Recognizing and Realizing Potential
Posted on February 14 2019
An Interview with an up and coming creative talent.
Several months ago, Luci contacted me via Instagram, expressing interest in our project. The ElClay website, which is very well put together and easy to use, shows a lot of interesting and colorful jewelry. Luci's products are well made and professionally packaged. However, there is very little if any information about the founder. After a short phone call, it was obvious that Lucie is charismatic and driven. Although our biographies focus on established jewelry designers and goldsmiths, her spirit and positive energy were difficult to resist. Moreover, I wanted to capture youthful energy and the realization of potential as it happens.
Lucie's entry into jewelry is non-traditional both in terms of education and choice of materials. Made from PVC (polymer polyvinyl chloride), polymer clay is a modeling compound, hardened in a kiln. (It is interesting to note that there has been an emergence of non-traditional materials in the jewelry trade: wood, plastics, and even concrete!) Offered in a variety of colors and textures, the designer forms and sculpts the material, places it in the oven for 30 minutes, attaches the metal accompaniments, and finally, applies three layers of glaze. The results are jewelry that is colorful and interesting: a means of self-expression with infinite possibilities.
At age 17, she set aside dancing to focus on school. Generally carefree and easygoing, she had her eyes set on studying abroad. At 18, she applied and gained acceptance to VIA University College in Horsens near Aarhus, Denmark. That following summer, she went to Scotland to earn money for school, picking strawberries. "It was very hard work. If she had to do it again, she would think twice." Hardworking and driven, she also picked up a part-time job, cleaning houses and apartments, to make ends meet.
Majoring in Marketing, she wanted to learn about business in the startup and entrepreneurship context. When she was met with disappointment, a curriculum that prepared students for monotonous office life, she looked towards entrepreneurship.
Luci started ElClay on February 25, 2018. After trying several ideas, proposing them at startup events, she revisited her creative talents, related to ceramics. Using polymer clay, she made a collection of figurines and presented them at a campus to Sarah-Isabel Lykke Cobos from VIA Student Incubator, stunned by the craftsmanship and attention to detail, offered Luci a place in the startup incubator. In addition to an office and address, they offered her mentorship and coaching. They even featured Luci on the cover of their brochure. After attending several workshops and consulting with mentors, she started to turn her creations into jewelry.
Starting in the outdoor markets in Aarhus and Fredericia, Luci worked tirelessly from morning to evening, selling out her inventory every time. Asked what inspired her the most, Luci said that she saw someone wearing earrings that sold a few days before. She likes to see that her creations make people happy. Alex, her mentor, who had his own website selling personalized teas, helped her remake the website. He specifically coached her on SEO, design, and usability. Moreover, he offered professional advice on marketing herself. Luci recently took on an intern to assist her with the growing demand – the future is looking bright.
Luci does not derive her designs from a single experience or theme but rather from stimuli that she encounters in her environment on a daily basis – in real life or online on Pinterest. Her creations are spontaneous while taking on the personality of the customer. All you need to do is talk to her and she will make something stunning and memorable. When asked about mass production, Luci said that her jewelry will always be handmade. She is committed to the trade.
ElClay gives offers a vision of the future: how students, pursuing a traditional educational path can realize their creative talent in a pragmatic way. Today's universities, while offering traditional curriculums, now offer facilities for students to explore other avenues. Those who demonstrate talent can "incubate" their ideas inside the safety of the university, receiving mentorship and guidance that guides them towards success. When you feel like your stagnating or bored, ask yourself what you liked to do when you were seven years old.
You can learn more about ElClay at: