The pursuit of creative hobbies is so important to balance out the responsibilities of every day life, so we love having Mud Clay Studio right in downtown Madison (and Boonton). It’s clear that Melanie, the owner, has a passion for what she is doing and that resonates in her studio. Let’s get to know more about her!
What inspired you to start your studios?
My first attempt at college showed me that clay was my thing. I moved to NJ 18 years ago and there was nowhere to do my thing. So 8 years ago, after years of running a graphic design business, I realized it was time to create a space for what I REALLY LOVED. If I had a passion for it, I knew there were more out there that would too.
How do you choose which towns to open in?
I’ve lived in worked in Madison most of my time in NJ. It was kind of a no-brainer at that point. People knew me and after years of talking about it, many seemed interested. Boonton’s commitment to the arts attracted me there.
What is the your favorite part of the day?
I have two..when I first walk in and experience the silence and smell of the studio, I’m filled with gratitude that I have ability to do what I love and make a living. Another is the fourth class of each session, watching new members get their first completed pots from the glaze kilns! The joy on their faces is irreplaceable.
What is your favorite bite to eat in town?
I am a big fan of the Redwood at Bottle Hill Tavern and I always crave Rocco’s Eggplant Parm (I worked there for 9 years and it was a staple in my diet).
What do you typically like to do on a day off?
Day off? Is that a thing? I think about the businesses! And when I have the ability to not do that, I love to see live music. Any concert I can get to, I do. Especially traveling to see Dave Matthews Band. That’s my second happy place.
What piece of advice would you give someone starting their entrepreneurial journey?
It’s no joke. You will lose sleep, have high blood pressure, and miss many vacations.. but it will all be worth it if you are willing to fail and get it going again. The old statement “Owning your own business is fabulous, you GET TO WORK AS MUCH AS YOU WANT” is so true. After you accept that it will be hard, the rewards are endless.
What is the most rewarding part of owning your own business?
As a mom, after 14 years of entrepreneurial life, I now have the ability to control my hours, take my family on vacation, and be there for my daughter when she needs me (and see as many Dave Matthews shows as I want).
What’s next for you and your business?
I will be opening in Montclair, NJ in June 2022 and then I’m looking at Jersey City. Then I hope to begin two nonprofits. One that will put pottery wheels on a bus and bring it to communities without access to cool art stuff, the second would be to educate young girls about the benefits of entrepreneurship. I’m a big fan of moms staying in the workforce when they have kids. This allows them the ability to take off when they really need you, in their teens! So why not do it by owning your own business and taking control of your own destiny?