Sophomore Autumn Hardwick models her jewelry in her garage in February. Hardwick said she makes all of her jewelry by hand at home in Fort Mill, SC
Photos courtesy of Autumn Hardwick
Second year The history of art Major Autumn Hardwick started her business, bird bug, on February 20 in hopes of turning a childhood hobby of jewelry making into a business while raising money for the Greater Charlotte Area Mutual Aid.
Bird Bug is a online shop offering necklaces, earrings, pins and stickers, which Hardwick makes by hand in the kitchen of her home in Fort Mill, SC. Hardwick is a staff artist at Pepperdine Graphic Media.
“For the jewelry that I make, I just want it to be fun and expressive,” Hardwick said. “I don’t think everything I do fits a certain style; I just do what I love.
Many of Hardwick’s jewelry designs feature mushroom, strawberry, and ladybug charms, which Hardwick says they make at home using clay.
“I do stuff with clay, and I started doing that when I was 10,” Hardwick said. “The first thing I did with clay was cupcakes, and I was making little necklaces out of those. It’s something that I took up as a hobby and I really enjoy. appreciated.
Hardwick said living at home with her parents gave her the opportunity to turn her hobby into a business. When she was looking to start her own business, she was inspired by Parts, an online store of sustainable hair accessories.
“It’s a small business run by a woman in Seattle,” Hardwick said. “I thought the stuff she was doing was so cute and fun. [Owner Tiffany Ju] talks about how she started running her business and her process of designing hair accessories, and that’s what really sparked my interest in running my own business.
Another reason Hardwick said she wanted to start Bird Bug to benefit those who have been negatively affected by COVID-19. 20% of proceeds from Bird Bug sales go to the Greater Charlotte Area Mutual Aid.
“Fortunately, I haven’t really been impacted financially by the pandemic, but there are a lot of people who have lost their jobs and have been impacted by homelessness in the Charlotte area,” Hardwick said. “Caring is really dedicated to trying to help people who have been affected in this way by the pandemic to regain their financial stability.”
Hardwick said she didn’t know at first what to name her jewelry brand. Initially, Hardwick considered naming the brand “Amber”, but ultimately settled on “Bird Bug” after playing around with Adobe Procreate’s design tools.
“I was trying to design a logo and thought about doing a ladybug,” Hardwick said. “And then when I drew him, I was like, ‘That would be really cute if he had bird wings.’ So somehow I went from “Amber” to “Bird Bug”.
Hardwick describes Bird Bug jewelry as “expressive, courageous and spontaneous”. Although her brand is primarily marketed to a younger audience, she said she receives orders from older family members and students.
“I was really thinking about what people my age would like, but it’s cool to see people of all ages wearing what I’ve done,” Hardwick said.
Hardwick said she primarily uses social media platforms to raise awareness of Bird Bug, and she hopes to gain a bigger audience to expand her brand.
“I do all my marketing through social media; I have one instagram and one ICT Tac“, Hardwick said. “Most of the people who have ordered are people that I know, that I really like, and when my family and friends order from me, it’s really great, it’s just hard to do know your name to people who don’t know you as well. This is the hardest part of trying to market my business.
Although social media marketing can be difficult, Hardwick said she enjoys the task of running her own business.
“What surprised me was that it was a little easier than I thought it would be,” Hardwick said. “I thought the thought of having to do it all on my own was going to be overwhelming, but I think I just underestimated myself.”
After college, Hardwick said she wanted to continue using Bird Bug as a way to express herself while raising money for causes close to her heart.
“I want to keep doing it for as long as possible,” Hardwick said. “It’s been a good creative outlet for me, not only with the jewelry that I make, but also with the way that I try to market it.”
Email Grace Wood: [email protected]