Pioneer Public: Grace Offerdahl

Written By Lauryn Nania

When Grace Offerdahl, a recent graduate from Point Park University, noticed the rising popularity of polymer clay-based art, the idea for her to use the medium to craft earrings came to life. 

“I thought it looked cool. I was like, ‘let me try it out,’” Offerdahl said. 

Offerdahl created her first pair of polymer clay earrings in 2019. She took her creation and transformed it into her own business, Nasty Woman Earrings. At 22 years old, Offerdahl has handcrafted and sold hundreds of pairs of earrings on her own while working three other jobs.

“I never went in with the intention of starting a business. It just kind of happened that way,” Offerdahl said. 

When Offerdahl began to create more earrings, she designed an Instagram page and website where her jewelry can be viewed and purchased. Nasty Woman Earrings can also be found in a local shop, Common Goods Studio, located in her hometown of Youngstown, Ohio.

The creation of Nasty Woman Earrings currently happens in Offerdahl’s bedroom located in Youngstown, Ohio. The process begins by purchasing polymer clay in a variety of vibrant shades from craft stores. She then uses items like cookie-cutters and Exacto knives to transform the clay from a slab into different shapes before baking the clay and attaching them to earring hooks. 

“It’s basically like Play-Doh for adults. It’s just fun and creative. I just really fell in love with playing with it,” Offerdahl said.

For the designing process, Offerdahl said she purchases packs of cutters that come in a variety of shapes, and she’ll put them all to use. When selecting color palettes, she finds inspiration through a multitude of things, such as mood boards on Pinterest.

“I’m not really worried about the cohesiveness. I just make what I want to make,” Offerdahl said. 

Offerdahl explained that for a month last summer, she used 100% of proceeds from the sales at Nasty Woman to donate to social justice organizations.

During the height of the Black Lives Matter protests in June of 2020, Offerdahl raised over $2,000 through sales from Nasty Woman Earrings to donate to four different Black Lives Matter organizations: The Innocence Project, The National Council for Incarcerated and Formerly Incarcerated Women and Girls, The Bail Project and The Love Land. 

“It was great to see the people who support me come together to help me support something else,” Offerdahl said. 

Aside from the creative aspects of Nasty Woman, Offerdahl also manages more technical avenues of her business. She manages social media presence and branding the Nasty Woman Earrings website by uploading inventory and processing orders and the purchases of advertisements on social media. 

“Anything I don’t [create or design] is freelance, like the logo. I’ve had professional photos taken; I don’t take those. I had a friend who did that for me,” Offerdahl said.

When Offerdahl began Nasty Woman Earrings, she was a senior at Point Park University. She graduated Summa Cum Laude in December of 2020 with a degree in sports, arts, and entertainment management (SAEM) and a minor in digital marketing. 

During her time at Point Park, she received an Outstanding Student Award on behalf of the SAEM department. Paige Beal, SAEM associate professor who previously had Offerdahl in class, contacted her about the nomination.

Beal said Offerdahl was always taking an extra step during her time at Point Park, even outside her academics. Beal listed the numerous activities Offerdahl took part in, like interning at Showclix, working 50/50 raffles at Heinz Field and becoming a student ambassador for Moe’s. 

“She took advantage of the things that came her way,” Beal said. “There are some people who have a level of confidence and capability of asking good questions, relevant questions, speak up and show up; [Offerdahl] always did that.” 

When she isn’t creating earrings for Nasty Woman, Offerdahl is working multiple jobs affiliated with her goal of working in the music industry. Offerdahl is the digital relations manager at The Concert Manager in Pittsburgh, a remote intern at Freak’n See based in Los Angeles, and a part-time employee at her parent’s music venue and bowling alley in Youngstown, Ohio. 

Offerdahl was referred to the position at The Concert Manager by her former SAEM professor, Ed Traversari. Traversari was asked by a friend who works at The Concert Manager if he knew anyone who would be fit for the opening position, and Offerdahl was the first to come to mind.

“[Offerdahl] has been letting me know about her entertainment interest for some time,” Traversari said. “She’s a real go-getter.” 

Prior to realizing Offerdahl wanted her career to be in the music industry, she has been an avid concert-goer since she was five years old. Since then, she said she has been to over 200 concerts.

“As far as concerts go and live music, you’re in a room with so many people from who even knows what kind of background; you’re all brought together by the shared experience and the shared love of music,” Offerdahl said. 

Offerdahl said without hesitation that her future is held in Los Angeles. She plans to move to the heart of the entertainment industry in the summer of 2021. 

“Whether I have a job or not, I’m going,” Offerdahl said. 

Nasty Woman Earrings ultimately began as a creative outlet for Offerdahl that just so happened to turn into a business. However, with such a strong passion towards working in the music industry, Nasty Woman Earrings is not Offerdahl’s end goal. 

“I don’t foresee [Nasty Woman] being my career, but I don’t ever want to stop doing it,” Offerdahl said.