Business Profile: Rachel Leary Ceramics

Name: Rachel Leary
Company: Rachel Leary Ceramics
Address: Omagh
Mobile: 07746419497

Can you describe your business?

Rachel Leary Ceramics creates and sells handmade decorative and functional ceramic wares inspired by nature. Currently I have two main collections; the Watercolour Collection which incorporates my own original drawings and paintings, adding a splash of colour to porcelain wares, and the Dribble Collection, a very tactile range of work influenced by textures of fungi. I also sell a very unique range of Egyptian Faience jewellery, a material which uses a mixture of clay and glass ingredients to create colourful earrings and brooches. Rachel Leary Ceramics also offers clay and painting workshops to any local community groups, and accepts commissions for bespoke artworks.

Why did you start your own business?

I have always wanted to be an artist and at university I discovered a passion for ceramics through studying Contemporary Applied Arts at Belfast School of Arts, and continuing to complete a Masters degree at Cardiff School of Art. The decision to create my own business began because I have found it extremely difficult to find a job that requires the unique skills that I have accumulated over my years of study. Having my own creative business allows me to share my unique designs with the public and to also give back to the community by teaching my skills to others.

What are the best things about running your own business?

I think it has to be the freedom to organise your own time, your own ideas and being responsible for every success. Owning your own business is extremely different to working for someone else. You are constantly learning along the way because yes, there will be failures and mistakes. When you learn from every mistake, then success will follow and it is enormously rewarding.

What are the main challenges facing the business?

My main challenge is to constantly think of new ways of bringing in business and new avenues that I can take my business to. At the moment, my main focus is to create new products and to reach out to new customers and community groups that may want to book creative workshops.

What advice would you give to someone starting a business?

Don’t try to do it alone and be wary of isolating yourself! Having your own business can be lonely, especially when you are not employing others. Contact your local enterprise centre and council and see what they have to offer start-up businesses. I am currently participating in a Women In Business course run by the councils through Omagh Enterprise Centre. Through these workshops I have been able to network with, and learn from other local entrepreneurs who are facing the same challenges and fears that I am, about starting their own business.  Having support at the beginning of your journey is vital and the Enterprise Centre also has endless resources provided to suit your needs or problems that you may be facing.  

Can you describe your experience of running a business in three words or less?

Challenging, Exciting, Rewarding!