Shop local: Pottery studio unsure it can ‘ride out the storm’ in Tier 2

The Pink Parachute. Picture: Rav Ahtti

The Pink Parachute. Picture: Rav Ahtti - Credit: Rav Ahtti

A Hornchurch pottery studio owner is worried about the uncertain future.

Owner Rav Ahtti. Picture: Rav Ahtti

Owner Rav Ahtti. Picture: Rav Ahtti - Credit: Rav Ahtti

Rav Ahtti says The Pink Parachute, just off Hornchurch High Street, is a lot worse off compared to this time last year, having lost about 50 per cent of income and with two staff on furlough.

Rav, who has two school age children, started the business after giving up a job in finance management to find a “better work life balance,” but now is not so sure her business will be able to survive the upheaval.

She explains that October to December is the busiest time for the business and sees them through the quieter months.

“We’ve been closed for one of those months so it could really be a struggle,” she says.

Painted ceramic Christmas decorations. Picture: Rav Ahtti

Painted ceramic Christmas decorations. Picture: Rav Ahtti - Credit: Rav Ahtti


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“We were hoping with no further restrictions we could ride out the storm. However, even with the ‘medium’ restrictions we cannot host birthday parties and group events, which will impact us significantly in the run-up to Christmas.

“In Tier 2, any of our bookings have been cancelled as they were for mixed households. The future is not looking great.”

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The shop originally ran pottery painting classes where customers pick a pot or sculpture to paint in the studio, and then it’s fired in a kiln ready to take home.

“The kiln and the special paints to glaze are expensive,” says Rav.

Displays at the shop.Picture: Rav Ahtti

Displays at the shop.Picture: Rav Ahtti - Credit: Rav Ahtti

Like many other businesses, she has had to make changes to continue to trade to meet guidelines.

Starting with an expensive window job - to make more room - “a huge expense that couldn’t have come at a worse time”.

She also been delivering craft kits with paints, pottery and everything needed to do it at home. And she sells through click and collect.

“The feedback I’ve got has been really great for this - it’s been an especially good hobby for people living alone, and they’ve asked us to carry it on. Looking after mental health is really important.”

A reindeer Christmas tree decoration. Picture: Rav Ahtti

A reindeer Christmas tree decoration. Picture: Rav Ahtti - Credit: Rav Ahtti

Rav thinks that what would help the business at the moment would be continuing rate reductions, which are currently reduced until April.

For deliveries, click and collect and more to Rav’s website.

Painted Christmas decorations. Picture: Rav Ahtti

Painted Christmas decorations. Picture: Rav Ahtti - Credit: Rav Ahtti

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