©Amin Musa for Papier
How did you decide to keep your business on a lower scale and not hire anyone?
I think about hiring someone all the time, but if I learned one thing from working in retail, it’s that I’m not good at managing people. And it’s not something I want to be good at, so I’m taking my business at my own pace, in a way that I can support myself. I also worry sometimes, that if my work becomes too accessible no one would care about it anymore. I don’t believe so, but I worry about everything.
I live in the very privileged situation of being self-sustainable. I can make my own decisions. And I’m completely against this capitalist idea, that everybody should be able to get what they want, all the time. Also, my art is very personal and there’s a special connection that I have with the person sending their image. I think people like that it’s just me who does the work.
In an ideal world, I would create pots and not make money for it, but obviously I have to. For me, it was never about making loads of money.
There are people, especially men, that question my decision to not grow the business. I know that they just want me to succeed and for them success is money, whereas for me success is feeling good about what I do.
So would you say that you try to change the business-system in which you operate and maybe implement a new form of leadership?
The whole idea behind being the way I am and being quite strict with it, is that I hope business changes. So that people don’t have to bow to the pressure of being a certain way. I wouldn’t blow in my own trumpet that hard, but I think some people have taken notice and I have friends who feel similarly. There’s a definite movement, but I haven’t coined it. This is about my personality and how much I hate the system that we live in. If you run a business, you should be in complete control of it and be true to who you are. I’m not saying my way is the right way, but for me it is. And that’s what’s important.
A very good role-model for me is Eliza Hopewell, she’s also an artist and very ruthless and open.
What I find very helpful is to have support in my shared studio. We hold each other accountable and give feedback. It can be very scary to put something in the world, so it’s nice to talk it through.
People are very respectful of my decisions now, which is a great help.
Has your mental health improved since you started to be strict about your business?
Definitely. I was completely overworking myself. I would go on a night out and people would recognize me and ask for a pot. And I would feel very awkward and agree to make them one, even though I really didn’t want to. But I said yes, because I felt uncomfortable which is something a lot of people experience. You have to learn to deal with it. Now that I’ve decided to be stricter, I feel more comfortable to say no. I became so good at saying no, that I want to say no all the time now. Sometimes it is a good thing to put yourself out there, feel the fear a little bit, but on your own terms.
Do you have any plans for the future?
I have no plan for the future and that exactly is my plan for the future. I’m done with having plans and feeling like I should have reached a certain stage in life. Try to ask yourself if you enjoy what you’re doing. If your answer is yes, that’s what you should continue doing. And that’s my plan.
Thank you for sharing your story.