Bantam Business | Amy Rose Studios

Hi Lovely!

I hope you’re having a fantastic day!! I haven’t done a Bantam Business post in a while so I thought it was about time to share another awesome small business! Today I’m introducing you to the incredibly talented artist behind Amy Rose Studios, Amy! I first saw Amy’s work on Instagram and immediately fell in love. Her work is awesome!! We then met in an Instagram chat group and I was seriously star-struck. Her art is amazing and I’m so excited to share her work with you!!

Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: I’m 28 years old, married for 6 years to my super awesome husband, and mother to Daisy (and another little one on the way!). We live in a beautiful historic town in Southern IL. My hobbies (besides art!) include watching Korean dramas, listening to Kpop/Jpop and yoga! I really love nothing more than sitting in a coffee shop for hours working on a portrait! That’s my happy place.

Q: When did you start illustrating?
A: My family is full of artists, so as soon as I could hold a pencil it was very encouraged! I really never stopped and spent most of my childhood drawing ALLL the time. I was obsessed with Disney and really thought I’d become an animator, but once I was in college I really found a style that I loved and stuck with illustration. My preteen and teen years were spent obsessing over Sailor Moon and drawing anime/manga.

Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: Japanese culture and fashion is a HUGE inspiration. I would say that’s number one in regard to what I’ve mostly looked at and studied. I also love drawing inspiration from nature, food and anything cute and girly! Hayao Miyazaki films, Macoto Takahashi, and Mary Blair are all pretty big inspirations as well! Oh, and all of the amazing people on Instagram, of course!

Q: What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
A: The flexibility for sure! I’m SO thankful to do what I love. I do struggle with self doubt at times and wonder if I’m any good at all, but with those hard times comes a lot of growth! And I get to spend so much time with my daughter each day, which is my favorite!

Q: You have such an adorable family! What is your favorite activity to do with your fam?
A: Thank you! We really love going to St Louis (we live about 20 minutes away) and exploring. We try to eat pretty healthy and the city has so many options for us, it’s nice to not cook a meal on the weekends! In the spring and summer our favorite thing is probably going on picnics. We also enjoy spending Sunday evenings with our church family. Being home together is pretty great too!

Q: If you could have a beverage with anyone (living or dead), who would it be and why?
A: Without a doubt I would have a coffee with Ayumi Hamsaki. She’s a Japanese popstar I have loved DEARLY since I was 11 years old. Her music and style changed my life! She speaks pretty good English now so I’d love to ask her questions about what her thoughts were writing certain songs. Hopefully we could be best friends. haha!

Q: What is your favorite quote?
A: “Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” Empathy is something that doesn’t always come easily for me, but I feel like my heart has really changed in this area within the last few years. Everyone is living life, and life is hard! When people are rude to me, I really try to show them grace. Love each other!

Q: What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
A: I grew up with severe depression and anxiety disorder. I was in therapy for years and drawing really helped me get through those tough times! Art is so healing! And I’m so thankful to no longer suffer from those things.

Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A: Daifuku! (Mochi with red bean paste filling). I also love mint chocolate anything!

Q: Quick! You’re stranded on a deserted island but (somehow) you can choose 5 CDs to listen to for the rest of the foreseeable future. Which CDs do you pick?
A: Perfume – Cosmic Explorer, Coldplay – Head Full of Dreams, Ayumi Yamasaki – I am…, Utada Hikaru – Fantôme, Ayumi Hamasaki – Secret

Yay!! Isn’t Amy amazing?! A huge thank you to Amy for chatting with me!! Be sure to check out her shop and follow her on social media!

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Bantam Business | Daily Gems

Hi Lovely!
I haven’t done a Bantam Business post for a while but I’m going to  try to get back into them. If you have a small business and would like to be featured let me know!!
Alright, today’s post isn’t about that. Today I’m introducing you to the amazing creator behind Daily Gems, Laura! I first met Laura on Instagram. I immediately fell in love with her style and loved seeing all of her adorable posts. Laura and I started commenting back and forth and about a year ago and I made a little trip to Portland to meet her and test out Lolita. Laura is seriously an awesome person. Not only does she have killer style, as you’ll see from her photos, but she’s a super talented designer. I’m so thankful I can call her a friend and be able to share her work with you. So, without further ado, let’s meet Laura!
Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A:
I’m a UX Designer living in Portland, OR. I like to design pins and do a bit of fashion Instagramming/blogging in my spare time. I grew up in Michigan and moved out to Portland in 2008 after graduating with a BFA at the University of Michigan.
Q: I know you wear lolita. When did you first start and how has your style changed over the years?
A:
I first started wearing lolita in 2008, officially. I wanted to get into it sooner but it was difficult to buy back then and also I was a poor college student. My first pieces were from Bodyline and mostly sweet. I used to make more of my clothing when I first got into it because I had more time and less money. I most wear Angelic Pretty now and I think my style has changed in the sense that I’m better at figuring out what’s flattering on me. I also put more of an emphasis on buying pieces that are more versatile rather than impulse buys. I try to incorporate my lolita pieces into my daily wardrobe more often.
Q: Does your lolita style influence your small business? If so, how?
A: Yes, definitely. I got started making pins because I wanted to make lolita inspired pins. My first one was a kawaii illuminati all-seeing-eye and my friend Katie came up with the term “Frilluminati”. Lolita fashion has evolved into a unique culture in America and other English speaking countries and it’s fun to poke fun at ourselves.
Q: What is your favorite part of owning your own business?
A: My favorite part is that it’s an outlet to do design just for myself and actually have a finished tangible product in the end. I design interfaces all day work and so I don’t often get a chance to work on things that will live outside of a computer screen.
Q: When not wearing cute clothes or making adorable items for your Etsy shop, how do you spend your free time?
A: In the past year I’ve gotten really into yoga. I like to take “me time” and go to class at least 3-5x a week. I also love watching anime and TV shows in general.
Q: What is your favorite anime?
A: This is a really hard question! I’ve been watching anime since I was 9 years old and I have so many favorites. Currently I’m obsessed with Steins;Gate. I really love the time travel and conspiracy theory parts of the plot. I actually binge watched it all over a weekend last fall when I was home sick. Recently I got sucked back in when I started playing the visual novel and discovered parts of the plot are based on real events!
Q: Where do you find inspiration?
A: I find inspiration in artwork, fashion, tv shows/movies, music, anime, Instagram, and so many other places. I’ve tried to make my apartment a shrine to the things I love and things that inspire me. One of my favorite pieces is the “Feels good to get some stuff done” print (by my friend Mary Kate McDevitt) hanging on my wall. I’ve hung it up in every workspace I’ve had since I bought it!
Q:  What is one thing that most people don’t know about you?
A: Another one of my hobbies is video editing and I really enjoy making anime music videos. My resolution last year was to win an AMV contest and I ended up winning my first one (which was a live editing contest) in October at Kumoricon!
Q: What is your favorite dessert?
A:
I thought about this question for way too long. I really like desserts! I go out of my way to order vegan macarons from a bakery in NYC when I want to treat myself. Portland also has some bakeries that make incredible cupcakes. But if I’m being real and basing it on what I eat most often, it’s probably raw cookie dough!
 Isn’t Laura just amazing?! Be sure to check out her Etsy shop and follower her on all of her social sites!

Bantam Business | Brighter Sides Designs

Hi Lovely!

Today I’m introducing you to the amazingly talented owner behind Brighter Sides Designs, Kelsi! I met Kelsi in a local blogging group after she had suggested some people meet up to take each other’s outfit photos. It ended up just being myself, Kelsi, and our friend, Jenn of Hellorigby. I had no idea when I showed up on that gloomy, Seattle day that I’d be meeting friends that I’d grow closer to as time went on. Kelsi is a wonderful artist and when she told me about her newest venture, cards you can color yourself, I thought it was the coolest idea!! She sent me a few cards to try out too and let me tell you, I love them!! They’re less pressure than an adult coloring book and they make the cards you give out even more special. Alright enough of me jabbering on. Let’s meet Kelsi!

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Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself.
A: Hi! My name is Kelsi. I’m a serial entrepreneur, living in Seattle, WA with my adorable pomeranian, Bruno. I spent the entirety of my 20’s as a self-employed hairstylist, until back problems and increasing chemical allergies became too much, and now I’m trying to figure out what I’m doing with my 30’s. I’ve been blogging for about six years and drawing since I could hold a pencil. Some of my interests include dogs (the smaller and more circle-shaped the better), heavy rainstorms, foods that have sprinkles on them, listening to Elliott Smith songs on repeat, confetti, and attaining a hobbit-like lifestyle and eating schedule.

Q: Where do you find inspiration for your cards?
A: The first few cards that I drew were inspired by Seattle, which is where I live. I made a mini-collection of different sights in the area like the Post Alley gum wall, and Mount Rainier. Other than that, I mostly draw things that I would like to color, myself. You’ll notice that a lot of my designs are food related. Donuts and candy are super fun to draw, and to color! Adult coloring has been on the rise the past few years, and even though I loved coloring when I was a kid, I’ve had a hard time getting into it, because so many of the “adult” designs are extremely intricate, which I find really overwhelming. I get stressed out and discouraged before I even start. So I keep all of my designs simple enough that they can be completed in an afternoon or an hour, and make sure that the spaces are large enough that someone who is just starting out can color confidently, with just about any type of coloring tool, or experienced colorers can use more advanced blending and shading techniques. And like I said, I always want the designs to be FUN to color.

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Q: When not making super-cute art, how do you spend your time?
A: I’m kind of a homebody. I like to hang out with my dog, tend to my little succulents, and eat copious amounts of pizza. In the summer, I also go to music festivals in the area with my boyfriend, and go hiking and camping. I’d really like to get out into nature and travel a lot more often! I’ve been working on my cards during just about every spare moment before work, on my lunch breaks, and after work for the past several months, getting them ready to launch, so other than that, I’ve spent most of my time sleeping!

Q: You’ve had an online shop (an Etsy store) for a while but only recently started selling cards. How did you decide to get into the card game?
A: I think it came about kind of naturally. From the time I was a kid up until about 20 years old, I always had a lot of pen pals – which was at least partially due to my introversion and social anxiety. It was a way to connect with people and share experiences, without he pressure of real-time conversation or having to verbalize my thoughts on the spot. I’ve always been able to express myself better through writing, which I think is common for people with anxiety. And this was before social media as we know it was really a thing. But I loved going onto message boards for art swaps. How it worked was, there would usually be a theme. You’d sign up and get matched up with one or more partners, and create a card or small piece of art, then you’d send it off to your partner, and you’d get one in return. In recent years, I’ve been really nostalgic for that sort of interaction. Everything now is texting, or emailing, or likes, which can be cool, but how often do we get actual letters from people? Or a birthday card in the mail instead of a post on our Facebook wall? I remember being so excited to get an envelope in the mail that was hand addressed to me, and open it up to see what beautiful thing someone had made for me, or what they had been waiting to tell me, and taken the time to actually write down on paper. So a large part of this was wanting to be able to give this experience to everyone. The coloring cards were a more user-friendly way of making art accessible to people, even if they don’t consider themselves an artist, and to encourage sharing your art with someone else when you were done. I’ve already started it for you, you just get to have fun finishing it, and then give that gift of your time and mental presence, and creativity to someone else, and make their day!

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Q: If you could have a beer with anyone in the world, alive or dead, who would it be and why?
A: Can it be a fictional person? I’d love to have a beer (or waffles! or both!) with Leslie Knope from Parks and Rec. Mostly because she’s just so different from me, personality-wise. I feel like by the time I had finally decided what I wanted to order, she’d already have the next 5 years of my life planned out for me. That’s what I’d really like, step-by-step life instructions in a binder, with my name in glitter glue, and maybe motivational text messages every 5 minutes. I think she would be a great friend/life coach.

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Q: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?
A: I really enjoy seeing something that I created and nurtured begin to grow. Being able to see all of that time and hard work and patience begin to take form is exciting. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy that people are enjoying something that I made, and to see that yes, what I’m doing is good enough to be out in the world, and it’s making people happy. It’s been so heartening to see some of the colored pictures people have finished, and to know that I helped make this art, together with someone that I’ve never even met. It feels pretty magical.

A HUGE thank you to Kelsi for allowing me to grill her. Even though I’m already friends with Kelsi I feel like I’ve learned so much!! BTW I’d totally grab a beer with Leslie Knope too. That would be amazing.

Now that you’ve met this amazing maker please be sure to check out her shop and follow her on all of her social media!! She is a rad person and I know you’ll love her work as much as I do.

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Bantam Businesses | elorasaurus

Hi Lovely!

I’m so excited to introduce you to the wonderful, Elora of elorasaurus! I’ve met so many amazingly talented artists via Instagram and Elora is one of them! I can’t remember exactly how I found her profile but I thought her work was adorable immediately! The first product I fell in love with was her

really cute Cry Baby Sailor Moon pin. I’ve recently gotten back into Sailor Moon and I thought her pin was too perfect to pass up. Alright, enough about my love for her work. Let’s get to know Elora!!!

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Bantam Businesses | Natelle Draws Stuff

Hi Lovely!
Today I’m introducing you to Natelle of Natelle Draws Stuff! I first discovered her work on Instagram. I think a friend may have shared something of hers. As soon as I saw her cute illustrations I immediately fell in love. Her art is so adorable. I love the way she combines cats with food. It is both cute and delicious! Now, let’s meet Natelle!!
P.s. Read all the way to the end for a special discount code!!

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Q: Tell me a little bit about yourself?
A: Hello! My name is Natelle (“Na-tell”). I was born in Malaysia, but moved to New Zealand when I was 10 years old. I have been drawing for as long as I can remember. On my 18th birthday, I was gifted a jewelry making kit by my sister, and my crafting addiction grew from there. Despite my love for art, I actually ended up graduating from university with a Masters in Biotechnology. My postgraduate years were spent doing research in a yeast lab (the kind of yeast you use to bake and make beer with!), primarily focusing on drug discovery. During this time, I met James, and it turned out that we were sort of kindred spirits, as cheesy as that sounds! Fast forward a few years later, we moved to Gainesville, Florida for his work, and here we are!
Q: Your illustrations are too cute!! Where do you find your inspiration?
A: I draw a lot of my inspiration from animals and plants and food, because they are pretty much my favourite things, hah! I need to surround myself with animals. I have my parents to thank for that; As a kid, I grew up with dogs, chickens, terrapins, guinea fowls and fish at home, and we visited zoos, National parks and reserves regularly. I also like to load myself with a lot of imagery as often as I can; paintings, tattoos, textiles, ceramics and sculptures, graffiti, movie stills, even old postcards, flyers, and posters. I try to channel my experiences into creating something.

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Q: Your work features a lot of adorable cats. Do you have a cat of your own?
A: I do have a cat! Just the one (although I would love more!). Her name is Patch, and she will be 6 at the end of 2016. I had never owned a cat until I met James. I used to volunteer at a cat rescue shelter in New Zealand, where I did varying tasks, from cleaning the cages, to designing posters and merchandise, and doing street collections to help fund-raise for the shelter. Patch was handed over to the shelter while I was still a volunteer there, and at that time, James and I had lost our first cat, who had died from a tumor mass pressing against her lungs. One day, James came home holding one of the rescue shelter’s boxes; a surprise for me, because I was in a really bad state from the death of our first cat. That’s how Patch became part of the family, and when we moved to Gainesville, we bought her a ticket to come with us! It took her about a month to adjust fully to life in Gainesville; she is still flummoxed by the squirrels that visit our balcony daily (no squirrels in New Zealand!).

Q: When not making cute and quirky handmade items, how do you spend your time?
A: When I’m not crafting or making art, I like to bake, go on hikes, bike around town, and just go see stuff. James and I like exploring the surrounding nature because even the tiniest lizard can surprise you with a brightly coloured dewlap under its chin!! Our local pet store also holds pet adoption events every weekend, where all the animals are from local shelters from within Gainesville and its surrounding counties. We like to stop by most weekends to give the animals a cuddle, and wish them good luck for the day!

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Q: What made you decide to start an Etsy shop?
A: I had always wanted to start my own Etsy store for a long time. I joined Etsy in 2007, and opened a shop in 2009, but never filled it with anything!! I got the idea of opening up my own Etsy store during a brief period of time where I was making and selling jewelry at a local boutique back in New Zealand. After moving to Gainesville, I started painting and crafting quite seriously. In October 2015, I opened up my Etsy store for real, fingers and toes crossed that I would be able to finally start my own little business!

Q: If you could travel to anywhere in the world, where would you go?
A: This is a really hard question to answer, because I would love to go EVERYWHERE! But definitely on my top 10 would be; Bulgaria, Hungary, Eritrea, Cuba, Greenland, Spain, Belgium, Japan, Ecuador, and Norway.

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Q: What is the most rewarding thing about owning your own business?
A: Owning my own business forces me to be more confident, and to believe in myself and in my art (cliche, but true). More importantly, it has allowed me to connect with so many amazing people.

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A HUGE thank you to Natelle for sharing! I loved learning more about the person behind the art. If you enjoy Natelle’s illustrations I definitely suggest checking out her super-cute shop. I own her cat ice cream sundae pin and absolutely love it!!! The quality is amazing and just the perfect size.

Be sure to check out her shop and her Instagram! Use code CUTIELIFE10 to receive 10% off your purchase in her shop! There is no minimum purchase and is good all the way through the month of July!

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