Interested in starting your own entrepreneurial journey in pottery but unsure what to expect? Then read up on our interview with Victoria Hattori, Founder of Kokanee Clay Studio LLC, located in Bellevue, WA, USA.

What's your business, and who are your customers?

Kokanee Clay Studio is a community clay studio offering classes, memberships, and events. Our customers range from the clay-curious to clay artists with years of experience.

Tell us about yourself

I started taking ceramics classes in a community studio in Redmond and was immediately hooked. I just kept on signing up for classes every quarter and becoming more involved in the local clay community over the next eight years until the studio closed. I missed it and tried to get a clay studio going in my city, Sammamish, by working with the city, but I couldn't get enough interest for them to help fund it. Eventually, I set up a studio in my house but found that I didn't enjoy making art by myself without the community piece. At the end of 2021, I got together with my friend from the Redmond studio, Heather Fitzgerald. We decided to partner up and start Kokanee Clay Studio together. Aside from marrying my husband and starting a family with him, it was the best decision I ever made. I can't wait to go to work every day. Whether it's teaching a class, helping people who come in during open studio time, running events, or making my own work, all of it is fun and exciting to me. It's very rewarding to run a community studio and provide opportunities for people to get involved in ceramic art.

What's your biggest accomplishment as a business owner?

My biggest accomplishment as a business owner is realizing our vision to create a space for ceramic art with a focus on collaboration and community.

What's one of the hardest things that come with being a business owner?

One of the hardest things about being a business owner is not being able to please everyone all the time. Every decision is based on our mission and our vision, so there are times when we can't say yes to every request or idea.

What are the top tips you'd give to anyone looking to start, run and grow a business today?

If you decide to partner with someone, choose wisely and make sure their vision aligns with yours. Make certain there is enough demand for your product or service to keep your business afloat. Be willing to do whatever it takes with a positive attitude, and always put your partner and your business first.

Where can people find you and your business?


If you like what you've read here and have your own story as a solo or small business entrepreneur that you'd like to share, then please answer these interview questions. We'd love to feature your journey on these pages.

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