By: Courtney Murphy
Sitting on a popular corner in Kirkwood behind a house that I pass at least once a day, is a thriving international pottery business, born from a gift exchange a few years ago by Scott and Tiffany Hansman. A holiday tradition of investing in something that could be done together found Scott and Tiffany in a pottery class at the Greensboro Cultural Arts Center in downtown Greensboro. Engaged to be married, they decided to use their newfound talents to hand make ceramic mugs and tumblers for each of their lucky wedding guests to take home as a favor. They quickly discovered themselves spending all of their free time in the studio…and loving every minute of it.
They received so many compliments on their thoughtful and handsome wedding favors; they started making pottery to give as gifts to friends and family. When people started offering to pay for their wares, they decided to test the waters.
They went to a pottery show where their handmade pieces of art sold like hot cakes. They set up an Etsy store on the advice of a relative and before long, had a steady stream of orders. Scott and Tiffany would spend all day at their day job only to return home to work all night on their pottery business. A short year later, Scott left his teaching job to focus on the blossoming business that they suddenly found in their hands.
Go look at their website (www.kirkwoodclaypottery.com) and you will be impressed not only with the beautiful artisanship of their pottery, but also with the professional nature of their business. It is thoughtful and well organized, making it easy and comfortable to browse through their wares. I have personally decided that I need new coffee mugs now and will be making a purchase just as soon as I finish this blog post.
Their work is also now available through several websites, like scoutmob.com and bourbonandboots.com and is featured in Our State Magazine. Their pieces can be found in homes all over the country and abroad.
I asked Scott what drew him and Tiffany to sponsor the K5K and BPB.
“We decided to sponsor the K5K and BackPack Beginnings because we love our neighborhood and our town, and as former public school teachers, we know how important a good meal and comforting supplies can be to a child in need. Before moving to North Carolina, I was a New York City public school teacher in Brooklyn, NY for three years. 100% of my students were on free/reduced meal plans and quite frankly, school was the only place that some of my kids were able to get a square meal. Seeing the obstacles that my students had to overcome in order to just stay healthy, safe and successful has led me to have a unique sensitivity to children in need. When I found out that the K5K was being held right in our neighborhood and learned more about BackPack Beginnings, it seemed like the perfect way for Kirkwood Clay to give back to the community.”
They are both runners and look forward to participating in the race for the first time this year.
Supporting local business is an easy concept to get behind. Kirkwood Clay redefines the “buying local” concept, literally nestled in the backyard of a quaint neighborhood cottage. I will now think of their inspiring story every time I drive past their cedar shaker studio, exemplifying how the pursuit of a passionate dream can turn into a thriving business.
And now, back to their website…