The next installation in our Business Member Spotlight series showcases Alpha Fired Arts, a place for hobbyists and professionals alike to come experience the fun of clay. Read on to learn more about the journey of Brian Tanner, one of the owners of Alpha Fired Arts, and how his career lead him to business ownership in the industry he loves.
My passion for starting a ceramic art supply business came out of my love for clay. I was inspired in junior high school where my teacher encouraged me to enter the state fair. I won an honorable mention and I was hooked, my thirst for understanding clay process began.
After graduating from CSUS with a Bachelor’s Degree in Art concentrated in Ceramics, I took a job working for a local clay manufacturer. This started my career in the ceramic business. I knew I wanted to be connected with clay. With a job layoff from my employer I was forced to sink or swim. My assistant manager and I opened a competitive ceramic supply store in Sacramento.
We won the contest and the customers came to our store instead. My previous employer closed and that launched Alpha Ceramic Supplies, Inc now in our 30th year. The biggest challenge we have faced is how to change our business model to keep up with the ever changing customer demographics.
As a result, we changed our name 15 years ago to Alpha Fired Arts and have become a “Creative Clay Learning Center.” We now have classes for both adults and children, using potters wheels and hand building. We installed an art gallery to promote and celebrate clay creativity. Our Paint your own Pottery Studio hosts many family gatherings, birthday parties, weddings, team building events and just plain fun.
My inspiration comes from our artistic customers who are always making something creative with clay.