We had the good fortune of connecting with Richard Paun and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi Richard, how has your perspective on work-life balance evolved over time?
Balance is probably the most difficult part of having a small family based business. Trying to fill orders, maintain a studio, and handle every day family obligations can certainly be a challenge. There is no doubt that a small business can take over your whole life if you allow it to. Our crew at LAJAMARI has been able to rise to the occasion by sticking to our strengths and interests. Running a small based business has taught us how to prioritize, create schedules, and manage time effectively. It is our goal at LAJAMARI, not only to run a successful business, but to create a lifestyle that we can all enjoy and be proud of… a life that honors our past and also passes on our traditions to future generations. We invite you to follow us on social media to see how our family story continues to unfold.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
LAJAMARI clay company is a small home based business located in the border town of Douglas, Arizona. Douglas is off the beaten path, tucked away in the southeast corner of the state, bordering New Mexico and Mexico. It is where the Paun family was born and where they planned to live out the rest of their lives. After a successful career as a high school art teacher, owner/artist Richard Paun decided to start a small pottery business. It was something he had wanted to do for a long time. He started out by buying used equipment, renovating his shop into an art studio and making the 110 mile drive to Tucson to buy supplies. At the beginning, things were slow going. Richard was adjusting to retirement and his children were off to college. It was at this point that the pandemic hit creating a world of uncertainty. The Paun family did their best to stay safe by staying home and though time was on their side little progress was made. Slowly but surely they began to see some normalcy in their lives and began to find venues to sell their wares. LAJAMARI started off by offering simple hand thrown flower pots and porcelain earrings that Lauren Paun (daughter) had designed during the pandemic. Things were looking up but with the rising cost of inflation, it was necessary to find some side jobs to help pay the bills. It was at this point that sales and orders began to skyrocket. The source of their good fortune was obvious Aishah Lurry, another small business owner who adopted Richard’s terracotta vases as part of her flower displays. Aishah runs Patagonia Flower Farm in nearby Patagonia, Arizona where she offers beautiful fresh flowers and bouquets. Her strong work ethic and selflessness is contagious and has provided the Paun family with opportunities they would not have experienced otherwise. As LAJAMARI continues to grow it becomes more and more obvious that there is a place for handmade products in our modern world. LAJAMARI encourages new business owners to do their best for each customer, as they may be the one to take you to the next level.
If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
When visiting Douglas from Tucson, take the slow ride through the small towns of Saint David, Tombstone and Bisbee via Highway 80. You may want to stay at the historic Gadsden Hotel or Avenue Hotel. For a more modern feel, book a room at the Best Western. If an Airbnb is what you’re looking for, consider staying at the Stonehouse just outside of town. Before heading home, make sure to visit the nearby Chiricahua mountains, part of the area’s Sky Islands where you can enjoy birding, hiking and camping. Stop on by the area’s museums and galleries and perhaps purchase a LAJAMARI pot at Lazuli Trading Company in Rodeo, New Mexico before heading home via Interstate 10.
Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
LAJAMARI clay co is a small home based business that would not exist without the love and support of our entire family. The name LAJAMARI is a collection of our names Lauren, Jake, Martha and Richard. As fate would have it, Jake recently married Ariela, a perfect addition to our family. Although we may not be a family of potters, we all play our role in the success of our family business.. LAJAMARI would like to take a moment to thank our family and friends for their encouragement and generosity, making our first two years such an enjoyable experience..
Facebook: Lajamari Clay Company