An interview with Melanie Horner of Firing Time Pottery in Brighton.
Pronouns: she/ her
Describe your business.
Firing Time Pottery creates personalized ceramic clocks for all occasions and businesses! We also make baby announcement plates, house name plaques and yarn bowls and planters with a personality. Raku horsehair and feather are our specialty.
Pottery classes and workshops for ages 5 – 95, so come and show your creativity! Workshops hosted at Firing Time studio in Brighton and other venues upon request. Private group bookings welcome, too!
What brought you to the region?
We immigrated from England in 2011 and started a new life in Cobourg. My husband got a transfer from work.
What makes the Bay of Quinte a good fit for your business?
The Bay of Quinte is a good fit for my business as there are many small businesses in the region. Also, there are lots of artists in the area and I am an artisan.
What was the hardest thing about starting a business?
The hardest thing about starting a business for me was changing my career from being a nurse for 23 years to becoming a potter. I felt I had imposter syndrome for quite some time as it was a whole change of identity!
The other big challenge is getting your name out there. With no background in marketing, it’s sometimes difficult to navigate all the different aspects of marketing: branding, emails, social media and print advertising.
What advice do you have for entrepreneurs in the area?
My advice to new entrepreneurs would be to never say no to anything. I learned this after immigrating to Canada and it led me to many opportunities. It is the same with business, you never know what contacts you might meet and where they will lead you.
How have you changed your operations during the pandemic?
During the pandemic I had to change the way I worked. I was teaching in schools frequently and also teaching in my home studio. All that suddenly stopped. I came up with the idea of selling Pandemic Pottery Packs whereby customers could buy a pack containing clay, a few tools and instructions and make some clay projects safely in their home. They bring them back to me for firing and glazing. These proved to be very popular and kept me afloat financially.
We also decided to downsize at home and consequently, I lost my studio. I found a space to rent in downtown Brighton and it enabled my dream to come true of owning a pottery shop! It’s part shop, part studio in a great location.
I am now teaching again in person in my new studio.
If you were to have one word tattooed on you, what would it be?