Author: Frankie Thorogood, Pott’d Founder
During the initial lockdown in 2020 my partner and I, like so many others, were finding ourselves stricken with boredom and itching for some stimulation. With so few options available to ease our boredom, this need was often pacified with a screen. Days spent at a laptop morphed into evenings spent in front of the TV, which morphed into nights spent scrolling on our phones. Though we seemed to have all of the time in the world to spend with each other, we failed to carve out any of it for quality time. Without even realising it we were falling into a habit that was wrecking our mental health, and straining our relationship.
After a long time of trudging through the boredom of the unrelenting lockdowns, and still with no end in sight, we affirmed that we needed to find some sort of outlet for our creativity and energy, as well as a task that we could do together. We looked into a number of things but failed to feel satisfied with the hobbies we were picking up. We were looking for something quite specific; a hobby that required minimal space and could be done from home – which meant that both of us could get involved, and provided us with a fulfilling creative outlet. In this search, we began to experiment with air dry clay. Subbing in for nights in front of the TV, we began spending our evenings opposite one another building with our hands, engrossed in our creations, and excited to share our new ideas with one another. By creating vases, sculptures, and trinket holders we had found the respite we were looking for from our screens and a healthy expression of our creativity. Importantly we were feeling lighter and less weighted down by the circumstances around us. We had no idea that creating with clay could have such a profoundly positive impact on our mental health.
Having felt a new lease of energy and excitement, we began to think about whether we could explore our new hobby on a bigger scale. We felt there was potential for a business plan, so we started to experiment with pulling together a complete product that would come with everything you need to get started in pottery. In this instance we were looking to collate premium air dry clay that came with all the tools needed to sculpt, as well as a potters sponge, enough paint colours so that you can really hone your finished design, a base coat, a top varnish, and an informative guide pack to load the user up with inspiration.
From there our confidence in the idea grew. I used my skills from previous entrepreneurial ventures to find suppliers, create branding and create a complete product. We tested prototypes together in the evenings and on weekends, and spent several hours cutting up blocks of clay in the kitchen and wrapping them in clingfilm!
Whilst the project gained its feet, I started off as a jack-of-all-trades, but once the foundation of the brand was in place we looked towards expansion and I retained a role that played to my strengths. My previous work experience had furnished me with a holistic view of the types of roles we needed filling, so finding the right people was a smooth process for us. I knew I had lots of other ideas for other products and brands I wanted to bring to market, but while I am good at thinking of great ideas, I am not an expert at developing them and working with suppliers, so I began searching for a full time Product Developer and brought in our first full time employee. I also knew I needed operational help at scale and reached out to a former colleague who became my COO.
The idea was conceived during a period of my life in which I felt the least inspired. The extra headspace that pottery gave me, not only got my creativity pulsing again, but reinstilled the entrepreneurial mindset that had always come naturally to me.
Since conceiving the idea, developing the product, and working on expansion, the Pott’d kit is now being sold across the UK, the US, and throughout Europe. We have big product plans, as well as an ambitious global expansion plan which I am eager to see play out with my fantastic team around me.