Laura Hoeke - Brevard Clay
At the Western Women's Business Center, we love to celebrate the success of our hard-working, spirited clients. Part of that celebration of success is sharing the entrepreneurial stories of our clients, like this one about Laura Hoeke, who fosters creativity in the community at Brevard Clay.
Here's her story:
Tell me a little about yourself
I would describe myself, first and foremost, as a passionate nurturer. My degree is in education. I've raised five children as a single mom, worked for 20 years at the YMCA creating programs that encourage, support, and empower individuals of all ages to overcome their fears and embrace their authentic self. And I have become an entrepreneur. Through all of these experiences, I've learned to embrace challenges and find solutions. Still, I've also learned the power of saying no or pivoting towards a new design or destination when my original plans were no longer viable.
What was your dream job as a kid?
As a child, I wanted to be a mom and teacher.
How did you become an entrepreneur?
I fell into the role of an entrepreneur during the recession following the housing bubble. I was downsized out of the YMCA. Little did I know that that would be the best thing that ever happened to me. I found an opportunity to sell insurance as a commissioned independent agent. This was my first taste in entrepreneurship, which suited me well. I spent my first several years setting up a unique business model that worked for me, and this experience gave me the confidence to truly become an entrepreneur.
Where did the idea for your business come from?
Brevard Clay was an existing business in Brevard that I couldn't let die. I've started from an existing template, but our current business plan has expanded well beyond the roots.
How does your business serve your community?
Brevard Clay, LLC is a creative maker space that invites individuals to participate in the creative process actively. Whether you feel “I can’t do art!” or are a passionate, accomplished artist—we have something for you.
The maker’s space is a creative outlet where individuals can walk in and create, engage socially, and capture memories improving their quality of life. The finished piece can vary from recreational maker items to professionally finished projects that express your authentic self and can be functional and/or decorative depending on finish. Upon entering Brevard Clay, the customer will find a bright, clean, welcoming space that encourages community, communication, and supportive, creative exploration.
We will be serving several unique communities. We serve community members and their families with activities that are accessible to all ages. This includes individuals, families, schools, camps, group programs, and more. We also serve tourists with activities that can be completed in one sitting, with finished products mailed or picked up. And we serve local artisans by providing a space for skilled artists to practice, display, and sell their craft. We are also a hosting space for teaching, learning, and collaborating.
What products/services do you provide?
We provide creative experiences in clay, including paint-your-own pottery, hand-building and throwing opportunities, studio space for individuals to explore their personal pottery goals, and a pottery gallery for sales.
What motivates you as a small business owner?
I have three main motivations as a small business owner. One is to support my staff to reach their personal goals, both current and future. Two is to support the community. I love hearing, ‘I am not an artist’ when an individual walks in and then watching them explore, create, and walk out with a piece they are proud to display. I also love watching families and friends stop and take a moment to talk and create together. And three is to support me by growing my retirement savings.