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Meet Monica Galan of Salamat Ceramics in Highland Park

Today we’d like to introduce you to Monica Galan.

Monica, let’s start with your story. We’d love to hear how you got started and how the journey has been so far.
I’ve been doing ceramics for over three years. It was a little random of how I started… I kind of fell into it. After living in LA for four years, I moved to Newport Beach and with my partner, Chad. He would invite his buddies to play music at our house after work. I wanted to fill my time with a creative outlet, rather than less productive activities like drinking and socializing.

I’d always wanted to take a ceramics class, so I did my research and signed up for a class at Muddy Studio in Santa Ana. Over a period of two months and 21 hours in the studio, I was hooked. My partner could see how devoted I was and bought me a 24-hour access membership to the studio.

At the time, I worked at Sole Technology as an Inside Sales Rep. I would go straight from work to the studio until the later hours. I went religiously and played with the idea of having my own business. On my lunch breaks, I’d drive to the park down the street and take product photos on this cement stadium seating using my iPhone.

After seven months I launched my website, got business cards, and approached my first restaurant, Pueblo. I remember walking in asking for their manager. I introduced myself and asked if he was interested in handmade ceramics for his restaurant. Adam was kind enough to sit and chat with me, even let me show him some product.

Being able to share something I worked so hard on was so meaningful to me. Soon after they became my first restaurant order, it gave me the confidence and drove I needed to say”, maybe this can work?” Today, I’m still working full time, living in Highland Park, and juggling ceramics. I work out of a shed in my backyard but am also working out of a group studio in Long beach, Clay Studio.

I spend most of my free time driving to/from and working in the studio, possibly to the detriment of everything else in my life, but ceramics is a priority, and I am currently working towards making it a full-time job. I’m not there yet, but being passionate about something again feels damn good. 2019 I’m coming for you!

We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
The smoothest silkiest road with u-turns, dead-ends, and detours. Figuring out how far I want to take this has finally been more clear than ever.

The struggles of balancing life, work, and relationships is a big one for me. Schlepping ceramics back and forth, driving all over LA with jangling pieces in the back of my car is something that has become normal to me.

Sometimes when I feel like I haven’t seen my friends in a while, I haven’t had enough time with my partner, or for myself is the hardest part, but I know that in they are rooting for me and understand that I’m chasing my dream.

We’d love to hear more about your business.
Salamat – means “Thank you,” in Tagalog. Salamat transforms natural materials into simple, but elegant everyday objects for your home.

Made in Los Angeles, California and influenced and inspired by mood, nature, food, and art. Our pieces can be hard, raw and natural with a balance of playfulness. Our mission is to not only provide beautiful kitchenware and home decor but to also hand make each piece personally, creating a bond between the piece itself and its next set of hands.

We love saying thank you! Everyone should feel appreciated and special, even if it’s something as small as a handmade vase filled with flowers. We give a ceramic piece to a complete stranger. This piece has a small defect, whether it be a small crack or a slight warp, it is a fully functional beautiful piece that shouldn’t go to waste.

What were you like growing up?
I’m a first generation Filipino American and the youngest of five. I grew up in the Bay Area and was a bit of a tomboy, always hanging with the boys and playing sports.

I looked up to my oldest brother and picked up his favorite sport, skateboarding, I was so passionate about it that all I did from 11-18 was a skate. I practiced everyday anywhere I could, and I eventually got sponsored by our local skate shop, The Shop, and Lucky Bearings.

Eventually, I got tired of getting hurt and started working in the action sports industry, comfortably safe behind a computer instead of fracturing my bones. At UCSB, I majored in Sociology, but never really knew how I could give back until I started Salamat. It has essentially become a way of connecting people and showing gratitude.

Contact Info:

Image Credit:
Amber Chavez + Edgar Obrand

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