I must first start by apologising to Sami for how long it has taken for her to appear on our Blog as a Featured Crafter. We first spoke to her way back in October and finalised all her details, but unfortunately due to other things getting in the way (Christmas!) and me forgetting (sorry!!) the feature has been delayed some what!
So better late than never I would like to introduce you all to, Made By Sami…..
Tell us a bit about your background and your business?
My business name is Made by Sami, my name is Sami (surprise, surprise!) and I am based in the Midlands, in a town called Nuneaton. The name comes from when I was little. Handmade greetings cards for my family always had a scribbled “Made by Sami” on the back. Sometimes children have the best ideas, so I stuck with it when I set up my business in December 2010. I decided to go straight into creating Made by Sami after university, so that I wouldn’t regret it later.
At the moment I’m living at home with my parents, and working from our spare room, slowly taking over all the shelving space and cupboards with boxes of beads and jars of buttons. I have very understanding parents…
I also have two jobs and run my craft group, so time is scarce, and unfortunately Made by Sami jobs and jewellery-making is crammed into the late nights and sneaky lunch-break hours that I get. One day, I would love to have the time to make things all day, in my very own studio!
Tell us about what you make and what training and qualifications you have or needed?
I learnt basic jewellery-making techniques at an evening class, and combined this with creative ideas I developed during my Art degree. I make mostly jewellery and accessories, but I also love playing around with other crafts such as sewing, machine embroidery, drawing and notebook-making. I have set up a craft group in my hometown as an excuse to meet new people and learn some more crafts, I would love to learn knitting which I’m terrible at!
Where do you sell/exhibit your work?
I sell most of my items on the Internet (I have shops on the wonderful Folksy and Etsy sites), as well as through Facebook and word of mouth. I try to keep in touch with people through my monthly email newsletter (email firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to subscribe cheeky plug!). I also sell at craft fairs and other events, along with temporary displays in art galleries etc. I would love to get my work out there in some independent shops, hair salons and galleries in the future, as well as holding stalls at larger events. I love to make commissioned pieces, for example wedding jewellery, where you can get to know your client and create something special just for them.
Tell us about some of your favourite pieces?
My 3 favourite items are my “Snowdrop” earrings, “Nest” headbands, and “Mine” Necklace…
“Snowdrop” are my best-sellers and so versatile, they suit both older and younger customers, and fit in with so many different styles. They also really encapsulate what Made by Sami is all about simplicity with a unique edge.
My “Nest” headbands started life at uni, where I made these bundles of buttons, vintage material, lace and teeny fabric photos to keep my hands busy. They ended up being part of my degree exhibition, and a few of my fellow students bought them to attach to hairclips that’s when I began to make them into headbands, hairclips, brooches, earrings and a necklace. Of all my items, they have the most sentimental value to me.
“Mine” necklace is one of my newest pieces. I love it as it is bold and chunky, with gorgeous colours and a bit of bling! Most of the jewellery I wear is simple and understated, but this necklace makes me feel so glamorous, every girl needs high heels and fancy nights out once in a while!
Where do you find your creative inspiration?
My creative inspiration comes from a huge variety of places. Sometimes I make jewellery to fill a gap, to go with a favourite item of clothing or to enhance a look. Sometimes I’m inspired by the work of an artist, a magazine picture or a piece of writing. I love to work on jewellery like a project, starting with research and making a sketchbook, right through to drawing designs and finally creating them, as this approach pushes me the most. I love jewellery with a story behind it; when people ask about something I’m wearing (whether I’ve made it or not) and I can tell them an anecdote or story behind it, it makes me happy. Items that come with added emotions or associations are always more special to wear.
Do you have a favourite tool/piece of equipment?
My favourite tools are my jewellery pliers, whoever invented those little darlings should get an award! They save my nails, stop me from getting blisters and allow me to make the most wonderful things!
What are your goals/plans for the future?
I love to learn, and I hope to be learning for my entire life, I plan to still be taking classes and courses when I’m 80! I want to learn so much more about jewellery making and other crafts, and really expand my knowledge. I also want to pass some of this knowledge onto others when I feel experienced enough, as I feel that art and craft is something everyone can benefit from.
When you first started if you could have been given one piece of advice what would it have been and what advice would you pass on?
Be fearless, jump in, go for it! Of course, I was given this advice and I still didn’t listen- confidence is definitely my weakness! Just ask yourself: “What would you do if you knew you couldn’t fail?”
And please let me know the secret to finding that all-important confidence if you discover it!
If you are thinking of creating a business from your hobby, make sure it is something you love to do and something you’re willing to stick at. Motivating myself to carry on working at 11 o’clock at night would have been so difficult if I was doing something I wasn’t in love with doing! You also need a bit of love from time to time, it can be so difficult to receive rejection and criticism about your work when it’s so personal, so having people who love you around is so important. If it wasn’t for my amazing family, gorgeous boyfriend and supportive friends, Made by Sami probably wouldn’t still be here. And the other piece of advice… listen to advice! So if you have any words of wisdom for me, please get in touch…
Made by Sami
Find me on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/madebysami