An artistic activity to keep the boredom at bay has led to the establishment of a polymer clay jewellery business for a nine-year-old girl from Silvertown.
Liya Barlow started playing around with clay three years ago, but it was only during the hard lockdown that she gained more skills, got more equipment and started working with polymer clay. Now she makes colourful, funky statement jewellery, which has proven to be quite popular among her peers. She also sells matching T-shirts and mugs.
“I started sculpting with plastic tools that came with the pottery clay I did initially.
“When I realised that this could be a business opportunity, my mom helped me create TikTok and Instagram accounts. In the beginning, I felt that I was not good enough, but then I started to believe in myself. I have a never give up attitude. I have followers on my social media and we are busy opening my online store now,” Liya said.
Her mother, Janice Barlow said she noticed her daughter’s creativity and encouraged her to make a business out of it. She added, however, that Liya’s dream is much more than just being an entrepreneur.
“Liya really has a heart for people. She has a heart for the community and loves paying it forward. She is hoping by sharing her story she might inspire others. Beyond this, she is hoping to pass on her knowledge and share her skills with other girls when she is a little older.
“The idea is to train them so that they can sell their jewellery at markets. Liya also does gymnastics and snorkelling and she’d like to pass on those skills as well. Many times our children are not exposed to things like snorkelling, and if they are exposed, they don’t have the money to take part in it. Liya wants to bridge that gap,” Ms Barlow said.
Liya added that her business is called Love Liya, because she wants to help the community.
“The motto of my business is: ‘May the love you have, go to others in need so that they can enjoy the love too.’ Instead of confidence, my mommy taught me about ‘Godfidence’,” she said.
Ms Barlow also advertised her business on Facebook marketplace, and because of this, Liya has been invited to sell her jewellery at a market in Melkbosstrand. Her business has just started off, and so far, she has been selling to family and friends, but she hopes that more sales will come in soon.
Said Ms Barlow: “Liya’s generation is the Alpha generation. They are our future and we need them to build our country.”