After making the decision to start our own business, we found The Pottery Consultant on the internet. We were very impressed at all of the knowledge she seemed to have. We took a leap of faith and it was the best decision that we have ever made! Connie was, has and is still true to her word that she will go above and beyond the services that she offers. The best thing about her is that she truly is yours for the length of time that you own your business. Thank goodness because as we have found, just because you open your studio, the need for training NEVER ends!
We would like to thank Connie for helping us with every single step of getting our loan, to showing us where to buy our furniture, and the layout of our store. Connie was truly a treasure to find and a truly wonderful friend that we have made. If every new business owner had the ability to hire a consultant, and that consultant knew their area of business as well as Connie Speer knows hers, this Country wouldn’t be in a recession!!! Many, many, business professionals know parts of their business backwards and forwards. Connie Speer knows every facet of starting a Paint Your Own Pottery Studio from conception, to build out, to services, to opening day, to month to month operations, and much more. Nothing, and we mean nothing, gets left out or behind!! She will be there for you every step of the process.
Nicole & I have found out over the last several years now how lucky we are to have found Connie. With having four children at home, and both of us working full-time jobs, we could never have started this amazing ride to business ownership. Connie was so flexible with our ever changing family schedule. Connie worked with us during the day, late into the night, and even on the weekend. When Connie mentioned she would be there for us, I would never have imagined how true to her word she was. No phone call or email went left unanswered, and responded TIMELY at that!
The training Connie gave us while we visited her in Fort Worth was exceptional. Nicole & I not coming from an “artsy” background felt that this would be the hardest part to learn. We couldn’t have been more wrong. Everyone working with Connie is just as nice as her. They made us feel welcome and comfortable. Connie’s method of teaching was perfect. Connie made learning all there is to know about painting, dipping, kilns, clay-hand building, glass fusing, and marketing incredibly easy.
Simply put………. If you are considering opening a Paint Your Own Pottery Studio or need some training in those areas, you need to LOOK NO FURTHER. The Pottery Consultant is the only choice to be made!!!
Dave & Nicole Nickel
Firefly Pottery Studio
Working with Connie Speer has been the single best decision we made after deciding to open our arts and crafts studio in Canada. From the first call with her we knew that our dream could become a reality. We were amazed at every step of our journey from creating our business plan and budget to training with Connie and finally setting up our shop. Not only is Connie the leader in the PYOP and glass fusion industry, she is a remarkable business woman and teacher who puts her clients first. Her knowledge of the industry is vast and she will go out of her way to get you, her client, the best of everything that you need in the most efficient way. We are excited to have Connie as a continued part of our business as our consultant, whenever we need an answer she has it. She took our passion for opening up a successful studio and turned it into a complete confidence that we could do it.
Stefanie and Joanna
Connie Speer is the godmother of the paint-your-own-pottery studio industry. If you are opening, or considering opening, or operating a paint-your-own-pottery studio, sign up for Connie's course, get on a plane to Texas and learn everything you need to know.
I opened my own studio in New York City after training with Connie and Connie's advice is invaluable, on-point, and I couldn't have done it without her. I am extremely thankful that I found her. Opening a new business, or buying an existing business, is a big deal and if you do not use Connie as a resource, then you are making a big mistake! I can't say enough about her.
Her knowledge of pottery, kilns, paints, brushes and the business side of paint-your-own-pottery is unparalleled--she is an encyclopedia on all things relating to opening a contemporary ceramic and glass fusing studio. Connie has been instrumental every step of the way. She taught me everything I need to know during her intensive course on opening a studio. She spent hours on the phone with me customizing a package that fit my needs. She gave me advice and guided me throughout the process. She was with me on the phone the first time I fired each of my kilns. I don't know anyone who provides this high level of customer service in any industry. Her support was tremendous and I am very grateful to have her as my mentor in my business.
Oliloli Arts & Crafts Studio
After one year of working on my business plan, taking different classes in marketing, accounting/book keeping, how to start a business - I felt somewhat lost when it came to the practical routines, techniques and ideas of a PYOP. Since I am located overseas I did my research on where to get my training.
After reading a bunch of reviews and references about Connie and the rest of the people at ASC I thought that this place, this lady sounds too good to be true. Most of us who experience if something seems too good to be true in life, it is probably just that. I guess once in a million it can proved wrong.
Connie Speer is one of a million.
After attending one of her week long classes with PYOP, clay and glass I feel 100% ready to open my studio. It has boosted my own ideas about how and what to incorporate in my studio concept. I know I have avoided disasters if I had chosen to do it myself. In stead of rambling about every single reason (there is A LOT of them) why one should get to know Connie and sign up for a class or two or all, I would just like to say that if you are considering opening your own studio, attending her hands on training is a must. Her experience, years in the business, the insight in the do´s and dont´s, her way of making things clear and understandable is priceless. I can only speak for my self, in hindsight, I could never have done this without her and the rest of the people at ASC. I want to especially thank Connie, Ginger, Pat, Cherry and Landon for outstanding classes and teaching.
Kine H. Steen-Delacorn
Hjem og Hjerte Oslo, Norway.
HUGE sigh of relief!! Before meeting with Connie I was VERY naïve. I believed that I could start a pyop with $20,000, I could train myself, and easily start this business. I laugh at that now! In the days that I trained with Connie I learned what would have taken me several months to learn. Not to mention there is so much more that I learned that I probably would have never known.
Without her help I'm not sure I would have been able to open and if I was I'm positive it wouldn't have taken long before I fell flat on my face. I am SO excited now to get my business open and confident it will succeed. I have a binder with all the knowledge of pyop I will ever need (I didn't believe that either!) Plus I have Connie to call or email with any questions I have.
THANK YOU SO MUCH CONNIE! You truly are full of endless knowledge and an inspiration to others. I could not have done this without you. I just want to hug you right now. I am so grateful in what I have learned and the impact you will continue to have on my business.
Anyone that is not sure about doing this or don't think it's worth the money, I promise it is! I questioned it at first and now realize there is not an amount of money that would have made this training not worth it. I cannot stress this enough that I know SO much more than I ever thought there was to know. Thank you,
When my sister and I decided to open a paint your own pottery studio, I had never painted pottery. I had visited them and understood the concept but never participated in the process. We saw an opportunity for this type of business in a great market and figured that we could learn the rest. We were right in that we could learn the technical side but it would have been infinitely more difficult and our success would have been questionable if we didn’t hire Connie Speer right from the start.
From her help with the business plan to her guidance on dipping and loading the kiln to her help with budgets and spreadsheets, I cannot say enough good things about working with Connie. One of the best parts is that she’s there to help long after the studio has opened. When we have questions about glaze not looking right or how to market a particular program or product, we call Connie and she’s filled with great ideas and suggestions, immediately!
Connie is more than just knowledgeable about pottery. She knew when to hold our hand and when to let us make decisions. She’s like your favorite teacher, chatty girlfriend, and priest all rolled into one. Thank you Connie for everything you’ve done. We shall be forever grateful.
Kim and Claudette Scheffold
Glaze Pottery Studio
Without Connie, I don't think I would have been able to open my shop in France. First of all, she made me discover how advanced was the ceramic industry in the US. Secondly, she introduced me to other crafts, which was important for me because I live in a small town, and I need to catch people's attention on a long term and be diversified. Thirdly, she was always friendly, full of enthusiasm, and of course very professional. I call her "My cousin from America".
Thank you Connie - I highly recommend you as a consultant!"
Les Artistes du Soleil
Having a consultant really takes all the guess work out of setting up a Paint-your-own pottery studio. I would never have known which companies and products to trust without Connie's input and experience. She has seen it all and can work through the lease negotiations with you as well as all those little business details. Connie is also a big help in studio set up - layout, design, fixtures, working with contractors and electricians. I wouldn't have opened my studio without the input and guidance from Connie.
Jen’s Pottery Den
Connie Speer has been and always will be the best investment I made for my new studio. Connie, and her team at American Ceramics, were always personal, available and ready for any challenge that came up before, during, and after I made the decision to open Paint Your Own Pottery, Inc. It's now been 15 years since I've known Connie, and 14-1/2 years since the studio has opened, and I have always considered myself lucky to have teamed up with Connie.
Paint your own Pottery, Inc.
Opening a pyop studio was an idea that started a couple of years ago. During that time I did a lot of research into starting a business and the pyop industry, but I felt that I needed something more to help me make it really happen. I contacted Connie Speer and spent a good time talking to her about her consulting services and quickly made the decision to hire her. It was just the right decision. She has a wealth of knowledge and is very clear and complete in outlining exactly what needs to be done. She is obviously interested in making my efforts succeed and I couldn't be more pleased that I made the decision to hire her. I live in a state far away from Connie, but that has not interfered at all with her consulting. Through the telephone and the Internet, I forget she's actually on the other side of the country.
Would I do it again? Without a doubt!
Make It Yours Pottery Studio
December was an awesome "trial by fire" month to open the new pottery studio. We began advertising as we unpacked our first bisque order. Thanks to your thorough education process, efficiency, and daily assistance, pulling the new business together went nearly flawless. Without you Connie, we would still be researching rather than up and running. You and everyone on your team were so helpful, it was like a having a partner who knew the business inside and out beside us every step of the way. The pottery studio has been the perfect compliment and addition to my existing art studio & gallery.
Thank you so much.
Ward Studio & Gallery
She knows pottery. She knows business. Kilns, glass, inventory, human resources, leases, laws, marketing. You name it, Connie knows it. In January of 2009, I decided to explore the idea of opening a paint-your-own pottery studio. After finding The Pottery Consultant’s website, I gave her a call. Within minutes of our very first conversation, I was impressed with Connie’s experience, enthusiasm, energy and passion. The next few months was like taking a semester of graduate business classes with my very own private professor. I’ve never had so much fun, and I’ve never worked so hard. Connie went above and beyond, she is priceless, unrivaled, unforgettable. In this economy, I opened a small business. Not a small feat. Not possible without the Pottery Consultant.
EarthArt Pottery & Art Studio
I took Connie’s private class without knowing much about pottery except that I knew I enjoyed it and wanted to do something in my area that wasn’t being offered yet. This class thoroughly prepared me to get up and running in the least amount of time with the least amount of headaches. The follow up assistance has been invaluable! I would highly recommend this class to anyone even remotely thinking about opening their own PYOP studio.” (After training with us and opening her first studio, Lola went on to open franchises of her studio in the Pennsylvania area of the United States)
Lola Schantz - Busy Bee Pottery Studio
I truly believe that having Connie on-board as our consultant from the very beginning allowed us to show a profit in our very first month which is practically unheard of in new business start-ups. I’m a person who aggressively reaches out for as much information as possible to assist my decision making. Every single resource and observation —from the planning stages to creating a business plan to managing a new property build-out to supplying the store to marketing and operating the store—has supported everything she has shared with me and has proven to me that I can rely on Connie for immediate direction in every situation. And, I mean everything down to the last wall plug and light socket in our store. Having her on your team immediately helps you advance light years ahead of where you would have been without her.
Mud About You
Words do not begin to express how priceless Connie is. When I was thinking of opening my own studio, I was searching and researching and found Connie. After meeting with her, I knew that this is what I wanted to do and was absolutely sure that Connie was the one to help me get there. I cannot say enough about her. She is worth EVERY penny and then some.
I am often asked if I could have done this without Connie. I am not sure that I could have because of all the things I learned from her. Her knowledge has no limit and she is always there for me. Even when I have called with what I felt were stupid questions that would make us both laugh, she always assured me that I was not the first. She is fun, yet very professional. She is an absolute pleasure to work with. It is such a great feeling to know that someone is there to help you with every step. Connie has been there for me from the time I was deciding if this is truly what I wanted to do until the day I opened my doors. She is still my “go to” girl. She always knows the answer or where to find it. She has shared my success and even things that may not have be so successful. She stood solid and saw me thru them. Connie is a Godsend.
On a personal note, I want to thank you, Connie. I am forever grateful that I found you. You always tell me what is best (not just what I want to hear) and then you let me stand on my own two feet. I know I can trust your advice and you will always have my best interest at heart. Thank you for giving so generously of yourself and always sharing in my vision.
I also want to thank Pat and the staff for always being so helpful. You have made me feel like I am part of your family now.
Art’s of Glaze
The most Valuable investment you can make - When I first decided to open a studio, I researched the industry, updated myself in the current trends and business practices and felt, with my experience and education, I was ready. I mean, how hard could opening a studio be? …it seems straight forward enough for most people. But, I knew something was missing…..it was the unknown aspects of opening my business that prompted me to look a little closer at Connie’s services. I read the testimonials just like you are doing now…..felt ….yeah whatever…just another sales job with handpicked testimonials yadda yadda yadda…you might be thinking the same thing. I must say this to you; we would have wasted tens of thousands and still would have failed to open our studio if we did not have Connie on our side. We cherish our Connie and feel blessed to have found her.
The Potter’s Mill
I first had the idea to open a paint your own pottery studio back in 2001, and opened my doors 2 years later, (due to 9/11 and the area I’m in).
I have no doubt that the advice and training Connie Speer gave me is largely responsible for my success. Make no mistake – it has been the hardest thing I’ve ever done - but Connie has ALWAYS been there to answer my calls and give me support, ideas and reassurance. Connie will give it to you straight. She doesn’t just tell you what you want to hear, but she DOES listen to your thoughts and concerns and works with YOU, the individual.
And for anyone concerned about working with someone who is not local, let me put your fears to rest. I am in New Jersey; Connie is in Texas. She actually taught me to glaze and fire over the phone, and as she will tell you, that’s the easy part. In order to be successful in this business, you need to be determined, tenacious and have a great consultant. The last part is the easiest - just give Connie a call.
We met Connie while at an industry seminar where she spoke. From the beginning she was a formidable presence overflowing with information about the ceramics industry. After agreeing to work with us, she spent countless hours training my wife in the nuances of the paint-your-own-pottery business. Along the way we became friends as well. She was particularly helpful during the first few weeks we were open when she helped with pricing decisions drawing again on her broad knowledge of similar studios all over the country. Now things have settled down, but we always know that we can call on Connie if we run into new issues or need advice on solving problems.
Artrageous Studio, MS
Connie was great. There is no way we could have done this on our own. From soup to nuts - what bisque sells, how much to keep in stock, party ideas, how to price, setting up and wiring the kilns, kiln wash, how to dip and fire, the paint bar area - what colors, brushes, tools, idea books, what is a necessity and what is a frill, etc. Definitely do NOT do this on your own - there is alot to this business and Connie can help on it all. Best of all, I can always call her whenever I need anything.
Elizabeth Webb – Pottery Garden
Working with Connie has been invaluable to me in starting my studio. She provided me with extensive information and resources, straightforward, honest advice and a little hand-holding when I needed it. I was able to learn not only from her many years of experience in retailing and wholesaling, but through the experiences of the many other studios she has worked with. By using Connie as my Pottery Consultant – I feel like many times I have a mini Connie sitting on my shoulder saying – “in-out-drip-drip-drip-shake it-shake-it….!!” I hear her voice in my head as I make daily decisions in the store and the best thing is that I know I can always call her with any questions I have and she or her staff are always there with a prompt response. As I face each new season and stage of my business, I am more and more grateful that I chose Connie as my Pottery Consultant.
We would like to take the time to thank you for all of your support in opening our new studio. We greatly appreciate your knowledge of the industry, your ability to be straightforward and honest and the continued information that you share with us. In opening Sunshine Glaze, my partner and I did not have a clue on how or where to begin putting together a successful paint your own pottery studio. Connie, you gave us direction and insight about the business that has helped us to create a fantastic studio. The letters and articles that you continue to send about paints, marketing, new studio sellers, problem solving ideas, etc. keep us informed and on top of industry data that helps us to stay in the know for our customers.
Here we are, 12 years open and we still value the fact that we can pick up the telephone, contact you about any scenario in the business, and feel completely comfortable and confident with your suggestions. You are, without a doubt, a very positive asset to our creative studio. Thank you for your consultative and professional relationship; we look forward to a long partnership with you.
Connie was invaluable in helping me start my business. She walked me through the process step by step, from ordering my kilns to putting in my first bisque order. This process can be very overwhelming, but with her guidance, it was very simple. She assisted in my first glazing and firing attempt, which can also be very intimidating. I have been open for 8 years and she still offers support whenever I need it. I could not have done it without her. She was truly awesome.
Connie Speer was an invaluable resource to me when I opened my studio. She provided me with all of the information and tools that I needed to run a successful business. I highly recommend Connie to anyone wanting to make sure they are equipped for success!
Funstone Pottery Painting Studio
With the 20/20 accuracy of hindsight, I can say that hiring Connie Speer as pottery consultant for opening my paint your own pottery studio was an excellent decision. My studio has now been open for six years and we have sales of over 200K. With the unbelievable number of decisions facing me at startup - with no background in ceramics or business -- it was wonderful to be able to rely on Connie's experience. I still use what she taught me in day to day operations today - pricing, ordering, dipping & firing, and so on. What she taught me has been my foundation.
Pottery By You & Beads, Too!
Connie Rocks! I began my venture with my own business plan and ideas about how I wanted to get things done, but once I started working with Connie I realized how many mistakes I would have made trying to do it all on my own. She was the second set of eyes and ears that I needed to get this together and running, especially since part of my time was preoccupied with having a beautiful baby girl! Thank you Connie, you were the difference in my starting a successful business and just opening a business.
Village Clay Your Way
It has always been a dream of mine to open up a pottery studio. When my art teaching position was reduced to part time, I jumped on the opportunity to fulfill my dream. I am so thankful I came across the services of Connie Speer. Although I have an art and pottery background, my business knowledge was lacking. Without Connie’s expertise and professional guidance, along with her great sense of humor, I would not be in the process of fulfilling my dream. I wouldn’t have known where to begin and what steps to follow. I know that because I have Connie’s never ending support, my studio will be successful! Thank you, Connie
The Pottery Spot
When I first started thinking about opening a contemporary studio, I was doing research on the internet and sent Connie an e-mail regarding here consulting service. Even though it was the night before Christmas eve, she responded! I was further pleased that she spent over an hour with me on the phone, before I even decided to hire her, just to make sure I knew completely what would be involved.
Her binders are exceptional. Almost every time I have a question, or just to make sure I’m doing something right, I can refer to my binder and get exactly the answer I need, very well detailed. I love that Connie wrote these books because I as I’m reading, I can hear her telling me that exact thing over the phone.
She is always well organized, thorough, and very well informed. You might think that with so much going on, she may have to be refreshed on who you are or what your issue is, but that is never the case.
Another thing that was really helpful was the cash flow projections, and start up budget. These tools have been useful to not only keep me within budget, but allowing me the freedom to purchase items I need. Many times I’d hesitate to spend money, but than look at my budget and realize that I have that money available to spend in that category, so I’d feel less apprehensive.
There are so many other things I’ve been pleased with: the shopping guide and suggestions on places to get things, samples of brochures and flyers, floor plan layout. We’ll put it this way. If it wasn’t for Connie, my business probably wouldn’t have even opened doors. My shop is 100x better now than it would have been had I done it without her help, and I definitely recommend her to anyone.
Of Mine Design
Getting involved with Connie early on in my planning process was the best thing I could have done. She helped me with everything I needed to do -- the things I needed to purchase, the amounts I needed to budget for and the things I didn’t think about. Being a CPA and having a master’s degree in finance, I could have done a lot of the business plan, budgeting, etc. However, she had an inside knowledge of the things I might have overlooked, not to mention the amount of time she saved me from doing it all by myself. I honestly do not think I could have opened as easily as I did without her help and guidance. I would suggest and do suggest using her services to save yourself unnecessary frustration.
If you are thinking about opening a contemporary ceramics studio you MUST hire Connie Speer. Without Connie I don’t know how I would have opened my business in only six months. Connie paid for her consulting fee in savings to my business start up. In just one instance Connie negotiated with my contractor and saved $3,000 on the electrical work for the new store. This savings plus the discounts on bisque, free shipping from suppliers, special discounted kiln prices, and many savings in time has made her consulting fee a bargain!
Consider these questions when you are thinking about hiring Connie as a consultant:
· Do you know what type of kiln to order?
· Can you speak with a contractor about wiring the kilns and vents?
· Do you know which bisque sells the best, what you should order, and how many of each piece?
· What other crafts (mosaics, glass, etc…) should you have in your store?
· How much money will you need in a start up budget?
· Do you know how to make a business plan that will wow the bank and landlord?
· Have you negotiated a lease before and can you understand what is standard and what isn’t in the legal document?
If you don’t know the answers to any of these crucial questions then I recommend that you hire Connie!
When we began researching information about Paint Your Own Pottery Studio’s we stumbled across their website online. Boy, was that the miracle we were looking for! I, Rebecca, am an accountant by trade and Jeff is a veteran in education. We consider ourselves pretty business savvy, but nothing could prepare us for the world of PYOP’s like Connie. She had everything we needed all in one place. HER BRAIN! As well as a comprehensively written business plan with all the bells and whistles. Our job was to listen, learn and trust her expertise. This was not easy, but Connie’s quick wit, firm guidance and constant encouragement made it something we have been able to accomplish and her continued guidance is a bonus not common in the consulting world. If you want to open your own studio, do it right and give yourself the edge at becoming a successful, profitable studio, then Connie is the only choice to make. We are glad we did.
Jeff and Rebecca Stephanik
Mold Me and Make Me Pottery Studio
My experience of painting ceramics was taking my kids to a local studio to make gifts for the family. As my kids started school I wanted a flexible job to accommodate their schedule. After doing research a ceramic studio seemed like it would be a perfect fit for me and for our town. I started doing research on how to get started. I visited several studios where I talked with the owners and also studios where I sat as a customer and painted and observed their studio. I found my location, decided on a name and décor and then I had started going over my notes from other studio owners, but I started to get overwhelmed on what do next.
I contacted several consultants that I found over the internet and Connie was by far the best one. Connie stood out over her competitors by always calling me back the day and time that she said she would and giving me her undivided attention during each phone session. She is very direct and to the point, which is good when you have no idea what you are doing and when you are a great distance apart. She walked me through everything from what the tiniest sponge is used for to programming and loading my kiln.
I could have never opened my business with out her. My studio has been opened since July 2006 and from day one I have gotten so many compliments on the little details in the studio, details that came from Connie. It is very reassuring to know that if I need anything Connie and her staff is just a phone call away.
I just wanted to say thank you so so very much for all of your help getting us started! We had a bachlerette party the other night and were at the store glazing and loading kilns and we got on the subject of you. We really would have had such a difficult time if we hadn’t hired you to be our consultant. Thanks to you and, of course, our super wit in hiring you, we haven’t had a single mishap with glazing, firing, anything! and not one unhappy customer. Everyday business continues to pick up! We love the studio life and are having such a great time with the store! You'd be so proud of us, the store is beautiful and has come together just how we want it.
Fifi and Erika
I am opening my own paint your own pottery and glass fusing studio. I came into this idea with a little knowledge of the craft, but not nearly enough to actually start and run the business. I contacted Connie Speer at the American Ceramic Supply Company for a consulting/training session. After taking the time to talk with me and learn about my needs and wants for the business, Connie designed a personalized one-on-one 4 day training for me. That was the best decision I made and best money spent regarding the start-up of my business. We spent four intense training days together fusing glass, painting and dipping ceramics, creating samples for the studio, all the while learning every aspect of actually setting up the studio and running the business. Connie was an amazing wealth of information, and my only concern was that I was going to retain it all! She clearly knew the business inside and out, and anyone considering using her consulting services should truly take advantage of the opportunity she offers. Connie and the American Ceramics Supply Co. staff were welcoming and a pleasure to be around, and made the training experience so much richer. I cannot thank them or recommend them all enough!