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!


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.
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?
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?
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!

Surround yourself with support

Hi Lovely!!

On February 1st I released my super-cute new enamel pin, a collaboration with my friend Becky, in my Etsy shop. Leading up to the pin release I was quite nervous. I’ve never done a product release on this scale before and I didn’t know how it would go. It’s one of those things where, even if you know something will go well, you can’t help but worry.

My worries were quickly quelled after the release. People seemed to really enjoy the pin!! It’s been wonderful to see the amount of support I’ve received from friends, family, and strangers. I’ve had many friends purchase the pins and my dad bought 7 to give to relatives. I’m overwhelmed by the amount of support I’ve received during this release. The last few days, friends and family have made me feel so loved and supported. They make me feel like I could do anything!

I’m not sure if these amazing people in my life understand just how meaningful their support and kind words are to me. My lovely friend, Emma, featured her purchase in a post on her blog, I’ve had people share photos of their adorable pins via Instagram, and I just can’t. I feel so incredibly lucky to have so many supportive, caring people surrounding me.

I always try to support friends with their new endeavors whether it be opening a shop or a new project. Being on the other side of it now I’ve gained even more clarity about the importance of supporting their dreams. I now know even more how significant the feeling of support is to those following their passions and it’s further awakened a passion to support small businesses. It’s incredibly important to support small businesses and I look forward to passing on the love and support that has been given to me.

Have any shops you think I should check out? Share them in the comments!

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!!


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.


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!


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.


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.


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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Bantam Businesses | Mimibun

Hi Lovely!

I’m so excited to introduce you to this month’s Bantam Business, Mimibun, and the owner Mimi! This shop sells the cutest, most delicious looking products ever! I somehow happened upon Mimi’s shop on Instagram and immediately fell in love with her cute food-themed items and her fun illustrations. She is so incredibly talented and I was so happy when she agreed to be featured here on The Cutie Life. I’ve met so many amazing people via Instagram and I am glad I get to share some of their work with you!! Okay, enough of the small talk.  Let’s meet the shop owner!


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