LU Sophomore’s Quarantine Idea Turns Into a Thriving On-Campus Business

Motivated by her mother’s creativity sending out sunshine-themed care packages, Mikayla Grubbs, a Liberty sophomore, decided to use her time in quarantine in a crafty way, propelling her to start a licensed business.

“My mama is really the inspiration behind this business,” Grubbs said. “I just started messing around with clay, made a few earrings, and thought to myself, ‘Wow, I could really make something out of this.’”

And Grubbs did just that. She now sells her handmade “Clay Treasure” earrings through on-campus pop-ups, her website and Instagram.

“I have a lot of friends who have supported me and helped me figure out the logistics of this business,” Grubbs said. “I now have an LLC, which makes ‘Clay Treasures’ a licensed business in the state of Virginia.”

Daily activities this summer rarely extended beyond the walls of her home because of quarantine. To combat boredom, Grubbs began dedicating her time to the tedious work that goes into making clay earrings.

“I buy the clay and then use a pasta machine to roll the clay out flat to get it nice and even,” Grubbs said. “I then use shape cutters to mold the clay into a specific shape, depending on the earring I’m making.”

Grubbs then pierces small holes into the soft clay shapes where she attaches either a jump ring or the top of the earring. To complete the process, she bakes the pierced shapes and adheres the backings to each piece before a final bake time.

“To finish up, I complete whatever pieces need to be assembled and ship each pair to their new home,” Grubbs said.

Grubbs took something she was passionate about and worked tirelessly to get her idea off the ground.

All of Grubbs’ pieces are hand made.

“At first, it was definitely a difficult challenge to get my earrings to sell,” Grubbs said. “I truly have awesome friends and family who were really instrumental in transforming my ideas into a business.”

In an effort to market her business, Grubbs reached out to popular Instagram influencers and offered to send them a free pair of earrings in return for a free promotion.

Since coming back to Liberty, her business has reached new heights as the community surrounds Clay Treasures with its support.

“It’s been really fun being here at Liberty and selling my earrings,” Grubbs said. “I have met a handful of people who also have their own businesses, so I’ve been able to really bond with people that understand all the hard work that is poured into what we do.”

Running Clay Treasures has opened the door for Grubbs to gain business experience while surrounded by the support system that exists at Liberty.

She is also learning a great deal about life in the process.

“The most positive thing that has come from this is just how much running this business has showed me who the Lord is,” Grubbs said. “As I create and put in so much time, love and attention into every single piece, I’m reminded of how the Lord also tends to us.”

For now, Grubbs anticipates whatever God directs her to next.

“I never in a million years would’ve imagined running my own business or doing something like this,” Grubbs said. “I really just love what I’m doing now and if it continues to grow then so be it.”

Find Grubbs’ creations on Instagram @clay_treasures.

Jessica Green is a Feature Reporter. Follow her on Twitter at @jessigreen0.

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