the story of sun + sage
Jan 09, 2021
as much as i would like to tell you that owning a clay earring company was my life long dream, i would be lying.
i was a typical girl with big dreams. as a kid, i wanted to be a ballerina/chef (great combo right?) but that took a big left turn when i quit dance after only a few years and pursued sports instead. after living in washington, dc for a few years, i decided that i really wanted to become a social worker because i enjoyed helping others. what better way to help others than helping children find families? my big heart was inadequate for the job since i knew i would be taking home all of the stress from work. so i had to set that job aside.
that's when marketing kind of plopped itself into my lap. i lowkey had sworn off any sort of self-employed/marketing job since my dad had done it my whole life and it seemed WAY too stressful for me. however, after my brief time at a car wash, i found myself doing marketing for a catering company which then helped me find a new job for a women's networking business, which then led me to doing marketing for a social media company. at the time, i saw them as jobs that paid. not necessarily as stepping stones to my future career. while pursuing a degree in communications, all i wanted to do was travel to some big city and do PR for a massive firm. personal relations, however, is mostly marketing but in a creative way. what better fit for me, right?
well, covid hit. school went online. worked started to slow down with all our clients started to drop us. i had hit an economic low, all while i was planning my wedding.
great timing covid.
in all reality, covid was perfect timing for me. one afternoon when my boyfriend (now husband) was taking a nap, i got on pinterest and started seeing all of these cute clay earrings pop up on my feed. i kept clicking on the links to see how much they were. $35, $25, $55... MY MIND WAS BLOWN. being a self-proclaimed diy-er, i looked up how to make them. immediately, i flashed back to my mom making silly pins out of the same clay. my mother is an elementary school teacher and each year for mother's day she has her students make clay heart pins for their mothers. every now and again, when she had extra, she let us play with it and make other shapes for her to wear as pins. i had had my fair share of time playing with polymer clay.
seeing how EXPENSIVE these clay earrings just did me in. i pride myself on finding good deals so I set out to make these earrings myself. and i did. with the help of my husband’s deodorant cap, tabasco lid, and whatever else i could find in his apartment, the first clay earrings were made. i had no intention of selling them whatsoever, it was just me being a tightwad. before long, my roommates started wearing them out and getting asked by other girls where they could purchase some. before I knew it, sun + sage was created.
i'll admit, it was fun at first to put my knowledge of marketing into a business of my own. it's was so much easier to learn what worked and what didn't when it was my own business because i could see the bigger picture. this little side gig was turning out to be fun for me. it allowed me to be creative and push myself in ways that college and work never did.
as time and covid continued, sun + sage started to take off. life became overwhelming with full-time school, full-time work, and a brand new marriage. it was a lot to juggle. i remember sitting at the kitchen counter bawling to my husband because i was so stressed out trying to balance everything. i had the biggest market of my career in 3 weeks and there was no way i would have enough earrings made by that time. so my husband, being the great guy that he is, sat me down and helped me make a pro's and con's list of my current job. i had one pro. that's it. finally realizing how unhappy i was, i decided to quit my job.
now sun + sage is my full-time job.
it's my little covid-produced baby and i would be utterly unhappy without it. what's crazy is that now as i look back, i can see how so many things in my life prepared me to find this passion and pursue it.
all through high school, i did art. i mainly focused on ceramics but i dabbled in a few others. i loved having my hands in the mud and creating something beautiful. working on the wheel was my stress reliever, safe place, and creative outlet. i continued on with ceramics in college and even got a scholarship to do it. i really wanted to pursue art, but personally i didn't see the how i could make it work for a future career. the creative part of my brain was quickly taken over by the business side. so i switched majors. little did i know how influential my degree would be. because of my understanding of marketing and communications, my business has done much better than i expected. and as much as i would like to take all the credit, it's because of amazing customers like you. when i talk to my husband i refer to all of you as my "friends" so i'm going to call you that here as well.
my friends have grown this business without me even asking. within the first 24 hours of creating sun + sage, i had 20+ friends post my account to their stories and gained over 100 followers in the first day. that may seem like no biggie to y'all but for what i thought as a dinky little side gig, it was amazing to me! before i knew it i was getting asked to do giveaways, be part of collaborations, and attend markets. it was becoming something much bigger than i could have ever dreamed and i have you to thank for that.
i hope that if you have one take away from any of this, it's this- passions have a way of finding you. so if you think that your passion is silly or stupid STOP RIGHT THERE. you don't know where your passion could lead. it may be your future career or a stepping stone to something even better. i've had many friends start-up small businesses after me and ask me for advice. i've given the same advice to each of them
just go for it.
you have nothing to lose only to gain. even if the small business ends up not working out, think of the things you've learned, the friends you've made, and the fun you had. there's nothing like pursuing a passion. my hope is that you will find yours and just go for it.