Wheel Talk

Wheel Talk

Ryan Durbin (@rdceramics) & Becca Otis (@5linespottery) share their experiences as potters, makers, small business owners, and creatives. Becca is a full time studio potter, while Ryan is a full time website developer and part time potter. We'd love to share our ups and downs along the way as we build our skills as makers and small business owners in an honest, informal manner. We hope to bring you helpful tips we've learned over the years, learn from each other, and share expertise from a number of guests with you also. Please join us for some Wheel Talk!

Episodes

February 17, 2024 108 mins

Ryan & Becca Welcome Em (Paz) Stevens to the show to discuss balancing a full time job in the service industry and part time pottery. We get into how her business did in 2023, how she's building out her home studio, funding the build through Kickstarter, setting realistic business goals, and digging into Etsy shop advice. Thanks again to Em for sharing her time with us.

-----Find more about Em's business belo...

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Ryan & Becca Welcome Em (Paz) Stevens to the show to discuss balancing a full time job in the service industry and part time pottery. Em has a number of questions for us, especially related to how Ryan was able to sell $95k worth of work in a year that averages $35 while selling "part time." We cover a number of topics on this first installment of this chat with Em and we're grateful for her sharing some time wit...

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February 3, 2024 79 mins

Ryan & Becca are back to chatting just the two of them on today's episode. Most of the discussion involves updating everyone about their busy lives the past few weeks before getting into their time at Clay Con West this January. It was another great year spent with new and old friends and we hope to see you at NCECA 2024 in Richmond, Virginia or next year for Clay Con West 2025 in Saint George, Utah.

Join Ryan&apo...

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Ryan and Becca are joined by Rebecca Ickes Carra, host of The Maker's Playbook podcast and co-owner of Carra Terra, a small pottery business in Milwaukee, WI. Drawing from her 14-years as a self-employed photographer, Rebecca sheds light on the dynamics of building their pottery business alongside her husband Francesco. We cover the art of juggling multiple commitments, insights into working with a spouse, reflections on ...
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Ryan and Becca are joined by Joshua Reed from Wellness with Joshua to talk how we can ensure our bodies can hold up long-term as potters and small business owners. Joshua has a varied background in physical therapy, biomechanics, physical training, nutrition coaching, and more to share his expertise with us for long term body care as potters. We hope you get value from our discussion and please let us know what you'd like to h...

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Ryan and Becca welcome back Will Donovan of Donovan Pottery to discuss a range of topics, including: sharing end of year recaps, growing your business with help, using paid ads to sell your work, and geeking out on Lord of the Rings. We learn a ton from Will's second time on the podcast and we hope you take some good nuggets into your own practice.

Previous episode with Will
Wheel Talk #181 - Meeting customer dema...

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Ryan & Becca share insights about what they look for when seeking out workshop opportunities to expand their skills. We also share what valuable takeaways we typically come away with once we’re leaving a workshop.

Join Becca or Ryan at a future workshop they are teaching soon:
Throwing Efficiency with Becca - Jan 10
Selling at In-Person Shows with Ryan - Jan 25
Bookkeeping Workshop with Ryan - Jan 29 & ...

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Ryan & Becca try a different approach on today's episode to discuss some of their top performing (and worst) Instagram Reels over the past 6 months. We chat about what we think made them so successful, some takeaways to think about as we produce content for future reels, and why some just completely flopped. We hope this is a useful discussion as you think ahead to content creation and finding interesting snippets of the w...

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Ryan & Becca welcome Noah Smith to the show today to chat about getting a community studio up and running very recently in Portland, Oregon. Noah's been making pottery for a few years, but has recently embarked on opening Heirloom Ceramic Studio in the Sellwood neighborhood outside Portland. We chat about the growth so far, how he's enjoying the teaching & managing side of the business, his offerings, and how he&a...

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December 16, 2023 121 mins

Ryan & Becca discuss leaving early for in-person shows from a recent experience Ryan had at a show before wrapping up their key takeaways from their year, even though there’s still a few weeks left in it. They get into goals, money, & possible plans for next year. Thanks for listening and have a great holiday season everyone!

Listener Questions
Send us questions so we can answer anything you've been thinki...

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December 9, 2023 116 mins

Ryan & Becca have some thoughts today about how to handle negative feedback, whether it's a customer, fellow business owner, business you partner with, or otherwise. Handling these situations can be pretty tricky and we hope you get some good insight from today's discussion. Thanks for listening!

Listener Questions
On this episode:
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What's the best way to ship out 60 or more packages? Do you nee...

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Ryan & Becca welcome Henrik Van Ryzin today from VanTiki Studios. He shares a wealth of knowledge about his evolution from a special effects artist to a full time ceramic artist focused in mold making & slip casting. Henrik and his wife Denise focus on producing ceramic tiki mugs and other goods that share their love of tiki with customers all over the world. Check out his YouTube channel for in-depth knowledge about the te...

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November 25, 2023 118 mins

Ryan & Becca get deep into kilns on today's episode to give some insight into how you may choose your next kiln based on your studio production. They cover a range of kiln body sizes from the L&L & Skutt lines, as well as a few others along the way. Good luck if you're in the market for a kiln and let us know if you have any questions to help you make the decision a little easier. Enjoy!

Listener Ques...

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November 18, 2023 100 mins

Ryan & Becca are back together this week to recap some of the points discussed last week on Becca's solo episode about her shows. To relate back to a more broad topic, Ryan get's into what he feels influences buyers to purchase from you at shows. Hopefully you were able to reflect on your booth set-up and interactions at shows to see where you're doing well and maybe some areas of improvement. Thanks for listenin...

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November 11, 2023 37 mins

Becca shares some thoughts on her drive back to Indianapolis after a show weekend in Louisville, KY. She covers some thoughts around what a positive show looks like for her, how she's feeling about shows this year, and how she plans to move forward. We hope you enjoy this raw solo episode with Becca and stick around next week when Ryan shares some thoughts about it.

Listener Questions
Send us questions so we can a...

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November 4, 2023 123 mins

Ryan & Becca answer a frequent listener questions about how to keep your studio clean, from handling water usage, clay dust, reclaim, equipment, managing a packing & shipping station, and how we can make the space sustainable for the long term. Enjoy and happy cleaning!

Resources
For Flux Sake Podcast
Safety in the Ceramics Studio by Jeff Zamek

Listener Questions
On this episode:
- How do y...

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October 28, 2023 134 mins

Ryan & Becca share some updates about their lively week together before getting to some listener questions and finally the topic for today: building partnerships with companies. There's no copy and paste message you can send out to the companies you'd like to partner with, but you can certainly be yourself and share how you'd make a great person to talk about their products. Best of luck if you're thinking a...

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Ryan & Becca are together in-person today at Ryan's while they chat virtually with Milissa and Eric Beale from Beale Pottery in northwest Indiana. They chat about their recent grand opening celebration, managing the business as a husband & wife team,  balancing multiple styles of work, class/workshop offerings, financial risk of relying only on pottery income for the family, and plenty more. Tons of laughs and value ga...

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October 14, 2023 141 mins

Ryan and Becca discuss a heavy topic today: burnout. What’s led to burnout for both Becca & Ryan, how are they feeling in the midst of it, & how do they cope with it? It’s a tough time of year for so many small business owners as the holidays approach, but we can get through this to feel good about the end of our year. Thanks for listening and best of luck to finish out 2023!

Listener Questions
On this episode:...

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Ryan & Becca welcome back Heidi Fahrenbacher from Bella Joy Pottery while Becca is visiting her up in Michigan for the week. They cover a number of topics but mainly focus on how Heidi manages many wholesale accounts, the collections most suitable for wholesale, and pricing your work to properly account for your materials, labor, and profit. We hope you enjoy today’s in-depth discussion with Heidi.

-----Find more about Heidi&apo...

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