Kevin Potter began as fine jeweler in Tucson, Arizona. He specialized in carving custom waxes and casting but also drew the designs and set stones, essentially designing pieces from start to finish. He eventually worked into having his own line of jewelry that was sold in stores throughout the US. Kevin gained experience using machine tools while attending The University of Arizona, where he received a BFA in drawing/painting.
He worked in the machine shop on campus and eventually started his own machine shop where he used his tools for the production of stainless steel jewelry. He quickly decided to make silversmithing stakes. He always enjoyed using them in college, but could never afford to purchase them. After he made his first few sets, he advertised them on Craig's list in several cities known as artist communities: Seattle, San Francisco, Austin, etc.
Kevin always liked Otto Frei jewelry supply and contacted them about his stakes. They liked them and decided to carry his line of stakes. Gradually he began to make other tools and started the Potter USA website with the help of a friend who was a retired computer programmer.
Kevin at the bench, 1997
Kevin Potter owns the company with his wife, Danielle. Kevin works full time for the business, coming up with new ideas for tools or ways to create impression dies from antique hubs. Anyone who spends any time with Kevin notices he has an endless amount of ideas and a real passion for jewelry.
Danielle Crounse is co-owner, and manages the financial end of the business, and joined in July 2015. Danielle actually has helped to run the business since it began in March of 1997, with Kevin making jewelry and she managed the money and marketing. She has a master's degree in journalism, but has managed to figure out some of the financial aspects of running a business. She also helps to manage Kevin and his crazy ideas and tries to keep him more level-headed, though it is a challenge sometimes.
Mitch Baker is the General Manager and began in 2021. However, he has done the website for us for at least 8 years. He is also the reason we purchased CNC machines to make parts - he can do the programming! Mitch began his career working at Boeing after earning an Aeronautical Engineering degree, and later ran all IT for a company in Tucson. For him, it IS Rocket Science!
Annie Pennington is our Marketing and Sales Director. She oversees all marketing and sales. She plans and manages the Monthly Potter Box, a subscription for dies each month. She has a Master's degree in metalsmithing and is former Assistant Editor of Art Jewelry Magazine and is the master at writing directions.
Lynette Andreason is a Marketing Assistant. She photographs the impression dies and other products for posting on the website, and helps to post the items on the website. She also draws and creates many of the pattern plate designs, and she assists Annie with creating directions for tools. Lynette has a master's degree in metalsmithing and has been a jewelery instructor for many years.
Meryl Leal is Danielle's assistant, learning the bookkeeping and human resources aspects of the business. She also assists in customer service, shipping, and any other areas where help is needed.
Chris Schmidt is a Marketing Assistant and manages customer service. He draws all of our pancake and silhouette dies and cleans up images for the pattern plates. He also assists in running the laser to cut dies and the laser to create pattern plates. He answers the phone and emails to assist customers with any issues that arise.
Brianna Shepard is our Social Media Director. She used to work in the Tucson office in Marketing. When she got married, her husband got a new job in Tennessee and later in Washington, so she works remotely. She does Facebook Live videos every Monday through Friday and provides tips for marketing jewelry from how to photograph, and how to use Instagram and other social media to market jewelry. She began the Monthly Box project and assists in planning for it, and she runs the Social Media for Potter USA.
Amber Soland is a Marketing Assistant. She creates the listings for all items sold on the website, and makes the graphics for daily dies, sales, and any other items we need. She made the logo for the Cranston Fancy Wire Company.
Sonja Baker works part-time as a Shipping Assistant. She packages items for orders and prepares them for shipping. She has joined us to temporarily assist in shipping. Her real job is as a physical therapy assistant.
Adolfo Murillo Chavez is the Operations Manager. He is the person that talks to each person that purchases a hydraulic press to arrange freight shipment details and answers any questions about the process. He manages the inventory of items and orders supplies as needed, and runs errands to pick up local items used in our manufacturing. Danielle calls him "The Fixer," because he fixes any issues that arise.
Matthew Downs is a Shipping Assistant. He helps to process orders by printing out orders, picking the items for each order, and packs orders. He helps the shipping department run smoothly and accurately.
Terra Gasky is the Shipping Manager. She processes the daily orders, prepares the packages and shipping of orders and monthly boxes. She knows exactly what can ship, in which way, and advises others on the best way to package items to ensure they arrive whole (though USPS does find ways to work around our shipping).
Eli Roepke is the person that presses all of the impression dies. He is a machine when it comes to pressing dies and organizing what needs to be done and where the dies are kept for the daily pressings. He keeps the packing and shipping area stocked with dies, an oversees the entire area. Eli joined us in May 2018.
Oona Husok works part-time while attending college. She began assisting in packing and shipping, and then in production, and now exclusively helps to make copies of hubs and dies we use in production.
Tim Kundrat works part-time as a machinist. His expertise is extremely useful in developing new tools, as he can design them as well as produce them.
Ian Peterson is our Tool Assembler. He has been working for us since 2015. He graduated from high school in May 2017 and began working full-time. He assembles the hydraulic presses and has become the master at assembling the electric hydraulics for the presses. He also welds FSS dies, prepares all items for freight shipping and helps with heavy lifting around the shop.
Jeremia Petz is our Millwright. He disassembles, cleans, paints and re-assembles antique machinery. He also builds, machines or creates any parts that need to be replaced on the machines. He has helped save many antique machines and has tremendous skill in working with complex machines and making them work again, as well as look beautiful.
Vincent Potter, runs the Cranston Fancy Wire Company. He graduated high school May 2017 and is attending college, where he is majoring in art. Vincent is very interested in the history of jewelry manufacturing and does research about anything he comes across. He should write some of the history down so we can share it with customers.
Jacob White is our Production Assistant. He runs the CNC machines that are used to produce pucks for impression dies, and bracelet formers, saws, and other items. He helps out wherever possible, and
Jacob Zimmerman is Production Manager. He has a master's degree in metalsmithing, specializing in sculpture. He oversees items in production and processes items on the laser cutter, welds FSS dies, and is excellent at organizing and cleaning up areas in the shop. He has been essential to helping Kevin find new ways to store machinery and dies and hubs.