Instilling confidence through clay jewellery
Local clay jewellery business Wiktoria Rey inspires customers to be confident and bold
A Hamilton-based clay earring Etsy shop, Wiktoria Rey aims to demonstrate how fun fashion can be by inspiring their clients not to be afraid to express themselves boldly and confidently.
Paulina Kalisz, the owner of Wiktoria Rey, grew up in Hamilton and graduated from McMaster University with a sociology degree. Since graduating, she has balanced working as a massage therapist, running her small business and taking care of her infant.
Kalisz first heard about clay earrings in 2019 from an Australian YouTuber, Flying the Nest. She won a pair of earrings from the YouTuber’s friend, While Hugo Sleeps. She instantly fell in love with then and continued to purchase from her over the next few months.
“While [COVID-19] was happening, [While Hugo Sleeps’] shipping cost drastically went up and I thought, “Hey, these don’t look too hard to make”. I was out of work for three months and decided to try my hand at clay earrings. I absolutely loved playing around and creating different looks,” said Kalisz in an email statement to the Silhouette.
Kalisz launched Wiktoria Rey on Etsy in the spring of 2020. Her business' name was inspired by her two favourite style icons, singer-songwriter Lana Del Rey and her great grandmother.
Since opening, Kalisz’ business has grown and her products are now offered at six retail locations in Ontario in addition to Etsy. She has even created exclusive products to be offered in store versus online.
Kalisz’ clay earrings are inspired by Australian jewellery styles, which tends to be colourful, vibrant, bold and abstract. This is the opposite of the North American market, which tends to be more neutral, minimalistic and simple. All her earrings are handmade in her spare bedroom and she makes her own clay cutters using a 3D printer, meaning her pieces are all unique.
To design each piece, she starts with a colour palette or inspiration in mind. Then she mixes the colours and rolls out the clay using a pasta machine. Afterwards a slab, similar to a colourful pizza, is made and she uses her clay cutters to cut out the pieces before they go into the oven to harden.
“My brand is for those who love to add colour to their wardrobe. Someone who isn’t afraid to show off their personality on their ears,” said Kalisz in an email statement.
Earlier this year, Kalisz did a series of three collections with Canadian actress and comic Ann Pornel called the Electric Floral. This collection features big, bold statement earrings in unique shapes and sizes, inspired by floral designs.
Kalisz hopes that her clients will not be afraid to express themselves boldly by wearing her vibrant, unique clay earrings. She believes that accessories should instill us with confidence.
“Fashion is meant to be expressive, and I want my wearers to be able to express themselves with my jewelry, feel confident and not be afraid to stand out. My motto is: Be bold. Be REY-diant. Be you,” said Kalisz in an email statement.
Overall, Kalisz hopes to continue growing her business to make her earrings full-time. In the future, she would like to showcase her jewellery at a fashion show soon and do more collaborative projects like Electric Floral.