Kate and Aly Guindi, the mother and daughter bringing pottery to the pub
In a hectic world, it’s heartwarming to discover Pottery & Pints. It’s almost too cute to be a business.
“It’s a mobile pottery workshop,” says Aly, who also happens to be daughter to co-founder Kate. “We come to pubs across the south east of England, and teach you how to make your own pot.”
Guests get full tuition in pottery throwing, starting with a demonstration of how to mould certain shapes. They then make their bowl or vase on the spinning wheel, all whilst sipping on craft beer or wine in a cosy pub setting.
It’s absorbing, educational and therapeutic. Turn off all devices, and let the silky smooth feel of the clay overtake your senses. Time melts away as you focus on the pot and it emerges from the gloop.
“We had a workshop a couple of weeks ago, and I had to take a photograph, because all these people looked like they were having the best time,” recalls Aly.
Kate adds, “There was a guy who turned around, and he was just beaming. It’s nice to see people like that!”
Founded in January 2018, it immediately took off. “We sold out our first three workshops,” recalls Aly. “I have to confess – I cried!”
It’s no surprise. It’s a wonderful concept, with a catchy name.
“Pottery & Pints sounds like a flippant name for a company, but it actually does three things,” says Aly. “One, it tells you what we do. Two, it tells you where we do it and relaxes you. You think, ‘Hang on a minute. It can’t be that serious if I’ve got a pint in my hand!’
We often find it’s a date night for couples
“The third one is probably the most comforting to a lot of people, in that it says ‘No kids!”. I think that’s important for a lot of people, who want to do something that’s just about them. We often find it’s a date night for couples.”
Revenue comes from guests who pay per head, or per group. And they’ve negotiated a deal with pubs, who enjoy a lift in sales on quiet weekdays.
Overheads are kept low by using pub venues. Aly does the social media and marketing, and Kate handles the hostessing. The third member of the team, Nic, leads many of the sessions, and brings in extra potters to help out when demand is high.
We’ve just recently taken on a contract with Airbnb to be on their website
“We’ve just recently taken on a contract with Airbnb to be on their website,” says Kate. “That’s a massive achievement.”
The prosperity means the trio can commit to expanding the business. “I remember what it felt like to sit in a office for forty hours a week,” recalls Kate with a grimace. “Never again.”
Banking with Tide is part of the slick, low-stress approach. “We were originally with Santander, and I had to have a business meeting with the bank manager. All I wanted was to sit at my desk and have an account in two minutes.”
The Tide app ensures that their finances are within easy reach. “The app is so easy! I always forget my pin number, and my bank would post me a new pin in three to five days. But I can get a reminder in the app in seconds. It’s a small thing, but for me it’s like ‘Oh, thank God!’”
Their Tide account is integrated with Xero, the cloud accounting software. “It’s a massive help, because the bigger we get, the more we’ll be relying on Xero.”
The next step is creeping up to London, and looking to franchise right up through England, and into Scotland, Wales and Ireland. And France.
The masterplan? The trio want to get the whole nation making pots down the pub.
“The next step is creeping up to London, and looking to franchise right up through England, and into Scotland, Wales and Ireland. And France.”
“We’ll do pottery and wine. Pottery & Pouilly!”
Book a workshop on Pottery & Pints’ website here: potteryandpints.co.uk