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How to Start a Pottery Business

Written by:

Carolyn Young is a business writer who focuses on entrepreneurial concepts and the business formation. She has over 25 years of experience in business roles, and has authored several entrepreneurship textbooks.

Edited by:

David has been writing and learning about business, finance and globalization for a quarter-century, starting with a small New York consulting firm in the 1990s.

How to Start a Pottery Business

Fast Facts

Investment range

$5,350 - $17,700

Revenue potential

$65,000 - $130,000 p.a.

Time to build

0 – 3 months

Profit potential

$39,000 - $78,000 p.a.

Industry trend




Remember the pottery wheel scene from the movie “Ghost”? It’s been endlessly mocked, but pottery can in fact be a beautiful and sensual craft — and the goods it produces are often stunning. People love to display pottery in their homes, and ceramic mugs and bowls are commonly used in homes, offices and beyond. Best of all, the industry is now bouncing back and seeing steady growth after a pandemic-driven downturn. 

If you enjoy pottery as a hobby, you could turn it into a lucrative business by selling your goods on Etsy or at fairs and festivals. It’s a great opportunity to follow your passion and create gorgeous works of art. 

But before you start spinning that wheel, you should know the ins and outs of starting a business. Fortunately, in this step-by-step guide, you’ll find everything you need to know to get your successful pottery business up and running. 

Step 1: Decide if the Business Is Right for You

Pros and cons

Starting a pottery business has pros and cons to consider before deciding if it’s right for you.


  • Flexibility – Work from home on your own time
  • Follow Your Passion – Share your love of pottery with others
  • Many Selling Options – Sell online, at local markets, or art festivals


  • Crowded Market – Compete with many pottery companies, particularly online
  • Skills Needed – Need to make unique pieces that will appeal to the market

Pottery industry trends

Industry size and growth

pottery industry size and growth

Trends and challenges

Trends in the pottery industry include:

  • Social media is fueling an increase in interest in pottery among millennials and Gen Z, who appreciate the simple look and traditional feel. 
  • Neutral and organic colors are trending in pottery, with looks that are very earthy.

Challenges in the pottery industry include:

  • A shortage of raw materials, like clay, is creating a challenge for pottery makers.
  • The growing popularity of pottery making is increasing the number of pottery businesses entering the market, creating more competition.
pottery industry Trends and Challenges

Demand hotspots

  • Most popular states The most popular states for artists are Rhode Island, Oregon, and New Hampshire.((https://www.zippia.com/artist-jobs/best-states/))
  • Least popular states – The least popular states for artists are North Dakota, Missouri, and Minnesota.
pottery industry demand hotspots

What kind of people work in pottery?

  • Gender –  54.8% of artists are female, while 45.2% are male.((https://www.zippia.com/artist-jobs/demographics/))
  • Average level of education The average artist has a bachelor’s degree.
  • Average age – The average artist in the US is 40.6 years old.
pottery industry demographics

How much does it cost to start a pottery business?

Startup costs for a pottery business range from $5,300 to $18,000. Costs include a pottery wheel, kiln, and other materials and equipment. 

You’ll need a handful of items to successfully launch your pottery business, including: 

  • Clay
  • Hand tools
  • Carving and decorating tools
  • Glaze and colorants
  • Potters wheel
  • Work table
  • Storage shelves to store damp pieces
  • Kiln
Start-up CostsBallpark RangeAverage
Setting up a business name and corporation$150 - $200$175
Business licenses and permits$100 - $300$200
Insurance$100 - $300$200
Business cards and brochures$200 - $300$250
Website setup$1,000 - $3,000$2,000
Pottery wheel$800 - $1,600$1,200
Kiln$2,000 - $10,000$6,000
Other materials and equipment$1,000 - $2,000$1,500
Total$5,350 - $17,700 $11,525

How much can you earn from a pottery business?

Prices for pottery cover a wide gamut. These calculations will assume an average price per piece of $50. If you do custom pieces made to a customer’s specifications, you can charge more. Your profit margin after materials should be about 60%. 

In your first year or two, you could sell 25 pieces per week, bringing in $65,000 in annual revenue. This would mean $39,000 in profit, assuming that 60% margin. As your business gains traction and you ramp up your marketing, sales could climb to 50 pieces per week. With annual revenue of $130,000, you’d make a handsome profit of $78,000.

pottery business earnings forecast

What barriers to entry are there?

There are a few barriers to entry for a pottery business. Your biggest challenges will be:

  • The skills needed to make unique pottery pieces
  • Breaking into a competitive market

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Step 2: Hone Your Idea

develop a business idea

Now that you know what’s involved in starting a pottery business, it’s a good idea to hone your concept in preparation to enter a competitive market. 

Market research will give you the upper hand, even if you’re already positive that you have a perfect product or service. Conducting market research is important, because it can help you understand your customers better, who your competitors are, and your business landscape.

Why? Identify an opportunity

Research pottery businesses in your area and online to examine their products, price points, and what sells best. You’re looking for a market gap to fill. For instance, maybe the market is missing a pottery business that sells unique ceramic mugs or offers pottery classes. 

You might consider targeting a niche market by specializing in a certain aspect of your industry, such as tall vases or glazed clay pots.

This could jumpstart your word-of-mouth marketing and attract clients right away. 

What? Determine your products or services

Your products will depend on your skills and what you decide to specialize in. You could make anything from vases to mugs to plant pots to dinnerware.

How much should you charge for pottery?

You’re in luck, because handmade pottery generally sells for much more than factory-made goods. Check prices on sites like Etsy to see the going rates. After your cost of materials, you should aim for a profit margin of about 60%.

Once you know your costs, you can use this Step By Step profit margin calculator to determine your mark-up and final price points. Remember, the prices you use at launch should be subject to change if warranted by the market.

Who? Identify your target market

Your target market will be broad, so you should spread out your marketing to include sites like TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. You could also contact local market owners to see if they will stock your pottery. You can connect with them on LinkedIn or find them on Google or Yelp and call them directly. 

Where? Choose your business premises

In the early stages, you may want to run your business from home to keep costs low. But as your business grows, you might want to rent out a studio space. You can find commercial space to rent in your area on sites such as Craigslist, Crexi, and Instant Offices.

When choosing a commercial space, you may want to follow these rules of thumb:

  • Central location accessible via public transport
  • Ventilated and spacious, with good natural light
  • Flexible lease that can be extended as your business grows
  • Ready-to-use space with no major renovations or repairs needed
pottery business idea rating

Step 3: Brainstorm a Pottery Business Name

Your business name is your business identity, so choose one that encapsulates your objectives, services, and mission in just a few words. You probably want a name that’s short and easy to remember, since much of your business, and your initial business in particular, will come from word-of-mouth referrals.

Here are some ideas for brainstorming your business name:

  • Short, unique, and catchy names tend to stand out
  • Names that are easy to say and spell tend to do better 
  • Name should be relevant to your product or service offerings
  • Ask around — family, friends, colleagues, social media — for suggestions
  • Including keywords, such as “pottery” or “ceramics”, boosts SEO
  • Name should allow for expansion, for ex: “The Ceramic Artistry” over “Pottery Painting Party”
  • Avoid location-based names that might hinder future expansion
  • Use online tools like the Step by Step Business Name Generator. Just type in a few keywords and hit “generate” and you’ll have dozens of suggestions at your fingertips.

Once you’ve got a list of potential names, visit the website of the US Patent and Trademark Office to make sure they are available for registration and check the availability of related domain names using our Domain Name Search tool. Using “.com” or “.org” sharply increases credibility, so it’s best to focus on these. 

Finally, make your choice among the names that pass this screening and go ahead with domain registration and social media account creation. Your business name is one of the key differentiators that sets your business apart. Once you pick your company name, and start with the branding, it is hard to change the business name. Therefore, it’s important to carefully consider your choice before you start a business entity.

Step 4: Create a Pottery Business Plan

Every business needs a plan. This will function as a guidebook to take your startup through the launch process and maintain focus on your key goals. A business plan also enables potential partners and investors to better understand your company and its vision:

  • Executive Summary: A concise summary outlining the key points of the pottery business plan, including its mission, goals, and potential for success.
  • Business Overview: An overview of the pottery business, including its mission, vision, values, and legal structure.
  • Product and Services: Detailed information about the pottery products and services offered, highlighting uniqueness and value proposition.
  • Market Analysis: Analysis of the pottery market, identifying target customers, market trends, and potential opportunities for growth.
  • Competitive Analysis: Evaluation of competitors in the pottery industry, including their strengths, weaknesses, and strategies, to position the business effectively.
  • Sales and Marketing: Strategies for promoting and selling pottery products, encompassing advertising, branding, and sales channels.
  • Management Team: Introduction to the key individuals responsible for managing and operating the pottery business, emphasizing their qualifications and roles.
  • Operations Plan: Detailed plan outlining how the pottery business will operate, including production processes, supply chain management, and facilities.
  • Financial Plan: Financial projections, including revenue forecasts, expenses, and funding requirements, providing a clear financial picture of the business.
  • Appendix: Additional supporting documents and information, such as resumes of key team members, detailed market research data, or any other relevant supplementary materials.
what to include in a business plan

If you’ve never created a business plan, it can be an intimidating task. You might consider hiring a business plan specialist to create a top-notch business plan for you.

Step 5: Register Your Business

Registering your business is an absolutely crucial step — it’s the prerequisite to paying taxes, raising capital, opening a bank account, and other guideposts on the road to getting a business up and running.

Plus, registration is exciting because it makes the entire process official. Once it’s complete, you’ll have your own business! 

Choose where to register your company

Your business location is important because it can affect taxes, legal requirements, and revenue. Most people will register their business in the state where they live, but if you’re planning to expand, you might consider looking elsewhere, as some states could offer real advantages when it comes to pottery businesses. 

If you’re willing to move, you could really maximize your business! Keep in mind, it’s relatively easy to transfer your business to another state. 

Choose your business structure

Business entities come in several varieties, each with its pros and cons. The legal structure you choose for your pottery business will shape your taxes, personal liability, and business registration requirements, so choose wisely. 

Here are the main options:

  • Sole Proprietorship – The most common structure for small businesses makes no legal distinction between company and owner. All income goes to the owner, who’s also liable for any debts, losses, or liabilities incurred by the business. The owner pays taxes on business income on his or her personal tax return.
  • General Partnership – Similar to a sole proprietorship, but for two or more people. Again, owners keep the profits and are liable for losses. The partners pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
  • Limited Liability Company (LLC) – Combines the characteristics of corporations with those of sole proprietorships or partnerships. Again, the owners are not personally liable for debts.
  • C Corp – Under this structure, the business is a distinct legal entity and the owner or owners are not personally liable for its debts. Owners take profits through shareholder dividends, rather than directly. The corporation pays taxes, and owners pay taxes on their dividends, which is sometimes referred to as double taxation.
  • S Corp – An S-Corporation refers to the tax classification of the business but is not a business entity. An S-Corp can be either a corporation or an LLC, which just need to elect to be an S-Corp for tax status. In an S-Corp, income is passed through directly to shareholders, who pay taxes on their share of business income on their personal tax returns.
types of business structures

We recommend that new business owners choose LLC as it offers liability protection and pass-through taxation while being simpler to form than a corporation. You can form an LLC in as little as five minutes using an online LLC formation service. They will check that your business name is available before filing, submit your articles of organization, and answer any questions you might have. 

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Step 6: Register for Taxes

The final step before you’re able to pay taxes is getting an Employer Identification Number, or EIN. You can file for your EIN online or by mail or fax: visit the IRS website to learn more. Keep in mind, if you’ve chosen to be a sole proprietorship you can simply use your social security number as your EIN. 

Once you have your EIN, you’ll need to choose your tax year. Financially speaking, your business will operate in a calendar year (January–December) or a fiscal year, a 12-month period that can start in any month. This will determine your tax cycle, while your business structure will determine which taxes you’ll pay.

The IRS website also offers a tax-payers checklist, and taxes can be filed online.

It is important to consult an accountant or other professional to help you with your taxes to ensure you’re completing them correctly.

Step 7: Fund your Business

Securing financing is your next step and there are plenty of ways to raise capital:

  • Bank loans: This is the most common method but getting approved requires a rock-solid business plan and strong credit history.
  • SBA-guaranteed loans: The Small Business Administration can act as guarantor, helping gain that elusive bank approval via an SBA-guaranteed loan.
  • Government grants: A handful of financial assistance programs help fund entrepreneurs. Visit Grants.gov to learn which might work for you.
  • Friends and Family: Reach out to friends and family to provide a business loan or investment in your concept. It’s a good idea to have legal advice when doing so because SEC regulations apply.
  • Crowdfunding: Websites like Kickstarter and Indiegogo offer an increasingly popular low-risk option, in which donors fund your vision. Entrepreneurial crowdfunding sites like Fundable and WeFunder enable multiple investors to fund your business.
  • Personal: Self-fund your business via your savings or the sale of property or other assets.

Bank and SBA loans are probably the best option, other than friends and family, for funding a pottery business. You might also try crowdfunding if you have an innovative concept. 

types of business financing

Step 8: Apply for Business Licenses and Permits

Business Licenses and Permits

Starting a pottery business requires obtaining a number of licenses and permits from local, state, and federal governments.

Federal regulations, licenses, and permits associated with starting your business include doing business as (DBA), health licenses and permits from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), trademarks, copyrights, patents, and other intellectual properties, as well as industry-specific licenses and permits. 

You may also need state-level and local county or city-based licenses and permits. The license requirements and how to obtain them vary, so check the websites of your state, city, and county governments or contact the appropriate person to learn more. 

You could also check this SBA guide for your state’s requirements, but we recommend using MyCorporation’s Business License Compliance Package. They will research the exact forms you need for your business and state and provide them to ensure you’re fully compliant.

This is not a step to be taken lightly, as failing to comply with legal requirements can result in hefty penalties.

If you feel overwhelmed by this step or don’t know how to begin, it might be a good idea to hire a professional to help you check all the legal boxes.

Step 9: Open a Business Bank Account

Before you start making money, you’ll need a place to keep it, and that requires opening a bank account.

Keeping your business finances separate from your personal account makes it easy to file taxes and track your company’s income, so it’s worth doing even if you’re running your pottery business as a sole proprietorship. Opening a business bank account is quite simple, and similar to opening a personal one. Most major banks offer accounts tailored for businesses — just inquire at your preferred bank to learn about their rates and features.

Banks vary in terms of offerings, so it’s a good idea to examine your options and select the best plan for you. Once you choose your bank, bring in your EIN (or Social Security Number if you decide on a sole proprietorship), articles of incorporation, and other legal documents and open your new account. 

Step 10: Get Business Insurance

Business insurance is an area that often gets overlooked yet it can be vital to your success as an entrepreneur. Insurance protects you from unexpected events that can have a devastating impact on your business.

Here are some types of insurance to consider:

  • General liability: The most comprehensive type of insurance, acting as a catch-all for many business elements that require coverage. If you get just one kind of insurance, this is it. It even protects against bodily injury and property damage.
  • Business Property: Provides coverage for your equipment and supplies.
  • Equipment Breakdown Insurance: Covers the cost of replacing or repairing equipment that has broken due to mechanical issues.
  • Worker’s compensation: Provides compensation to employees injured on the job.
  • Property: Covers your physical space, whether it is a cart, storefront, or office.
  • Commercial auto: Protection for your company-owned vehicle.
  • Professional liability: Protects against claims from a client who says they suffered a loss due to an error or omission in your work.
  • Business owner’s policy (BOP): This is an insurance plan that acts as an all-in-one insurance policy, a combination of the above insurance types.
types of business insurance

Step 11: Prepare to Launch

Launching a Business

As opening day nears, prepare for launch by reviewing and improving some key elements of your business. 

Essential software and tools

Being an entrepreneur often means wearing many hats, from marketing to sales to accounting, which can be overwhelming. Fortunately, many websites and digital tools are available to help simplify many business tasks. 

You may want to use industry-specific software, such as  LS Retail, Vend, or Retail Pro, to manage purchasing, inventory, and invoicing.


  • Popular web-based accounting programs for smaller businesses include Quickbooks, Freshbooks, and Xero
  • If you’re unfamiliar with basic accounting, you may want to hire a professional, especially as you begin. The consequences for filing incorrect tax documents can be harsh, so accuracy is crucial. 

Develop your website

Website development is crucial because your site is your online presence and needs to convince prospective clients of your expertise and professionalism.

You can create your own website using services like WordPress, Wix, or Squarespace. This route is very affordable, but figuring out how to build a website can be time-consuming. If you lack tech-savvy, you can hire a web designer or developer to create a custom website for your business.

They are unlikely to find your website, however, unless you follow Search Engine Optimization (SEO) practices. These are steps that help pages rank higher in the results of top search engines like Google. 


Starting a pottery business is an exciting venture, and success lies in a combination of creative craftsmanship and effective marketing. Here are some practical marketing strategies to help your pottery business thrive.

  1. Local Collaborations and Workshops: Collaborate with local businesses, cafes, or art studios for joint events or workshops to showcase your pottery and engage with the community.
  2. Social Media Challenges: Create pottery challenges on platforms like Instagram, encouraging followers to share their creations and tag your business, fostering a sense of community and generating online visibility.
  3. Limited Edition Releases: Introduce limited edition pottery pieces, creating a sense of exclusivity and urgency among customers, driving sales and excitement.
  4. Storytelling through Product Descriptions: Craft compelling narratives around your pottery pieces in product descriptions, connecting with customers emotionally and adding value beyond the functional aspect of the products.
  5. Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with local influencers or artisans to promote your pottery, leveraging their following to increase your brand’s reach and credibility.
  6. Pop-Up Shops at Events: Set up pop-up shops at local events, markets, or festivals to expose your pottery to a broader audience and capitalize on the immediate buying potential of event attendees.
  7. Loyalty Programs: Implement a loyalty program offering discounts or exclusive pieces for repeat customers, encouraging customer retention and word-of-mouth referrals.
  8. DIY Pottery Kits: Create DIY pottery kits with pre-made clay and tools, allowing customers to experience the joy of pottery-making at home, while subtly promoting your products.
  9. Collaborate with Interior Designers: Partner with local interior designers, offering them customized pottery pieces for their projects, gaining exposure in high-end residential and commercial spaces.
  10. Themed Collections: Release themed pottery collections tied to seasons, holidays, or local events, providing customers with timely and relevant options and boosting sales during specific periods.

Focus on USPs

Unique selling propositions, or USPs, are the characteristics of a product or service that set it apart from the competition. Customers today are inundated with buying options, so you’ll have a real advantage if they are able to quickly grasp how your pottery business meets their needs or wishes. It’s wise to do all you can to ensure your USPs stand out on your website and in your marketing and promotional materials, stimulating buyer desire. 

Global pizza chain Domino’s is renowned for its USP: “Hot pizza in 30 minutes or less, guaranteed.” Signature USPs for your pottery business could be: 

  • Stunning ceramic mugs made to your specifications
  • Handmade ceramic vases that brighten any room 
  • Gorgeous glazed clay pots for a wide variety of uses
unique selling proposition


You may not like to network or use personal connections for business gain. But your personal and professional networks likely offer considerable untapped business potential. Maybe that Facebook friend you met in college is now running a pottery business, or a LinkedIn contact of yours is connected to dozens of potential clients. Maybe your cousin or neighbor has been working in pottery for years and can offer invaluable insight and industry connections. 

The possibilities are endless, so it’s a good idea to review your personal and professional networks and reach out to those with possible links to or interest in pottery. You’ll probably generate new customers or find companies with which you could establish a partnership. Online businesses might also consider affiliate marketing as a way to build relationships with potential partners and boost business. 

Step 12: Build Your Team

Building a Team for a New Business

If you’re starting out small from a home office, you may not need any employees. But as your business grows, you will likely need workers to fill various roles. Potential positions for a pottery business include:

  • Packagers – prepare pottery for shipping
  • General Manager – ordering supplies, accounting
  • Marketing Lead – SEO strategies, social media

At some point, you may need to hire all of these positions or simply a few, depending on the size and needs of your business. You might also hire multiple workers for a single role or a single worker for multiple roles, again depending on need. 

Free-of-charge methods to recruit employees include posting ads on popular platforms such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or Jobs.com. You might also consider a premium recruitment option, such as advertising on Indeed, Glassdoor, or ZipRecruiter. Further, if you have the resources, you could consider hiring a recruitment agency to help you find talent. 

Step 13: Run a Pottery Business – Start Making Money!

Running a Business

Why not turn your pottery hobby into a business? You can do what you love, share your work with others, and make a great living. It will take some skills, creativity, commitment and a bit of an investment, but you could sell your wares online and at local events, build up a reputation and maybe someday open your own pottery store.

You’ve done your business homework now, so fire up that potter’s wheel and get your new and lucrative pottery business shaped into a real form!

Pottery Business FAQs

Can a pottery business be profitable?

Yes, you can earn a high profit margin on pottery. The key is to hone your craft and make unique pieces that will stand out to potential customers. You have to love what you do to make it work.

How can I learn to make pottery?

To learn pottery skills, you can take online pottery classes through a site like ClayShare at any time by signing up for an inexpensive membership.

Is it easy to start a pottery business?

Starting a pottery business can be both challenging and rewarding. While learning the craft of pottery may require time and practice, establishing a business involves considerations such as acquiring equipment, setting up a workspace, sourcing materials, and developing a customer base.

What types of pottery sell best?

Generally, functional pottery items like mugs, bowls, plates, and vases have consistent demand. Unique and artistic pieces, such as sculptural or decorative pottery, can also attract collectors and enthusiasts.

Can I start a pottery business at home?

Many potters begin their journey by setting up a small studio in their home. However, this requires appropriate space, equipment, and safety measures. Consider investing in a pottery wheel, kiln, workbench, and necessary tools. 

Can I start a pottery business on the side?

Starting a pottery business on the side is feasible.  However, it requires effective time management and a clear understanding of your capacity to balance both commitments. Starting small, focusing on specific products or services, and gradually expanding your business can help manage the workload.

How can I differentiate my pottery business from competitors in the market?

To differentiate your pottery business from competitors, consider the following strategies:

  • Develop a unique style or signature technique that sets your pottery apart.
  • Offer custom-made or personalized pottery pieces to cater to individual preferences.
  • Focus on sustainability by using eco-friendly materials or implementing green practices in your production process.


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How to Start a Pottery Business