From her garden pottery studio in Carshalton, England, Raquel Acosta carefully updates her Instagram with the latest ceramic pieces fresh out of her kiln.
Across the Atlantic, in Toronto, a post showcasing her bright pastel ring dishes pops up on my explore page. I am instantly hooked.
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Raquel’s online pottery shop, Glaze Me Pretty, is full of beautifully handcrafted pieces with both elegant and modern silhouettes. And the selection of colors and sparkles within the glazes she uses for her ceramics stands out in a crowded field.
Raquel’s uniqueness goes beyond her glazes as she’s had an unconventional journey to becoming an artist.
“For me, this is a midlife, quite radical career change. I studied computer science and my last job was as a data and scientist,” Raquel says. “I felt the urge to do something with my hands [and] was very interested in crafts.”
Raquel started off with some evening classes after work and quickly fell deeply in love with the art of ceramics.
“I found it fascinating that you could make a professional looking product out of a bowl of mud,” Raquel says. “And the possibilities were endless, I love the medium.”
Taking her career transition one step at a time, Raquel initially transitioned to a data scientist job closer to her home to save time on commuting for time in the pottery studio.
“Gradually, I started dropping days a week as sales were increasing and there was more demand,” Raquel says. “So from five days a week I moved to four days a week, then three. And in April, 2021, I decided to just quit and do pottery full-time.”
Throughout Raquel’s pottery journey, she’s kept a record of her progress on Instagram which has helped her business grow, reaching audiences near and far (myself included). Using a combination of organic photos and videos as well as targeted ads, Raquel’s been able to build a profitable business as a full-time artist.
“My Instagram following grew quite a lot in 2020. I started the year with 2,400 followers and I ended with 11,000,” she says. “And you can 100% make a good living and match a nine-to-five salary.”
Pivoting her career from a data scientist to a full-time artist is just one of the areas that Raquel shared on this episode of our mini-series Shopify On Location. Tune into the whole episode to hear how Raquel built her Instagram audience, manages shipping and logistics, as well as the tools and apps that enhance her Shopify store.