We paid her a visit recently in her beautiful studio, filled with racks and racks of stunning pieces, to chat about the joys and challenges of being an entrepreneur, what feminism and femininity mean and how she's got where she is in three short years. Here are her thoughts:
On business ethics:
I'm most proud about having the opportunity to create my own version of how to run a business. Early on I had a vision of a company with equal partners, equal distribution of responsibility, clear values and most importantly awareness of the individuals´ health. I never wanted to lead a team of people who go to work just to earn their living. It's my aim to make the team feel seen, valued and motivated.
So I've slowly created a business where, for example, everyone can take as many days off as needed, and everyone decides individually how much to work each day/week/month. Also, where each one and their background is taken seriously, is supported and appreciated in every way. Today I find myself in a beautiful studio, surrounded by a strongly motivated team where everyone really cares for each other.
On bringing laser focus to work:
Starting Viola Beuscher Ceramics, it was clear to me that I'd invest all the love, energy and creativity I have into my business to make it a part of my life where myself and others could find ourselves and develop. I spent every day over the first 3 years in the studio. Friends and family would have to visit me there, and sometimes wait days for a reply to their messages and calls. I'm often also so tired in the evenings that I'd rather stay at home than go out, which makes it even harder for some people to understand my way of life.
My style is mostly defined by my workdays, so I often wear a shirt and jeans with trainers. Out of the studio though, I love wearing simple, unfussy clothes made with special fabrics, with not too much color and classic cuts. This white silk sheath dress is exactly my thing because if looks very classy, and feels really comfortable when worn.
I'm very lucky to have time to listen to podcasts and audio books whilst working on my potters wheel, which has helped me educate myself. As a young businesswoman I've had experiences where my "feminine behaviour and look” have been used against me, to make me feel smaller.
Over the past few years I've decided that gender, and consequently femininity, have no role to play in my value system. My generation has the opportunity to break these old patterns and views, to engender more equality and acceptance, and I want to stand up for this.
Political, economic and social equality of the sexes—that's my definition of feminism and absolutely something worth standing up and raising one's voice for.
Text: Vatsala Murthy, Images: Anna-Lena Günther for Indian Goods Co.