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Conversations with Francesca Basilico & Jennifer Cheh

Today we’d like to introduce you to Francesca Basilico & Jennifer Cheh: the lazy potters

Hi Francesca & Jennifer, it’s an honor to have you on the platform. Thanks for taking the time to share your story with us – to start maybe you can share some of your backstory with our readers?
About six years ago, we took a pottery class at a local community studio, where we still work out of today. We had always worked with our hands but pottery has its challenges. Eventually, we found our way and each discovered what we were better suited for. But after a few years, it was clear that our passion for pottery was growing and so was our collection of plates and bowls, so we eventually decided to hold a Friends & Family Holiday Market. The reaction was better than we expected and with the support of our fellow makers, we were invited to join in a variety of pop-up shops, including a month long temporary shop in Santa Monica. What started out as a hobby quickly turned into a small business consisting of a series of pop-up sales throughout the city. The initial dialogue for web store occurred a few years back, but we were hesitant to tie ourselves down to something. We enjoyed the freedom of having our events when it suited us; however, with the arrival of Covid 19, we quickly realized that we had to change our approach if we wanted to continue selling. So with encouragement from family and friends, we launched the lazy potters web store in October of 2020. The website allowed us to reach a much wider audience then our local pops ups did and we had some very encouraging 1st months especially around the holidays.

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way. Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Starting your own business, even if it is a side hustle, is never simple. We live in a world driven by social media and self-promotion. You need to be able to keep up with that because word of mouth is not going to be enough if you want to reach a wider audience. Neither one of us is super SM friendly, in fact, one of us isn’t even on SM, but it was important to have a presence on Instagram to help promote our site. Because we rely on our website and the occasional pop ups, Instagram is a perfect way for us to spread the word but we post sporadically and sometimes not very efficiently, I’m sure we could benefit from some marketing guru but until then, we will push our way through the ins and outs of self-promotion.

Appreciate you sharing that. What else should we know about what you do?
Wabi-sabi is sometimes described as one of appreciating beauty that is “imperfect, impermanent, and incomplete” in nature.

Our pottery is wabi-sabi, we embrace all the flaws & imperfections because we believe it makes each piece unique. Our bowls are never perfectly round and sometimes they lean to one side but each one takes on an inherent personality. Each pot is handmade so no two pieces are alike, but together they share a dialogue.

A few years back, we took a class in kintsugi also known as kintsukuroi, the Japanese art of repairing broken pottery by mending pieces with urushi lacquer and dusted with mixed powdered gold. This art is by default wabi-sabi, and when possible we use kintsugi in our pieces to enhance a flaw or a crack. These are the pieces that seem to sell first because they stand out from the others.

We tend to glaze our pots in shades of white because it enhances the characteristics of the clay body, but sometimes we will use midnight blue to highlight a certain shape and many of our smaller pieces are finished with gold.

If you had to, what characteristic of yours would you give the most credit to?
There are actually two that come to mind right away: Perseverance & Adaptability. These two qualities have always been important in any independent business, but more so during the Pandemic. This last year has taught us that you have to approach business from a different angle and allow yourself to fail in order to succeed at some point down the line.

Contact Info:

  • Email: info@thelazypotters.com
  • Website: thelazypotters.com
  • Instagram: @thelazypotters
  • Facebook: @thelazypotters

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