Today we’d like to introduce you to Heather Kobs and Tara Cunningham.
Heather and Tara, please share your story with us.
Like most sisters who have grown up to be close friends, we like to do things together when we can. About five years ago, one of those things was taking a pottery class. We made birdhouses and Christmas ornaments and we both loved it. It wasn’t our first exposure to the art form, we had both taken pottery classes in college, and Tara is actually a Junior High art teacher in Plano. When the class ended, we weren’t ready for it to be over, so we bought our own clay and glazes and paid someone to fire our creations. That lasted for about a year, until we bought our own kiln. At that point we were makin’ fools! Most of the flat surfaces in each of our kitchens were covered with projects. We made earrings for all our friends and anything else we could think of. Eventually, our friends would ask us to make things for them to give as gifts, and that lead to us applying for a few local holiday bazaars and art fairs. At the time, we had no idea what we were doing, but we had a good time and made a little moolah.
In 2014, we opened a small space at the Richardson Mercantile, which was a fun venture, and although we aren’t there anymore, it was a good experience and we met lots of wonderful people, like our friend, and local photographer Annie Holland, who was also a vendor at the mercantile. Annie is the owner of Lone Chimney Mercantile, a shop at the Dallas Farmer’s Market, which is the first local shop to carry Twice Baked Clay products.
Fast forward five years, and we’ve grown a bit. We now have a website for direct orders, a steady stream of custom business, and our products can be found in a handful of Dallas shops, plus a few retail outlets outside the metro area. We are also proud to be West Elm Makers. Our products can be purchased in all the West Elm Stores in Texas.
We’re always bombarded by how great it is to pursue your passion, etc. – but we’ve spoken with enough people to know that it’s not always easy. Overall, would you say things have been easy for you?
Mostly, our journey into the maker world has been exciting. We’ve met so many interesting people, made some life-long friends, and learned a lot along the way. Anyone who knows us well, knows that neither of us naturally gravitate toward the business end of owning a business, but we’ve figured out how to do things that we never thought we’d do… most involve numbers! While that part isn’t near as fun for us artsy types, we love what we do so much that we’ve found a way to work in the business necessities, such as quickbooks and taxes. We have five busy teenagers between the two of us, so another challenge we often face is time. We each have studio space and kilns in our homes, so we’re able to work in between the other demands of life. However, working together with coffee and a great playlist is still our favorite way to create.
We’d love to hear more about your business.
Our specialty is handmade pottery. We make housewares and functional art, as well as ceramic jewelry. We are also venturing into totem pole sculptures that can live out in the garden or inside. If we are “known” for something it would probably be our coffee mugs, Texas ornaments, and our leather necklaces with ceramic charms. They are the hardest items to keep in stock.
We are pretty true to ourselves when we create things; jewelry, functional art, anything really, so when other people get it, like it or better yet, buy it… it’s validating. Even when it’s something silly or whimsical, which most of our stuff is, it feels good to know that it made someone smile. We don’t take ourselves too seriously, we are imperfect, and so is everything we create — that’s what makes it unique. All of our pieces are one-of-a-kind, high fired, and handmade with Texas clay. We strive to create high quality products that bring positivity and uniqueness into peoples homes and lives.
- Website: twicebakedclay.com
- Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Instagram: @twicebakedclay
- Facebook: Twice Baked Clay