Jenny Kelly of Jenny Kelly Pottery

JennyKelly-Jog-300x300Jenny Kelly started creating beautiful eye catching pottery under her own name in late 2010.  Since then her pieces have become well known in the Irish Craft Industry and she continues to develop new pieces and styles to bring to the market.  Keep an eye out for Jenny Kelly Pottery in your local craft store – if she isn’t there now, it’s only a matter of time…  Our thanks to Jenny for telling us more about her business at this busy time – she is only recently married! Congratulations Jenny!

What led you to starting your business? I started out doing pottery when I was 15. I went to do an apprenticeship with a local potter and trained with him for 3 years, after that I was accepted into the ThomasTown pottery skills course where I learned more about throwing, glazing and designing. From there I worked for various different potters around Ireland and abroad. Working for others was great and I learned so much from each place but I really wanted to develop my own range and put my own stamp on things. I had been travelling for 2 years and when I returned home to Ireland I decided to take the plunge and start up on my own in September 2010. People said I was mad to start it in a recession but my view on this is that the only way is up.

How did you raise the start-up funds you needed? I have built up a good collection of tools and equipment over the years from working in the industry so I just built on this and have tried to keep my costs low by having my workshop next to my house. My partner Martin has given me great encouragement and has been a big support financially.

What was the most significant lesson you learned in starting your business? You have to be nice but be firm. You will make mistakes but always learn from these.

Who is the entrepreneur you admire the most? When starting out in my pottery career I trained with a local potter called Brian Keogh, he has since changed career direction but I learned a lot from him and he inspired me to learn more.

What have been the biggest challenges in your business to date? I am a Potter by trade and love nothing more than sitting at the wheel and making.The thing I found and still find difficult is the business end of things, it’s like learning a whole new job and something I would have dealt with in a small way working for other people but it’s very different when you go out on your own.

What has been the proudest moment in your business so far? I’ve had a couple but I think it’s when customers comment on how much they like my work, this makes me smile every time to know that this is my creation from start to finish that they are admiring, this makes me very proud.

What was the best piece of business advice you ever got? Always continue to improve your skills in every area.

Can you recommend a good time management technique for other entrepreneurs out there? Keep a book and log in it every day the things you expect to get done that day or things that have to get done. When it’s just you to think of everything there’s always something forgotten so this helps to keep track.

What is your favourite film? As Good As It Gets

What is your favourite ad? Coke’s Christmas ad with the trucks!

What advice would you give aspiring entrepreneurs thinking of starting a business? Make sure it’s something you really want to do and feel passionate about, way up all the pros and cons. Get to know your customers and make sure you give them the utmost respect.

What do you like to do when you’re not running your business? I love going for walks with my 2 dogs in the countryside. Watching football, travelling and seeing new cultures and countries.

Have you found the self-employed formula for a work/life balance? I found in the first year of business I was trying to do everything and putting in all the hours under the sun but I’ve reached a point where I just say to myself that it can be done tomorrow and try not to worry about it, there is always things needed to be done so I try not to stress.

What’s your website? - it’s down at the moment but a work in progress!

Do you have a Facebook page?

Are you on Twitter?

How has Wicklow CEB helped you and/or your business? Last year for Showcase 2011 I had a CEB stand in the Enterprise Area which was helped with part funding.

If you could start up all over again, would you do anything differently? I wouldn’t do a whole lot differently.

Jenny Kelly’s Pottery Studio is located in Brittas Bay in Co. Wicklow. Jenny not only creates beautiful pieces for retail, but also teaches classes for adults and children in how to make pottery!