Women in business: Learn the business side of being an artist

Lori Theriault/Photo by Tom Barnwell

Editor’s note: For our special Women in Business issue, we asked women in our local business community to share insights they’ve gained through their work in Western North Carolina. Here is one of those stories.

I am a potter, but I have also been a stage manager, office administrator, kitchen manager, mail room clerk, personal chef, talent agent, an ice cream truck driver and more. All of those experiences, the good and the bad, have certainly helped shape who I am now, and they all contribute to how I run my business.

One thing that has been a constant throughout all my job and career paths has been my vision to live a creative life. I was one who wandered but who was not lost, until the day I stepped into a pottery studio. That was when I saw how my desired creative life had a future, and I began to do everything I could to move myself solely onto that path.

And while everyone’s path is their own, I do have four recommendations to those following the same or a similar path that reflect my own experiences over the years:

• No. 1:  Learn the business side of being an artist/entrepreneur. Do the homework, write the business plan, learn about taxes, licenses, your market, your customer, etc.
• No. 2: Build your pack/village/family! Identify and connect yourself with mentors, collaborators and partners in crime — develop relationships that will stay with you throughout your journey and career.
• No. 3: Hire or barter your weaknesses! If you hate numbers/doing the books, hire a bookkeeper. If you hate social media, hire someone for marketing! Refer back to No. 1 to include it in your budget!
• No. 4: Don’t be afraid to say no. This one is harder for those starting out but try really hard to be unafraid of saying no to a job or commission if it does not serve your vision of your future. As one of my early TV mentors (Julia Child) said, “You must have the courage of your convictions!”

— Lori Theriault
Owner and studio potter

Crazy Green Studios


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