In arguably the hardest time in the world to start a business, some individuals are making incredible strides by promoting their products on social media.
This is the case for Autumn Fuller, a recent alumnus of The University of Alabama and English and theatre teacher at Tuscaloosa County High School, who began crafting polymer clay earrings to sell at the beginning of this year.
Her shop, Clayfully Unique, began on a whim during the COVID-19 pandemic as a way to pass the time.
“I needed an outlet that was creative but also safe to do at home. I saw a video of someone doing this on TikTok, and I was like, ‘That looks really fun,’” Fuller said.
Every pair is molded, flattened and cut by Fuller and baked for thirty minutes in her oven. Fuller then adds either a matte or shiny glaze to the earrings, depending on what the customer wants, and attaches accent pieces or the required backs. Once dried for a few minutes, the product is ready to go.
“I play a lot with it. The cool thing about clay is that you can make your own colors,” she said. “Sometimes I’ll just sit there and mix a bunch of clay until I like a color when it comes out.”
Clayfully Unique sells a variety of shapes, styles and colors, including but not limited to cow print hearts, polka-dot ovals and black and gold glitter stars. The earrings range from $10 to $15, depending on what type and size is purchased.
“All of the money I make I just put right back into buying more stuff,” Fuller said. “Like, I’m obsessed.”
Since the end of January, Fuller has maintained a steady flow of social media posts on Clayfully Unique’s Facebook and Instagram accounts in order to promote her mid-pandemic start-up.
On March 11, she began posting on TikTok. Fuller credits her expertise with advertising to her previous jobs, the Tuscaloosa favorites Avenue Pub and Druid City Brewery.
“It honestly grew overnight. [Social media has helped] hugely; I’ve definitely had practice with promoting and stuff, but I really did not expect for it to be what it is,” Fuller said.
Fuller has her Tuscaloosa County business license already but notes that her application to Northport City is taking longer to be approved likely because so many small businesses are popping up.
“Everyone has so much more time now,” Fuller said. “Right now there are so many people trying and doing this [that] the clay sells out super fast.”
A customer of Clayfully Unique and UA senior majoring in Elementary Education, Lacey Stephens, admires Fuller’s tenacity in her jewelry start-up.
“I love [the earrings] because they are super cute, lightweight, and affordable. Autumn is awesome to work with and can make any idea come to life at a quick turnaround time,” Stephens said.
Another happy customer, Sydney DeCarlo, lives in Laguna Beach, CA, and Fuller was able to ship earrings to her.
“I absolutely adore my Clayfully Unique earrings. Every time I wear them out I get so many compliments,” DeCarlo said. “They are so fun and unique. Definitely worth it. Can’t wait to add more to my collection.”
New things are in the works for Clayfully Unique; customers can now shop on the business’s Instagram and Facebook through the website Square. They can also make contactless payments through Venmo.
Fuller hopes that after the pandemic, Clayfully Unique will continue to prosper and branch out to further areas in Tuscaloosa. Druid City Brewery has offered to host a Clayfully Unique pop-up shop at their business sometime soon.
Fuller hopes to attend the local art festivals, Druid City Arts Festival in May and Kentuck Art Festival in October.
“I would love to eventually have the outreach to where I could sell to boutiques and things. I don’t know if I’ll ever have my own storefront. But I’m not saying I would never, it just depends on how it goes,” Fuller said.