Designing polymer clay jewelry is more than a pastime.
Lauren Sutton grew a creative hobby into a full-blown brand—Olive + Siena—all within the course of a year.
The Maple Grove resident first started her polymer clay jewelry making venture with some trepidation. “One of my coworkers had done it with some friends and thought that it would be something that I would enjoy,” she says. “At first, I was like, ‘Oh, that seems a little bit too involved for me.’” But, one day, Sutton found herself at an arts and crafts store, gathered up some supplies and decided to give it a try.
After viewing a YouTube tutorial that made the whole process look deceptively easy and making a few prototypes that Sutton laughs at in retrospect, she says she started to get the hang of it. “At first, I thought it was a lot of work, and it seemed really intimidating, but I really enjoyed it. It was fun to be creative, and it was fun to wear a different pair of earrings to work every day and show off what I was working on outside of work,” she says.
A series of misfortunes gave Sutton time to hone the methods of her craft. “Around the same time that I started getting into this, I injured my knee. After having knee surgery, I couldn’t do a lot of the typical things … like sports and exercise. This was just a fun way to spend my time,” she says. Then, COVID-19 struck, and Sutton—like a lot of us—found quite a bit of extra time on her hands.
Sutton opened her Etsy shop, Olive + Siena, and began selling her handmade polymer clay and metal earrings. Her business truly took off from there, with sales already topping 2,000 earrings in little over a year. “It definitely has been kind of busy,” Sutton says, adding that she enlists the help of her husband and mom, but, “It’s mostly just me,” she says, “And I do this on top of my full-time job.”
As a brand, Olive + Siena fits in well with the polymer clay jewelry craze, which is becoming increasingly popular with buyers, while still bringing Sutton’s design sense to the fore. The style involves organic geometric shapes, such as half-moons, arches, teardrops and disks, with each clay element connected by metal jump rings and embellished with metal accents, like hoops and disks. “I [wanted] to make things that I would wear … I went with a lot of neutrals because that’s typically what goes with everything for me,” Sutton says.
With spring around the corner, Sutton ensures that shoppers will discover spring colors making their debut on Olive + Siena’s Etsy shop.