Tuesday, May 29, 2012

hiring in the New Economy

If we had written a prediction way back when I was in art school that a time was coming when artists and potters would be thriving while accountants and business majors suffered, it would have been considered a  science fiction farce. It's funny how things change.

Last week I interviewed a woman for a packing position in my start-up business, Lee Wolfe Pottery. It started up in 1976, and became something you might recognize as a business in 2009. Suddenly everything I've ever loved about pottery is wildly popular, and demand for my work since I discovered internet sales is way up. I've managed this growth by making multifunctional work stations in my home such as ping pong table/pack and shipping center. Dining room/order processing.

While this now looks entirely ordinary to me, I could see the interviewee, a 40ish woman, trying valiantly to hide  her disbelief that she was even in a place of business, let alone one in a rapid growth phase with opportunities for advancement.

When offered an hourly wage projected to double in the first year, she decided she was better off with her Plan A, which is to pay for more courses in Excel, tax preparation, and accounting. My husband kindly pointed out to her that these jobs are now easily outsourced to India for $3/hr. She gave another dubious look, matching the one I saw as I said "here is my studio," which looks like someone set up a summer camp in the 2 car garage. I know what she is probably thinking. Her kids are grown so it is time to resume the life she gave up to raise them as a single mom. She will go to college. She will take the practical courses.

So much has changed! Little internet home based businesses just like mine are doubling our numbers every 3 years. We are hiring, while 65% of recent college grads are unemployed. You might just want to learn what it takes to process shipping from someone's ping pong table while we find something on Hulu to watch and take breaks in the backyard garden. Welcome to the new economy.


  1. i am so very very happy that you are doing so well... deservedly so...
    the story is an interesting one - thank you for sharing it...

  2. Finding the right fit when hiring seems extremely important. Dubious looks are points off- haha! So glad everything is booming for you and your exquisite work Lee!

  3. This is very exciting! Congratulations from one potter to another!

  4. I couldn't have said it better! Right down to the dining room table and the garden where we feed the squirrels and the raccoons at breaks from working. We are home-based custom jewelers (I commented on your Zen post awhile ago) and I too just tried to hire a young man to help me enter orders and also help my partner in the workshop......and he was an aspiring artist too. But he just couldn't take it or us seriously......his other option was a clerk in a surf shop and he took that instead!!

  5. Even though I'm "retired", if I lived close enough, I would apply for the packing job. To be surrounded by your beautiful pottery would be the ultimate "perk". Enjoying your blog as much as your pottery! And by the way, I actually have a cousin that lives where you do. The area is so beautiful. Grateful that I had a chance to visit once some years ago.

  6. How exciting it is to read this blog, ' hiring in the new economy.' I'm just starting business as a multimedia artist, which I have been dreaming of for years, and have thought I would do business almost exclusively online. Sounds like I could make it work if I make pieces others can love. Reading through your website I feel like I'm heading in the right direction. Thanks you, I feel even more inspired.