Hello! My name is Kristel Sy, I am 29 years old, born and raised in Southern California, and I own a small business called Rejoys Handmade. I had a pretty blessed childhood, I was raised by both of my parents, plus my older sister of 6 years. I attended Catholic school throughout my elementary years and half of high school. I continued junior and senior years at public school—what a culture shock! Growing up, we weren’t financially wealthy, but my parents tried their best to never let that affect us and we lived comfortably. I always felt the hard work my parents put in to keep the family afloat—and for that, I am truly blessed!
I have always been the type of person that was interested in many things, but never just one thing. I partially blame my parents and myself for being okay with wanting to quit when things became uncomfortable. The other half of me, though, is happy that they let me discover who I am on my own and never forced things on my sister and I, we had choices—but boy was it hard! I remember I was enrolled in dance when I was maybe 5 or 6 years old. We were preparing for our first performance and were sent home with our costume. I took one look at what we had to wear and I refused to attend. My mom never forced me to go to that performance, let alone any other classes after that. I just thought, wow it was that easy. I noticed as I got older, if I wanted to participate in an activity, I had to figure out the details, how to sign up, who would pick me up or drop me off, how much it cost, everything I didn’t want to figure out in 6th grade. It really came down to how much I wanted something. While there were some things that were easy for me to attain, there were things I wanted to do, but it seemed too far out of reach. These experiences showed me that it was easy to quit, or if I didn’t feel comfortable it was okay to stop. Don’t get me wrong, I knew that if I loved something I had to put my all into it. My only thing was finding that thing that I wanted to work hard for.
Being creative was my little super power. Friends and family would always praise me for being so creative and how I should put my creativity in this or that. I eventually decided to work with kids, and that way I could put that energy into their work. This was my first thing I felt passionate about and that I worked hard for. I have now been working with kids for 10 years. This line of work has its MANY challenges, but one of the biggest for me was the start of the pandemic. For one, I couldn’t hang out with my kids and let those creative juices flow, and two I felt trapped and hated feeling useless. Being quarantined forced me to put my creative energy in different places, so I started to play around with ideas. One of those being, making polymer clay earrings. I shared my creations with friends and family and they all encouraged me to grow this hobby into a business—If you haven’t noticed, I have the best support system!
Establishing and growing Rejoys has been a beautiful challenge. I take every part of my life—the lessons I have learned, the obstacles faced, and the journey it has taken to get here—and have put it all into this business I created. The beginning was tough, I fought with my confidence almost daily, and questioned my every move. With so many other polymer clay businesses out on the market, I would bury myself with insecurities. I just could not get out of my head.
Although I still struggle with confidence, I have learned to take bigger leaps of faith and to put myself out there. I look back and am so surprised at how much I have grown, not only in my work, but in myself as well. I laugh at how scared I was because those things that were once scary are now easy for me. I embrace the saying, “The greater the risk, the greater the reward”. Sometimes life happens or the lack of motivation kicks in, but I am continuously reminded of my journey and push through because I love what I do, what I create, and how I make people feel.
My only hope is that what I lay out on the table is reflected in my work. That my customers feel confident and beautiful while wearing my pieces and that this could be the one thing that helps them step out of their comfort zone.
- Kristel Sy