When inspiration strikes, the women behind A Hard Clays Night immediately sketch out their next earrings design, even if it means getting out of bed after a design dream.
Fraternal twins Emma Kate and Reilly Shaw and their close friend Emily McMullen started the small jewelry business together earlier this year.
Pinterest, a passion for all three women, served as the catalyst for their creative minds to start experimenting with clay earrings. Their Pinterest feed regularly showed clay hearings, but the women found hefty price tags to go along with them, Emma Kate Shaw, senior in biological sciences, said.
“This started because online we would see earrings that we liked,” Reilly Shaw, senior in media production, said. “We were like, ‘We can make that.’ We would all three get together and make a bunch of earrings and post them on Instagram.”
Their craft was originally just for themselves and friends, but in September, they made an Instagram page to share designs and maybe sell some. The account gained followers, and the business found a small clientele within the Auburn community.
Emma Kate and Reilly Shaw said the creative process begins with a design sketch or playing freely with the clay, which is a polymer oven-baked clay. Most designs are made on their dining room table. Backs and rings are bought separately, and they use a special adhesive to properly combine all the parts to their jewelry.
The three Auburn locals have different and funky designs, Emma Kate Shaw said.
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“I think the kind of earrings I like to make reflects the kind of art that we like,” Reilly Shaw said. “It’s very, kind of, modern, funky, abstract art.”
Emma Kate Shaw said Pinterest keeps the women supplied with funky inspiration for the next design.
“Sometimes I’ll start with one idea, and it kind of morphs into something else,” Emma Kate Shaw said.
They try to make it a rule that they all have to be together to clay, Reilly Shaw said.
McMullen, junior on biomedical sciences, serves as a great business and design partner to the twins, Reilly Shaw said. Each woman has a different fashion sense, but McMullen is more contemporary modern than the twins.
Surprising to them, orange-and-blue pairs are not as popular as they thought they would be, so they make more pairs for artsy, fashionable customers.
Friends and customers are welcome to send in designs, as well, for the women to make. One style, named the Hannah, was created by a friend of the same name, and they said they have sold four or five of them, which is great for them.
“We are really lucky to be surrounded by friends that are all really artistic and local,” Emma Kate Shaw said.
They mostly do custom orders, which gives people the ability to customize colors of earrings to suit their personal style, and they hope people know that option is always available.
Emma Kate Shaw appreciates color, and Reilly Shaw likes to see a creative chaos within their designs. However, they love the strategically linear and straight designs that McMullen creates, as well the classic, clean colors she chooses.
“[McMullen] is amazing and so into detail,” Reilly Shaw said. “She is so strategic in her earrings.”
The Instagram handle came from their love of The Beatles, and Emma Kate Shaw looked through songs from the band to see if anything would stick. A Hard Clays Night stuck as the business name.
Recently, trunk shows at Ampersand Wine Bar have become a way for A Hard Clays Night to sell in bulk. Also, Manitou, a boutique in Birmingham, ordered pairs to sell in-store.
Next of their endeavors will be to acquire a business license, Emma Kate Shaw said. They have until particular business sales amount before they are required to get one. However, they are excited to see where that takes the business in the near future.
“I think if we could get more stores to sell our stuff, that would be really cool,” Reilly Shaw said.
They have looked into going to more art shows in the future, but they are still focusing on their Instagram account now and staying creative for the customers who love what they are doing.
Earrings are their forte, and they do not see themselves branching too far into other clay jewelry, mostly because they do not know if it would be as good of quality as they would want.
“I’m so into earrings right now,” Emma Kate Shaw said. “Once I started to making them, I started buying more, and now I have this vast collection.”
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