We had the good fortune of connecting with liz pagel and we’ve shared our conversation below.
Hi liz, can you walk us through the thought-process of starting your business?
Like many people, I was bored out of my mind during quarantine. I saw a lot of people on social media picking up polymer clay so I thought to myself, “how hard could it really be?” I ordered supplies and watched a few videos on some of the basics techniques and I just went for it with no plan in mind. I definitely did not have a meaningful platform on social media but I knew that I had a great community that would support me along the way. I was confident that with my experience in customer service, my degree in retail merchandising, my passion to become a designer in some form, and my dream to own my own business/have my own brand would be enough to allow me to build something successful. Ultimately, it was all driven by wanting to feel fulfilled and wanting to create things that people would want to wear.
Alright, so let’s move onto what keeps you busy professionally?
I design and create polymer clay jewelry (mostly earrings) and I also started working with acrylic material this summer when I purchased my laser cutter. I started learning techniques for polymer clay back in October 2o2o but the trial and error is what taught me the most – there are more challenges with polymer clay than you’d imagine. This summer, I finally got to a place where I feel confident in everything I make! I think that working with a new medium helped me a lot with my creativity and confidence.
I often look to reels on IG or TikToks for new techniques but not ever for style, color palettes, or overall feel of a collection. I strive to be as original I can be and my goal is to make pieces that are truly unique to phemme.co – I feel that is what draws people to the brand. I also think customer service is the most important part of running a business. my customers are my friends, I love to chat with them as much as possible, include them in photoshoots, send them extra gifts to them when i can, and I love hearing feedback from them! they’re the reason I get to do what I do.
A lesson that I learned along the way is that it’s okay to make a lot of mistakes and it’s okay to not sell out of every item. It’s also okay that not everyone respects your price point or loves your work. You cannot please everyone, and as a people pleaser this has been something that I have to actively practice.
Any places to eat or things to do that you can share with our readers? If they have a friend visiting town, what are some spots they could take them to?
A few of my favorite spots in Denver: – the Union Station is a place I could spend all day at – the vibes are impeccable
– both inside the Union Station: Terminal Bar + The Cooper Lounge (if you want to treat yourself)
– THE Wild is an eclectic cocktail bar – the espresso martini is 10/10
– the Rotary has some of the best chicken + veggies I’ve ever had but pro tip…. it’s even better leftover the next day
– Walter’s 303 if you need some amazing cauliflower crust pizza
– NOVO’s coffee shop on 6th is the best place to work – very quiet, great ambiance, and it’s typically not very busy
– Il Posto is the best elevated Italian food I have ever had (order the burrata… you will not regret it)
– The Denver Central Market is one of my favorite places in Denver. They have a wide variety of options so going there with a group makes eating out easy. They also have a full bar and a coffee shop!
Who else deserves some credit and recognition?
I could name a million… To my day one customers who turned into friends, to my new fellow jewelry makers who support me when I’m facing challenges, to Bailey for being my best sounding board and market helper, to Paige for helping me buff pieces and stamp bags in my biggest crunch times (also for just keeping me company when I needed it most), to Darby for being the best at helping create and update my web listings, to Amber for helping with the busy work, and to my fiancé, Jordan for supporting and loving me every step of the way even though I haven’t made that too easy – he’s my rock.