Breaking Conventions: Autumn “Ace” Copeland Earns More By Charging Clients Less

Breaking Conventions: Autumn “Ace” Copeland Earns More By Charging Clients Less

Driven by her passion for helping others, Autumn “Ace” Copeland launched Threeye Creative to “crack the code” of traditional business models. Unlike other website design agencies, Threeye Creative specialized in HTML, CSS, and JavaScript for custom builds, not templates, giving them a clear advantage over overpriced cookie-cutter agencies.

The agency’s client-centric approach puts the small business in the driver’s seat by offering customized solutions that adapt to the changing needs in the market and the budgets of entrepreneurs. “I’ve always tried to run my company with the customer at the focal point of my decision making,” Autumn shares. “I strongly believe success comes from prioritizing people and placing their needs ahead of profits.” 

Threeye Creative began as most great companies do, as a side hustle. Autumn, a Nashville native, tried her hand at various career paths, from healthcare to songwriting (she was signed to Sony as a professional songwriter) before securing an internship at a local marketing firm. While there, Autumn first discovered her passion for coding.

“I had this insatiable curiosity to learn as much as I could about marketing software and design tools. When my company needed someone to do website design, I jumped at the opportunity.” As Autumn developed her coding skillset, she began designing logos and building websites to earn extra money to fund a summer backpacking trip to Europe.

Weeks after starting her side gig, Autumn’s clientele was growing, and so was her income. It wasn’t long before the money she made from her side hustle began exceeding her full-time job salary. Already fed up with corporate shenanigans, Autumn explored her options and enrolled in the Nashville Business Incubation Center’s Foundations class in 2018 to learn more about entrepreneurship. This 8-week program is designed to expose new and aspiring entrepreneurs to the basic business principles needed to run a successful company. Ron Harvey, the class instructor, encouraged her to start a business formally, which she did in November of that year. Autumn worked hard the next two years to build her business, and in 2020 was able to quit her job and pursue Threeye Creative full-time. Ron continued to mentor her and became her biggest advocate.

“When I sat down in my one-on-one with Ron, he said, ‘If you’re not making six figures next year, I’m going to be upset.’ I thought, ‘whoa, I can do this! This can be a real thing for me.’ NBIC not only had a positive impact on my business, but it is also the sole reason why I have a business. It was me walking through those doors and meeting Ron and Angela, who pushed me to buckle down and make it happen.” The NBIC provided the guidance and resources Autumn needed to create the foundation for Threeye Creative and the confidence to transform her side hustle into a fully operational web development agency.

In January 2021, Threeye Creative rebranded as Quartz & Clay. According to Autumn, the rebrand was necessary for several reasons, and the timing couldn’t have been better. “The business started as one entrepreneur specializing in web design and development but quickly evolved into an entire team of hardworking humans working together to provide our clients with reliable and cost-effective solutions to all their marketing and advertising needs. To make a long story short, we outgrew the original name and its branding, which no longer represented us as a whole.”

Quartz & Clay meets businesses wherever they are in their journey and supplies them with the items they need to compete in oversaturated markets, on-demand. The inspiration for the name comes from two naturally occurring raw materials that can be carved, shaped, and sculpted into anything imaginable. Quartz & Clay continues to expand and now serves clients in 44 states.

“As we grow, we will continue to stay true to our mission: to provide exceptional, cost-effective, and business-changing marketing and advertising solutions for small businesses.”

Autumn’s journey has come full circle. She now shares her expertise with other entrepreneurs as the instructor for the Foundations marketing track. “I tell my students to pick one thing. People love specialty, and people love niches. Zero in on your core strengths and find a way to monetize them.”