Small Business Spotlight: Hamer & Clay

It seems like everyone who saw my Christmas gifts to Brandy and Beka went gaga, wanting to know where I got such cute custom ornaments. The answer: Hamer & Clay.

They aren’t just ornaments, they’re art. Completely custom pieces handcrafted to order – with whatever exact details you want – means that these are lifelong keepsakes. Don’t want to reserve them for just Christmas time? Don’t worry, Kelsey will soon be offering magnets too! Your horse could live on your refrigerator year round (I know they’d rather live IN it, but ON it is cool too). She can also do just about any other animal, including dogs and cats. With prices starting at only $16, you might as well order one to represent every animal in your life.

Since H&C had to close 2014 orders early due to high demand, right now Kelsey is running a 15% off coupon on Hamer & Clay’s Etsy page for all orders over $20.  The code is SORRY2014, and is redeemable until March 1, 2015. She is also in the midst of rolling out a brand new website at http://hamerandclay.com so keep an eye on that! If you want to look through tons and tons of pictures of her work, follow Hamer & Clay on facebook. Kelsey runs periodic giveaways through her facebook page as well! If you want to order some as Christmas presents, the sooner the better – she books up earlier and earlier every year. And it’s no wonder, with such beautiful and affordable pieces. Her detail work is just incredible.

Kelsey was kind enough to take time out of her busy schedule to answer some questions about herself and Hamer & Clay!

1)When did you start this business?
November 15, 2011.

2) How many employees are there in your company?
So far it’s just me. Since everything is hand sculpted, it would be hard
to hire employees. I could outsource shipping and my website, but so far
this very much a part time side project endeavour. Sometimes I’ll enlist
the help of my other half to mix a colour for me while I work on something
else. I just give him the clay colours, and tell him to mix. He’s great at
that.

3) Where did the idea for the business come from?
When I was a young adult and teenager, I’d make things out of polymer clay
to sell at the local farmers market during the summer. It started out as
wizards, and gnomes and stuff, and I would sell them for a few dollars
each. I made them for fun for the most part. It wasn’t really about the
money. Somehow those little figurines morphed into one sided horses with
riders when I was about fourteen. My aunt commissioned me to create the
year end awards for the local saddle club and that is where these one side
ornaments really started. I took a long hiatus from polymer clay as I
entered my late teens to early twenties.One November day in 2011, I got the unmistakable urge to play with clay again, and thought; hmm I should revisit those old trophies I used to do. That was it, the ball got rolling and it’s been rolling slowly and steadily from then on.

4) What is your background in horses and art?
I have been creating stuff ever since I can remember, clay and
3-D things has always been my favourite, I’d always go over the
top with dioramas, and things like that in school. My mother
wouldn’t buy my twin brother and I colouring books, so we had to
draw our own, and use our own imaginations. We drew all of the
time, and I think her ideology really helped cultivate our
creativity. Drawing and creating things always came naturally to
me, so I pursued those interests’ right up to the university
level, obtaining a Bachelors Degree from Emily Carr University.
I majored in “Visual Arts”, technically but it was a mix between
painting and ceramics. I’m all over the place with my interests;
it was easy to bounce around from one subject to the other in
art school, to flip flop between craft and art, and craft as
art. I wasn’t exactly encouraged to make ”horse art” in school,
and I had to be creative about how I chose to use the horse as a
subject matter. Horses have always been my go to, they are
comforting, doodling and drawing horses kept me focused in
lectures and history classes.

I was one of those kids lucky enough to have a horse as early
as I can remember. I had fantastic Aunts who would take me out
riding when my mother couldn’t, and I was exposed to a lot of
horses, and a lot of trails as a youngster. It wasn’t until I
was older and finished university that I was able to afford
and prioritize lessons, and to start to dabble in competitive
riding. I am very much an adult amateur, but thoroughly enjoy
both dressage and jumping, and make it my hobby and passion to
play at low level eventing and local shows. In addition to my
full time job, and the ornament company I also work as a barn
hand. Things can get pretty hectic for me in the early winter
months when all three jobs really pick up.

5) Any interesting notes about yourself, your business or your products that you would like for people to know?
Remarkably, I had to close the shop early this year, and ended up turning
away a lot of potential customers and orders. The 15% off sale is a way of
saying both sorry and thank you at the same time. The code is SORRY2014
and is active in our etsy shop.There are a few new products in the works for 2015, including fridge magnets and a special edition limited run of 10-20 for the 2015 holiday season.

As a nod to my love of drawing and creating as a kid, I’ll also be
offering one free ornament a month for children who submit their dream
horse in the way of a drawing to the Facebook page. The winners will be
drawn at random, and I will recreate their drawing into a 3-D ornament. I
remember what it was like to fantasize as a little kid, and to draw my
dream horse over and over again. I also remember thinking it would be
amazing for this horse to come to life. Hopefully these ornaments inspire
that just a little.
There will also be a small price increase in 2015 for all ornaments, after
the sale. I have found that some ornaments are just taking longer and
longer to make with the more details I add. I am a junkie for the
challenge, and small details. I love I absolutely love the challenge, but
I also need to be realistic about what I am charging and how many hours I
spend on an ornament.

So order early, order many, enjoy your discount and pack your tree with all your favorite faces next Christmas! Thanks Kelsey for being so easy to work with… I ordered 7 ornaments and was beyond picky and specific about really tiny details. Not only was she very accommodating, she completely nailed it with every single one. Each one arrived beautifully packaged and they were such a joy to give to friends.

Time for me to order some of my own horses!

21 thoughts on “Small Business Spotlight: Hamer & Clay

  1. After seeing how good the ones you ordered turned out, I’ve made it a mission to get Simon and the 3 dogs done before Christmas next year. She does a fabulous job!

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  2. i gaze lovingly at my ornament every morning when i make my coffee. i love it so, so much! definitely getting the kittehs immortalized, and maybe another one or two of auto! also, we should get one done to commemorate the derps’s bromance.

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  3. I LOVE these ornaments!! They’re really beautiful, and the details she includes on each one makes them totally unique. I’m going to order a few for my barn mates this year 🙂

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  4. Ooh i will have to take advantage of the offer & get ornaments made of my girls for my first Christmas tree. So that hopefully every year they can be the first decorations!
    I also want to nab some as belated christmas presents for friends 😆

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  5. I LOVE mine! It’s the best thing ever and the details are amazing! Now, I really want a jumping on and one of the girls. 🙂 Thanks so much, Amanda and Kelsey!

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  6. I purchased one for my trainer this year (you can see it here if you like: http://www.talesofanewbiehorsebackrider.com/2014/11/product-review-hamer-clay-custom-horse.html) and she was over the moon over it. Kelsey is hugely talented and I can’t recommend her enough. One thing that I found surprising about the ornaments is that they are pliable — if it was to drop on the ground it would not break. I guess that is polymer clay for you and I should have known that, but I was expecting it to be harder. I was really happy to know that the ornaments will no break if they fall from the tree, etc.

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