giveaway: too many suitors

Good news! It's Monday again, which means it's time for another great Meet the Maker Q/A & Giveaway feature. Today it's my pleasure to introduce Sara, the graphic designer + craftepreneur behind Too Many Suitors. I met Sara briefly at a local craft show last spring, while picking up a couple of her hip Father's Day cards for the dads in my life. It turns out she has a whole line of hip things...Everything from graphic Ts for the whole fam to friendly felt critter ornaments, just in time for the holidays.


This week, Sara is generously giving away one Ah Nuts! Squirrel print (see below). The 2-color screen-print is 9x9" and fits perfectly in an IKEA frame. What better thing could you mount on your wall this fall?

To enter, leave a comment below, divulging one thing that drives you nuts.

To double your odds of winning, share a link to this giveaway on your own blog, twitter, or facebook account and leave a subsequent comment indicating where.

The winner will be randomly selected & announced first thing Friday October 8!


Q&A with Sara:

How did you find your niche in stationery and awesome graphic t-shirts?

Sara | Too Many Suitors actually started as my senior project at the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. It was as self-initiated project and I wanted to show that as a graphic design major, I could do logo design, identity design, signage, product design, illustration and web design. My show was a hit and when I started interviewing around town, everyone kept asking me where they could buy my product. So, one day I decided to do just that!

Describe your perfect day.

Sara | It definitely has to start with waking up early and being bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. (I’m trying to stop my night owl tendencies). My perfect day would have to be sunny and filled with time to design/illustrate, as well as time to craft— whether that is sewing ornaments or knitting a scarf. Being able to see a friend or two—always makes my day as well. Basically, the perfect day is a good balance of responsibility (client work), self-initiated projects and a little fun. Being able to cross off everything on my to-do list for the day—that is the perfect day.

Amen to the fully crossed off to-do list! Name your biggest source of inspiration right now:

Sara | I’m really into 60s illustration by David Weidman and Charley Harper. Their work is so stylized and simplistic—which is where I think my work is going as well. I also can see similarities and even more inspiration in Scandinavian illustration, like Finland’s Marimekko and even the patterns and textiles at IKEA. A super great online source of inspiration is the UK-based Print and Pattern blog. It features images upon images of illustration, pattern-design and product design from all over. I can spend an hour easily just scrolling through the pages!

What advice do you have for other up & coming crafters and small business owners?
  1. Find a niche. You have to have something that can’t be found so easily elsewhere.
  2. Watch trends, but don’t let them define your work. Be aware of what is happening around you, and not just within the craft world. Look at fashion, advertising, etc. You want to be ahead of the trend.
  3. Have an online presence. I have a website and an Etsy site. I have to admit, I haven’t used Etsy to its full potential, and this holiday season, I’m going to be trying hard to amp up my presence and sales on Etsy. There is even a Holiday Boot Camp going on right now.
  4. A good name and identity go a long way. I’m lucky to be a graphic designer and be able to do all my design work myself. See if you can find a graphic designer to do a “trade” with you.
  5. Get yourself out there. Online through your website and being featured on blogs, through craft shows, consignment or wholesaling through stores—you are your own PR. This is just as much work as making your actual product.

Where can we find more of your work?

Sara| Etsy: Too Many Suitors: I have super cute ornaments for sale. I am so proud of my little creations!
Web: Toomanysuitors.com
In the Twin Cities: I Like You, Design Collective, Pacifier and Truly.
In Chicago, IL: Renegade Handmade.
In Dallas, TX: Make Shop.
In Atlanta, GA: Young Blood Boutique
In Providence, RI: Craftland.


Ashley said...

I love that print! And what drives me nuts...where to begin. I have way too many annoyances, I've been working on it, actually. How about when you fork over some dough to go see a musical and the guy behind you sings along the whole time! Ha!

Sandra said...

Cute print and company! What drives me nuts??? Those who drive the wrong direction in a parking lot. Sheesh . . . there are arrows!

Cottage Mommy said...

Cute, cute...what drives me nuts? My little boy leaving ripped up pieces of toilet paper all over the bathroom floor!

bethany said...

I'm easily annoyed...everything drives me nuts lately. But lately it's been technology-the things that should save me time but wind up tripling my stress! (A GPS with inaccurate directions. A computer which freezes every few minutes. You get the point!)

Love that print. So sweet! :)

Allison said...

Cute, cute, CUTE stuff! These days, I'm going crazy over people's lack of manners. I just moved to Chicago from the south, and while I love my new city, the southern manners are certainly not the same! I miss please, thank you, and yes mam :)

Kelly said...

Very cute print! What drives me nuts? Dented cans at the grocery store.

emily said...

What drives me nuts? People on the cell phone at the grocery store.

That print is adorable! Love the little squirrel.

Sourkraut said...

That squirrel is so cute! Coincidental that the thing driving me nuts right now is the discovery that we have a squirrel camped out in our attic. I don't even want to think about how much damage he may have already done.

Chelle said...

Darling little squirrel print. Loved the interview. Sara, you are one gifted girl!

Driving me nuts right now, Jack's attempt to overthrow his morning nap...including shaking his crib until it falls apart. :(

Mama B said...

Love the print! What drives me buts? Inconsiderate people!

Anneliese said...

according to adult sources 'squirrel' was my first word...so they are kinda my thing. :)

i am driven nuts by 'mouth noises'. chewing, drinking, etc. they about send me through the roof!

CloMo said...

Love the print!! My nickname is Red Squirrel :)

Road weasels drive me nuts! You know, the people who see the construction up ahead, wait until the absolute last second to merge over, and then cut you off. So annoying!!

terese said...

Great to see your work here Sara! I'm super thankful for your entrepreneurial spirit and sharing some advice about making the most of it!
I would love to be the owner of your ornaments someday so I will offer one thing that drives me nuts: When people say they are 'bored'!

(Artists are never bored, are we? There is too much work to do and play to make.)

Bored people are boring.
Long live Too Many Suitors!

ilene @ muchloveilly said...

cute print! love the ornaments too. something that drives me nuts...when you are obviously at a coffee shop to read and spend time alone and the person at the next table won't stop talking to you - even when you have ipod earbuds in your ear! is that not terrible of me?!

Bridget said...

i LOVE it. thanks!

something that drives me nuts...
when kids leave their socks inside out when they throw them in the wash so that i have to undo them.. ewwww gross socks.

Oh, My Darling said...

Sooo cute! Hm, one thing that drives me nuts is people who are perpetually negative! omydarlingblog(at)gmail(dot)com