We feel inspired by other creatives’ stories, their achievements and failures, their transparency in sharing the process of creating a business. And so sharing our own is a way of opening one’s treasure chest and making it available to you, and whoever could find some inspiration in it.
For this first journal post, Daisy answered some questions about her journey as an artist and ceramics maker. Sit comfortably, grab a cuppa and enjoy!
When did the business start and what led you to start it?
I started the business in 2014, after travelling around Australia and China with friends, soaking up all the culture and different landscapes. After returning to London I needed a creative project to keep me busy whilst I searched for a job and fell in love with a short ceramic course, and have never looked back.
Starting out in a shared studio space, surrounded by other makers and learning constantly from one another, I slowly built up Daisy Cooper Ceramics over 2 years. When I moved to Melbourne in 2016, I kind of had to go back to scratch and find a new space, buy all the equipment again, reach out to new stockists, design markets and contact Melbourne based makers to create a community for myself.
Despite all the effort involved, it turned out as a wonderful experience as it allowed me to grow my business in a very organic way here in Melbourne, not knowing anyone or having any form of customer base, allowed me to create what I wanted to create and find the people who genuinely loved my style of ceramics.
Daisy Cooper Ceramics business is now run by myself and my partner, since he quit his 9-5 job to help me grow our ceramics business, and we have a small but amazing team of creatives helping us in the studio to create all the pieces out there in the world.
Based out of our studio in leafy Eltham, on the outer suburbs of Melbourne, we are now surrounded by nature and wildlife, which inspires us every day, and works its magic into our collections.
What do you LOVE about what you do? What keeps you coming to work every day?
I love that I get to be creative and messy every single day of the year and at the same time create pieces that people want in their homes. It’s so humbling to know that out there my work brings joy to people's everyday lives, through small moments of simply using a mug or bowl. I also love creating one off statement pieces for special occasions like birthday gifts or to send love to someone to let them know they are thinking of them.
There are 10001 ceramicists and potters and new ones appear to be popping up all the time. What makes you different?
My work is inspired by my upbringing in Scotland, UK, and whenever I tell a customer this story they always instantly say they can see it in my work and the colours I use. I feel that influence shows in all my pieces, like a little bit of home here in Australia, through the glaze colours, the way the clay is shaped and formed and the way we present the ceramics to our customers.
How did you launch your company? How much of a leap was that and can you tell us a bit about the process? What would you never do again?
We officially launched in 2014 back in London. I remember it was a small local Christmas makers market around the corner from my house, and I honestly didn’t think anyone would buy anything but they did, and it was amazing! From there I slowly started reaching out to small independent shops around London and signed up to more makers markets. It wasn't until we moved to Melbourne in 2016 that the business became a full time gig for myself, and that was a big change, not only in location but also in relying on my own business solely for income, but if anything that pushes you to work harder and strive for better in a business. There have been many ups and downs along the way, I have learnt to trust my gut feelings on projects that come my way, and to say ‘no’ when I feel it isn’t a right fit for us, which can be daunting when it could in theory lead to huge growth of the business.
You offer a range of products. Can you talk us through how each category came to be? Were some as a result of customer feedback or did you know all the categories you would have when you launched?
Our range of ceramics has come around very organically. I chose to go down the tableware route rather than larger statement pieces for the home, so the obvious tableware collections such as mugs, bowls, plates came very easily for us to create in our own style. Other pieces such as our Pet Bowls or Kitchen products such as colanders and soon to be sink tidies, have been created because of our customers' requests. Another huge influence on what we make is our own home, and items that we would like around the house, like our Oil Burners, plant pots and vases. Our collection is always growing and changing and not all designs will stay with us forever.
Who inspires you?
I am inspired by so many amazing makers in my community here in Australia and back in the Uk. Seeing other small business owners and artists share their journeys’ highs and lows inspires me to keep going and grow my business further. Our world is bursting with creative energy and at times it can feel overwhelming to be part of that, put most of the time it pushes me to be my best and put work out there that will be valued and treasured by others, and hopefully inspire others to either start their creative journey or continue with what they love doing.
What do you MOST want people to take away from buying or working with you i.e. white labelling etc?
When a customer buys our ceramics, I want them to feel excited and happy to have a piece of our studio in their lives, as well as knowing they are supporting a small business over larger companies.
I want them to feel the handmade nature of our pieces, feel the finger marks and little glaze nuances that make our pieces individual, and to know that no one else in the whole world has that exact mug or bowl or vase.
On top of this there is the social and environmental impact of our making process and business. I want them to choose to buy from small businesses because we have less of an imprint on the environment. We give back by planting a tree for every order, by partnering with One Tree Planted. We choose to minimise our impact by using recyclable packaging, no plastics, sending our parcels out via a carbon neutral courier company and recycling almost every waste product in the studio. I want customers and stockists to be aware of these small steps that when done collectively can make a huge difference.
What’s next for your company?
We hope to move to a new larger space in early 2022, so that we can create more beautiful ceramics but also provide a local space for workshops & events. We hope to be able to employ more creatives and grow our team so that we inspire each other and create a nurturing community around Daisy Cooper Ceramics studio.