Paloma Pottery Celebrates 15 Years Online! Recycled Glass Pottery Business Thriving Through the Ages
Paloma Pottery looks back over the past decade and more, to find what remains from the original vision, and embraces the surprising changes time brings.
At the turn of the century, humanity was wondering if our worldwide computer system would crash, disrupting our business affairs and causing general mayhem. Was the world ending? Indeed, one era was ending, and a new one was beginning. This was the dawning of a time when email would quickly replace the phone as a primary means of communication. Text messaging would grow to become standard form, rapidly changing the way we communicate every day. Onward we would go, to mobile devices, apps and unlimited possibilities. But at the start of 2000, the future was still uncertain. It was a new beginning.
Out of this chaos was born an online company with sound ecological ethics, imaginative resourcefulness and good, old-fashioned business sense. A woman in the far northwest corner of the United States was pondering parallel problems of pollution, corporate corruption and consumerism.
Founder Nicole Whitney reflects, "I started with the realization of how good pottery and clay is for me on a personal level… ", she begins. "But I really embraced the challenges of the business and social level as well; I love working directly with clients on custom work. That is my favorite". She continues, "I wanted to make a difference in the business world, in terms of how business is done. I was inspired by the work of Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, who was doing amazing work in sustainability and social activism through her store. Her success inspired me to achieve the same kind of socially important role in the business world."
Whitney's early exposure to the internet, through her father - working in the computer industry - laid the foundation for a belief in the potential of green commerce online. "After my first art festival, I saw how easy it is to sell, and I knew I had a winning combination (glass pottery) to go with", she recalls. Thus, even amidst the recession of 2008, Paloma Pottery continued to grow as a strong online presence. This marvel filled Whitney with joy at having an "online store" and she understood the "green" aspect of the business put it at center stage.
Over the years, Paloma has grown through the phases of many small businesses: holiday markets, etsy, craft fairs and onward. It was here that a rapport with customers was established - a skill any successful business requires. In 2008, Paloma Pottery began selling at Whole Foods Markets. By 2011 Paloma's line was showing up in grocery stores and co-ops throughout the northwest. Over time, Whitney found that the audience for her recycled products actually had a far wider base, and online sales starting coming in from far and wide.
The past decade has seen a revolution in the local, the small-scale and the handmade - and Paloma Pottery embodies all of these qualities and more. "All across the country, people are realizing the importance of reusing materials, and the DIY movement has also gained momentum. So our principles as a business have just taken root and grown...", Whitney says.
The future looks bright for Paloma Pottery and that is good news - not just for founder Nicole Whitney - but for the health of the environment and social justice as well.
"Locally, I have found that the work lends itself well to "other abled" members of the community - and those with varying skills have become valuable assets to the Paloma team". Workers who otherwise struggle with "disabilities" in the work world have found a welcome home in the many tasks on custom recycled glass pottery: cookie cutting, hand-building activities, wrapping for shipment or packaging, assembling cork bumpers, etc. Whitney finds there is always a new way to make an impact for good, whether on the global or small-scale level. This drive keeps the quality production going on into a new era.
"It is a very modern world now, in terms of purchasing habits for consumers…", she remarks. Orders through Paloma Pottery now come in through hand-held devices, tablets and iPhones. In less than 10 minutes, a shopper can choose, buy and send a quality, handmade eco friendly gift or piece for the home. This has revolutionized the way Paloma does business. "We are always ready to meet a custom order or to ship from our existing line. It has expanded our season to be nearly year round…", Whitney says. The newly updated Paloma Pottery website brings all the joys of a modern website, while still holding dear the original principles the company was founded on.
"From here, we are seeing the growth of custom work in the corporate world [in customized coasters, picture frames, key chains, etc] and on into the hospitality industry. Our custom Tiles and Pulls are catching the attention of hotel/motel chains who want to personalize their decor to an eco friendly sensibility…". And so, Paloma Pottery is now impacting those aspects of industry Whitney first sought to address way back in 2000. "It has been a very full journey, with some unexpected turns. But I know that we are equipped now, more than ever, to continue meeting customer demand and changing trends… while still holding firm to the original vision".
To celebrate the landmark of 15 years in business, Paloma Pottery is holding a special promotion on Candle Holders and 100% Beeswax Candle gift packages. Visit PalomaPottery.com to see the details. So, enjoy a celebration and toast to delights and surprises of time!