"MEET the ARTISAN" is a blog series that spotlights Etsy New York Team artisans and their craft. In this feature, we learn more about Sara, the creator of S2 Stationery & Design.
Q: What is S2 Stationery & Design? Can you briefly describe your business for us?
A: S2 Stationery & Design is truly a company that uses "design" as a way to usher in communication in all aspects of our lives - personal, business, and everywhere else in between.
Q: Some artisans develop their products to meet consumer needs, while others craft products based on things and/or experiences that inspire them. What is the inspiration behind your business?
A: This questions could take this entire post. My inspiration is (and has been) largely based on experiences in every day life and while traveling. S2 was decided years ago in my youth (although I had no idea of it at the time), when I loved playing with paper. It came full circle after my father's death in 2009 while traveling around Italy after running the Rome Marathon. A dream woke me up at 3am one morning and I woke up knowing that this was my calling; my passion to pursue. It helps that I was in Italy, one of the most beautiful countries in the World and the colors, food, smells, and people inspired me daily.
To a degree, though, consumer needs is also an inspiration, although not the focal point. My stationery is not a life style brand. I'm hardly interested in keeping loyal customers, although I do love them and appreciate them! For me what is important is that a card or set of stationery inspires the customer to write and communicate their emotions. In other words, if a customer buys one card from S2 Stationery & Design and it allows them to be vulnerable and share sentiment that they might otherwise not, that is worth more than continuous sales from products that aren't necessary and are a strain to the environment. Should they return to me because the quality is top notch, or they really like my product, then great! But the idea that a card sale can turn into a potential pencil set sale, or an annual calendar sale is not my inspiration.
Q: Oftentimes, each artisan has a different strategy and objective for their business. What are the next steps for you and your business?
A: There are a lot of steps I want to take. My big goal for 2015 is the Stationery Show at the Javits Center. It's huge and the real deal. I'm also working on positioning my Etsy shop a bit more and separating the custom work from the social stationery. While custom work fits into the social stationery category, it is a different monster and requires a lot more effort and work. I'd love to have them parallel in building S2, but not as closely tied as they are now.
The other big thing is that I'm working on ways to integrate large scale communication. When I was a child we had pen pals and I loved my pen pals. While not trying to bring back pen pals, I'm thinking creatively on ways to bring about peace and acceptance through communication, food, and social stationery. In other words, 2015 is going to be busy!
Q: As many artisans look to grow and further develop their businesses, do you have some advice that you can share with fellow artisans?
A: Take it slow. Running a business is a lot of work. When I started, I thought I could do everything quickly and easily thanks to technology, but it's a lot of work. It can be overwhelming sometimes - so much so that a person can end up burned out fast. It's also important to know the difference between part-time and full-time business running. I quit my job earlier this year to focus on S2 full-time and it's been exhausting, frustrating, and at times I've almost called it quits. Yet, something has kept me fighting and that is the understanding that it all takes time. People who have relatively easy success had struggles, too. Just remember to breathe and if know that if you have the heart, you have the stomach.
Special thanks to Sara for sharing with us. You can find her products showcased on her Etsy shop at www.etsy.com/shop/S2StationeryDesign. And, details of her special product GIVEAWAYS are below. Please enter for your chance to win one of three "My Thankful Space" paper place mats!
A gorgeous decorative piece (and keepsake if food and water damage are minimal) to any Thanksgiving table, the "My Thankful Space" place mats are delicate, but sturdy and a great gift to give those giving thanks in your home. The larger, patterned paper is artisan paper from China. The top layer is a text weight (32lb) metallic paper to compliment the back layer. It is best to use a marker such as a sharpie to avoid smudging and for immediate drying. Each place mat is cut to approximately 12"x18" and assembled by hand.
Enter to win here! To enter simply, like the"S2 Stationery & Design" page on Facebook and/or this blog post, along with a comment with three things you are thankful for this Thanksgiving. Three (3) winners will be selected randomly for one of three sets of paper place mats. (Marker not included!)
One set of the white and silver place mats has 8; one set of blue and gold place mats has 10; one set of red and gold place mats has 10. Please include in your comment what color placements you prefer. Winners will be notified within 24 hours of being selected for shipping information. Good luck!