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Sally in her home studio

Ceramic Artist follows her passion and helps to save the environment

Sally Flannery has followed her passion by starting her own small business as a Ceramic Artist and has already received an overwhelming response since its establishment.

Sally’s self-named business is proving popular due to its unique and environmentally friendly products including keep cups, essential oil bowls and homewares.

“I have completely sold out and have a backlog of orders to be processed which has been incredible,” Sally said.

A self-professed minimalist, Sally has tried to make products with the utmost attention to detail and a high consideration for longevity.

“I don’t want to mass produce my products. My approach is to only produce small quantities and limited editions” she said.

“I am always trying to improve the environmental implications of my business. For example, all of my business cards and product tags are printed on card made from 100% recycled cotton. The ‘paper’ is made from industrial t-shirt cut-offs. I also use popcorn for packaging rather than plastic.”

Sally started her business in April 2018 after completing the New Enterprise Incentive Scheme (NEIS) Program (now known as the Self-Employment Assistance program as of 1 July 2022) with ETC and also launched her own crowdfunded Kickstarter campaign to help purchase a new electric kiln that would help her to reliably fire her own work.

The response to the crowdfunding campaign was amazing – with 95 backers pledging an overwhelming $8,046 to help bring my project to life.  My original goal was $2,750. Previously, I had to hire kilns which was costly and the actual firing process was very slow. I am so grateful for my new kiln and have used it every single day since it arrived.”

Originally a university student studying her Masters of Business, Sally decided to leave this field and follow her passion in ceramics.

“I thought the corporate world was a really safe career and something that I ‘should’ be doing. I was a year off graduating, but I was so unhappy. I was actually studying ceramics and my masters at the same time for 6 months, which made me realise how much I hated the corporate stuff. So I dropped out and finished my ceramics course. For me, ceramics has become a way for me to express myself and connect with the world through something tactile and creative,” Sally said.

As a business owner, running a small business, Sally has learnt many lessons.

“There’s so many different things you have to do when you run a business like photography, social media, answering emails, invoicing. Having the willpower and motivation to get up every day – especially when it’s cold and I have to get up at 6am to turn the kiln on. When you’re self-employed you can often just sleep in, but then you’re the one who doesn’t benefit from that. That has been a big learning curve. But now I wake up early and get excited – so I must be enjoying what I’m doing. I’m not even having coffee anymore,” laughs Sally.

Sally thanked ETC and the NEIS Program for helping her gain the confidence to jump in.

“I knew some basic things, but when you actually sit down and develop the business plans for your own business it’s a totally different thing. To have someone there to ask all those basic questions and go through some different scenarios was really encouraging. ETC has been so lovely and supportive.”

Have you ever considered starting your own business?

Self-Employment Assistance helps eligible job seekers to start and run their own business. Find out more about Self-Employment Assistance >



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