The second really important aspect of Hothouse is the opportunity to work and plan with a network of fellow makers from a variety of disciplines who become good friends. Like many craft workers, much of my work takes place in isolation and one gets used to identifying and solving problems single-handed.
Being part of the southern cohort has shown me the advantages of teamwork, offering as it does, opportunities for learning, informal mentorship, sharing ideas and mutual support.
In what ways has Hothouse helped your business?
Hothouse brought instant improvement to my business because it offers training and business advice tuned specifically to the craft maker. Trainers and session leaders understood the business needs of the small-scale ceramicist and, of course, fellow members of the programme being craft workers themselves, have experience of the same problems and difficulties.
Previously I had tried generalised business and training tools but always struggled to apply them meaningfully to my own practice. Hothouse is already adapted for craft businesses so is very relevant, providing specific advice that can be directly applied.
Additionally, the opportunities to practice my presentation skills in a safe environment means that I have become much more confident and precise when talking about my work and this has definitely helped me when discussing my business with judges, customers or journalists.
Finally, Hothouse has given me a place to sound out new ideas and air any concerns in a supportive and like-minded forum.
Describe Hothouse in three words?
Supportive, relevant, pragmatic.
Who should apply to Hothouse and what would your top tip to them be?
Hothouse is useful for any craft worker, but is most suited to makers who are in the early stages of creating a practice and business – perhaps after setting-up and trading for a year or so. This permits the programme to help focus and fine-tune the business.
For me, Hothouse arrived with perfect timing; my ceramic and print work were well evolved so that, as the demands of my business increased, the expert speakers, helpful advice and business tools on offer made for significant improvement in my business.