Jacinta Njoki Kimani is the founder of Clay Koki, a startup making earrings out of polymer clay. Unlike modeling clay, polymer clay is a synthetic material made from polyvinyl chloride. It is water resistant, lighter than normal clay, hardens with heat and can be remolded many times until baked in a standard oven.
The business started during the pandemic as she was looking for a way to keep her two-year-old busy. Little did she know that a business would emerge.
Here is her story as told by WoK.
Conceiving the idea
Wanting to keep her daughter occupied, she looked for polymer clay since she saw many parents purchasing it. She wanted her to use it to model horses, pigs, and cars.
The entrepreneurial spirit kicked in and she started wondering if she could sell items made from polymer clay.
After conducting research on how to make cash from polymer clay, she bought it locally. However, as she made products she realized it was different from what she had seen online. Thus, she decided to order from Amazon and was impressed with how good it looked.
In a past interview, Jacinta explained that once she receives the clay, she conditions it to make it softer and easier to work with.
She then makes sculptures and patterns of the earrings. The clay is then baked by placing it inside a large oven-baking bag, secured with metal clips.
This is done to prevent odors in the oven and remove all fumes. The clay is then left to cool outside or in the bag in order to fully harden the earrings.
One of her proudest moments has been seeing people wear her jewelry.
Pricing the materials has been a very challenging thing as polymer is new to the Kenyan market. Ordering from Amazon has also been another great challenge in terms of price.
The earrings retail at between Ksh400 to Ksh1,000. The cost is determined by the size and time required to make each piece.
Apart from being accepted by many in Kenya, the brand has also been recognized internationally by a Malaysian clay cutter and beat roller called Cookies and Charms.
According to her, the polymer market is expanding and she wants to inspire others to make use of the clay.
“The polymer clay market is expanding, and I’d like to be an inspiration to young people about how they can use their free time productively and even make money from such creative activities. I see my daughter’s interest in it and can’t help but imagine seeing someone else’s daughter or son concentrating on such wonderful art. You never know until you try,” Jacinta Njoki said in a past interview.