Abi Read: The Hatch Founder Promoting Wellbeing Through Pottery

Having benefited from the therapeutic power of pottery herself Abi Read was determined to create a space for others to get involved in the craft. From this dream, Clay Days Pottery was born, now a physical studio in South London. 

Along the way Abi has learned a lot about what it takes to run a business, and discovered that entrepreneurship and pottery have more in common than you might think.

How To Make a Good Business and a Good Pot

Abi was initially apprehensive about starting the business, thinking that she needed to get everything perfect first time, but soon realised that mistakes are all part of the process.

Getting something done and moving on to the next thing is a better use of time than obsessing over the finer details, and the same can be said for pottery. 

Agonising over the perfect design and the perfect method does not leave room for trial, error, and growth, and it is through learning and doing that we can find what works for us and develop our own style.

“Perfectionism is not a good thing."

“It’s really important not to put all of the energy you have into making everything perfect because you will burn out, and the same is true with pots, you could spend forever perfecting a pot and it’s just not a smart use of your time.”

When a pot goes wrong the clay can be reworked into a better design, and Abi likes to think that the same is true of business. Trying something that doesn’t work out is an important and necessary step in finding the right solution.

Abi’s Journey with Hatch

Abi knew she had a strong idea for her business and wanted to access expert support to turn the idea into a reality. 

Through the Hatch Launchpad programme she learned three important things: to have confidence in herself, to roll with the business as it evolved, and to remember that ultimately the business had to work for her and not the other way around.

“Oh my goodness, my confidence, it just jumped up throughout the programme. It was an amazing community to be a part of. I just didn’t know that it existed and that charities like Hatch existed.”

Being able to talk her idea through with sector experts on the Hatch programme was incredibly validating for Abi, and helped her to believe in and trust her own instincts.

Through the sessions she also learned how to break the idea down and understand the smaller steps she needed to take in order to reach her eventual vision for the business.

It’s good as a business owner to have a long term plan, which for Abi is to register as a Community Interest Company and give back to the community, but before that there are the more immediate considerations of getting set up and becoming profitable. 

“What Hatch taught me was to break the idea down completely and then rebuild it and to not be too attached to that idea, to roll with it as it was changing. And that was super, super important.”

The programme also challenged Abi’s expectations of what it means to be a founder, and helped her realise that it isn’t about looking or acting a certain way, and that running a business should fit around your life.

Building a business that works for you is not just a side consideration, but is a viable and valuable end goal for any entrepreneur. 

Clay Days Pottery

Wellbeing is at the centre of Abi’s business and Clay Days exists to bring the positive power of pottery to more people. Pottery is an incredibly mindful activity that can bolster creative growth, community connection, and personal wellbeing. 

Abi’s pottery offers fully tutored classes and courses, including one-off throwing tasters and 6-week throwing courses, for complete newbies and those wishing to progress their pottery skills, alongside independent pottery memberships for more confident potters

She is committed to having a positive impact through her business and has environmentally friendly processes in place including operating a triple bay-washing system at the studio to reuse waste clay and water, only using sponges made of plant cellulose, and working towards a B Corp accreditation

Find Out More

Visit the Clay Days Pottery site to learn about classes on offer and how to get in touch.

Abi in the Guardian

You can read Abi's comments on female entrepreneurship in The Guardian here.

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