Thank you to Amy Manson, owner of the Clay & Metal Loft, for answering our questions! Congratulations on being a Finalist for the 2021 Loudoun Small Business Awards in the Main Street Business category! View all of the finalists here.
Join us for the 27th Annual Loudoun Small Business Awards on Friday, October 29, 2021 at The National Conference Center. Ticket information here.
Tell us your story of how your business evolved into what it is today?
I started the Clay and Metal Loft with with a dear art friend in late 2017/early 2018. We were both professional artists working from our home studios and teaching throughout the county. We wanted to consolidate our business into a one stop shop: Gallery, Studio Space and Teaching Space.
We had a dream and a plan, and we built the Studio to our exact specifications. We started off small, with current students but quickly evolved into a community creative space for classes, workshops, private groups and team building. We have been overwhelmed by the positive feedback from our community and we are thrilled to be able to offer a community building art space where people of all levels can experience the health benefits, stress relief, and fun involved in working with your hands to create art in a community setting.
I am currently the sole owner, after my business partner retired in 2019. We had started just the two of us teaching and now I have a staff of 7 instructors. We evolved yet again, through Covid to provide online class instruction to the Loudoun Community. As we bring people back into our brick and mortar space we have adjusted our space to safely create with spacing and plastic sheeting between work spaces. As with so many small businesses we experienced a significant drop in business during 2020 due to covid, but we have come storming back and are up 73% in 2021 and ready to keep up the momentum!
What are you most proud of about your team?
I am very proud of my team of instructors and current resident artist, Teresa Jardines of Zia Design. It has been wonderful to watch their creative journeys and growth.
In what ways do you give back to the community?
The Clay and Metal Loft has a “absolutely yes” policy for non-profits donations. We have collected funds for LAWS and Loudoun Hunger Relief. However, the way we truly love to give back to our community is our Summer Camp Scholarship program. We have raised funds and contributed personally so that over 30 children from low-income families have been able to attend our summer art camps for free.
What would it mean to you and your business to win a Small Business Award?
We would be so honored to receive the Small Business Award. As a small female owned art business, we have worked tirelessly to grow our business, but more importantly, to positively impact our community. I am proud of our efforts and particularly our efforts over Covid Quarantine to provide activities, stress relief, online classes and take home kits, online summer art camp and more to our community.
Winning the small business award would help get our name out to more people in the entire county. It would let others know of our successes as well.
What is the smallest thing that has made the largest impact on your business?
Podcasts. I love to listen to small business podcasts for ideas and inspiration while I work!
Who is the one person that has influenced you the most in your career?
My Mentor, potter and art business owner, Bill Van Gilder.
What is your favorite thing about running a business in Loudoun County?
I love the diversity of the people of Loudoun County, the interesting careers people choose and share information about, and I love the kids!
What did you want to be when you grew up as a child?
I wanted to be an astronaut.
What is one book that changed your life and why?
“The Artist’s Way” by Julia Cameron. The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path To Higher Creativity. The book was written to help people with artistic creative recovery, which teaches techniques and exercises to assist people in gaining self-confidence in harnessing their creative talents and skills. Its great for fine artists, writers, and more!
If you’re not in the office where can we find you/what is another passion you have?
You can find me in my shade garden with my 2 dogs, creating a woodland path throughout our yard.
How do you see your business evolving in the next 5 years?
In the next 5 years I hope to bring on more instructors, helping other Loudoun Artists. We hope to be in a larger space to offer more art options to the Loudoun Community. I think we will also be moving more to an online class format that can be broadcast beyond Loudoun County.
You can learn more about the Clay & Metal Loft on their website here.