Cuteryko is an independent black owned business based in Belfast and ran by Graphic Design student Chloe Morris. Cuteryko got started in February 2020 making eye catching, unique earrings and have gained impressive traction online for the quirky and individual designs on offer. Chloe answered some questions about her creative process and getting started with a small business in 2020.
So Chloe, can you tell us a bit about how you got started making earrings?
I first had the idea to make earrings when I was a teenager, hand making clay food charms to wear when I went out with my friends. A couple of years ago, when I was clearing out my room, I came across my old Nintendo DS games that were gathering dust under my bed. From there the idea struck me that although I didn’t want to play them anymore, they would be really cool to wear. I still had some hooks lying around the house and decided to give it a go. I posted a small amount online and got a really good response. From there, I saw there was an opportunity and began searching my house, charity shops and the internet for anything that I could upcycle into earrings.
It wasn’t until the Coronavirus lock down, when I suddenly had free time, that I began to take Cuteryko seriously. Conveniently enough, at the same time my Sister bought a new camera and gave me her old one. This allowed me to finally focus on taking Cuteryko to the next level. I began to take great care with my photos, packaging and brand. From there, the response was amazing, I was able to create my own website, leave my job and I haven’t looked back since.
Your collections involve miniature versions of everyday items and cute little toys or nik naks turned into something wearable, what is it about an item that catches your eye and makes you think ‘oh, I can use that!’?
Simply put, I look for earrings that stand out! My customers enjoy quirky, nostalgic and cute earrings that allow them to express their originality.
” There’s nothing better than going out and wearing something that other people notice and compliment! It’s a great feeling and I am happy to be a part of it.”
I am always on the lookout for new designs. Whether I find them online or I create them out of clay, they have to be something that will stick out from the crowd.
How have you found starting and running such a busy independent business in the weird year of 2020?
Of course, 2020 has been such a hard time for everyone! As I said, the extra time at home is what first gave me the opportunity to turn a hobby into something more serious. I feel my business has grown quickly due to an increase in online shopping. This is a time where a lot of people are very anxious and hopefully, I have been able to help in a very small way by providing a small escape and some retail therapy.
Of course, delivery times for stock and orders can be held up, but luckily my customers have been incredibly patient and supportive. I couldn’t have got where I am without them!
What’s the process of making the earrings?
Firstly, I find or create the charm. In the case of my clay earrings, this involves experimenting with different patterns and colours before cutting into shapes and then cooking the clay. From there I add my earring hooks onto the charms. I then package the earrings in my special packaging. (I love packaging: choosing different colours, stickers, boxes and shredded paper to make the experience fun!)
Do you have a favourite ever pair you have made?
I love all of my designs, but my clay earrings are my favourite as I design and hand make every pair personally. My lilac flower earrings are my favourite!
This year on two separate occasions (for a selected period of time) you have donated a percentage of your profit to both Black Lives Matter UK and to Stonewall, how does it feel as a small business giving back to such important organisations?
I always think that businesses should try and give back to the communities that support them and I have been fortunate enough to do just that with Cuteryko. These are important causes that mean a lot to me and hopefully I can continue to support more good causes in the future, in whatever way I can.
Lastly, what’s the future plans for Cuteryko?
Cuteryko is growing all the time and as such, I am constantly focusing on new designs and products. In the future, I hope this means we can begin to incorporate other accessories and possibly even sustainable clothing. As long as it stands out from the crowd! I definitely see a bright future ahead for Cuteryko so make sure you follow my Instagram and stay up to date.
Interview by Sam Dineen