Local entrepreneur gives students keys to success

December 18, 2008

by Donyelle Davis

Kent Follette, owner of Follette Pottery, spoke at the Louisiana Tech Enterprise Center at 7 p.m., Dec. 10, as a part of the Art Entrepreneurship Speaker Series, created to benefit students and artists in the local community.

Follette began his presentation by talking about the economy’s current state and the effect it has on the art industry.

“This is a real scary time to be in business,” Follette said. “Because of the recession, you have to be more aggressive and assertive. The weak have a tendency to walk away.”

Follette also said there is an enormous demand for good art, but the market is small.

“You have to find out where your art is going to sell,” Follette said.

He said he wanted to share what he did in order to get where he is as a successful entrepreneur in pottery.

“It’s easy to teach what you’re excited about,” Follette said.

He said he started selling fruit across Louisiana and later started selling his pottery across the state, spending about one-third of his life on the road.

He said he then began entering into festivals and shows.

“I consider myself an entrepreneur artist,” Follette said. “My goal was to make as much money as I did teaching college, which I did.”

He said he wanted to encourage students to work as hard as they can and to be as creative as they possibly can be, and to also be passionate in whatever area they decide to excel in.

“You can’t do something you don’t love,” Follette said.

He also said students should look to their peers to understand what sells where, and to keep an eye on the market.

He said that advertising through business cards and brochures could be used as a way to market your artwork.

Dorene Kordal, office manager for the Enterprise Center, said the goal of the Entrepreneurship Speaker Series is to aid students and local artists who are trying to pursue careers in the art business.

“We’re trying to introduce area artists and students to people who can answer their questions,” Kordal said.

Cheyenne Morrow, a sophomore studio art and communication design major, said Follette’s presentation gave a realistic perspective of what it takes to become successful in their future art career.

“He was very honest about what happens with [artists] in relation to the economy,” Morrow said. “He let me know that having the drive to be successful is the important thing.”

Follette encouraged students not to be afraid of failing as an entrepreneur or artist.

“Take a chance on you” Follette said. “If it doesn’t work out, you can always do something else, it’s not [permanent].”