Published on November 15th, 2016 | by TLV News0
Pottery, Reptiles, and Red Wine
written by Scott Doler
As a small business owner, I understand that the mental and physical demand of keeping a company afloat can be overwhelming at best. During uncertain times, inspiration can seem like it has drifted down stream, rapidly moving south, lost in an infinite hydro abyss. I was experiencing this feeling at my wholesale leather factory, as stagnation in my creativity had led me highway bound for answers. This all changed for when I visited Satterfield’s Pottery, a wholesale pottery shop, just south of Oxford, Mississippi.
Owner Michael Satterfield & I had been exchanging half-assed plans of meeting over the last couple of years to discuss business ideas, as my leather business operates in a similar fashion as his pottery shop. When I finally had some spare time, I decided to just show up & see what he was all about.
Navigating country roads through Lafayette County, I turned onto a gravel road that leads to Satterfield’s Pottery Shop. When I walked in the front door of his showroom, I was greeted so kindly by Michael himself. Covered head to toe in pottery dust, I knew right away that he was a hands-on type of boss, dedicated & passionate about his craft. As he welcomed me, I sensed he was pre-occupied with a rather large package that was obviously just delivered.
“What is that?” I asked.
“It’s my fourth and largest kiln. We are growing so fast, I had to have another” he replied.
I asked him if he needed help moving it, as I could see he had cleared space through his shop for the new pottery oven. He gladly accepted my offer, but first, he grabbed two of his signature chalices, and filled them to the brim with red wine.
“Let me give you a tour” he stated.
As I followed him out of the backdoor, I realized that this was much more than just a business. It was home too. Dogs, cats & reptiles were also part of the equation. Sitting at a table by the fountain was his sister Tara, who later demonstrated her clay charm creations. We later made the charms into necklaces with leather boot laces from our factory, located an hour south of the Satterfield place.
Michael & I immediately started talking about life, as if business did not exist. Hours later, he decided to round up some if his crew to move the giant kiln into its new place in the “employees only” part of the shop. My eyes immediately scanned the room. He had glasses, cups, bowls, plates, angels & ornaments of all colors and sizes that were made and ready to be shipped to retail stores across the southeast. I was in heaven, a dusty, artsy, colorful heaven. Joking and working at the same time, my mood slowly started to elevate & inspiration was re-ignited.
Two of his best sellers are different colors and sizes of the infamous Colonel Reb & the MSU bulldog (sorry Ole Miss fans, it’s just business). With the Egg Bowl right around the corner, I grabbed a clay Bulldog & Colonel Reb & faced them together as if war were about to ensue. The night went on with conversation, laughter, animal watching & just straight up good times.
The next morning when I returned to my factory, I saw things in a different light. Not only was I once again thankful for my shop, I felt a connection with a like-minded individual who was also insanely passionate about his work and vision. His products sell themselves, filling retail shelves in small businesses across the great South. So the lesson here is this: grab you a Satterfield’s wine glass, fill it to the brim with booze, and enjoy yourself like Michael Satterfield enjoys his craft. Cheers!