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Monday, September 28, 2020

Sailing through the story of Blue Water Pottery

Blue Water Pottery owners Jermey and Megan Noet share the story behind their business

By Mazey Servin

Megan and Jeremy Noet at the beach.
Megan and Jeremy Noet at the beach.

Driving down the street in the Columbia Neighborhood, off to the side sits a small Neighborhood Studio Stand selling pots colored with deep blues and purples. 

Ceramic artists Jeremy and Megan Noet, owners of Blue Water Pottery, have grown their business over 22 years. Their pottery has reached far and wide across many cities and has also stayed local to Bellingham, Megan Noet said. 

Jeremy Noet said he started making pottery right out of high school. He went through a few years of college and apprenticed. Then went for it and opened his business, he said.

They named the shop Blue Water Pottery because of Jeremy and Megan’s history with sailing.

“I got the name of our business from sailing, we used to live on a sailboat and dreamed of sailing across the oceans,” Jeremy Noet said. 

Sailing around the world was Jeremy and Megan Noet’s big dream when they were young adults. They said they lived on their sailboat for 10 years. 

“We had this idea that we were going to go sailing,” Megan Noet said. “I always wanted to go sailing, but [Jeremy] always, even as a young kid wanting to sail around the world and so when he started his business, he was like, this is the business. It’s going to fund our sailing trips.” 

The Noets said that Blue Water Pottery has helped them sustain a family. It has provided them with the lifestyle that they have chosen to live.

The biggest change to their business began when they started selling their pottery online, allowing their pottery to be seen by people outside of Bellingham and even outside the United States. 

“It just blows my mind all the time that it’s working as a business and that we can be at home, you know, working with each other and we get along great. So that works out really well,” Megan Noet said.

When Jeremy’s business started he said he was doing farmers markets and craft fairs in Alaska. When his family moved to Bellingham he was doing more consignment gallery work. His work was in galleries like Good Earth Pottery and the Bellingham Farmers Market.

They would go on road trips to find galleries and places to sell their work, Megan Noet said. 

She said they would also sell their pottery wholesale. 

A wholesale show offers a place for potters to meet people and get accounts who place a big order for their pottery that can be sold for half the price or a wholesale price, Megan Noet said. 

They have some east coast buyers but mostly sell around the west coast. They have reached places like Saudi Arabia, Australia and France since they started selling on Etsy, Megan Noet said.

Jeremy and Megan Noet have opened a Neighborhood Studio Stand outside their house during COVID-19. 

This allows them to get a more intimate relationship with their customers, which is important for them, Jeremey Noet said.

“I like to think that I’m contributing positively to people’s lives,” Jeremey Noet said. “And so it’s nice to meet some of the people that buy my work and to hear how it affects their lives.”

Megan Noet said making connections with customers is important to their business dynamic. 

“Finding those ways to connect means that in each interaction we are recognizing a person’s presence, acknowledging them and our shared human experience,” Megan Noet said. “And we all need that, especially as people are living more and more alone or doing so much interacting through screens.”

Jeremy and Megan Noet started co-owning Blue Water Pottery after Megan Noet realized that when she managed Jeremy’s pottery sales, their income doubled.

“I mean like immediately doubled our pottery income that we realized that we could really make a viable income out of it if I just put more effort,” Megan Noet said.

The Noets said that Jeremy is the artist and Megan is the manager of Blue Water Pottery. 

Ann Marie Cooper, owner of Good Earth Pottery, has been friends and business partners with Jeremy and Megan Noet for 12 years. Good Earth Pottery represents Jeremy’s pottery, which means they sell his work regularly, Cooper said. 

“Well, Jeremy is very prolific so he makes a lot. So he’s very inspiring to all the ceramic artists in the community cause he could be so productive,” Cooper said. “They’re very generous, giving people, very supportive of other artists and just the community in general.”

Cooper said that Jeremy Noet also teaches at Burnish Clay Studio

Cooper said Jeremy is generous to share his knowledge and experience with future ceramic artists. 

Jeremy and Megan Noet are a married couple co-owning a business together and Cooper said she thinks it’s an excellent set up. 

Jeremy and Megan are an inspiring couple because of how well they work together and make their business succeed, Cooper said.

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