A Glasgow pottery business has revealed how a post-pandemic boom has allowed the business to "grow massively".

Here, founder Jessica Kirke reveals more.

What is your business called? 

The Craft Pottery

Where is it based?

Washington Street, Glasgow city centre

What does it produce/do?

An independent, bring your own bottle pottery painting studio.

To whom does it sell?

A very large and broad market – pottery painting is suitable for any age or ability. The majority of our current demographic is women between 18-35, with 95% of our followers on Instagram being female.

How many employees?


Why did you take the plunge?

I used to work at a pottery painting studio in Brooklyn, New York, and I absolutely loved it. I worked there on the weekends alongside my full-time job, and it was my favourite place to be.

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When I moved to Glasgow, I missed spending time at an adult-focused, PYOP studio, and there wasn’t anything like that that I could find in my new city. My boyfriend (now husband) and I visited a few studios that were aimed at children and – while lovely – we felt a bit out of place being the only adults there.

What were you doing before?

I was a student at the University of Glasgow studying Children’s Literature. I needed a year out after leaving my PR career in NYC and I wanted to study abroad while I figured out my next move. I applied everywhere that taught programs in English: all over the UK, Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, even Denmark, and finally settled on Glasgow.

The Herald: The team at Craft PotteryThe team at Craft Pottery (Image: Story Shop)

My colleague Beth Hoad – who runs the business – joined the team five years ago from another ceramic studio in Ayr. The post-pandemic boom allowed the business to grow massively as we were able to add units to make the capacity four times what it originally was. Beth has driven the expansion that has allowed Craft Pottery to grow into the business it is today, increase our offering and introduce workshops and brand collaborations.

What do you least enjoy?

Since I’ve moved back to the US, I don’t get to work alongside the best people ever, at the place I lovingly created. Huge bummer.

I know the team working day-to-day don’t enjoy it when something accidentally gets broken, but that’s very rare. All in all, we have an extremely positive team and our customers are amazing; we really couldn’t ask for a better group of people.  

What are your ambitions for the firm?

We’d love to keep collaborating with more Glasgow businesses, expanding our client base, and offering more workshops in the studio and off-site.

We want everyone to know who we are, what we do and to become a household name around Glasgow. The team loves hearing feedback and positive experiences from people across the city.

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The ultimate goal is for everyone in Glasgow to have a Craft Pottery mug in their cupboard.

What single thing would most help?

With our recent studio expansion and new larger kilns, we’re headed in that direction. Collaborating with much-loved Glasgow brands is how we’re going to make local notoriety happen. Dockyard Social is a really good example of us being placed in front of a new set of eyes. We did a large event there with over 70 painters that probably hadn’t been to our studio before.

What is the most valuable lesson you have learned?

It’s so important to invest in your people. From my experience, you never know what's going to happen in your personal life – you might not even live in the same country as your business. The Craft Pottery wouldn’t be where it is today without the dedicated team we have that are as passionate as I am about the customers and the studio.

You really need to trust yourself and your vision for the business and what you’ve created. The huge belief that it can and will do well.

What was your best moment?

Sometimes I still can’t believe that we've created this place where all types of people can go and have so much fun every time they enter. It was a new concept for the city, and I wasn’t sure how that was going to go.

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I’m now always confident new customers will have a great time–and be surrounded by staff that genuinely love their job (which is so important!). The only reason we’ve lost staff over the past three years has been because they were leaving the country. If people aren’t happy working for you, you need to find out why and come to a solution together.

The team loves when a new piece of kit is delivered like our massive, brand-new kiln, but also just the time we all spend as a team. We pay the staff a fun fund (% of profits) every month and it’s really nice to see how involved everyone gets in planning team bonding activities.

What was your worst moment?

Covid was scary. I’m honestly so thankful we had the ability to furlough the team through it all. I was doing everything behind the scenes that I could to make sure no one lost their job once the lockdowns were done. Following all the closures was when the business truly took off and grew to what it is today.

How do you relax?

I have a toddler so there isn’t too much ‘relaxing’ per se, but we do a lot of hiking as a family, arts and crafts of course, and I’m quite into Pilates for the benefits of both mind and body.