Sophia Sohyun Kim | Episode 823
Sophia Sohyun Kim loves working with clay. The inspiration of working with clay, the texture of reliefs, and cut outs are energizing to Sophia. Throwing clay on the potter’s wheel, in particular, can be addictive to Sophia as it is quiet and personal; it is like a meditation for her as she has to center herself before she can center the clay. Trees have been Sophia’s obsession for a long time. Her fascination on tree barks started while taking pictures of birch, oak, and cedar trees in the Pacific Northwest. Sophia has been mesmerized that the the trees all seem to have scars on their barks and try to tell us their stories which call to us… Sophia watchfully listens to their stories to share botanic exquisiteness beyond cicatrix.
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They say the best customer to find is the customer you already had. They are the cheapest to keep. So how do you keep in touch with the customer base that you have taken years to build when you had a great location?
That’s a good question. I actually have quite a few real customers that have been collecting my work since my first career. Eight years ago I started this signature style and ever since I have quite a few customers coming back and contacting me by email or texting and they come to my studio by making an appointment and purchase from the studio. So I am pretty lucky because I have a lot of loyal existing customers.
Do you have an email list that you reach out through to your customers?
I do have an email list but I am not really a tech person. I am really bad with the computer. I hate technology. I hate sitting in front of the computer. I don’t mind doing it on the phone with Instagram or email. I have so many emails piled up for eight years and I had to gather them together and organize them so that’s one more to the list that I haven’t done. (laughter)
Do you ever ask your current customers to tell their friends?
I don’t usually, but they do. (laughter) So I appreciate my customers because they are really nice people. Most of my customers are really nice, they are humble down to the earth, and they are not rich, rich, people but they love my work.
Does being part of Niche help customers discover you?
Yes, I think so. There are 15 different artists so if for example one artist has one hundred existing customers then it’s how many thousands of friends and family maybe who will be spending. So for sure.
How do you find new customers?
Instagram. (laughter) When I was at the market I was not active at all on social media. I am not a social media type of person and I wasn’t feeling very comfortable exposing me and my work, to0 much on social media because it wasn’t necessary. I already had great exposure at the market and why would I be bothered, right? I didn’t even have enough time to make and sell at the market, a lot of people told me I should do Instagram and that it was great exposure and I ignored them. (laughter) Then I got out of the market and I had no where to go and all the shows were cancelled and the market was closed so I didn’t know what to do and I realized that I had to do Instagram.
My last question is: Is there something that you wish I would have asked you?
My signature design: Rusty Birch. My birch design and how it was created and the story behind it.
I just love trees. I grew up suburban in South Korea and whenever I go to school I had to walk into the forest, not a forest, but through the trees and I just feel at home whenever I walk inside the trees. And my tree bark design started from painting and drawing and taking pictures of West Coast tree barks. So I used to take a lot of pictures of bark and bark seems to talk to me somehow. And they have a lot of scars on the outside and whenever I look at the scar or the bark of the tree it feels like it’s talking to me. I didn’t mean to create bark texture or anything, it just came to me. It just happened one day, I was playing with the slip and texture and scratching a polishing them and it came to me one day. So it was just meant to be, I think.