( because every so often there are unsuccessful ones, and that just destroys my soul!!!) to meeting happy customers at the market who follow me on instagram and want everything! But most satisfying to me, is that I have found something that I love to do day in and day out, that I can manage around children and can bring clay into their lives too. They know what I do, they can be involved in some way, and are proud of their mum. “Mum’s famous!” -apparently!!?
Do you have plans to expand your range?
YES!!!! I’m soo busy that I literally have no time to expand just yet. I plan in the December holidays to be making and experimenting on a few new pieces, and hope that these will be well received.
What’s your mantra or the one piece of advice that has stuck with you through the process of starting your own business?
I can only do as much as I can, I am the only one.
Tell me a little about you or your family.
I’m 35, I’m half Turkish and half Kiwi. I’ve lived here all my life! (I get asked that often!) I have three kids – Oliver 11 years, Quinn 9 years, and Amélie 6 1/2 years. Before I had children I owned a small contemporary rug business designing and manufacturing rugs for interior designers and architects. I gave it all up when I had my first child.
How do you juggle being a Mama and running a business?
I work everyday from school drop off to school pick up. Their time with mum is precious so I don’t do anything for Claybird from 3-7pm. I’m pretty staunch on this because I have chosen to do this for them, to be with them – they are only young once, and boy oh boy that time is flying!!!! I will often go back to the studio and burn the midnight oil when I have a lot of work on. Although I have recently bought another kiln so I can work from home as well. A puppy has been requested by the children… and I have to make this work!
Do you have any tips on how to make a successful business work with a young family?
Be organized. I am OCD when it comes to being organized. I have lists and lists of things to do, even checking off time to do baking. Ridiculous I know!! But I have to work it into my schedule otherwise the wheels start falling off. I’ve been down that road and it isn’t fun for anyone. I’m not saying be crazy with your lists, but being organized is key.
What’s your favourite (family) activity or outing?
We love to go to Cheltenham beach and enjoy a day out there. Taking our boat out to an island or going fishing also a family favourite.
How do you get ‘me time’ and what do you enjoy doing to achieve that?
My studio is in Takapuna – so I try to go for a run during the week, or even just go to the beach and eat my lunch. I would love to have my nails done or have a facial or even get my hair cut. But I literally have no time for those precious things. They will happen, one day!
What words of advice would you give to anyone wanting to start their own business?
Plan. Lay it out on a huge piece of paper. What your ideas are, even all the silly ones. It all counts. Talk to anyone who knows anything about a business even about horrible things like paying tax, employing people etc. The banks have business talks every now and then, spend an evening and go and listen to those. They are pretty helpful!
Your go to meal?
My go to meal is a shove in the oven be done in 30 mins. Chicken thighs with fresh thyme on top of orange kumara, garlic, onion and drizzled with balsamic, olive oil and coconut sugar. Then make salad. Dinner is done! Tick off list. hahaaa
Your child/ren’s favourite food?
My kids eat everything no fussy eaters in my house! The favourite food would be Lamacun which is a turkish style pizza with a lamb mince mixture pressed into a thin dough and eaten with loads of fresh parsley and a squeeze of lemon. YUM!
You can find Claybird Ceramic online via these channels, so please pay Yon a visit:
SEE YOU SOON WITH ANOTHER INSPIRATIONAL BUSINESS OWNER!