Meet Entrepreneur: Jonie Garcia

Meet Jonie Garcia! She is a Buena Park native, 3rd year Biology transfer, co-owner of her own business, and avid fan of Katy Perry’s discography. Did I mention that she once couldn’t talk for 6 weeks because of a double-jaw surgery? That is just a glimpse into the life of Jonie. Despite being a full time student, she takes on a multitude of tasks to create an effective business in which she co-owns. We need to support small businesses. Keep reading to learn more about PBerry Ceramics’ co-owner Jonie Garcia— her business will be sure to create buzz in Isla Vista and be the next big thing.

Image via Jonie Garcia

What is PBERRY ceramics?

PBERRYceramics is a small ceramics business that was created by my friend and I after we graduated high school. We have always believed that it doesn’t matter where you are in life, you can always create great things. Despite both of us being full-time students, we saw an opportunity to create this ceramics business. It became our job. We would create pieces while earning money that’d go towards school and future road trip adventures. 

What is your role in the business?

I make ceramic earrings, manage social media, photograph our work, design upcoming pieces, and assist in the making of wheel thrown homewares in the studio. 

Why did you (and your business partner) decide on the name “PBERRY ceramics”? What is the significance?

A peaberry is a mutated coffee bean where only one of the two seeds are fertilized, and the single seed develops uninhibited. Peaberries are more flavorful than normal beans even when they’re from the same crop. We reinterpreted this word through our company name  “PBERRY,” which we define as: a moment, creature, or place that is perceived for its potential to grow rather than its inherent difference. Therefore, we believe it is indeed more flavorful than the common experience. We hope that the name “PBERRY” becomes more than just the name of our ceramics business, but a reminder that the values of who we are as makers, creators, and people lie in our ability to see things for what they could be, not for what they are now. 

Image via Jonie Garcia

Every business had to start somewhere, what did the start of PBERRY ceramics look like?

It started in December of 2016. PBERRY ceramics was originally named “peaberry pottery.” We were two kids who scrounged up some materials and equipment, and worked in a tiny garage for months! We have recently refined our style into matte homewares made with stained porcelain clay. Despite coming a long way since the very beginning, I believe that we’re just get started!

The first sale in a starting business tends to be a memorable moment to many entrepreneurs. Do you remember your first sale, and if so, who was it to and what was it like?

Our first sale was a small teacup with a single purple stripe when our business was about 1 month old. It was bought by a close friend who has been extremely supportive in our journey. A picture of that teacup can be found on our instagram page, @pberryceramics!

Your business is not only stylish, but also reasonably priced. What sets you apart from your competitors? Why is PBERRY ceramics unique?

PBERRYceramics is platform for us to share who we are and our ideas in modern art using an ancient medium. We take our pieces, both homewares and earrings, and we strive to empower our audience to see things for what they could be rather than what they are. 

Image via Jonie Garcia

You own the business 50/50 with your business partner, how do you work together to create an effective business?

Behind being business partners, we’re close friends who have known each other for 4 years, and so we are constantly communicating, sharing ideas, bringing up public issues, and proposing solutions, all while knowing how to have fun. We both have our individual strengths that make up for one another’s weaknesses in order to push things forward. Also, organization is key, especially when it comes to an art that requires multiple processes coexisting all at once. The most important thing, however, is to constantly look for opportunities to grow! We are always looking to apply to public markets, asking local stores to carry our work, and sharing through word-of-mouth about PBERRY. It allows us to keep motivated and maintain the momentum of our sales.

Where can you purchase your products?

We have recently been admitted to the Santa Barbara Arts Show and plan on selling there every Sunday starting this July!  It is located along the sidewalk by Chase Palms Park in downtown Santa Barbara. We’ll also be participating in the July 4th show at the Old Mission in Santa Barbara and have been participating in the the Isla Vista Open Market which occurs every few weeks! We will be selling in future pop up shops around the area as well. Future updates and pop-up shop event info can be found on our instagram, @pberryceramics!

Image via Jonie Garcia

Is there anything you would like the public to know about your business?

Behind this whole idea were two pre-Biology college freshmen who really did not have much free time floating around to start a business of our own. We did not know a LOT of things, and I personally felt like I was in a place where I just needed to grow up first before tackling the hurdle of starting a business. In the beginning I loved the concept, but later found out how naive I actually was. I began feeling extremely doubtful for months and months, often times wanting to give up, accept my losses, and move on to something that was a little more secure. The thing though, is that despite all the stress (and mental breakdowns), I could not let go of our idea because I began to fully realize that our business can actually be something.

If it weren’t for the persistent encouragement and patience from my partner, I would not have truly realized that our ideas are always possible. So if there’s anything I can say from our journey so far is this: your ideas are not limited to your major, degree, age, gender, etc. Learning and being uncomfortable will ALWAYS go hand in hand, so might as well learn something that will help you understand who YOU are and what you CAN be.