The fifth installment of ‘handmade with love’ introduces Kate, the talented lady behind Kate Charlton Ceramics.
Kate is a super talented, Manchester-based potter creating original (and beautiful), gifts and keepsakes.
Name: Kate Charlton
Company: Kate Charlton Ceramics
Tell me a little bit more about yourself: I’m a potter who lives and works from my studio based in Manchester. I love working with clay and have been doing so for over eight years, taking baby’s imprints and producing personalised gifts for occasions such as christenings, weddings and other important milestones in life.
Describe your business in one sentence: Bespoke, handmade, ceramic keepsakes, personalised to your taste.
When did you start your business and why? I started my business on a smaller scale when I finished university. I studied Ceramics at Manchester Metropolitan University and was determined to try and make a career out of my passion. I began very small, making items from the kitchen table in my flat for friends and family. This began to grow through word of mouth, and after spending a long time working on my range and trying to find a way to produce affordable ceramic gifts I set up a shop on Etsy. Since then I am now a seller on Not On The High Street and have had a fantastic response.
What did you do before you set up your company? I have always been artistic since I was a child and have never really done anything else! I have played around with many different forms of art, such as photography, illustration, crocheting and even tattoo design, but I always seem to get the most pleasure out of working with clay.
Did you face any challenges setting up your company? Yes, whilst setting up my company I have also been working full time, managing a local art studio. This has been fantastic because it allows me to have a steady, full-time income whilst building and developing my business, however this means I have been working 7 days a week for a long time now! Holidays and breaks are few and far between, but I wouldn’t have done it any other way as it has allowed me to take my time and develop my range and not have to worry about money at the same time.
What is a typical work day for you? A typical work day for me starts like every other day – with a cup of tea and a ginger biscuit! Then I head to my studio, switch the radio on and print off all the orders that need to be made that day. I then usually spend time unloading and re-loading kilns and then take the completed items and spend a good couple of hours wrapping and packaging them, ready to ship off to the customers. I will end the day very dusty and ready for a hot shower.
Describe your creative space: My studio is small, and a slightly disorganised space that works perfectly for me! There are shelves up to the ceiling, stacked with paint bottles and glazes, and I have samples pinned on the walls all around for inspiration. There is usually a radio blasting out and a fan heater on maximum temperature as it can get very cold at times! A ceramic studio is always messy and mine is certainly not an exception, but it’s also a little sanctuary for me and a place I always enjoy going to.
What and who inspires you? It is not one person in particular that inspires me, but crafty people in general. I love anything handmade and have an appreciation for all craft forms. I find it inspiring to read stories of people who have managed to build a business out of their passion from scratch. This gives me hope and keeps you going through the long hours!
What has been your biggest achievement so far? My biggest achievement so far has been getting accepted as a seller on Not On The High Street. This has enabled me to reach a much wider range of customers across the UK and beyond, and has secured me a consistent level of sales.
What is the best piece of advice you have ever been given? The best piece of advice I have ever been given was to keep the customer happy. Making sure they receive a gift that they feel is special, presented nicely and at an affordable price is invaluable and will make sure they return in the future.
What is your favourite product and why? My favourite products I stock are the hanging hot air balloons. These were a labour of love and were originally made for a friend’s new baby. I have since developed the range and the designs and find they get a great reaction from customers.
Have you always been creatively driven? Yes! Since as long as I can remember I have loved to make and draw. When I was in Infant School I won a competition to design the new school uniform and had a newspaper article feature as the ‘budding new artist of the future’. I still see children wearing my design now! Since then I have tried my hand at every form of art and crafts and currently, when I’m not working in my studio, I have discovered crocheting, which I find a fantastic stress reliever.
What projects are you working on at the moment? I am currently working on my christmas range! Although it is only currently June, Christmas is the busiest time of the year and many online retailers want you to get started preparing now. I am busy looking at the upcoming trends for Christmas 2015 and planning how to style my photos properly.
In terms of your work what couldn’t you live without? I couldn’t live without my kiln! Everything I make goes through the kiln at least twice and without this I would be in trouble. I have a small test kiln on stand-by for if my main kiln breaks down, and I make sure to do a lot of maintenance to keep it in good working condition.
What do you love most about what you do? I love the fact I get to do what I love the most and make a living from it. Knowing that people get pleasure from my items and treasure them gives me an enormous amount of satisfaction.
When are you happiest? I am most happiest when I get home at the end of the day. That moment when I have had a hot shower and can sit down with my fiance on the sofa with a glass of wine, feeling satisfied that i have made everything needed and can start a fresh tomorrow.
In addition, Hello Baby has teamed up with Kate to offer one lucky person the chance to win a beautiful, personalised ring dish. Kate very kindly offered to make one for me and after a lot of umming and ahhing I chose to have ‘pretty little things’ imprinted and I adore it.
For your chance to win, comment on this blog post, telling me what you would like stamped on your ring dish and then fill in the Rafflecopter widget below. Full T&Cs are below.
Terms and conditions:
- Entry is open to UK residents aged 18 and over, excluding anyone professionally associated with Hello Baby Blog or Kate Charlton Ceramics.
- The prize is non-transferable and there is no cash alternative.
- The prize draw starts at 12.00am GMT on 24th June 2015 and closes at 12.00am GMT on 19th July 2015.
- Entry is free and must be made by commenting on this blog post and filling in the Rafflecopter widget. Entrants can gain bonus entries by visiting Hello Baby on facebook, @hellobabyblog on Twitter, tweeting about the giveaway, following @KateCCeramics on Twitter and then completing the Rafflecopter widget featured in this post.
- The name of the winner will be published on this website within 14 days of the competition closing.
- Hello Baby Blog’s decision on all matters is final and binding on all entrants. No correspondence will be entered into.
- By taking part in this competition you agree to be bound by the competition terms and conditions.
- Hello Baby Blog reserves the right to disqualify any entrant and / or winner in its discretion and without any notice in accordance with these terms and conditions.
- Once the winner has been selected at random using Rafflecopter, I will inform Kate of the winner’s name, address and prize choice, she will then send on the prize. I’m sure this won’t happen but I cannot be held responsible for prizes being lost in the post or arriving late.