We had the good fortune of connecting with Crystal Nuckels and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Crystal, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
I played with clay a little during the pandemic in 2020, but had a full time job and a baby so the majority of my time went elsewhere. In 2021, my husband was offered an amazing opportunity with his company which brought us to Houston and gave me the chance to stay home with our daughter. After a few months of being a stay at home mom, I began to wonder what else I could do while still being able to spend time with her. I have always had more than one job and constantly doing many odd jobs since I was 15, so staying home with a toddler, playing at the park and finding a new routine started to get ‘easier’ as we ventured into this new city and state. Fast forward a few more months, and I decided to bring my clay out of storage and make some earrings for family and friends for Christmas which everyone loved to my surprise. I started to really enjoy the creative side, as well as trial and error, which also helped keep me busy while still managing to spend time with my now toddler. I had a few people reach out to see if I could make some earrings for them and they would pay me for them, which I gave plenty of disclaimers that I was still learning, but I was happy to make some. Later that week, I had a nail appointment at my friend Quynh’s shop. She asked what I had planned for the day to which I let her know I was going to make some earrings. After she saw what I had made, she offered to put a stand in her business at M Nails & Spa off Gosling in the Woodlands. So, long story short, after much encouragement from my family and closest friends, I decided I was going to go for it and spend my free time starting my handmade polymer clay jewelry business.

Let’s talk shop? Tell us more about your career, what can you share with our community?
Having a background in the dental field, orthodontics in particular, I was used to working with my hands on small items daily. When I began to work with clay and use a Dremel for smoothing the earrings, it felt so normal since that is a small fraction of what I did in my previous career.

The polymer clay world seemed to be very congested which was a huge obstacle I needed to overcome for myself when wanting to begin my business. Although, the more I researched and played with clay, the more I realized that some clays and products are just not that great. Lots of time and resources were used that didn’t work out which is a huge bummer when you have a free 30 min here and there while having a toddler nearby with a curious mind and quick little hands. That became a huge let down, that I eventually began to love. I started to love the trial and error because when an earring would come out the way I wanted, I was on Cloud 9… and that small triumph would push me to want more and explore more. My brand is like many others, but the creativity is different. I aim to produce earrings you love to wear all day whether it be a night out or day to day, to show off and be of great quality. My products are hypoallergenic, unique and lightweight for those exact reasons. I put a lot of love into my earrings and you can most definitely see that. I do it for my family, for my children but most of all for me, to show that once you become a mom, things don’t have to stop for you, it’s never too late to start.

Let’s say your best friend was visiting the area and you wanted to show them the best time ever. Where would you take them? Give us a little itinerary – say it was a week long trip, where would you eat, drink, visit, hang out, etc.
Oh my goodness, this is such a fun and active place to live, are kids coming or not? JK! I am big on ‘areas’ and days so I would totally do an area each day! I would start local, I would take them to one of my favorite coffee shops, HeBrews Coffeehouse in Magnolia, and share a coffee flight, those are the best. We would head over to The Woodlands for a mani/pedi at M Nails & Spa off Gosling. I would then take them to The Woodlands for lunch to visit Market Street. We would have lunch at Tommy Bahama then the littles run around in the green space, it’s always good weather there then walk our lunch off at the Waterway. Another day, I would venture to Tomball and shop all of the local businesses in Old Tomball and eat at the cutest restaurants there, one of my favorites is Cisco’s Salsa Company. We would also visit one of the many parks in the area, a couple of our favorites is Rob Fleming and May Valley. Once we are ready to tackle the big city, we will head to Ninfa’s on Navigation for some yummy TexMex food and catch an Astros baseball game or go to the Zoo! A few other amazing lunch spots are Tacos Doña Nena’s, Cuchara, the Pit Room, J-Bar-M BBQ. Those are only a few of the places I love to go but my goodness there are so many! I would definitely end my evenings at Roma | An Italian Eatery, Conroe Lake House, the Butler House, or anywhere with a patio.

Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
My family and friends have been such a huge encouragement from the beginning, mainly my husband, mom, sister and my friend Valerie. They pushed me to overcome my fear, to want to do more and jump out there even in a totally new place. Another person who deserves so much credit is my friend Quynh, who owns M Nails & Spa in The Woodlands. She gave me the opportunity to showcase and place a stand with my earrings at her shop, for whom I will forever be grateful for. She had absolute faith in me and my art. As for support, add all of them to the mix plus my stay at home mom group who have been incredibly supportive. Social media is key in this time and age and when they share on their pages, that is the biggest support I can receive, word of mouth is huge!

Website: Petraclayco.com

Instagram: PetraClayCo

Facebook: PetraClayCo

Image Credits
Photos 1-3,5,6 Elle Belle Photography with Simone Staine Photos #8 Simple Vintage Photography with Laura Pulliam

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