Bauer Pottery Company of Los Angeles
Tell us about your business.In 1998, I started making candles in glazed ceramic pots. As a Bauer collector, I was inspired by the bright colors of their vintage glazes. I considered reproducing some small Bauer pieces as candle pots and went in search of whoever owned the rights to the brand. It turns out that the trademark had been abandoned. I registered the trademark and thus began Bauer Pottery Company of Los Angeles. To reproduce a vintage design, I acquire an original piece, either purchasing or receiving it on loan. My model maker creates a new model based on the original piece. From there, we make molds for casting. Each piece is fired once, glazed and then fired again to create the finished piece. The company has evolved over time, adding new pieces to the line, acquiring a factory and manufacturing non-Bauer ceramics such as Russel Wright American Modern dinnerware. I see us continuing along this path as well as expanding into our own brick & mortar retail shop.
What makes your business stand out?The brand had been lost to time. Vintage Bauer pottery was mainly found in a mother’s or grandmother’s kitchen or showed up occasionally in a thrift store or swap meet, where the rare collector could pick up vintage pieces for a few dollars. It was both loved and ignored for decades. The advent of the internet and the publication of several books on Bauer pottery fueled interest and raised prices on vintage pieces. The fact that no one owned the rights to this beloved brand was astonishing. The moment I had that realization was probably akin to what a treasure hunter feels when he finds a cache of gold at the bottom of the sea. The successful revival of a brand that some might consider old fashion has been a welcome surprise. In a world full of pottery barns, it feels like people are looking for and embracing something unique and something uniquely American.
What's the best business advice you've received?Early on, a close friend told me to “Aim high.” Those two words have been lodged in my mind since. Every day for the past 15 years I have aimed high. I knew that bringing back Bauer Pottery would not be easy, but few things worthwhile ever are. For me, it was the right thing to do and the way I did it was by aiming high.
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