Getting the hang of a start-up business

By Vivienne Duck

Kiralee and Sammara Pascoe talk about their venture into a home jewellery business using that most basic of artistic elements — clay. And they appear to have identified a niche market, quickly building a national client base through social media.

These sisters really are doing it for themselves.

Hand selecting, cutting, moulding, making their earrings — and it's all done on their dining room tables between meals.

But despite their sisterly bond, it was their shared love of food and nature which brought them into their newest venture.

Kiralee and Sammara Pascoe have always been creative and decided they would like to share their inspiration with other women and the earrings business was born — along with their brand Euc and Honey.

“We just decided one day that we should give it a go and make some earrings for ourselves,” Kiralee said.

“We never thought we would get as big as we have, it really just was for us and possibly our family and friends.”

But the online earring business has fast become more than just a hobby.

“There aren't many polyclay earrings around and we thought we would give the material a go,” Sammara said.

“We use mainly Australian suppliers, which is important to us, and hand make each earring so no two are identical, which I really love.

“There is something about the imperfections which really appeal to some women and it has really just taken off.”

The Echuca sisters started making some earrings back in July and have gone from sales to family and friends to local and interstate markets and across the country through online sales.

“We have sent earrings to Sydney, Melbourne and are in talks with a lady in Queensland to stock our earrings,” Kiralee said.

“We are really just going with the flow and seeing where it takes us but it is really enjoyable to be doing this with my sister.”

Kiralee and Sammara try and catch up once a week to make a batch of earrings.

But the time it takes to create, bake, make, set and sell one pair is far more than just a normal eight hour day.

“Because we are selling through our social media accounts; that takes up a fair bit of time, taking photos of each pair and typing out each post,” Kiralee said.

“And then when people are messaging you asking to purchase a pair there is the time it takes to chat to them, pack the earrings and send them.

“Time-consuming is the job description that comes to mind.”

But it is obvious both women get a big kick out of each creation as do the women who eventually wear them.

“Our motto at the beginning was perfectly imperfect and that really describes each pair of our earrings,” Sammara said.

“It is rewarding when you are walking down the street and you see someone wearing one of your earrings.

“It really isn't about the money for us, we try and make our earrings affordable and something women will really cherish and be proud they are wearing local hand-made jewellery.”

Making the clay earrings really is a process.

“First we pick out our clay, then our cutters and cut out the shapes,” Sammara said.

“Then we hand poke the holes in the clay which can be a bit fiddly to make sure they are as centred as we can get them.

“Then we bake the clay for 15 minutes in the oven.”

They then let the clay cool and set before adding the stainless steel hooks.

“In a normal eight-hour day we can normally get about 40 earrings done,” Kiralee said.

“But like anything we have good and bad days.

“Sometimes we end up laughing in tears and we aren't as productive.”

Not only are they selling their creations on social media they are out and about at any local market they can find.

“We love markets and thought instead of just going and having a look at what is there, we could be selling our earrings too,” Kiralee said.

“It has been so surprising to see how many other local businesses support us.

“Our town is pretty great at supporting local businesses and we have really felt that in the past six months or so.

“Sometimes people come up to us at the market and just give us a little compliment about how much work goes into our earrings, so it is nice to get that recognition and people seem to love them.”

Despite Sammara working full-time at Echuca Regional Health (not to mention planning a wedding) and Kiralee at home with her 14-month-old daughter Ochre, the two of them are now looking at expanding their business.

“We want to start making our own jewellery pouch for people to put their earrings in when they are travelling and whatnot,” Sammara said.

“Because they are made out of clay they can break if you just put them at the bottom of your bag and there isn't really a market out there for that.”

“We also have been delving into doing lava bead earrings which you can use with your essential oils, which is all the craze at the moment,” Kiralee said.

“We are even looking into doing an essential oil earring workshop with some local businesses, where each person makes and takes home their own earrings.”

The Pascoe sisters are just taking life as it comes and said they couldn't do any of it without the support of their families.

“Both our partners are incredible and help us out all the time, as well as our family,” Sammara said.

“It really is a family affair.”