Can you tell us a little about yourself?
My name is Janell, and I’m the founder of Clam & Clasp Jewelry! I am a Southern California native, and currently live in Orange County. I have a background in advertising and graduated from the University of San Diego with degrees in Business Marketing and Accounting. I worked as an Account Executive at Orange Label Advertising Agency for almost 3 years, up until last year, when I decided to focus on starting Clam & Clasp full time. I’ve always had a love of all things ocean, especially collecting seashells, and started Clam & Clasp as a way to raise awareness after learning about some of the horrible dangers currently facing our oceans and planet. I’ve also become passionate about experimenting with realistic and achievable eco-friendly lifestyle changes, and write about my experiences on the Clam & Clasp blog series “Getting to Green.”
What exactly is Clam and Clasp Jewelry?
At Clam and Clasp our mission is to speak for the sea and share its beautiful creations. We design jewelry that is handcrafted in California using sustainably gathered seashells. Each piece tells the story of an ocean conservation initiative and 20% of profits from each purchase are donated to an organization focused on ocean conservation. We hope that our jewelry will inspire wearers to safeguard the world’s oceans, and spread awareness of the threats facing them.
What inspired you to start Clam and Clasp Jewelry?
I’ve always been fascinated by the ocean. I remember going to the beach when I was a little girl and spending hours looking for shells while my sisters tried to convince me to come play with them. I even made my mom a pair of seashell earrings when I was ten years old, so I think my inspiration started at a very young age. As I grew older, I continued collecting seashells, and what started as a fun and exciting way to spend days at the beach, slowly became a stress reliever, a source of joy, and access to moments in which I feel totally at ease.
In July of 2017 I watched the film Chasing Coral, and was so moved by the message it relayed of the dangers facing our oceans. The moment I finished that film, I started researching ways I could get involved with ocean conservation. A couple months later, the idea that ten-year-old Janell had came back up. What better way to spread the word about ocean conservation than to create beautiful, wearable pieces that are literally a piece of the sea?
Clam and Clasp is my way of giving back to the ocean a small piece of what it has given me. I hope our jewelry will inspire you to speak for the sea, and share the struggles facing our ocean with others!
How did you come up with the name?
Coming up with a name was a much more difficult task than I anticipated! I had the idea for the company for nearly 2 months before deciding on a name. It finally came about during a fun brainstorm session with a friend of mine who is also a copywriter.
You give 20% of proceeds to ocean conservation; can you tell us about that?
One of the reasons I started this company was because I wanted to be doing something with my life that felt meaningful and made the world just a little better and brighter. It was important to me that the work I did benefited causes that I am passionate about. Right now, we have 3 amazing partner organizations: Ocean Alliance, San Diego Coastkeeper, and Plastic Pollution Coalition. You can learn more about these non-profit organizations and all the incredible work they’re doing here.
Is there a favorite product?
The Inspire Necklace is definitely our best seller, and probably my favorite product as well!
What is your favorite part about running Clam and Clasp Jewelry?
My favorite part about running Clam & Clasp is finding each person who places an order the perfect shell. Customers can leave a note at checkout with their color preferences, and I love picking out a shell I think they’ll love. I’ll often even send photos of shell options I have available to ensure the customer will be obsessed with their unique seashell, their own little piece of the sea.
What is your least favorite part about running Clam and Clasp Jewelry?
I do a majority of the work that goes into running Clam & Clasp by myself, from product development to advertising to accounting, and there are definitely times I wish I had someone to work with and bounce ideas off of. I’m hoping that I will be at the point where I can hire someone in the near future to help with this!
How do you spread the word about your company?
The most successful way I’ve found so far to spread awareness is through social media! I am very active on the Clam & Clasp Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest pages, and run ads on these platforms, as well as work with influencers to help spread my reach to larger audiences. I think word of mouth also plays an awesome role in spreading awareness. I’ve had so many customers tell me they received compliments on their pieces and have given my website information out, and I have done so myself, as I often get asked about my Clam & Clasp jewelry when I’m wearing it out and about.
Do you have any advice for fellow entrepreneurs?
You are more than your business. I think for small business owners it can be easy to equate personal growth and success with that of your business, and while that can be true in some ways, for me, I need to remember to have balance in my life. To celebrate personal wins like taking good care of my body or building strong relationships, and not equate my self-worth solely to sales numbers or growth stats.
Do you have a favorite quote or go to saying? ☺
“Success is liking yourself, liking what you do, and liking how you do it.” – Maya Angelou
I love what you are doing and the community you are creating, sharing the stories of awesome women and how they’re changing the world one step at a time!