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.
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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?
- Find a niche. You have to have something that can’t be found so easily elsewhere.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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!
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.