Business Name: Topo Clay Boutique Website: www.topoclayboutique.etsy.com Established: 2020 Questions answered by: Sonya Mann
Can you please fully explain your business or product line?
Topo Clay Boutique is all about slow-made, handcrafted clay earrings. Every piece of jewelry is made from start to finish by me. An overview of the process includes conditioning the clay, mixing colours, cutting out shapes, painting designs, baking the clay, sanding and finishing the clay, drilling holes, attaching components, and sometimes glazing with either a matte or glossy topcoat. All pieces are made in small batches, to ensure that every piece gets a whole lot of love!
With the Winnipeg local maker community continuing to grow, what is the most important thing you’d like potential customers of your company to know?
The mission behind Topo Clay Boutique is to offer handmade pieces that will not only last a lifetime but are affordable and durable enough for everyday wear. When you support Topo Clay Boutique, you are supporting a small maker who is all about quality, not quantity. These pieces are a way for the wearer to feel empowered and beautiful, all while knowing they are supporting a women-owned BIPOC business.
What inspired you to start your business?
I was inspired to begin Topo Clay Boutique when I was stuck down in the United States during law school when the 1st COVID wave was ongoing. I was often alone in my apartment for days on end and needed something to do. At first, I made earrings only for myself and for fun, but as my collection slowly got out of hand and my skills improved, I decided to start selling the pieces I was making.
What was the biggest struggle you’ve had to overcome?
The biggest struggle I have had to overcome is getting my name out there. There is a lot of competition in the jewelry business and I have found it difficult to get my business out there when there are hundreds of people doing the same thing in Winnipeg. However, I will take this opportunity to say I am SO thankful for the clients I do have, and even those that just share my social media pages; it seriously means everything to a small biz owner. Word of mouth is essential!
What has been your biggest success as a maker?
This might sound a little sappy, but my biggest success is my inner happiness and peace that Topo Clay Boutique has brought me. It brings me so much joy that people want to wear my artwork. It really does make my heart sing.
We’re so grateful every day at how busy we’ve been and can’t thank Winnipeggers enough for all of their support.
Do you have any advice that you would pass on to someone hoping to start up their own business or product line?
My advice would be not to give up. There is so much self-doubt involved when starting a small business, and there will be many ups and downs, but you need to use that downtime to reinvest back into your business.
Take the downtime to look at your SEO, look at your pictures, maybe do some social media polling with your audience to see what you should do next. Do not let the downtime get to you, but instead, turn it into a positive opportunity to figure out what your next move should be. Consistency is key and just keep going!
Please share any upcoming events as well as the best place(s) for people to purchase your product!
You can find Topo Clay Earrings at StyleBar on River, as well as at Mainly Manitoba in Brandon. Topo Clay Boutique will also be at the June and July St. Adolphe Markets – see you there!