Without romanticising the past year whatsoever, the pandemic has forced a lot of us to slow down, and explore different hobbies and creative endeavours that we might not have had time or inclination to ever explore before. And then, true to form, we might have found a hobby we really liked, and made it into a business! That’s what the wonderful Aiza did with By Coya: she started out making polymer clay earrings as a creative outlet in summer 2020, but the popularity of her super cute designs quickly meant she set up shop. To celebrate the launch of our new business shower templates, we reached out to Aiza to chat about setting up a product based business, and what kind of things it requires.
Who are you and what do you do?
I’m Aiza, a creative based in East London and I run By Coya, a handmade jewellery business from a corner of my living room. I make earrings you can almost eat! Specifically, I make food inspired statement earrings by hand using polymer clay.
Tell us about the start of your business journey.
I started making earrings during the summer of 2020. I needed a creative outlet and had come across a polymer clay earring tutorial. Once I touched the medium, I was hooked. I couldn’t stop making earrings! I gave away things I made, and after a while, my friends had too many. Since I have experience running creative businesses, and am surrounded by amazing maker friends, I decided to start By Coya.
What do you wish you’d known when you started out?
When I started out, I really wished I knew how to manage my time better. I would start making, and the next time I looked up, it was 3am! I’m a bit better now, and being able to manage my time means I can accurately cost and price things accurately, while paying myself a decent working wage.
What’s the one (physical) thing you wish you’d had when you started out?
I wish, and still wish for a nice jewellery/working bench. I have a small, slightly wobbly round table in the corner of my living room and it’s not ideal.
What’s the one thing you wish you’d asked for help with?
The help that I would’ve asked for when starting out was to understand how to take photos of earrings in my ear. I’m still not great at it but I’ll keep practising!
Who are the people that helped you most in the early days?
Definitely my friends who also run small businesses. They’ve been my biggest fans, and encouraged me every step of the way.
Who did you tell about your business when it started?
Mostly my friends in the small creative business world. My family but they don’t really get it, so I talk to my friends about it mostly.
What’s your next business milestone coming up and how will you be celebrating?
My first business birthday is coming up! I’m not 100% sure how I’m going to celebrate yet, but I will definitely have fun earrings and probably CAKE.
If you fancy bagging a pair of good-enough-to-eat earrings from Aiza, you can get them at By Coya – make sure you follow her on instagram @by.coya too. And if you’re looking for a way to celebrate your new business, product-based or otherwise, you acn see our new business shower templates here (but follow Aiza’s lead: cake is a must!)