“Don’t do it alone. Find people to lean on and get advice from. The world, in general, wants to help, you just have to be willing to ask. The reality of being an independent business owner is that if you’re doing it right, you have support so you can make the best decisions.”
Students Became Her Teacher
Kelly Kermode’s passion for creativity began when she was in middle school. She loved to paint and draw, and learned about pottery from her aunt. As with so many people, as Kelly grew up, her life began to take over and she pushed her love of art aside to make room for other areas of life.
However, Kelly’s passion for art couldn’t be pushed aside forever. Right before her daughter was born, Kelly decided it was time to get back into art. She started taking pottery classes again, with teacher and mentor Mary Doezema. Taking classes turned into being part of a co-op studio, which led to teaching pottery classes and then leading a collaborative art unit for high school students. It was her students that planted the idea of starting a studio in Kelly’s mind. Once the idea took root, Kelly couldn’t ignore the pull. Pretty soon ideas evolved into spreadsheets, which became concrete numbers and eventually, a business plan. With GROW’s help, that plan became a reality less than a year later when Kelly opened Pottery Lane GR in downtown Grand Rapids
Finding Peace Through Creativity
Kelly’s mission at Pottery Lane GR has been “to create a respite for people and the community of Grand Rapids. People can come and have a good time and play with clay, but the studio is also a place to come and disconnect from the world and just create.
”Pottery Lane’s logo is the “Hopi hand,” which is a symbol that means “finding peace through creativity.” This symbol embodies the vision of Pottery Lane. The hope is for people to have time and space to disconnect and time and space to create.
Pottery is the main focus, but according to Kelly, it’s not really about the pottery. “It’s about stepping away from the hectic life; stepping away from the to-dos and disconnecting and finding community.” The variety of options offered at Pottery Lane allows people to choose what works for them – there’s a fit for everyone. There are walk-ins, special events, six-week classes, and open studio hours. This accessibility is perfect for beginners and seasoned potters alike, and contributes to creating a community at the studio.
GROW, Your Thinking Partner & Trusted Advisor
When Kelly decided to put her dream into action, she needed help. That’s where GROW came in. GROW didn’t just provide financial assistance, they were a thinking partner and trusted support system for Kelly as she navigated starting her own business. “GROW helped me understand the layers of support the community has for business owners. They showed me who to go to, gave me guidance and contacts that I would not have gotten elsewhere. That has made a difference for sure.”