HOMEWOOD – Susan Gordon, founder, chief creator and owner of Susan Gordon Pottery in Homewood, is the Bronze Alabama Retailer of the Year in the Annual Sales $1 Million to $5 Million category. Gordon’s store offers handmade pottery in the form of bowls, vases, dishes, serveware, picture frames and seasonal Christmas décor, as well as ceramic jewelry and framed intaglios. Susan Gordon Pottery is one of 11 businesses honored as the 2022 Retailers of the Year by the Alabama Retail Association.
“This is a proud moment for all of us here at SGP,” said Susan Gordon, who began selling her pottery online and at festivals in 2013. “I want to thank our loyal customers, who keep coming back to purchase with us, and help support a team of 30 wonderful gifted artisans.”
“Susan strives to bring beauty and life to everyday tasks through timeless handcrafted creations that are modern, feminine and refined in detail,” wrote Erika Dix, a partner with the Birmingham Business Alliance, in her nomination of Gordon. Noting that Gordon for more than three years operated out of a coworking/makers’ space, MAKEbhm, Dix said, “Susan experienced exceptional growth at MAKE, and scaled and expanded into her beautiful retail storefront and studio space in Homewood, and impacted job creation in an industry that is in great demand by her customers.”
To grow the business, Gordon has diversified her products and collaborated with other artists, and she markets directly to a large and growing email list and through social media. “We place heavy emphasis on cultivating our email list,” Gordon said. At the beginning of 2022, she also expanded into a larger, second studio space. “Our storefront and portions of our production remain at our original location, but the majority of our production and administrative teams have expanded into a studio that is roughly twice the size of the original space. With this additional square footage, we’ve been able to grow our team from 20 to 30 individuals and invest in more equipment to increase our production capacity.”
“What impressed me most about Susan Gordon Pottery is she was a wholesaler when she first started out, and then she took it back, and she went direct to consumer,” noted one of the Retailer of the Year judges. Gordon first sold to consumers through Etsy, then in 2019, she began selling directly to consumers on a new website. “Her marketing strategy is just unbelievable. She’ll announce a release date, she’ll send an email out to her group … and it is gone, just like that. I’m amazed at her following.”
Gordon is also active in her community – volunteering with The Service Guild and The Bell Center, a not-for-profit 501(c)3 organization in Homewood that serves families with children with special needs. Through percentages of product sales, she has contributed to such organizations as Prescott House Child Advocacy, Jones Valley Teaching Farm and InSpero, which seeks Birmingham prosperity through radical hospitality. Susan Gordon Pottery has also sponsored employees to volunteer at Firehouse Homeless Shelter preparing and serving dinner.
The Alabama Retailer of the Year awards, started in 1999, honor retailers who have demonstrated growth, innovation and a commitment to their respective communities. This year’s winners were selected from 42 entries submitted from a pool of 55 nominees.
“Susan Gordon is a retailer of the year EVERY year to her customers, her 30 employees and the greater Birmingham community,” said Alabama Retail Association President Rick Brown.
The Alabama Retail Association represents retailers, the largest private employer in the state of Alabama, before the Alabama Legislature and the U.S. Congress. Through sales of food, clothing, furniture, medicine and more, our 4,300 independent merchant and national company members touch almost every aspect of daily living. Since 1943, we’ve worked to promote what’s best for the retail industry in Alabama. Whether voicing the retail view when public policy is made, educating members about issues that impact them, negotiating rates for benefits and services or communicating the retail story, the Alabama Retail Association and its members are better together.