In early summer, we followed the startup journey of Lalese Stamps’ side business Lolly Lolly Ceramics. Here’s what she’s been up to for the past few months.

Late July 2020

Planning a fundraiser

‘Lots of people reach out asking how they can support me, so I decide to start a fundraising campaign, “Take Lolly to the Next Level”. It’ll be live for 30 days and I’ll list out all the exact things I’m trying to buy to grow my business, to provide transparency to anyone who contributes. I’m nervous because there’s a lot going on – asking for support financially feels a little weird. But I also feel like I have to take a leap of faith and just do it.

Early August 2020

Looking for a role model

‘I got the idea to run my fundraising campaign after seeing one of my favourite shops in Philly run one. The store is called YOWIE and I think the founder, Shannon Maldonado, is so awesome. She’s been a role model for me, even from afar. I reach out to her to ask if she has any tips or tricks for running the campaign. She’s super awesome and calls me and talks through the whole thing. Our conversation makes me feel a lot better about my plans for it.’ 

Early August 2020

Renovation time

‘I move into a new studio and it’s really sick – much bigger with lots of natural light. But I underestimate the moving process – it’s a lot of cleaning up and moving a lot of big equipment, so it’s a hard few days. There’s a lot happening. I’m renovating the space: getting electricity ready for the kilns, plumbing and putting up walls with arches to help the flow of the space. I thought putting up the wall would take a day or two but, again, I grossly underestimated that.’

Mid-August 2020

Delegating responsibility

‘I have visual layouts for a new website but the site hasn’t been built yet. I was originally thinking I would just build it myself, but I’m encouraged to relinquish that work so I can focus on other things. My boyfriend works for a small agency, and we talk about how they can take on the project. Having people in my life who remind me they’re around is really helpful – I often just try to do everything on my own, and that doesn’t always work out the best.’

Mid-August 2020

Overwhelmed and anxious

‘Lately I’ve been feeling overwhelmed. I still work full time, and then I go to the studio to work on the renovation. I haven’t been able to answer emails or deliver on deadlines, which makes me feel terrible. I have a panic attack: I go to Denver with my boyfriend and, as soon as I got off the plane in Columbus, I start sobbing. That moment I realise I can’t keep living this way. I need to seek out professional help and start seeing my therapist again.’

Late August 2020

Maker’s block

‘I have anxiety about going into my studio and making stuff because I haven’t made anything in a while. This happens to me frequently. If I take even a few weeks off, I start wondering: “Where do I start? What do I do?” I think it will be fine once I actually get back into the studio and start touching some clay, getting my hands dirty, and just doing it. This is just one of those difficult situations that comes up sometimes.’

Late August 2020

Uncomfortable accusations

‘I reach out to the founder of a brand I love, and she writes back saying she noticed a photo on my feed that looks very similar to a product she sells. The piece she points out is a gift for a friend I made when I first started ceramics. I don’t sell pieces like it, I never have. The whole thing makes me realise the attention I’m getting might cause tension with other ceramicists – it’s not going to all be rainbows and butterflies with everyone excited for me.’

Late August 2020

Inspiration and imitation

‘There are so many ideas on social media – like my 100 Day Project. That was not unique, but I made sure it felt special to me and my brand. Someone reaches out and says they’re doing their own version. I look at her feed and see the mugs she made are exact replicas of mine. It’s not like I was copied by a big corporation, but it makes me think about navigating proprietary. Even if people copy my designs, they can’t replicate me, my perspective or my brand.’

Find out the latest from Lalese on Instagram at @lollylollyceramics.

This article was first published in Courier Issue 37, October/November 2020. To purchase the issue or become a subscriber, head to our webshop.

Read part one here.

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