Meet the Maker: Hana Brewster of Quiet Clementine

Hana Brewster of Quiet Clementine

For several years, Lucky Break hosted a “Meet the Maker” series featuring inspiring makers and product designers we though you should know. We were honored to host dozens of artisans, from Kristen Pumphrey of PF Candle Co to Meg Sutton of Belle & Union. Each one graciously offered inside peeks of their entrepreneurial journeys, while sharing some of their favorite resources, and dishing advice for what they wish they’d known when launching their own brands.  After an extended hiatus, we’re excited to reignite the “Meet the Maker” series, and we hope it helps you stay engaged, empowered, and inspired.

 

We’re kicking things off with Hana Brewster of Quiet Clementine. Hana creates whimsical and playful pieces from ceramics that include sculpted jewelry pieces and statement dishes. Thanks so much for joining us, Hana… we’re thrilled to share your story!

 

Hana Brewster of Quiet Clementine

 

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LBC: What inspired you to take the leap as an entrepreneur?

Hana: Prior to Quiet Clementine, I had two polymer clay focused businesses, one for jewelry and one for decor. I wanted to be a part of the handmade world, making something, and being able to work from home. I started with jewelry, because I had made some ceramic necklaces for my bridesmaids and enjoyed the process. Living in a small apartment with no space to make messes or to put a kiln made the choice to work with polymer fairly obvious.

Also, when I was in 6th grade, I went through a macrame jewelry making phase where I stayed in from recess to craft and try to sell necklaces to my teachers, so jewelry just felt like a natural fit to me. A few years into those businesses, my dad (who is a retired art teacher and amazing potter) encouraged me to make some ceramic pieces. I resisted for a while because I didn’t feel I had the skill to work in ceramics, but when I finally gave in, I was hooked.

Once I saw the first finished pieces, I think I knew I was done with polymer clay. I started making more pieces and posting them to Instagram. Then I started figuring out a plan for transitioning my business and how I was going to buy my own kiln. My business officially became Quiet Clementine in the spring of 2015 and I haven’t looked back since.

 

MEET THE QUIET CLEMENTINE COLLECTION

LBC: How would you describe what you create?

Hana: I create playful ceramics for color enthusiasts. I make small items, such as ring dishes, earring holders, mini planters, statement earrings, and necklaces. Each piece is inspired by vibrant color palettes and playful patterns and is handcrafted to bring fun and happiness to everyday life.

 

LBC: Where can we find your products?

Hana: You can find my products on my website, my Etsy shop, and at some amazing shops around the country, as well a couple international, which you can see on my stockist page.

 

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LBC: When you first got started, how did you envision your business would be defined?

Hana: Even though I had a couple of shops prior to Quiet Clementine, I still didn’t know that much about business, so I’m not sure if I really thought about how it would be defined. I just enjoyed making colorful, happy things out of a material that had so many possibilities and, as things went along, I started to understand my aesthetic more and more and what kinds of products I enjoyed making.

 

THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A TYPICAL WORKDAY

LBC: Walk us through a typical workday.

Hana: I don’t have a typical workday. I’m not a morning person, so I usually sleep in and then check emails and Instagram on my phone, which I know is a bad way to start the day!  After that, I start the kiln if it’s a firing day and I might do some computer work or answer/send emails if I need to or do a little product work.

After lunch, I go back to whatever the task is for the day. Each day is so different, depending on what products I’m currently working on and which phase of the process they’re in, but there are 3 different phases my pieces go through to become a final product. Some days I’m in the making phase, where I work in wet clay, creating the forms of the products. After that, I move on to the glazing phase, where I hand paint 3 coats of multiple glaze colors on each piece. For some products, that would be the final step, but I also apply liquid 22k gold to most of my pieces, so some days I’m applying gold and firing the kiln for the 3rd time.

For jewelry, there is yet another phase, so some days I assemble earrings. In between each phase are firing days, where I fire the kiln and then wait for it to cool. On those days (or whenever I need to), I might photograph or list new products, do computer work, start making more products, finish up a wholesale order, or just take a day to rest. My husband is my unofficial shipping assistant, so any orders that need to be packed up will happen after he gets home. I spend time with my husband in the evening and end the day by watching TV or reading a book.

 

BEFORE YOU START YOUR BUSINESS

LBC: What are 3 things entrepreneurs should think through when they initially decide to start a business?

Hana:

Make sure no one else is making your specific product already and if they are, figure out how you can make it unique and different from what’s already out there. Obviously, there are already a ton of people making jewelry or greeting cards, but you can determine what sets you apart from the rest. Having an idea of the feeling and aesthetic you want for your products will be helpful in understanding what makes you different.

Figure out pricing at the start and if you’d like to eventually do wholesale. You won’t want to have to dramatically increase your prices when you start wholesale. Of course, your costs and process will probably change from when you start versus a year out. You’ll find more cost-effective suppliers and your process will become more efficient, but having an understanding of pricing, in the beginning, will be beneficial.

Be aware of all the other roles that come with owning a small business. You won’t just be making the products you’re passionate about everyday. You’ll be the photographer, packager, shipper, admin, and many other things. Make sure you’ll be able to perform all of those tasks, at least in the beginning until you can, or want, to outsource those roles.

 

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LBC CLIENTS CELEBRATE A PROFITABLE + PRODUCTIVE 2018

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My clients made *big* money moves in 2018 and I’m so stinkin’ proud of their courage, tenacity, and smarts!  I’ve noticed that many of us are “head down” and eyeball-deep in the hustle, and we rarely surface to celebrate the wins. Celebrate client wins is one of my most favorite things to do, and as one of my final blogs of 2018, I wanted to pop a cork and celebrate the tremendous strides we’ve made both individually and collectively.

 

Celebrating Big Client Wins of 2018

 

I could be here all day tooting the horns of the Lucky Break community, but I’ve pulled together a handful of my favorite client wins from the year to share. I hope you find them as inspiring as I do!

 

Christy Rose of KBShimmer in  Terre Haute, IN also rocked a major rebrand this year, seriously up-leveling her collection of nail polishes. In the process, she expanded her team to include 3 full-time staff (in addition to Christy and her husband, who both work at KBShimmer). Even better? She hit her dream sales mark as of October 30, secured three international wholesale stockists to expand the brand reach, and grew her FB fan group by a respectable 28%.  Woooohooo!

How have we worked with Christy? LBU Graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, Brick House Branding graduate, my GMP class, Wholesale Matchmaker member, VIP Line Sheet Design.

 

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Kara Brook of Waxing Kara in Owing Mills, MD enjoyed a phenomenal year in the press. Among the highlights: She scored an 8-page (!) spread in the autumn issue of Danny Seo’s magazine, Naturally Danny Seo. Her artisan honey was also in the NYTimes, resulting in hundreds of orders and scads of new fans.  And her Haute Cocoa gift set took top honors in the IBN Artisan Awards for the “Bath + Body” product category, too.

How have we worked with Kara? LBU Graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, VIP Line Sheet Design, both my GMP + Spa Market classes, and private strategy sessions.

 

Sara Runser of LILY DE MAI in NY launched her brand and enjoyed a delicious round of press, including NY Magazine, Shape, Coastal Living, US Weekly and Style Caster.

How have we worked with Sara? LBU graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, member of Wholesale Matchmaker, VIP Line Sheet Design, and private strategy sessions.

 

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Michelle Smith of MamaSuds in recently underwent a major rebrand and all of that hard work has reaped some rich rewards this year.  Sales are up 40% versus 2017 figures.  She took home an accolade from the IBN Artisan Awards, too, in the form of top honors for the “Lifestyle + Home” category for her Laundry Soap.

How have we worked with Michelle? LBU Graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, Brick House Branding graduate, Wholesale Matchmaker member, and private strategy sessions.

 

Renan Kennedy of Sans Skincare has doubled her revenue in 2018, in addition to being honored several times throughout the year. She was named one of SCORE’s American Small Business Championship winners of 2018. As part of that competition, Renan was flown to Reno, NV for a celebration and intensive business workshops with industry professionals. She also pitched and was accepted by Home Shopping Network to participate in their intensive business incubator program. That meant another trip to Tampa, FL to attend an amazing week of business workshops put on by HSN.

How have we worked with Renan? LBU Graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, my GMP class + spa market classes, Wholesale Matchmaker member, and private strategy sessions.

 

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Angie Chua of bobo design studio in San Jose, CA  won the Indie Source competition at the MAGIC tradeshow in Las Vegas after a live pitch event. That accolade was accompanied by a $5,000 prize to help bring a new product to fruition. Angie’s also been recognized by local community officials, who awarded her a pop-up shop in downtown San Jose for six solid months! And that storefront is paying big dividends… Angie recently enjoyed the biggest sales day in the history of her company on Small Business Saturday this year.

How have we worked with Angie? Brick House Branding graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, and private strategy sessions.

 

Stacia Guzzo of SmartyPits in Tehachapi, CA had a banner year all the way round! She raised over $18,000 for City of Hope’s breast cancer research program through the sales of her priobiotic deodorant collection , and the SmartyPits team participated in their annual Walk for Hope. The brand expanded its retail reach from 150 to 900+ (1) stores while adding four teammates and a forklift to their lineup.

How have we worked with Stacia? LBU graduate, Brick House Branding graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, my GMP class, line sheet design, and private strategy sessions.

 

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Sarah Villafranco of Osmia Organics in Carbondale, CO launched a new initiative on Earth Day in 2018, vowing to plant one tree for every order they receive. In just over six months, she and her team have planted 12,609 trees! She hosted one hell of a Cyber Monday sale, planting 1,584 trees on that day alone. She also launched her limited edition “Craft Series” products as a way to indulge her creative side and play with some deliciously exotic ingredients. Each of those runs of products has sold out, sometimes in as little as a few hours. The icing on the cake? Sarah’s gorgeous soaps made the NYTimes Gift Guide!

How have we worked with Sarah? My GMP class and private strategy sessions.

 

Tamiko Blake of Sweet & True Sugaring in Walnut Creek, CA has seen a huge surge in revenue in 2018.  In fact, it’s up 250% (!!!) versus 2017 and she’s on the verge of launching an exciting new facial collection under a separate brand umbrella.

How have we worked with Tammy? LBU graduate, Brick House Branding gradate, Member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, both my GMP + spa market classes, and private strategy sessions.

 

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Zandra Cunningham of Zandra Beauty in Buffalo, NY had a banner year in terms of both exposure and support. She graced the pages of magazines and the airwaves of major television networks, from The Today Show to Entrepreneur Magazine. She pitched Shark Tank and the executives at Sephora offered to support the line, too. Zandra graduated high school in 2018 and bought her first car in cash. Huzzah!

How have we worked with Zandra? LBU graduate, Brick House Branding graduate, Member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, my GMP class, and private strategy sessions.

 

Aubrey Miller of REDBUDSUDS in Canton, OH landed an interesting deal with NuCamp, makers of teardrop trailers. She’s been supplying them her multipurpose soap bars for several years now, as NuCamp gifts a bar to each new trailer owner. But in keeping with Audrey’s mission to live simply and get outside, NuCamp offered her a custom trailer for a year and sponsored a nationwide pop-up tour for REDBUDSUDS. Pretty amazing, eh? And just wait until you see the custom trailer!  She was also accepted into the Skip Yowell Future Leadership Academy, a business training put on by the Outdoor Industry Association. It’s a 6-month training program in manufacturing, sustainability, and environmental advocacy as well as personal growth and development and Aubrey is honored to be one of only 35 people selected to participate.

How have we worked with Aubrey? LBU graduate, Brick House Branding graduate, Member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, and private strategy sessions.

 

Holly Marshmueller of Marshmeuller in Astoria, OR hit the trifecta of launches: relaunching her brand, launching a new website theme for her retail site, and revamping her wholesale website (including some Google-Fu level coding)! She was also accepted into Crafty Wonderland for the fifth consecutive year and the popular “Scary Mommy” blog opened an official shop which carries Holly’s line.

How have we worked with Holly? LBU graduate, member of the Alumni Coaching Community, Price-O-Matic software, member of Wholesale Matchmaker.

 

BRINGING HOME THE ACCOLADES

Several members of the Lucky Break community scooped some handsome awards, including…

  • Becky Bluh of Bluh Alchemy netted a record-breaking FOUR nominations in the Indie Beauty Expo Awards. She’s a BHB graduated who’s launching her rebrand in January of 2019, alongside the announcement that she’s landed her dream stockist, though we can’t spill the beans just yet!
  • Ebru Karuzoglu of AveSeena was also nominated in the Indie Beauty Expo Awards.
  • Molly Beane and her From Molly with Love brand received a nomination in the Indie Beauty Expo Awards.
  • Stacia Guzzo of SmartyPits garnered a nod, too, via the Indie Beauty Expo Awards.
  • Heather Lux of True North captured an honorable mention title in the IBN Awards.
  • Lisa Kennally of Wild Air Skincare received an honorable mention in the IBN Awards as well.

 

NATIONAL DISTRIBUTION DEALS

I was particularly excited to see several members of our community land national distribution deals. Especially robust high-five goes out to…

  • Gwen Jimmere of Naturalicious launched into select Sally Beauty Supply stores. The collection has performed so well that she recently announced the expansion into 640 stores nationwide!
  • Iyanla Vanzant of MasterPeace Body Therapy landed a multi-appearance deal with HSN.
  • Pamela Jenkins of Koils by Nature shimmied onto the shelves of Target.

 

Sharing that news with you makes me grin from ear-to-ear! I salute the hard work of each you and I’m privileged to have a front row seat to much of this growth. Did you enjoy a special win in 2018? I hope you’ll leave a comment below to shout it out.  I’d love to celebrate with you!