meet: cara herchenrother of print stich & paste

this week we are sooo lucky to have the so sweet, inspiring and hustling cara of print stitch & paste share with us! cara is the brains behind all of the products in her successful etsy shop. now based out of maryland, she is going to take 2016 by storm and i am excited that we could meet up her early to see the magic unfold this year. 

what is your background?
my background in design starts with my parents - my dad is a painter and sculptor and my mom is an interior designer so art and design has always been a part of my life. i started focusing on graphic design in high school through working on the school newspaper and then went on to earn my bachelor's in fine arts in graphic design at vcu's school of the arts in richmond, virginia. i originally thought i would end up in publication or web design, but neither of them felt 100% right. i always loved illustration and as i brought more of that into my designs, things started to click.

how did you get started selling?
i opened print stitch & paste on a total whim in the summer before my last semester of school. i was moving to washington state for the summer, where my husband is from, and in a lot of ways it felt like my last opportunity to do something a bit impractical before graduation. i worked on a tiny collection of notepads, journals, and gift tags to start and built that up piece by piece. my husband, jeremy, is an incredible artist and was producing his own publications at the time so we worked together a lot to improve equipment, production methods, and experiment with materials. one of my priorities in the shop has always been to offer affordable design so keeping everything in house, hands on, and experimenting with new production techniques has made that possible. i was so lucky to be able to dedicate 100% of my time to the shop from the very beginning, and by the time i had to go back to school in august there was enough potential in print stitch & paste that i cancelled my flight home and put off my last semester for a year so i could put everything i had into my work. it was terrifying but ended up being a great decision!

what inspires your collections?
i don't often work in collections, but if i'm working with a few different pieces together, i'm most often inspired by a mood or the person i imagine using them. i'm, of course, inspired by botanicals and florals but i'll usually imagine the color palette i want to work with first, even if i'm starting with pen and ink. as the shop evolves, i've found myself working more in collections than i have in the past because it allows me to build on an individual concept and i love working a motif into different products and uses. i've also noticed that my customers really enjoy being able to choose different items from the same collection or theme and pairing the styles to each of the recipient's personalities, or to mix and match items to make their own sets.

what has been the best thing you’ve done for your company?
i'd say the best thing that i've done for print stitch & paste is learning not to settle. it's overwhelming to redo or rework something, whether it's a specific product or your entire branding, but it's also been how the shop has grown and improved over time. almost every design from the shop in the first year has been redone or replaced and entire lines of products have been added that i never imagined i could do. it's also easy to get stuck in one vein of work just because it has been popular and well received, so continuing to push my skill and get out of my comfort zone has been tough but really important.

what are you most looking forward to this next year?
i like to say that 2015 was a year of improvements and that 2016 will be a year of changes. last year i focused a great deal on refining and improving every little detail, and this year i'm dying to experiment more and tackle brand new types of products that i've been playing with. i used to be much more of a painter than illustrator, but have never brought painting into the shop so that's something i'm really excited to evolve that more in my process for new designs. i also have a goal this year to share more of my process rather than just the final product. looking through instagram is tough because everyone's sketchbook pages look like beautiful finished pieces of art and mine is often a jumble of different (mostly failed) ideas, but i'm learning that it's a completely valid part of the process and worth sharing!

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what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
produce ten times more work than you think you need, and then keep going! it doesn't have to be (and won't be) all perfectly executed work but it's the easiest way to stumble upon something that you wouldn't have found otherwise. i try to remind myself to design for yourself first because your personal tastes and preferences are an amazing guidance when you're questioning something and you'll always end up with work that speaks to your personality and shapes you as an artist.

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cara is kindly offering everglow handmade readers a 20% coupon to her etsy with the code 'EVERGLOW'. code is good through march 16th, 2016.

thanks so much for sharing, cara! it is so inspiring to hear about your process, see a little bit on instagram and see the final products on your etsy. i can't wait for everything the rest of 2016 has to offer for you!

meet: allison daw of day three creations

allison daw heads up day three creations, a wonderful print shop that highlights organic botanicals, aka real plants. a fellow oregonian, she has a heart full of nature and has taken it upon herself to create beautiful portraits of the pieces nature that are always surrounding us, whether we see them or not. allison is running her amazing shop while also being a mom and supporting her family. she's figured out how to run a successful business and shares some of her insight below. 

what is your background?
i grew up in colorful colorado, where i developed a love for both art and science. in 2007 i earned an m.s. in botany, specializing in the evolutionary classification of plants. during my time in graduate school i taught labs in botany and plant identification and spent summers locating and collecting plants in the foothills of colorado for use in these labs. i taught students to collect, identify, press, mount, and label plant specimens for use in an herbarium, which is a library of preserved plants used by researchers. 

how did you come up with the idea of day three creations and your pieces?
within a couple of years of my graduation, i was married with two kids, and i had decided to stay at home to raise and homeschool our kids. in 2011, we moved to oregon at which point my husband transitioned out of his career in engineering and into full-time christian ministry and started attending seminary. i began looking for a way to earn income at home while raising our kids. wishing i could find a way to combine my love for creating art and enthusiasm about plant science, i was reminded that i had all the skills required to make scientific artwork from real plants! thus, one evening in 2013 we decided that making artfully arranged herbarium specimens and selling them on etsy was the perfect side-job for me, and so we started our business, day three creations.

the name was inspired by genesis 1:11-13 which says that god created plants on the third day of the creation week, hence, “day three creations.”

what has been your favorite trek out to get botanicals?
a couple of summers ago while vacationing back home in colorado, we – my parents, my brother with his wife and daughter, and my husband and i with our kids – all decided to go camping one weekend. we found this serene camping spot by the river. steep, rocky crags bordered the opposite bank of the river. on our side was a field of wildflowers – black-eyed susans, butter 'n eggs, purple rocky mountain beeplant, and wild hollyhock. beyond our campsite was a hiking trail that climbed a thousand feet upward from the river where we found penstemon, harebell, wild onion, and an open patch of crimson red indian paintbrush at the top. the best part of this trip wasn't the crisp air or sapphire sky, or even the hunt for exceptional plants – the best part was getting to do it with family.

what has been the best thing you’ve done for your company?
the best thing i've done for day three creations has been to work hard at building our business. it took a lot of work from both my husband and i up front to make this little business profitable within just a few months. it has also taken consistent work to maintain its growth. it hasn't made us wealthy, but it has largely supported our family while my husband is in school and while i stay at home with our kids.

what are you looking forward to most this next year?
it's not official yet, but we may be moving out of state in the near future. if this happens, i'm looking forward to finding some different plants in some different places and adding an additional collection of plants to my existing oregon and colorado collections.

what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
i would say, try to find your niche market doing something you can be the best at. when i started, there were only a few other established artists on etsy doing something similar, but i've been careful not to directly compete with them as my shop has grown. in fact, when i receive questions or custom order requests that aren't within my niche, i will often refer the customer to one or more of these other shops. this philosophy has helped me grow my business by allowing me to focus on developing my own unique product and brand, and i hope it has helped the other shop owners as well. win-win!

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allison is kindly offering everglow handmade readers a 10% coupon to her etsy with the code 'everglow10percent'. code is good through april 30th, 2016.

thanks so much for sharing, allison! it's so awesome to see all of your hard work pay off, and to admire all the beauty you've created and highlighted. we're excited to follow along with you on your next adventure!

meet: sydney penner of anewall

anewall is a two-woman company that makes stunning self-adhesive wall pieces. based out of vancouver, canada, their mural pieces caught my eye. their mural pieces are big and beautiful, they also offer charming smaller portrait pieces. anewall's name is inspired by the theme "make yourself a new wall". anewall is owned by bff/sister-in-laws sydney and richele penner . sydney kindly took some time to talk to us more about how anewall got started and what's ahead for them next year.

what is your background? 
i have a bachelor’s of science in biology from the university of victoria and my partner, richele, has some graphic design class experience. in terms of anewall, we are fairly self taught but have always been inspired by interior design. richele has an amazing eye for upcoming trends and designs. she takes on a lot of the design and production side of things whereas i do most of the customer service and business side of things. 

how did anewall start?
anewall started almost 3 years ago when our family had just built their new home. our mom wanted a feature wallpaper in her powder room but couldn’t find anything aesthetically pleasing to her. the home is very french country style and she wanted a french country landscape wallpaper so we found an image available for use and decided to get a commercial printer and blow it up for her. 

what inspires the pieces in your shop?
the pieces in our shop are inspired by our trips to europe and the napa valley. we are always inspired by the architecture of the buildings there and the textures and designs used to create each space. we are inspired by vintage and victorian “pretty things”. lately we have been venturing into some more contemporary options for our customers as well and are inspired by the patterns we see in everyday life! 

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what has been the best thing you’ve done for your company?
the best thing we’ve done for our company is to invest in relationships with other businesses, small and large! building connections with other businesses and bloggers in the online world is the best way to market your business and build relationships. it’s a community of people helping each other out. 

what are you looking forward to most this next year?
this year we are most looking forward to the new connections we will make other business owners around the world and we are also really excited to continue to launch beautiful new designs! 

what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started? 
for makers who are just getting started we would tell them to just stick with it. don’t be discouraged in the beginning when you are building a business and everything feels like its happening in slow motion. if you believe in what you’re doing and selling, others will eventually believe too - it takes time! 

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anewall is kindly offering everglow handmade readers a 20% coupon to their online store with the code 'EVERGLOW'. code is valid until march 2nd, 2015.

do yourself a favor and follow anewall on instagram. it's so much fun seeing their pieces make homes gorgeous. thanks so much for your time, sydney! can't wait to see what else 2016 brings you. 

meet: lisa junius

lisa junius is an amazing artist whose future is so bright it hurts to look at! really. just wait 'til you look at all of her amazing work. i first saw lisa's work on instagram and was attracted to her soft images that are very strong, feminine and empowering. but, it's so much more than that - you'll have to decide for yourself what her work means to you. lisa posts so much new work, it's very inspiring to me and i am so honored to have her share some of her insight here!

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what is your background?
i’m 23 years old and i studied art at university in strasbourg, france. actually, i’m preparing a masters of arts in art research. my illustrations, ceramics, t-shirts etc. are an addition to my artwork that i’m presenting at university and in galleries; here, i’m completely self-thought, or let’s say on an experimental phase, because i don’t think that i am done with learning. i make a lot of mistakes and i enjoy learning new techniques above all!

what motivates your work?
i love to create all sorts of things, because i’ve been noticing these past years, that it is the only thing that makes me really happy. working and modeling with my hands, feeling the movement of painting, experimenting and trying out new things. it is my life. it is a way of meditating, of clearing my mind from the acceleration and plastification of our modern world. in creating something, i create a new world, a world of my own, in which i can escape and dream.

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how did you develop your style?
i don’t really think that i have a « style »; i don’t believe in that word. i’m changing everyday, like all humans, and so my art changes. i’m try not to think too much about what i do, because thinking blocks me. i just do and then there are the results. these have a certain style, yes, but then i go to another technique, another creation in maybe a total different style.

what has been the best thing you’ve done for your career?
i’ve never really been on social media (i don’t even have a facebook account, and never had). then a friend told me i should make myself an instagram account and show my work. i was skeptical first, but i have to say now: i love instagram. it is such a good way to concoct with other artists, illustrators, makers and customers!

what are you most looking forward to this next year?
 i’m so excited to announce that i will create jewelry! i always wanted to make brass and silver earrings especially, and i finally found a caster. i think i’ll make a whole collection! after i’ve got my masters of arts degree, i’ll work as a freelance artist, and that way, i’ll spend all of my time creating. it will be a new adventure for me, but i’m really looking forward to it.

what advice would you give to makers who are just getting started?
my advice is an old advice, but a good one: just do it and never give up! don’t wait for a better time, for a better situation or better ideas. you should do it now, with what you got. there will be hard times, times during which you doubt yourself and doubt your work. but that is fine! it is normal! don’t give up and just do what you love! and be patient of course.

be sure to be sure to follow lisa on instagram and check out more of her work on etsy. thanks so much for sharing, lisa! can't wait to see your jewelry line and all of your work to come.