What do you make? How did you get into it?
I [make] handcraft personalized wire-written pieces – such as bookmarks, accessories, and home decors.
I started my enthusiasm with wire-writing last year. I joined an ATC (Artist Trading Card) swap with fellow craft enthusiasts I met on a Facebook group. Besides exchanging cards, I also gave a set of freebies, which are wire-written bookmarks. The idea of making wire-written bookmarks came out while I was searching online for ways to wire wrap stones (which I had a glimpse of its technique when I attended a CraftMNL workshop). I saw photos of different words/letters done on wire that made me curious how it’s done. So, I tried it on my own.
When I shared on Facebook the freebies I made, my officemates saw that and wanted to have theirs too. So I did. It made me really happy to see them giddy over their wire bookmarks. Some gave feedback on how I should improve them. It was the first time (after so many years) that I was appreciated for an art/craft that I did and enjoyed doing. Because of that, it motivated me to better my skills and style in wire-writing.
Are you a full-time crafter? If you’re a full-time crafter, what made you take the leap and pursue your craft?
Yes, I’m doing this full-time. I’ve always wanted to own a business. My concern was finding the right service or product to offer. So when my friends and family suggested that I can make a profit out of the crafts that I make, I knew then what I wanted and had to do. After my previous company pulled out their Manila branch last year, it gave me time and investment to concentrate on building Paper Pliers.
What motivates you in pursuing this business?
The rich learning experience. The opportunity to make strangers happy. The opportunity to make. The fact that there are organizations and communities that support and promote locally-made Filipino products. It’s an exciting era to be part of!
What are some of the challenges of maintaining a craft business?
Lack of man-power sometimes makes the work exhausting. My husband usually assists me during craft fairs and in making some decisions for Paper Pliers. But since he works full-time, he is sometimes not available to help me.
Working on the inventory and accounting is another challenge. It’s also difficult for me to come up with designs since I’m not a design or fine arts graduate. [From a Fine Arts graduate’s perspective–your craftsmanship and mastery of your medium lends to quite a lot of possible design collaborations and opportunities–I’m sure you’ll come up with something awesome]
What’s a new skill–craft or business–that you’d like to learn?
I want to learn how to sew using a sewing machine, craft on wood and metal, study pottery and leather engraving.
What’s your most recent craft business milestone?
Besides the fact that Paper Pliers is six months old (yaaay), we’re proud of surviving the month of April. We participated in three different bazaars in a span of three weeks, which was very tiring. But, hey, we gained experience, we met awesome crafters and personally reached out to our clients. The exhaustion was worth it!
What is your favorite lesson in your experience of your business?
Health matters! It’s important to take day-offs, have eight hours of sleep, and not overwork.
What craft business advice can you share with other aspiring entrepreneurs?
Innovate. Aim to find your own brand/style. Trust your product, yourself, and your gut. Listen to feedback. Keep moving forward – no matter what.
Um, if you were a craft tool, what would you be? And why?
I would be a pliers so I could be helpful to others who want to shape themselves into what they want to become.
What can we expect to see from you guys at the upcoming Maker’s Market?
We’ll be displaying ready-made wire-written bookmarks, bracelets and home decors. We’re also offering on-the-spot wire-writing services!
Where else can we find your work?
You can find Paper Pliers’ wire-written products in Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/paperpliers), Instagram (http://instagram.com/paperpliers), and Twitter (http://twitter.com/paperpliers). I share our experiences in handling this business, and my enthusiasm in crafts at http://paperpliers.com.