The three P’s to success, according to Susan Farquhar, are Poverty, Pottery, Property.
“As a child there were days when we didn’t eat,” recalls Susan as she reflects on a childhood scarred by the stigma of a broken family. “I even remember going to a friend’s birthday party in my school uniform, because that was all I had to wear.”
To earn some pocket money, Susan collected seed pods and bark from the parks around her Brisbane home, to create little animals “with googly eyes and funny faces” and sell them at church fetes and markets. “That was my first business, I was ten years old, and I’d make ten or twenty dollars, selling them at twenty cents each.”
“We didn’t have a TV, we didn’t have a phone, we didn’t have a car, so I had a lot of time on my hands. But I did have Childcraft, the World Book Encyclopaedia for kids, and they had one whole volume just on arts and crafts and I think I pretty much made everything in that book!”
Moving interstate, and graduating from stick figures to ceramics was a natural progression for a young girl with a passion to mould shapes with her bare hands. Turning it into a business was never the goal until a light bulb moment at university.
The ceramics activity centre in the Fine Arts department at Melbourne University was losing money and destined to be closed down, but they had enough enrolments for one more semester.
“Around then I realised I had a head for business.”
Susan, who would spend hours of her spare time in the centre, was asked to teach first year ceramics. Initially she said no!
At that time, Susan was doing a Bachelor of Arts in International Relations. By the age of twenty-two she was fluent in five languages, and was headed towards a career in international relations, such as in the United Nations or a similar space.