Hey colourful people!
So, I’ve been pondering for a while over the idea of writing a blog. The Clay Drop Blog has a ring to it, right?! So here we are. So nice of you to be here! This blog will probably be disorganised. It may be sporadic. I've never written a blog before, but let's give this a go!!
Before I get too stuck into this whole blogging thing, I thought I’d introduce myself! I'm Jess, I'm 25 and I'm responsible for all things The Clay Drop. I asked on my Instagram for any questions you may have about me, so now is the time to “meet the maker”!
Q: What did you do before creating earrings?
I made coffees and teas and waited tables! I’d worked in hospitality for around 6 years before starting The Clay Drop and on the side I actually had a passionate interest in curating and selling vintage clothes! Orange Tree Vintage was my first “business venture”. I started out by handpicking vintage clothes from preloved kilo sales and charity shops, sprucing them up and sending them off to new homes through my depop and Asos Marketplace shops. Although it never became a full time commitment, I learnt so much about running a small business from my experiences selling vintage pieces online, and it definitely instilled in me a burning desire to work for myself full time one day!
Q: How and why did you start making clay earrings?
I’ve always loved quirky, statement earrings that tell a story, so in December 2019 I bought my first pack of polymer clay and a few basic tools (including a completely naff pasta machine that I found on Facebook marketplace for £3) and I made my first ever clay earrings in my kitchen. They were lumpy, bumpy, wonky and ugly, but I fell in love with the process and from then on I was captivated!! I wore my creations to work at my waitressing job and it was when I started getting compliments from guests that my confidence grew. So did my love of staying up late into the night, experimenting and making new earrings to wear the next day. I’d never imagined during those early days that I would one day sell my creations to hundreds all over the world and it would soon become my full time job!
Q: How did your business become full time?
The story of how my business became full time is a bittersweet one (need I even discuss the absolute chaos of 2020?!) In short: from March 2020 I was on furlough from my job in a restaurant and the country went into lockdown, so I suddenly had all the time in the world for making earrings. I really have The Clay Drop to thank for keeping me sane during those times! The very first earrings that I sold via Instagram were my NHS rainbows, which raised £1000 for NHS Charities Together. From then, my brand’s presence on Instagram began to grow and in May I launched my website. My first drop brought in steady sales, but it was the launch of the Cosmic Cowgirl Collection that really got the ball rolling. Fast forward to the end of June and unfortunately I’d been made redundant from my job in hospitality thanks to the Rona, but I took that as an opportunity to take my business full time. I registered as a sole trader and never looked back! I’m so grateful that things worked out so serendipitously for me despite the nightmare that is 2020!
Q: Do you have any other creative hobbies/interests?
I loooove sewing! I made my very first dress at the age of about 13 and since then I’ve made skirts, trousers, playsuits and jackets. My most ambitious sewing project (and the one I had the most tantrums over!!) was a coat with appliqué details all over. I actually put my experience in sewing to use during lockdown by making scrubs to send to the hospitals as they were in short supply.
Q: Did you do an art/design degree?
No!! I can finally say without shame that no, I didn’t go to Uni. For so long after I finished A Levels I felt so sure that I was the ONLY person that didn’t go off to Uni to pursue something clever and impressive. I compared my achievements against everybody else, stressing that I didn’t know what I wanted to do with my life. I chose instead to go travelling, and while I had the absolute best times in those years (I've so far visited 37 countries in my lifetime!!) and had experiences I’ll never forget, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I was falling behind. I wish I could tell my younger self to stop worrying, that there will be opportunities and paths to success where you would never imagine! There are chances to pursue hobbies and interests and potential careers that you don’t even know exist yet. I would tell myself that one day soon you’ll be working harder than you ever imagined on a venture that you built from scratch with your own imagination, creativity, ingenuity, passion and perseverance. I have no formal training in art, design or business, yet I’m running a successful business, I’m my own boss and I’m creating art every day. If anybody reading this doesn’t believe that they’re capable, you will one day find what your passion is, and if you work HARD at what you love, you’ll prove yourself wrong.
I think we’ll leave it there for today! Thank you for reading if you made it this far. You’re a real one!! One of the absolute best things about this journey has been the connections I’ve made online with both customers and other small business owners. I just LOVE the small business community on Instagram so much, and the support from customers is truly unreal. I’m so, so eternally thankful and happy to have you all on board!!