Mara Friedman, KC Bonnem, & Tom Budzak | Episode 828
Mara & KC are a couple of graphic designers who live in the Phoenix metro area. KC was a hand builder in college and Mara became obsessed with wheel throwing just a few years ago. They started to look for a studio space outside of their laundry room and when they couldn’t find one, they decided to create one. Like all little ideas, it snowballed, and before they knew it, they were opening a full-blown public ceramics studio and coffee shop/wine bar.
Tom started working with clay in middle school and has continued to work in the medium ever since for 25 plus years. He is based out of Tempe, AZ who creates functional and sculptural objects. All dots are individually applied one by one and all work is food, microwave and dishwasher safe. Tom earned his BFA from Arizona State University and his MFA from New Mexico State University both with an emphasis in ceramics. He is currently an adjunct professor at South Mountain Community College and instructor at PIP Coffee and Clay.
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Would you start this business again or would you teach again?
Mara, how about yourself?
Mara: Yeah, I would definitely do it again. I mean I wish I could do it again and just do it with knowledge.
Tom, would you teach again at something like this?
Tom: Yeah, absolutely. It really has made me a better throwing instructor. I thought I was good before…so you know. (laughter)
Tell me about your relationship with you staff. Would you call them the backbone of your business?
KC what do you think about the abliilty of the business to grow, is the staff the backbone?
Casey: Of course, yes. I mean it’s funny too because I feel like we have a great relationship with out staff but what I wasn’t expecting is that it kind of feels like a weird clubhouse. And I was expecting it to feel more like a workplace. So it’s a real positive. Somehow we have collected some really nice and fun people.
Mara, how about you?
Mara: I mean, you said it yourself, we are newbies so the staff is critical. We went into it knowing we couldn’t do it without good people and that’s proven to be one hundred percent true.
Tom, as a guy that already runs your own business what’s it like working for a staff?
Tom: It’s a nice change of pace, I have always worked at a lot of different places and it’s really low stress there. Yeah, it’s rewarding. The coffee’s good. I can’t complain.