The Northern Kiln

During the early days of lockdown in Ontario, I tried to shop my favourite potters from the safety of my computer chair but I was disappointed to realize that most did not have an online presence.

When the pandemic had not disappeared by October, I found myself standing in a long line in the pouring rain, mask on and two metres apart just to get my hands on some ceramics.  The Hamilton Potter's Guild was hosting an outdoor sale and the community was out in full force!  That night I began building The Northern Kin. 

In an effort to provide a painless, online selling experience for these small business owners, I developed The Northern Kiln as a platform offering that requires no technical skills to list and sell.  I wanted potters to be able to focus on their art and not worry about learning HTML.

Fast-forward 3 years and I have decided to close The Northern Kiln for now. With lockdowns behind us (hopefully forever) and the return to in-person shopping (and not to forget the huge increase in the cost of shipping over the years) the need for online pottery sales is no longer as urgent.

But I couldn't be prouder of what our community of entrepreneurs and artists accomplished together!

  • 25% Returning Customer Rate

    Our customers were BIG fans! Our returning customer rate grew from 10.96% in our first year to an impressive 25% by our third year.

  • 4.8% Click Through Rate

    We saw great success when it came to email marketing with an average 56.7% open rate and an average 4.8% click through rate in 2023.

  • $0.08 Cost Per Click

    We honed in on our target market and achieved an average of $0.08 Cost Per Click on our Facebook Ads. In 2023 we made over 1.1 million impressions for less than $1500.

  • $155,000 in Sales

    In 3 years The Northern Kiln sold over 2,200 pieces of handmade pottery to Canadians! This brought in over $155,000 for Canadian entrepreneurs.

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  • Krista Sears

    I have worked closely with Rhiane over the past few years through her business "The Northern Kiln".  From our initial meeting, Rhiane has demonstrated professionalism and keen business acumen in the development and execution of her unique business model which offered an on-line presence and sales channel for potters across Canada.  The website is visibly alluring and she created effective technological enhancements in the background to ensure the order to delivery process was seamless for both the customers and the vendors.  Rhiane also created effective on-boarding materials to ensure an easy set up process and implemented a successful social media campaign which significantly helped me to grow my business.  I have worked with entrepreneurs in my professional career for decades, and Rhiane definitely stands out in her ability to create, build and successfully execute a business from the ground up. 

    Above The Sea Pottery 
  • Jane Snider

    I was pleased to work with Rhiane for almost 3 years, as one of the potters represented on The Northern Kiln (TNK) website, which she set up to enable Canadian potters to sell their work online across the country.  The onboarding resources and how-to guides that she developed and provided were thorough and easy to follow.  The website itself was attractive, easy for customers to use and was well maintained.  Any questions that I had regarding the site or the shipping app were promptly and adequately answered.  The site enabled me to grow my customer base beyond Ontario, where I am based, to sales across the country.  On several occasions Rhiane liaised with customers regarding special orders, from which I was able to benefit.  The periodic analyses that she shared with us potters were useful for reflection and planning purposes.  In summary, my experience with the TNK was a positive one, due to the professional and respectful nature of Rhiane herself.  I wish her well in her future endeavors.

    Jane Snider Pottery 
  • Deborah Griswold

    I worked with Rhiane for about two years as one of the potters featured in her company, The Northern Kiln. My experience was very positive in a number of ways: (1) Listing my pieces through the site allowed me to reach a broader cliental than would have been possible otherwise; (2) I found the instructional material, submission of my pottery offerings and product photos to be straightforward; (3) It was a pleasure to work with Rhiane. She was responsive to my questions and submissions, and helpful in resolving any difficulties.

    In terms of the business, the concept was solid and the timing appropriate. TNK provided vendors a less competitive service than sites such as Etsy. It also provided customers in rural or isolated communities an opportunity to select products that otherwise would not have been readily available.

    I think Rhiane's experience with developing, operating and eventually closing The Northern Kiln has given her an excellent understanding of both the positive and negative aspects of her business venture – what worked and what didn’t. To my mind, this is one of the most valuable attributes that Rhiane could possess.

    Fiori Ceramics