The Northern Kiln is a brand new platform, just launched for local Ontario potters to sell their amazing functional pottery amidst a pandemic that has seen their regular sales avenues cancelled. The company was founded by Rhiane Heslop, a born and bred Hamiltonian (recently moved to Guelph with her boyfriend), a young female entrepreneur who started the initiative while also working full-time. Rhiane was previously part of the Young Entrepreneurs and Professionals group through the Hamilton Chamber of Commerce.
As an avid pottery lover, Rhiane Heslop essentially founded The Northern Kiln so she had somewhere to shop local handmade pottery – lockdown or not. In October of 2020, the Hamilton Potter’s Guild was able to host an outdoor sale (COVID precautions in place) and Rhiane attended, realizing as she stood in a long line in the pouring rain, that other people were just as
excited as she was to shop pottery again. Wondering if winter would bring new lockdown restrictions, she asked herself how she could support the #SHOPLOCAL movement as well as give Canadians better access to amazing, local pottery – no masks required. The Northern Kiln was born.
COVID restrictions have caused local potters’ guilds to cancel their in-person sales, typically held twice a year – but the restrictions haven’t stopped potters from potting! The Northern Kiln is a unique platform that offers 24/7/365 shopping – even during quarantine. The organization currently features all women potters, all local to Ontario.
With extensive experience in retail distribution and web design, Rhiane was able to create a platform offering local potters the resources to sell online without requiring any technical knowledge. It provides the opportunity for the artists to focus on creating while The Northern Kiln handles the technical, logistical, social, and promotional aspects of e-commerce. Not to mention, with an online platform comes national reach. Local potters are able to expand their customer base from their local communities to all of Canada and because of the collective catalogue, they are able to provide low shipping rates.
The first Hamilton artist to join The Northern Kiln is Sandra Zuidema of aSpire Pottery. Sandra’s work is stunning, with architectural elements– she calls her work “windows into my life”. The work featured on the site is incredible, with gorgeous photos from multiple angels, and the ability to purchase with just a click.
Shop The Northern Kiln at thenorthernkiln.ca
-Suzanne, The Generator