Bailey McManus was presented the right opportunity at the right time when she decided to use her passion for design to start her own earrings business. Through the encouragement of her parents, willingness to learn, and desire to help others feel beautiful, she discovered a deeper potential within herself and increased faith in God.
LOCAL 219: First question: was it hobbies, your childhood or circumstances that led you to this role?
BAILEY MCMANUS: I think I always wanted to have something of my own. My siblings are all very creative, and I’ve had different things that I was interested in. I always loved designing things, being creative and trying new things. I love earrings and when I cut my hair short, I really loved them.
L219: That way you can dress up your short haircut?
BM: Yeah! That’s when I started buying clay earrings from a girl in Texas. She inspired me to give it a try. I think a lot of it had to do with my circumstances. I was kind of in a position where I could learn something new and make it into a business. I’ve always liked pursuing new things.
L219: I can relate to that. Sounds like there was this combination of you naturally being creative, wanting to do your own thing and at an opportunistic time. Was it difficult learning how to make them? I imagine clay is very different from beads.
BM: So different. I remember, I bought this clay off amazon, this polymer clay. I thought, “Oh, this is going to be easy,” but all my earrings snapped in half; they were breaking and ripping. I didn’t know what was happening, and it took from June or July to December to really figure it out. Even since December of 2020, when I launched, I’ve grown so much since then.
You have to condition the clay, then you cut all your shapes, and bake them for so long, sand them all and drill your holes. Then developing new ways to make them higher quality is something I enjoy doing.
L219: What gets you out of bed in the morning? What gets you excited for the day?
BM: Probably knowing that I can interact with people and that every person that I interact with throughout the day is a new experience. I feel like it’s knowing I’ll see people pick out their earrings and see their different styles, or when I can work with brides making their bridesmaids earrings. It’s so fun to see the relationship people build with each other.
I think that clothing and stuff can make you feel beautiful, but earrings are like the finishing touch. I would say that knowing people feel beautiful from what I’m making and having a relationship with them also.
L219: You truly are contributing to their confidence. An outfit really can give off a completely different look with or without jewelry. I also love what you said about the potential of new experiences with each person you meet. In my mind there’s nothing better than getting to know someone’s story and learn how their experiences shaped them. Who has been one of the greatest influences in your life?
BM: My greatest influence, I’d say, probably my parents. I feel like even with building my business, they were so encouraging showing up to all my markets and helping me set up my tent. There were a lot of days where it was very frustrating and discouraging. Growing up my mom was always my biggest cheerleader. Even if it was just earrings, she was very encouraging.
L219: I think as a parent you know your kids are taking a risk when they embark
on a new goal, especially a business, and even though they may fail, it’s so important to support them through the process. Something I recognized the other day, while at the farmer’s market, is how difficult it must be to have people walk past your booth or not take interest in a product you’ve invested so much heart and energy into. I feel like I would take that as such a personal rejection.
BM: It was definitely hard because I like to please everyone and I want everyone to be happy, but I just realized that’s not why I do it. I don’t do it just so people buy them; I do it so that it touches the right people. Whoever comes into my booth they’re going to be impacted whether it’s through our conversation or a pair of earrings. It was definitely hard at first. A hundred percent.
L219: You kind of have to build that tough skin a little bit. What has been one of the greatest lessons you’ve learned along the way?
BM: It sounds cliché but to not give up when it’s really hard. I feel like there were a lot of times it was really hard. Whether it was going to a market and not selling a single pair of earrings, or something failing, or baking a whole tray of earrings and them all breaking. It instilled a lot of perseverance in me like I’ve not had before. Even just having that as my full-time job last year, it really gave me confidence that this is what the Lord has for me, and I just need to be confident that this is what He told me to do; even if it’s just for a season.
I would say that was probably the biggest lesson I learned: to stick with what you said you were going to do and not give up when it’s hard, because it’s in those hard moments that it makes the great moments, and the successful moments, so much better.
L219: What do you enjoy most about what you do?
The people. I feel like, it always comes back to the people. The relationships that I’ve built through this and the people that have prayed for me and prayed for my business. I absolutely know that that’s what means the most to me in my business.