Linda Yates opened King’s Point Pottery 27 years ago, and the studio has become a highly recommended retail destination, attracting tour buses and selling the work of 365 craftspeople.
Linda studied pottery at the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and then travelled, completing an apprenticeship in Scotland and visiting galleries. (Travel remains an important source of enrichment for her—she always comes back with new ideas.) She was working in government, teaching craftspeople how to set up in business, when she realized that was what she wanted to do herself.
Establishing a business in a rural area was risky. At that time, no one was buying pottery on the internet: you had to take your work to market rather than having customers come to you. But in 1992, Linda left job security behind and moved back to King’s Point, where her family is from. She set up shop in her father’s service station.
The best parts of being an entrepreneur, for Linda, are the flexibility of day-to-day activities, being a leader, and working with a team of people sharing ideas.
Two major figures in Linda’s life are her late father, Calvin Yates, and her husband, David Hayashida. Calvin Yates was creative, innovative, a woodworker as well as a mechanic and general fixer who was her right hand in the early days of the business, and often, she says, her left hand as well—“My dad inspires me so much every day.” Linda is also quick to credit the vital role of her husband and business partner, a potter, photographer, interior designer, and graphic designer: “We make a great team.” She also acknowledges as role models the strong women in her life: her mother, from whom she learned thrift, and her three mentor girlfriends.
While the natural environment and the garden recharge her batteries, it is customers and producers who motivate Linda in business. Customers are delighted to come, hear the story of the business, and see what’s on the shelves. And Linda loves being able to provide other producers with a market, to help them make a living for themselves.
Linda’s motivation for establishing her business in King’s Point was to be rich, she says —rich in lifestyle, practising her craft in a natural environment, close to her family. Making that a success has meant becoming involved in community projects, spending countless hours volunteering on boards and for local projects to make the area a tourist destination. It’s teamwork, she says, in a great town where people work together, and the fruit of their labour has been a significant increase in tourism over the years.
Linda’s advice to emerging entrepreneurs is to be true to yourself: “Everybody makes mistakes, but not everybody learns from them.” She also emphasizes the value of networking with individuals and within organizations.
A goal for the future is to increase international recognition of the product and continue to draw attention to rural Newfoundland. As the top shopping destination in Newfoundland and Labrador on TripAdvisor, King’s Point Pottery is already good at doing that!
Trailblazer recognizes an entrepreneur who owns and operates a business that has excelled in a non-traditional industry for women-owned business or successfully established a business in an industry uncommon to the area in which it operates. This entrepreneur has blazed a trail for others to follow and find success. Sponsored by Cox & Palmer