As many of you know, I am a huge jewelry gal. I discovered shopmandamade through my friend Lydia of Little Luminescence and I am so happy that I did. Her jewelry is so fun and cute, and amazing gift ideas for anyone on your list. I got the chance to talk to Manda about her jewelry and how her shop got started, and I am so happy to share her answers with you.
how did you get started making jewelry?
Looking back, its pretty ironic that i started a jewelry line. i never wore a ton of big, loud jewelry – really nothing like my pieces now. and honestly i still really don’t. for me i saw making earrings as a way to try out different art styles in small batches. i was always pretty artsy and i found it overwhelming to narrow down a “style”. i wanted to try all the things i could. so when i saw clay earrings starting to get popular i realized that could be a great way to appeal to all the styles that i love. and that’s exactly what i did. one random weekday in march of 2020 i went to hobby lobby without a clue of what i needed and just picked out colored clay and things i thought i could make work. i cut some shapes, popped them into the oven easy bake style, and without even knowing it i had just changed my life forever.
how did manda made come to fruition?
manda made was born the instant i pulled those very questionable looking earrings from the oven. i still remember every single piece i made. some of those janky little earrings went on to be some of my first ever best sellers. they were without a doubt crusty little disasters the first time around, but they were mine, and i was so excited to share them on social media the next day. i didn’t expect anything of it, but when i posted my creations i got a ton of positive feedback and even people wanting to order! i knew in my heart this is absolutely what i wanted to do with my life – be a full time artist in any way that it meant for me. i had tried, and failed, in the past to start an etsy for my paintings. it did good, but i eventually just gave up. it just didn’t feel right. i was 28, a college dropout, a full time nanny, and holy sh*t did i feel lost in the world. i dreamed of doing something special and important with my life and i felt like i would never have it. but when those dms were coming in with orders i didn’t even give myself time to doubt. i just kept going forward. i made manda made an instagram, sold through my dms, and worked 12 hour days daily between my job and my new exciting side hustle. eventually manda made got its own website and i was working every hour i wasn’t at work or sleeping, on manda made. it was an absolute dream come true.
what is your jewelry made out of?
manda made jewelry is handmade with polymer clay. we use stainless steel hypoallergenic backings, nickel free iron pieces, brass charms, beads, paints, as well as other materials.
are your earrings heavy?
not in the slightest. each pair weighs under an ounce total
tell us about your upcoming drop, the halloween drop:
this drop is, and will always be, extremely special to me. last year’s halloween drop and the iconic “it’s frickin’ bats” design is what pushed manda made into becoming my full time job after only a very short six months of owning a small business. so coming up on that one year mark and revisiting those old designs fills my heart in a way i can’t even explain. the holiday collections are always some of my favorites to create. i love digging into niche’s – for example, my collection this year features two references to vine, one of my all time favorite apps. as well as making cosmo and wanda themed ghost cowboys. like that sentence in itself just shows you how wide open the creativity can be in the clay world. i love getting to throw some humor and originality into my pieces. this year i was able to make a spooky twist on one of my staple earrings, the stoney stud. its essentially a stud shaped like the rolling stones tongue, but for halloween they will have vampire teeth! such a fun way to rework such an iconic piece from my collection.
what is faire wholesale?
faire wholesale is a site that allows buyers and makers to meet in the middle! while i always accept wholesale inquiries through dms and email it is just another avenue to see products and buy for your store.
will you be expanding your collection through the holiday season?
oh absolutely! y’all might not even be ready for all the holiday fun that’s coming this year! it’s been such a hard, weird time and i’m excited to be able to deliver some handmade holiday cheer.
what is one piece of advice you would give to someone who wants to open their own online small business?
your journey with your business is yours and yours alone. do not compare where you are to where someone else has worked years or months or weeks to get to. what other people are doing does not matter! the best way to succeed is by working hard and staying true to yourself. covid caused a huge rise up in small businesses which is amazing, but before you start your business ask yourself what your why is. is this really the journey for you? are you passionate about what you’re creating? are you willing to give up sleep, social schedule, holidays, social media, and so much more? are you ready for your business to be the number one priority in your life? because once you get to where you want to be there is no turning it off. there are no office hours in a small business and it by no means a glamourous lifestyle to live. do not get me wrong i would never change it for anything. i knew this was what i wanted to be doing for longer than i can remember – making art and sharing it with the world. if you really want it, you will make it happen! but it does not happen overnight. and i know it seems like i woke up one day and just started a business and here i am a little over a year later living a life of rainbows and butterflies, but please know that when i took manda made full time i was NOT READY at all. i had no idea what i was doing and i was very afraid. but i kept going forward. the journey is the most beautiful part of this process and you will look back on all those first moments and cherish them forever. you will want those moments back when they’re gone. soak up every second of the feeling of going after what you love and even though you’re afraid just always keep moving forward. you are more than capable and you’re gonna be amazing.