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Kind Goods Gathered & Made - Q&A

Kind Goods Gathered & Made

Michelle Barrett

Last night I had the pleasure of catching up with the incredible Michelle Barrett, founder and owner of Kind Goods Gathered and Made.  We walked through what exactly is Kind Goods Gathered and Made, pin-pointed when it came about and analyzed the passion behind the creativity of the ceramics.
When did you start creating ceramics and why?
About 4 years ago.  I started creating ceramics the Summer after father passed away.  That summer we had a lot of work to do after my father’s passing and my Partner and I were looking for an outlet.  We decided to do something creative for ourselves.  My partner took up improve stand up and I took one class at Mudflat Pottery School.  One class was all it took.  I liked the clay, the feeling of the wheel, the mess of it and trying to create a permanent object on the other end of that mess.  The wheel brought so many possibilities.  I love to entertain and being able to create pieces to entertain with was something so special.  After that one class, every spare moment I had I self-taught.  What came “easy” was the image, color, shape.  What I needed work on was more the technique and the process.
Tell me about Kind Goods Gathered & Made
85 Main Street, Maynard, MA
Kind Goods originated as a search for an affordable studio space. Living in Somerville, MA I needed a larger space specifically for making bigger orders as well as having my own kiln.   I took out a map and drew a circle for the radius I would commute to and hopped on Craigslist.  Through the site, I was able to find a cheap affordable studio in Maynard. Maynard, MA, for those that don’t know has a mill town history, turnover and a lot of potential for small businesses.
Shortly after moving into my studio, the same landlord had a slightly larger shop that would be more of a store front that had enough space for a personal studio.  This got me thinking.  I have a strong passion for hand made goods but slightly love the idea of being a shop keeper and having my studio in the shop.  So I signed the lease and just celebrated a year a few weeks ago! 
How did you come up with the unique name, Kind Goods Gathered & Made?
It was an impulse decision in a direct response to the recent election.  I personally was only sourcing goods from nice, genuine people and wanted others to be able to do the same. I wanted to share positive waves by supporting others and vice versa.
What is your most favorite ceramic product to make and why?
Body cups which are essentially sip cups.  I have been making sip cups, 8 oz. tumbler size, in a bunch of different finishes with a simple rounded bottom.  In connection with listening to the Woman’s March coverage back in 2014, I was inspired to create my sip cups into body cups.  Cups that literally resemble all different body sizes and shapes.  And on the bottom of each cup, it says, “I see you & I love you.”.  These cups mean the absolute most to me.
What has been your biggest success/lessoned learned while owning Kind Goods Gathered & Made?
“You learn who you are when you open a shop” – The Keeping Shop Podcast
I had to learn how to run a small business from scratch.  I knew that the artist piece was going to be “easy” and the business part was going to be the “challenge”, per say.  I had to learn how to be adaptable for my customers, percept what my customers were responding to.  I had to find products that jived well with what I already had while projecting for seasons to come. 
I recently wrote a social media post that expressed a recent sales lull I went through.  This was simply to allow my customers to hear the honest truth and to allow them to not just believe the version of the truth that some share on social media.  The after math of the post was eye opening.  People came in to check in on me in the store – I was seriously fine!  And then a weekend after the post, I had the best weekend yet in sales. 
Do you have any other hobbies outside of ceramics?
Yes!  Creatively I paint and sew. Outside of that, I love to hike specifically at the Walden Pond. Just being outside and disconnecting. I have a lot more appreciation for everyday “living” being a small business owner and taking that time for myself.  On a side note for a hobby, I aggressively like to paint my nails – twice per week.
What advice would you give a new small business owner?
Research and development is really important. Utilizing your network and leaning on friends in the industry for advice.  Write out a business plan which will not only help with the loan (if you are going for a business loan) but it will help clarify what you want your business to be.  In the plan, be as clear as you can be on your motivation and vision.  This means everything from how it looks and runs to the events in the town you look to open in and even how are the stores in that specific area are doing. This is simply just a wise investment into the little amount of time it gives to own your own business. 
Here at Puck & Abby we are currently selling some of Michelle’s pieces, specifically her cute jewelry dishes that complement any gift perfectly!
Hand formed porcelain dishes in mint, pale pink and cream,
accented with real 22k gold.
Store your every day jewelry pieces on these lovely pieces that look right at home on a bedside table or bathroom vanity.
The Beauty Of Handmade
We hope these ceramics bring much joy and happiness to your home as they do to Michelle while creating them!
By: Rachel Ross
Some images taken directly from Kind Goods Gathered & Made.

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