Interview with Crafted Avec Amour
Our latest interview features Samantha of Crafted Avec Amour.
Samantha is a hobby crafter and stay-at-home mom who began paper crafting two years ago after creating paper flowers for her baby shower. With encouragement from her family, she tremendously improved her skills and turned this interest into an everyday hobby, creating colorful décor for her family members – tailored to all occasions. Read on for more DIY projects, crafting resources and inspiration from Samantha.
“The fact that you are able to create something with your own hands that you dreamed up and designed… is to me it’s own reward.”
Tell me about yourself.
Hi there! My name is Samantha and I am a stay at home mom (SAHM) to a vibrant and rambunctious 4 year old. I have been married for 10 years to my husband and we live in Queens, NY. Prior to having my daughter and becoming a SAHM, I worked in the financial services industry, specifically in Investment Banking. After leaving the financial services industry, I was a Special Education teacher for a brief time.
I am Guyanese by birth, but migrated to the United States of America approximately 17 years ago. I have a physical disability (caused by a severe car accident when I was 18 years old), and as a result, my mobility in terms of walking is impaired to an extent.
The fact that I am able to get creative with my hands has been a tremendous coping mechanism and outlet for me as it relates to just dealing with the pressures of everyday life and doing something that’s purely for my mental health.
Can you talk about your journey with crafting?
I like to say I fell into crafting. I had always been artsy as a child – I loved to draw and hand make mementos for my friends and so – but it was never something that I had actively pursued. When I became pregnant with my daughter and was planning my baby shower, my sister in law suggested that we make paper flower décor. We had no idea what we were doing. I googled, watched YouTube videos, hand cut petals and created some paper flowers for the backdrop. I thought they were the most gorgeous things ever. (Fast-forward to when I started crafting with my Cricut machines, I then realized how hideous those flowers really were.)
When the pandemic hit, my husband gifted me my first Cricut machine, the Joy, as an anniversary gift. I started to dip my toe into the crafting world in a more structured and organized way and less than a year after that, he gifted me a Maker for my birthday. Needless to say, I haven’t looked back since and crafting has become a constant in my life since getting that first machine in 2020.
What is Crafted Avec Amour all about?
During my last semester in college, I studied abroad in Paris, France. So when thinking about a handle for my Instagram page when I decided to start sharing my crafts on social media, Crafted Avec Amour (crafted with love) seemed like a no brainer. Avec Amour means “with love” in French, so that is what I wanted to relate in my brand so that people could know my handmade creations were being crafted with love. On Instagram ( which is the social media platform that I predominantly use), Crafted Avec Amour is mainly about sharing tutorials, inspiration, tips and diy-s as it relates specifically to crafting. Although I do from time to time, take one off orders, I currently craft mainly for enjoyment and create for my daughter and immediate family.
Where do you get your inspiration?
My daughter is at the age where there is so much she is involved with and as a result, I craft mainly with her in mind and as my major source of inspiration. I’m always making stuff for her school events, or her friends or for her parties. But, I also garner much inspiration from other crafters as well. The main thing about being a crafter is to ensure that you don’t duplicate another person’s work. Delve into your own creative pot and although you may take inspiration from someone else, try to customize your crafts so that you have your own authentic style.
Paw Patrol™ themed decor created by Samantha for her daughter.
What have been the most challenging and rewarding parts of turning your hobby into an entrepreneurial venture?
When I started Crafted Avec Amour, I did not start my account as a business venture but more of a creative outlet and to share what I was creating. Although I still craft mainly as a hobby and haven’t transitioned fully to an entrepreneurial venture, one of the most challenging aspects of hobby crafting vs. crafting as a business is the time constraints. As a hobby crafter you have the ability to craft as time permits, but when you have to fulfill orders, you work with specific timeframes and as such, you have to manage many more variables.
With regards to the most rewarding aspect, crafting is in itself its own reward whether you do it as a hobby or entrepreneurial. The fact that you are able to create something (with your own hands) that you dreamed up and designed and then either make money from your creation or enjoy it yourself or gift it, is to me it’s own reward.
Do you have any advice for those who are brand new to paper-crafting, but want to start? Any advice or lessons you can share for those who want to start a business?
For anyone who is new to paper crafting or want to start paper crafting, the best advice I can give you is to stop trying to compare what you create to someone else’s creation. As someone who mainly shares paper flower tutorials, I get a lot of comments that say, “I tried to make this flower but it doesn’t look like yours”. I have posted this advice on my social media and I like to reiterate it as many times as I can – because these creations are handmade, no two pieces will look exactly alike. Don’t strive for that as I do believe it’s somewhat unrealistic. Also, keep practicing. If you create something once and it doesn’t meet your expectations, don’t give up. Progressing your art takes time and practice so always remember the more you do something, the better you get at it.
I notice that you sometimes collaborate with other makers on social media. Could you share with us how some of those relationship began, how you promote each other’s work, and if/how that has grown your business/following?
I believe that in any venture you can’t operate in isolation. Likewise, in the crafting world, especially if you want to promote your work, you have to engage with other accounts similar to yours- it’s the nature of social media if you want to have visibility. Everyone likes to have their work acknowledged/recognized and if you see another crafter’s work that inspires you or is just amazing, it costs you nothing but mere seconds to engage with that post, to like it, comment on it and share it.
Many people want the same acknowledgment for their work and once you engage with their work and content, it becomes much easier for them to reciprocate that same engagement with your work and thereby help to promote your account and your art. I have benefited significantly from engaging and collaborating with other accounts as it has awarded me opportunities to work with many amazing companies, like Printworks.
How do you manage your time with life/family and creating such beautiful designs?
Because crafting acts as an outlet for me, I get very antsy when I’m not able to create for a period of time. I’ve become better at prioritizing chunks of time to craft. I work when my daughter is at school so that I can be committed to her when she is home. I also plan out my schedule for the week in terms of what I’d like to work on and then chip away at it during designated time frames. Don’t get me wrong, there are still many unfinished projects in my craft area and on my wish list to create, but I try to prioritize as things come up as it relates to what is most important for me to make or work on.
Do you have a favorite holiday/life event to create for?
I love creating for major holidays because I like to decorate my home seasonally and for the major holidays. Christmas is a fave of mine with Easter, Halloween and Valentine’s Day all coming in close behind as well. I also like creating party decor so whenever I have to throw a get together or party, my hands get restless as I must create some sort of craft whether it be a banner, cake topper or paper flowers to complement the theme of the party.
With all of the different options available to express one’s creativity, why do you choose paper?
It’s true that paper is my main medium that I use to craft with and in my opinion it was the easiest thing to begin with when I got my cutting machine. Because my first crafting experience was with paper flowers, it was a natural progression to keep using paper. I also like the intricacies of piecing layered paper projects together as I find it calming and therapeutic. I also love colors (if that wasn’t already evident from my Instagram feed 😊), and the options available in paper allows me to create with beautiful colors.
Where do you see Crafted Avec Amour in the future?
My plans for Crafted Avec Amour is to be able to offer digital templates, specifically paper flower templates in a more streamlined way than I currently do. I also would like to do more collaborations and partnerships with crafting businesses as I enjoy the content making and creation aspect of crafting very much. Ideally, I would also love to have my daughter work with me and become a dynamic mommy/daughter crafting duo (am I getting ahead of myself? Lol).
Follow Samantha on Instagram to stay up to date with her latest projects.
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