Interview with Jewelry Social Entrepreneur, Lisa Nakayama

Clay to Hope is currently donating 40% of all proceeds to the Hawaii Foodbank

Sakura Collection

I love supporting other women who are working hard for their communities. Lisa Nakayama is a classmate of mine from middle school who recently launched her own jewelry line, Clay to Hope. What I love so much about Lisa’s brand is that she is donating a huge portion of profits to important causes! I am pleased to be interviewing Lisa about her experiences as a social entrepreneur.

What got you to start Clay to Hope? 

Last year in 2020, I spent a lot of time stuck at home feeling helpless. I could not go outside due to the pandemic. Media was inundated with devastating, inconceivable news. Innocent Black people were being murdered by the Police. San Francisco was cloaked in eerie sepia sky due to the wildfires. I am sure many of you can relate when I say it was beyond difficult to stay optimistic throughout the whole year of 2020. I was frustrated at myself because I felt like there was nothing I could do to help the situation.

As I was scrambling to find things to keep me sane, I came across some artists who make polymer clay earrings on Instagram. I have always loved fashion and crafting so I decided to give it a try. While I was doing research on how to make them, I was already having so much fun brainstorming ideas, and that’s when I asked myself, “can I turn this into something more than just a hobby? Can I share this joy with the world?” The more I pondered over the idea, the more ambitious I became. I didn’t want to stop at just selling earrings. I wanted to do more. As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to contribute something to change the world for the better, even for a tiny bit. Therefrom I decided to make my jewelry-making hobby into a donation-based small business to donate a portion of proceeds to a good cause. Clay to Hope was born from my belief that this business could potentially help putting a smile on some faces during this difficult time. So here I am today, creating hope one earring at a time (hence the name Clay to Hope).

White and Gold Collection

Were you struck by anything in the process of building your business? 

When I had the epiphany of turning my hobby into a small business, I had no idea what I was getting myself into. I was extremely excited to embark on this new journey, but I underestimated how much preparation it takes to build a business. As I graduated college with a Biology degree, I had zero knowledge on business/marketing strategies. There were a lot of YouTube-ing and self-educating that got me here. As a small business owner, you are in charge of everything: designing your product, making the product, managing social media, creating your website, photographing your product, packing and shipping orders, and the list goes on. Don’t get me wrong, I wholeheartedly love every part of it but boy was I naïve thinking it was going to be like a middle school me trying to sell clothes on Instagram. There were so. much. more.

Are you working on a new collection? 

Yes, I am! I am currently working on the Rose Quartz Collection which is going to be available in mid/late-February. I also have many ideas for my future collections: kurogoma matcha (yum), plants, pastel colors, Hawaii, and faux turquoise to name a few. I cannot wait to share them with you! Lastly but not least, thank you, Elise, for giving me the opportunity to talk about my experience here and thank you everyone for your support. We live in a world full of uncertainties nowadays but one thing that I am absolutely certain is that I cannot do this without you. So thank you. I have been overwhelmed with your kind words/support and incredibly grateful for you all. Keep in touch on Instagram @claytohope or my website Shoot me an email if you have any questions/comments/simply want to chat:


Stay safe and stylish!

Thank you so much, Lisa, for sharing with our community at Miya! I’m so proud of you for the amazing work that you’re doing to benefit others and can’t wait to see your future collections!

As cliché as it sounds, I wanted to contribute something to change the world for the better, even for a tiny bit.

Lisa Nakayama

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