We had the good fortune of connecting with JULIE CRUZ and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi JULIE, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I am a creative… but I always thought of “artists” being a bit floaty and even tho art and artists run in my family – I didnt think of myself as much of an artist (in the formal sense). I excelled in art, loved art, was always involved in something artistic but it certainly didnt seem like a career path for me, just something I loved doing. I took a ceramics class in high school for a semester and, like all the art classes I took, loved it. Fast forward – 40 plus years later sans pottery, my adults kids gifted me with a gift certificate for a class at a pottery studio and the curtain was pulled back. There I was – knee deep in clay and loving it. I did pottery as just a hobby for a year – started selling my stuff to pay for my new obsession. To this day I cant believe people actually gave me money for my pots. I moved from using a studio to setting up my own in my garage. I eventually got laid off from my job and my full time pottery business was hatched. I currently have 5 wheels, a 27″ electric kiln and all the tools a potter could ever ask for. I sell pottery mostly at art fairs – Arizona is one of my favorite places to sell at. Running my pottery business tickles all my fancies. For me, there has never been anything more rewarding than running my own business and doing pottery. All of the organizational aspects to business, the marketing, merchandising, sales, acquisitions, designing, mentoring (I teach classes), budgeting, web site development (i still suck at this) and all the mean time, playing in mud.

I guess there wasnt a conscious ‘thought process’ , of starting my own business, it sort of happened. And as my kids will say, I have never stuck to one ‘job’ for so long without getting terribly bored and moving on. This is truly my thing, what floats my boat what I will be doing for rest of my life for as long as I can.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
I am a creative… but I always thought of “artists” being a bit floaty and even tho art and artists run in my family – I didnt think of myself as much of an artist (in the formal sense). I excelled in art, loved art, was always involved in something artistic but it certainly didnt seem like a career path for me, just something I loved doing. I took a ceramics class in high school for a semester and, like all the art classes I took, loved it. Fast forward – 40 plus years later sans pottery, my adults kids gifted me with a gift certificate for a class at a pottery studio and the curtain was pulled back. There I was – knee deep in clay and loving it. I did pottery as just a hobby for a year – started selling my stuff to pay for my new obsession. To this day I cant believe people actually gave me money for my pots. I moved from using a studio to setting up my own in my garage. I eventually got laid off from my job and my full time pottery business was hatched. I currently have 5 wheels, a 27″ electric kiln and all the tools a potter could ever ask for. I sell pottery mostly at art fairs – Arizona is one of my favorite places to sell at. Running my pottery business tickles all my fancies. For me, there has never been anything more rewarding than running my own business and doing pottery. All of the organizational aspects to business, the marketing, merchandising, sales, acquisitions, designing, mentoring (I teach classes), budgeting, web site development (i still suck at this) and all the mean time, playing in mud.

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
when a friend comes stay with me I would for sure take them to Laguna Beach to walk the shore and shop the shops. As a kid, this was my mom’s favorite place to come to during the summer break with 4 very active kids. She would nap on the beach and I would get stuck on the rocks at high tide – Back then that was totally okay and I’m glad I had a mom who let me truly experience nature and life – sometimes scary and dangerous but it made so many great memories. Eat and drink – definitely in our back yard. Anyone can go to a nice restaurant and spend the money but there’s nothing like a perfectly grilled steak and homemade baked potato – all while sitting around a fire pit with a few adult beverages and wonderful conversations.

The Shoutout series is all about recognizing that our success and where we are in life is at least somewhat thanks to the efforts, support, mentorship, love and encouragement of others. So is there someone that you want to dedicate your shoutout to?
Absolutely my family deserves a huge shout out. For my kids who realized how much I needed an artistic outlet and gave me a gift certificate to a pottery studio that lit a fire under my caboose and that started this whole journey for me. They are much more entuned with the current designs and always offer great suggestions on pots to make. And the hubs who supports me in every way – I engineer and design display ideas, he builds them for me. He offers my advice and critique. Thank goodness he has a good job! He listens as I prattle on and on about my new ideas.

Website: cruzinart.com

Instagram: @cruzinartceramics

Facebook: @cruzinartstudios

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