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Jonathan Adler has managed to single-handedly turn his passion for a humble craft into a multimillion dollar home furnishings empire. From the time he was 13, there was nothing Jonathan liked better than working with clay. But as he got older, Jonathan says he was discouraged from making pottery his career. "Most notably, I was discouraged by my pottery teacher in college," he says. "I went to her and I said, 'You know, do you think I have any talent? Could I do it?' And she was, like, 'No, I'm sorry. No talent.'"

Instead, Jonathan took a job as a talent agent after graduation. "I felt like an imposter because the true me was a potter," he says. Finally, 14 years ago, Jonathan summoned the courage to quit his job and make pottery full time. "Forget about that stupid teacher," he says. "I'm going to make the stuff I want to make and make it just for me."

Today, Jonathan has eight stores across the country and his products are also sold in department stores like Barney's. Did Jonathan ever imagine this kind of success? "I think my idea of success at the time would have just been hawking my wares at a rain-soaked craft fair," he says. "I wanted to just say something with pots. It never occurred to me in a ba-gillion years that I would get to do all this stuff."
FROM: The Secrets of My Big Success
Published on January 01, 2006