During this year’s quarantine, many people took up new hobbies to pass the time. For Kelsey Dedels, this looked like starting her own jewelry business: Dedels Designs.
“So, during quarantine, I needed something to do with my hands because I had so much anxiety and just needed to do something creative,” Dedels says. She got inspiration from someone she went to college with, who used to make jewelry but stopped.
“Originally it was just going to be for my mom and my sister and me and not for anyone else,” Dedels says. However, her quarantine hobby quickly transformed into her own jewelry business.
Dedels Designs currently sells different types of earrings, including seasonal designs, on the brand’s website. She also says she hopes the business will branch out to making other types of jewelry in the future.
“They’re made out of polymer clay which is a very light weight clay, so each earring weighs less than an ounce,” Dedels explains.
To make the earrings, the clay used has to be conditioned to make sure there are no bubbles in it before it bakes.
“If there are bubbles in it, it’ll show through on the clay for the final product.” To prepare the clay, Dedels uses a pasta machine and runs it through multiple times, making sure the clay is at the right temperature. After this process is complete, she cuts out the different earring designs before baking the clay.
To help her create these designs, Dedels uses the app Procreate to sketch them out and show what they will look like.
“I get inspiration from weird things, like I love Glossier, and the sunscreen bottle that they have is this really pretty yellow and a really pretty cream and so I made stuff based off of that one time,” Dedels says. “I also made some Calaveras for Día de los Muertos. So, yeah, some seasonal things as well.”
“[Business] has been good so far, which is crazy because we’re in the middle of a pandemic,” says Dedels.
Despite the pandemic, Dedels has been successful in attracting a lot of customers. Her unique clay designs and prices, which range from $4 to $20, work in her favor to sell her earrings.
Another unique part about her earrings are how she chooses the names of each design.
“[Most] of the names of [the] shapes are influential women in my life,” Dedels explained in a post on her Instagram.
As Dedels’ collection of designs has expanded, she has also named designs after famous women in history like Oprah and Ruth Bader Ginsberg.
Like anything, Dedels’ business has its challenges. For her, time management seems to be the biggest struggle so far.
“It’s been really great because that’s how I decompress after a day at school, but also I work full time so I can’t devote all the time I would like to to the business,” Dedels says. She spends most days both teaching at Pisgah and creating earrings at home.
Dedels has gone to social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok to expand her audience.
She has been able to sell her earrings across the country in 37 different states. She is well on her way to her goal of shipping to all 50 states.
More than that, she has also taken her business outside of the United States having shipped earrings to Guam.
She currently has over 900 followers on her Instagram page, but she says that she “[doesn’t] know how successful [the account] has been so far.”
“I would love if I could make this a big thing, that would be great,” Dedels says. “Just another source of income for me and my fiancé.”
Hopeful for the future of her business and happy in its current successes, Dedels currently plans to continue making earrings and pleasing customers across the United States.