We ask our members to share a few thoughts: to introduce themselves to fellow members, and those who are interested in our community.

Ipek-Kotan-LrgIn this instalment, we interview Ipek Kotan of Studio Ipek Kotan.

Tell us about your business:
I’m a ceramic artist working with sculptural vessels. I’ve been commissioned by Cartier, interviewed by Harper’s Bazaar and my artworks are in museums (including 3 pieces at the Boijmans Museum) and more than 250 private collections all over the world. I’ve had solo shows in Berlin, Freiburg, Brussels and Bath. My next solo show is coming up in New York.

What 5 words would you choose to describe your business?
Creative, modern, minimalist, introspective, slow.

What are your most popular products or services?
Sculptural vessels 🙂

What do you like best about owning a business?
Being my own boss. Getting to make the rules. Experimenting. Learning. Improving. Testing.

What or who inspired you to start your business?
I’ve always had an independent and entrepreneurial spirit. I’ve been an entrepreneur since 18,5 years and only worked for others 2,5 years.

What makes your products/services special?
They are the result of my calling. They are made with care and love and are the result of a my need for self-expression.

Who is your role model or mentor?
I have too many too list. Both for role models and mentors. But WBII member Sinead Hewson has been very helpful to me in getting over some serious road-blocks on my path. I am very thankful to her.

What is your biggest fear?
What if we have another year of lockdown?!?

When was the first time you realised you wanted to do what you’re doing now?
I was in college, taking a black and white photography course. A couple weeks in I realised I was spending 12 hours a day in the dark room and was completely entranced by the developing process. I even remember the first time I put a paper in the development solution tray and just like that within a few seconds my picture started slowly appearing on the white page in the solution. It was magic!

What motivates you on a daily basis?
Hope, love of art, business and problem solving.

What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced?
Getting my business to be sufficiently profitable.

What advice would you give women who are starting a business?
I would tell them to learn to create healthy boundaries, learn to say no, put their own needs first and plan for unexpected expenses, work really hard to be amazing at what they do and learn to charge accordingly. I’d also tell them to start saving for fun, old age and holidays starting in their 20s and also to open an investment account.

What is your favourite business book?
I have two. Passion Economy by Adam Davidson, Pocket Full of Do by Chris Do.

What are your top tips for networking?
Be bold. Ask for help, introductions and follow on social media those you want to know. Be active on their social media, let them know you exist. Find ways to meet them and talk to them. But don’t only ask for favors, always offer something in return. Know to give as well as ask.

What is your motto or theme song?
Practice makes best. Ask and you shall receive. 🙂

How do you maintain a work/life balance?
Very funny question!

How do you relax?
Read, I read a ton. Also playing card games, board games, watching shows.

What place inspires you and why?
Places of exceptional natural beauty like tropical jungles and volcanic islands. The colors and textures take my breath away.

What do you care most about, as a business owner?
Creating exceptional value. Always go above and beyond.

What are your future plans?
I have a solo show coming up in New York.

Are you running any offers or promotions that you would like us to mention?
Yes, I am offering private lessons starting in mid April. It is the only kind of teaching I am allowed to do at the moment (the government does not let art studio to give group workshops). If anyone is interested in learning ceramics, please contact me.

Thank you, Ipek!

For more information about Ipek Kotan and Studio Ipek Kotan, visit ipekkotan.com