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Life & Work with Jackie Ely

Today we’d like to introduce you to Jackie Ely. 

Hi Jackie, so excited to have you with us today. What can you tell us about your story?
I started Clay Collective Co on a really hot Saturday in July of 2019. I have always been a really creative and artsy person! I had been doing little business ventures here and there for years, but when I stumbled upon polymer clay earrings, it just stuck. At this time in my life, I was walking through a season of anxiety and depression and unfortunately, not much was helping. Except using my creativity. The fact that I could sit down for hours and just let my hands work without those anxious thoughts was so relieving. I started feeling better because I had found an outlet to be free from anxiety! 

After researching and a few hours of practice, I made a batch of earrings! I posted them on my personal Facebook page and got a huge response, honestly, I was so surprised! A couple weeks later I created an Instagram and officially launched my first collection. 

In November of 2020, I was able to quit my full-time job to pursue CC&Co! 

Can you talk to us a bit about the challenges and lessons you’ve learned along the way? Looking back would you say it’s been easy or smooth in retrospect?
Being a business owner, I feel, always comes with some sort of challenge(s). A struggle that I face is fast fashion and low prices – my earrings are very much slow-made and slow-made comes with a higher price point because I am the sole hands creating each individual earring. 

Though, my biggest challenge is being a stay-at-home working mom. Trying to find the balance of working while being the best mom, I can be is extremely difficult. I feel beyond guilty working while she’s awake. I do what I can to complete as much work during her nap time and at bedtime, as I can, however, sometimes I have to get stuff done outside of those times. Mom’s guilt is real, and it’s hard. 

If you’re a stay-at-home working mama like me – you are doing a good job, your babies love you so much and you are such an inspiration to them… don’t ever forget that! 

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I am almost three years into my business and I feel I just found my niche – florals! This has made my brand extremely recognizable. I am very proud of my floral slabs; they truly bring me so much joy. But they are a true labor of love! Each slab takes me anywhere from four to eight hours, depending on the size. This does not include baking, sanding, or assembling. These floral slabs are so fun to create because they are extremely unique and there are so many different ways, I can make them. I really enjoying customizing the color palettes, in fact, I spend a lot of time mixing colors for them as I love a lot of muted tones! 

What matters most to you? Why?
What matters most to me? My family. They are my absolute world. I wouldn’t be who I am today without them. My husband, daughter, and parents have been my biggest motivators. My husband is always encouraging me to say “yes” to opportunities so that my business can grow. My parents are also some of my biggest supporters, they come to almost every single one of my local markets and I cannot thank them enough for that. Thank you, mom, dad, Justin, and Juliet for being here since the beginning. Your support means the absolute world to me and I would not be where I am today without you, I love you so much! 

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