Cloudberry: Growing a Startup

Anchorage, AK – Delaney Thiele, founder and designer at Cloudberry, is partly of Yupik and Athabaskan descent, and takes inspiration from her Alaska Native heritage when choosing the materials and patterns for her line of handcrafted beaded earrings. Delaney began beading years ago, but decided to see if she could make her hobby into a sustainable business in 2018.

The Cloudberry logo was created by Michael Ardaiz at Mad Dog Graphx, and offers a variety of layouts and color options.

She began by posting some of her work on Instagram, to judge potential customer interest. She quickly gained a following. She made sales to friends and fellow students at the University of Alaska Anchorage, where she is finishing a degree in political science and Alaska Native studies.

Encouraged by the reception, Delaney decided to take a leap of faith and start her own artisan jewelry company. She settled on a name, acquired a business license, and contacted Mad Dog for help with marketing and branding.

Marketing materials for Cloudberry need to make a big impact at a low cost. Delaney has had business cards, stickers, buttons, and rubber stamps made to help brand Cloudberry.

Mad Dog worked with Delaney to create a logo and establish some options for packaging and promoting the line. Because every pair of earrings is made by hand, one of Delaney’s biggest challenges has been building and maintaining inventory. All of her packaging and marketing materials have been produced in small quantities, to allow her to test options, customize pieces, and control costs.

Keeping costs low and impact high was a primary goal for every piece of marketing collateral. Delaney also wanted to emphasize the handcrafted aspect of her work, and balance environmental and Native cultural influences with elements that would appeal to the chic, boho, and modern style of her clientele.

All of Cloudberry’s earrings are handcrafted. The hang cards are cut, punched, and stamped by hand as well.

Simple business cards, kraft hang cards stamped by hand, and a variety of fun promotional giveaways – including stickers and buttons – were among the first pieces produced.

Cloudberry currently offers about a dozen styles, but Delaney adds new designs on a regular basis and also creates custom commissions.

Phase two for Cloudberry may add a website and Etsy store to that list. Delaney’s customer base continues to grow, with direct sales through her Instagram page and at pop-up shops, and commissioned pieces.

For more about Cloudberry, visit their Instagram page.

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