Meet one of our youngest creative entrepreneurs, Callie Bennett. At just 13 years old, she created her own polymer clay jewelry business. From the earrings themselves to the packaging and branding- Callie does it all! You can find her earrings here in our retail space as well as Etsy. I took some time to sit down with her and hear a little more about her practice.
Tell me a little about yourself and how you got started.
When quarantine started in 2020, I was scrolling on Pinterest and found a 5-Minute crafts video on how to make your own earrings with clay. I thought it was so cool! I learned how to make them for months and wanted to make a business out of it. I asked my mom and she said, “When you turn 13, you can open your own shop, but not until then.” So for months, I learned how to make them until I was finally allowed to open it.
What made you take the leap
to start your own business?
I thought it would be really cool to be able to pay for my own stuff. You know how kids are - they always ask their parents for money to do things. Now that I’m old enough to go shopping and hang out with friends, I want to be able to make my own money to be able to do those kinds of things. Mainly, I thought it would be cool that I could make something and be able to share them with everyone.
How would you describe your personal design style?
I feel like it’s all over the place to be honest. I get inspired by the most random things. My personal design style is definitely colorful and needs to be something that stands out. I try to make it detailed but not too confusing - it has to be the right amount of details but not too boring!
What is your favorite part about the process of making jewelry?
I definitely love packaging orders. Sometimes I like making the actual earrings, but I have to be in the right mindset to sit down, focus and think about it. Everything gets jumbled up in my mind and I end up doing something else. But my favorite thing is packaging for sure. It’s like “I made this and someone actually bought it and now it’s actually going to someone!” I love seeing my finished products going to customers. It’s so cool to see something I made get shipped out to someone and seeing everything come together! At first it was mainly my mom’s friends and some aunts and then it grew into people I don’t know. The first order I ever got we were sitting down for dinner because it launched around 6 PM. I had been sitting there reloading the stats on my Etsy shop constantly to check my sales. My mom called me down for dinner and when I heard the notification from the table I was so excited! I think I did a little happy dance.
How do you balance school, work, and social life?
It’s honestly pretty easy for me. I don’t really do sports besides archery- that’s new for me! I’m not into extracurriculars at school and mainly just do church stuff. My business takes up the rest of the time.
What is the hardest part about being a teen entrepreneur?
The first time I felt like I was being treated like an adult was when I started selling to stores. I sold to a few stores in North Mississippi and they talked to me like an adult and bought my designs.
Because of that, I started acting more like an adult and gained a lot of confidence. My friends even make fun of me for the way that I text now because I use punctuation and capital letters! Communication with adults has definitely changed the way I think about my business and talk to other people.
What are some future goals you have for your business?
I found Arrow through Instagram and I thought it was so cool. I looked at the applications for months wondering if I would be able to sell here! I had been trying to sell to more stores, so I finally sent in an application. It can be intimidating being 13 and trying to sell to retail stores, so I was really excited to be accepted and start selling through Arrow!
Who inspires you?
When I first started, I looked at Shea Made, a polymer clay earring maker. I love her stuff because she makes rainbows out of clay all the time & is super trendy. I recently started following Victoria Essie Studios who makes acrylic earrings. They’re both great on Instagram have such unique designs!
What advice would you give to someone who is interested in starting their own business?
I say just go for it! If you don’t, you’ll never know if your business would have done well or not. If you sit and think about it all day, you’ll never actually start. The way I think of it is, if you have money to start out with to invest in your business, you go into it knowing that you might not sell. But someone somewhere will eventually like it!
At some point it will get sold or you will figure out what to do with it. You don’t always have to worry about selling something. I thought my daisy hoops would sit in my shop for weeks and they sold out instantly! It’s all about putting yourself out there.
To learn more, follow along on Instagram @cgb_crafts
Arrow Creative believes in fostering creative entrepreneurship and helping creatives invest in their business. We are the home to Rising Tide Society, a group of creative entrepreneurs coming together to build community over competition. We are also proud to work with LITE Memphis, a free 16-week entrepreneurial program that empowers students to launch ideas in the community. High school students meet weekly for 2 hours and are introduced to business concepts through solving community challenges. For more information on how to get involved, go to arrowcreative.org/aboutus