From Cincinnati Parent magazine Feburary 2008:
Business Woman Profile: Mobile pottery studio keeps local woman on the go
contributed by Christine Schulte
Six years ago, Ann Flynn was looking for a creative outlet to balance the detail-oriented work associated with running a full-service market research company out of her Anderson home. “I grew up with creative parents and needed something to fill the void of working by myself and crunching numbers all day,” says Flynn.
A visit to a paint-your-own pottery studio was just the creative spark she needed. Flynn noticed that the studio would allow people to take supplies with them and then bring their pieces back to the studio to be fired. She approached the owner about venturing out and trying a mobile studio. When she wasn’t interested, Ann set out to pursue this opportunity on her own and created Star Glazers, a mobile pottery studio.
Ann’s parents had a huge influence on her artistic side. “My mother is an artist working in watercolors, oil painting, crafting, and sewing,” says Flynn. “My dad is a master woodworker so I was exposed to all aspects of arts and crafts. I would be outside using power tools with my dad and I would come inside and Mom would have me working with a needle and thread.”
Opening Star Glazers was a way to share her creative side with others. Instead of operating out of a pottery studio, Star Glazers brings all of the supplies for a pottery painting party to any location. “We bring everything but the table and chairs,” says Flynn. After hosting the party, Flynn then delivers the fired pieces a week and a half later.
Being mobile allows Ann to be with her clients instead of having to supervise a store. “I love meeting new people and seeing their creativity. I love to walk around a party and see what people have created. I love seeing their imaginations at work.”
Star Glazers can tailor parties to a variety of different audiences including corporate clients, school, business and church groups, after-prom parties, and summer day camps. If Star Glazers will be working with a group, such as a school group, on multiple visits, the students can start with clay and build their own pieces.
Ann’s first experience with running her own business came in 1995 when she and a partner opened Beyond Data, a full-service market research firm that provides both business-to-business and business-to-consumer research. Before that she had worked for another market research firm after graduating from the University of Cincinnati with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Administration in Marketing and Management.
The market research firm made her curious about how other businesses operated. “We had a service business, but I was curious about how a retail business would work and what it would be like to have a tangible product,” says Flynn. “Having both businesses is part of wanting to get more well-rounded in business and to fill a creative void.”
Flynn strives to provide excellent service in both of her companies. “We don’t have kids but Disney World is our favorite place to vacation because they strive to make your vacation experience perfect. I try to do the same thing for my clients.”
Balance is Key
Running two businesses out of her home can be a juggling act. How she spends her time depends on the needs of the day. Some days are all pottery, some days all marketing and often times a mixture of both, providing the balance that Flynn wanted. “It’s really whatever the priority is for the minute,” says Flynn. “Operating both businesses out of the home allows me to be flexible between the two.”
While it can get busy, the benefits are worth it. “I love the flexibility and control. I love being in charge and seeing opportunities for my businesses and being able to go for them.”
Ann stays active to keep balance in her overall life. She plays volleyball twice a week and spends time with her husband rollerblading, walking, and running.
Her advice for others wanting to try their hand at business ownership: “Start slow. Work in the evenings or on the side and see if you like it before you take the leap and go out on your own.”