Designing balance and harmony through entrepreneurship

Meet The Artist Behind Clay & Sunshine

When elements of nature and an eye for design collide, they mold into inspiring mediums of artistry. Ashlyn Romero discovered just that by transforming blocks of clay into gifts of sunshine.

Ashlyn has made a name for herself as a young, female entrepreneur as the face behind her brand, Clay and Sunshine. Still in high school, Ashlyn has created her business by molding clay and turning it into gorgeous handmade pieces of jewelry. Each piece begins as a single block of clay that tells a different unique story.

We had the opportunity to photograph, laugh with, and learn about all things Ashlyn. 

LS: How did your passion with jewelry begin?

CS: I loved making animals out of polymer clay when I was a kid. At the beginning of last year I saw an Instagram ad for clay earrings. I looked more into them and decided that I should try and make my own pair. That first night I made 8 pairs and fell in love with it. And I have been building my business ever since.

LS: You are such an inspiration for young entrepreneurs. What has that journey been like?

CS: Starting this business has taught me so much about myself.  A challenging step was finding a brand that fit me. I wanted my business to reflect who I am, and I struggled with finding ways to portray that. Once I stopped making earrings that were more popular and started making earrings that pushed me to be creative, I started understanding myself more. 

LS: What has been the best part about being a young female entrepreneur?

CS: The best part of being a young female entrepreneur is the doors it has opened for me. I am so thankful for the support I have received from my family and the community. When I started my Etsy I was so nervous that no one would like my earrings. I would have never imagined that they would be featured in Fort Collins lifestyle magazine a year later. My favorite part of Clay and Sunshine is not knowing where it will lead me to. 

LS: What has been the most challenging part?

CS: The most challenging part has been finding a schedule that works for me. This year has been crazy and opening a business as a sophomore in high school has taught me major time management skills. 

LS: What was your inspiration behind your brand?

CS: My family and friends have inspired me so much in creating my brand.  I named my earrings after people and things that bring light into my life, and I wish for them to bring light into everyone that wears them.

LS: What inspires the designs? 

CS: When I first started making earrings I stuck with simple shapes like circles, triangles, and squares. I am now more inspired by organic shapes. I love creating  earrings that are unique. Almost all of the colors that I use are mixed by myself.

LS: Talk us through your process! 

CS: Before I make earrings I have to have a rough outline of what style I want to make. I start by mixing the colors that I need. I roll them out with my clay roller that is pretty much a glorified pasta machine. When the clay is the right thickness I use my cutters to make all of the shapes. Then I bake them in my oven. After the oven, I sand them to make all of the edges even (This is my least favorite part). After sanding I assemble them and they are done! 

LS: What’s your workspace vibe?

CS: Since I opened my business in quarantine when we were all stuck at home I started my business on my kitchen table, and I have been crafting here since. I love being surrounded by my family while I am creating. 

LS: What has your experience been like working with local boutique JB Elliot? 

CS: JB Elliot has supported me so much, I am so thankful for them. Keenan is the manager and she has taught me so much about owning a business. I have done pop-up shops in their boutique and they are my favorite! I love being able to meet my customers and spend time getting to know them in person.  

LS: What brings you your inspiration? 

CS: I get a lot of my inspiration from photography! I love nature and earthy colors and I want my earrings to be connected to those. Some of my favorite earrings I have made have come from colors in the ocean or plants! 

LS: Where do you imagine yourself and your brand in 5 years? 

CS: In five years I will be in my last year of college. My dream is to get a business degree and open up my own boutique. In the next five years I want to keep growing my business. Some ideas I have for the future are getting more into macrame, metalsmithing, and resin! 

LS: Where can we find your stunning jewelry? 

CS: I started out selling my earrings on Etsy. My earrings are now in stock at local boutique JB Elliot. I have also sold to a new online boutique based out of New York called On January 1st, I launched my very own website, I had so much fun branding and creating it!

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