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Key Idea: Find Cash to Launch

Grace Tsujikawa-Boyd founded Pyro Media in her basement in 1969.   More...

Key Question:


Just like Grace, every new business starts with personal sacrifice, personal savings, and the demonstration to outsiders that the product will be viable.  Go to your personal banker and investigate if that bank does business with the SBA.  The bank has to make the loan and it is only insured by the SBA.  Therefore, start with a banker not the SBA.

Grace was turned down by several bankers then found the right one.  Everything you do will take persistence so you can exercise your determination muscle by looking for money.  Always keep in mind that the banker wants to know what you have put in the business and they don't just want you to say you are putting in your time.  You should be able to show that you have poured savings and even loans from family and friends into the operation.

Think about it

What can you do to cut your expenses as you start a business?  Will your family support you emotionally and will they all do their part to cut back?  Are you willing to eat potatoes, like Grace did, to get your company running?  Do you have good credit  personally?

Clip from: PyroMedia

Seattle, Washington: In this episode of the show we take you into a place well-known in the design community as the place to buy large ceramic pots for up-scale hotel lobbies and office buildings.

Grace Tsujikawa-Boyd has re-invented the business she started in her basement in 1969. She now has engineers working for her in a new division that makes ceramic castables; though made from clay and fired in kilns just like the clay pots, these forms are used by companies like Boeing to make aircraft parts. She got some help and leveraged her assets in new ways to develop an entire new customer base -- the aerospace industry.

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PyroMedia - Phenix Glass Art - Pyramid

Grace Tsuijikawa, Founder

1601 S 92nd Place, Unit C
Seattle, WA 98108

Visit our web site:

Office: 206-768-1683

Business Classification:

Year Founded: 1969

Find Cash to Launch

(Voiceover) What's a clay pot maker with a degree in art doing in the aerospace business? Simple, she's growing her company. Grace Tsujikawa-Boyd founded Pyro Media in her basement in 1969. In the commercial ceramic business, she's know by architects and interior designers as the creator of high-quality glazed pots.

When her sales flattened in 1988 due to low-cost imports and construction slowdowns, she hired a consultant to find ways to keep her equipment utilized and her employees working. Now her growth is coming from industrial ceramics.

Ms. GRACE TSUJIKAWA-BOYD (Ceramics Manufacturer): My father had been in the red clay flowerpot manufacturing business for many years, and although I didn't inherit his business, I knew--I had knowledge of the pottery business.

HATTIE: Did someone inherit it or...

GRACE: Well, my brother did.

HATTIE: Oh. How'd that happen?

GRACE: That's quite traditional in Japanese families. I started in the basement of my home just sort of as a art project while I was still employed. And people became interested; friends, relatives started buying my experiments and, I mean, that got to be, you know, pretty exciting. And so I thought, `Well...'

HATTIE: Because you created something and someone actually gave you money for it.


HATTIE: You went, `Whoa! This is good.'

GRACE: Yes. This is good. But I was quite naive about, you know, actually making it happen you know, having it be a business. So after being turned down by a dozen banks, I was talking to a friend whose brother was a accountant, and he said, `Well, why don't you go to the Small Business Administration?' I said, `Hey, what a good idea.'

HATTIE: Never knew about them, probably, right?

GRACE: Yes, right.

HATTIE: So when you got the money, you had to quit your job immediately.

GRACE: Right. Immediately. And...

HATTIE: Did that scare you?

GRACE: No. I was so excited about getting the money and really getting into business--I mean, just the excitement of starting and getting into business...

HATTIE: You weren't scared.

GRACE: I wasn't scared. It didn't even occur to me that I wasn't going to have a paycheck every other week, and that...

HATTIE: I like that. `Oh, gee, no paycheck.'

GRACE: Right--and that there were going to be lots of fried-potato dinners. In order to survive, a person has to sidestep their initial goal a little bit, and I hadn't really lost sight of what I wanted to do, but I had to...

HATTIE: You needed cash flow.

GRACE: That's right. Absolutely. I mean, you know--I mean, there were getting to be smaller and smaller portions of fried potatoes.

HATTIE: Why do you think you didn't quit and just go do something else?

GRACE: Well, I think that once I got into the excitement of doing business and creating something and selling it, I got caught up in it and I just had this tunnel vision, and there was no option.

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