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When most people think of retirement, they picture freedom: freedom from bosses and deadlines, early mornings and commutes, and meetings and the Monday blues. But all too many Australians are retiring without freeing themselves from the biggest master of all. .....

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Celebrating Our Client’s Success

CATH FOGARTY

www.chinaclay.com.au

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Q: Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

I have worked in the arts for the past 30 years as a teacher, an arts administrator and organiser and as an artist. I studied at City Art Institute (now UNSW Art and Design) in the 80’s where I majored in ceramics and won the inaugural Telstra Graduating Student Prize. This took me to Italy where I lived and worked for a year and half. When I returned to Australia I spent 2 years teaching pottery in remote communities around Australia with an organisation called the Teenage Roadshow.

Q: Can you tell us a bit about your business?

Chinaclay is a store and gallery specializing in handmade Australian ceramics. When I opened in mid 2013 I had the work of 12 artists, but now over 2 years down the track, I have sold the work of over 50 artists from around the country. The work I sell includes functional and decorative. Initially I also sold a lot of my own work, but the shop took over and I don’t have time to make my own work at the moment. 

 

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Q: Where did you grow up?

I grew up in Sydney, on the leafy north shore.

Q: How did you become interested in selling handmade ceramics and how long have you been doing it?

Chinaclay opened in 2013. I have always had a love of ceramics both as a maker and as an appreciator. As a child I remember seeing someone make a jug on a potters wheel and was fascinated, just as much as I was at pre school when we had the chance to play with clay. In my adult life I’ve maintained my studio practiced in between full time and part time work.

Q: What accomplishment are you most proud of?

I am most proud of what I have achieved with Chinaclay. It is a beautiful space with unique hand crafted work made by some of Australia’s most talented potters and makers. My customers are wonderful and ever increasing in number. I’ve also established a strong following on Instagram and Facebook.

Q: How do you balance your time between work and family?

Finding a work life balance is difficult when you have your own business as it is all consuming. Fortunately I love what I do and for the most part I enjoy all aspects of the business. It has taken a lot of creative energy to realise Chinaclay. The personal satisfaction has been immense despite all the challenges.

Q: What have been your biggest challenges to date?

The biggest challenges have been promotion as I can’t afford marketing outside of social media. My other biggest challenge is saying ‘no’ to people when I can’t take on their work to sell.

Q: What are your main business goals currently and how will you go about achieving them?

My main business goals are achieving a sustainable financial situation and keeping the shop and gallery an interesting environment to come into. I have to continue to work hard at building my customer base by getting the word out that I’m here. I need to improve the way I manage my website and on line store.

Q: What have you been working on lately?

I have been thinking about ways that I can change or tweak my business model to make it more flexible and responsive to meet the changing ways that people shop as well as the way the look at and buy art.

Q: If you could give our readers one tip, what would it be?

Love what you do.

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