Maker Spotlight: Rachel Soares of Ye Old Stamping Grounds


Ola! I’m Rachel, and I’ve been a microbusiness owner for a little over three years. This is Ye Old Stamping Grounds’ origin story.

On a cold January day in 2015, I excitedly ripped open a package. Instead of a surge of satisfaction, I felt deflated as I realized the hand-stamped custom key chain I had ordered for my boyfriend, Josh, wasn't going to work. The font was way more flowery than I wanted, and the key chain tag was so thin, you could see the reverse imprint of the message on the back.

There was no way I could give this as a gift. So I channeled my disappointment, went into research mode, and figured out how to produce what I had originally envisioned. I wanted something with a clean and modern font – something gender neutral. I learned that each letter had to be stamped individually to create the design. How hard could that be, I thought.

I ordered all the supplies, waited for more packages to arrive, and finally set to work. The first time my brass hammer hit the stamp with a satisfying *thunk*, I knew I was hooked. It brought me back to my tap dancing days ... you just find your rhythm and bring in da noise!

Turns out, it’s pretty hard to keep the letters aligned and figure out spacing before you run out of room. But I kept practicing, watched YouTube tutorials, looked for tips online, and eventually felt confident enough to make Josh’s key chain.

After Josh loved his gift, I made more for friends. That's when I started to consider following my father's footsteps to open my own version of a small business. In reviewing e-commerce options, I looked back at my Etsy profile. I realized my very first purchase on Etsy, back in 2008, was a hand-stamped "lucky" penny - another gift for a friend. I took it as a sign, and officially opened my Etsy shop.

As a woman and a feminist, it is empowering to own my microbusiness. I have a creative outlet that I can share with the world, and have an income stream that helps pay the bills. Coming up with new designs is one of my favorite activities, and I treat each key chain as a small metal canvas. I draw inspiration from what I’m passionate about.

I’ve always found the expression ‘love you to the moon and back’ a well-intentioned but a little odd. After all, the moon is the closest object to Earth. My scientific and rational brain thought – why not Pluto? Aim farther away to more meaningfully demonstrate the depth of love. Enter the “I love you to Pluto and back” key chain design, which can be customized to any destination – in the Milky Way or in a galaxy far, far away (yes, please ask me about my fandoms).

I’ve worked as a diversity champion for over 8 years, and that influences my key chains. I can’t help but bring my admiration of feminist writers, like paying tribute to the late, great Maya Angelou through the “still I rise” design. One of her most famous poems, the quote is perfect for overcoming challenges and inspiring perseverance. I also love my feminist twist on the British Special Air Service motto with “She who dares, wins.” Who doesn’t need a reminder to embrace boldness and take some risks every now and then?

My designs help me make connections with people. At a craft market last year, a young girl and her father come up to my booth. My bell hooks “feminism is for everybody” design was on display, and she pointed to it, asking me what feminism meant. Now, I know the word feminism can be fraught with negative connotations, and glancing at her father’s face, he was a bit panicky. But I simply told her what I believe: that to be a feminist, you think that men and women should be equal. She thought about it and nodded her agreement. I like to think that I added a young woman, and maybe her dad, to the cause that day!

When creating my designs, I try to remember that a key chain is something people see and use every day. I firmly believe that it should be quirky and fun, reflecting your personal style and taste. Make your keys (and you) happy with a playful key chain from Ye Old Stamping Grounds.  Available 24/7 online:

SHOP: Etsy

VISUAL: Instagram @yeoldstampinggrounds and Pinterest @yeoldstamping

READ: Facebook @yeoldstamping

Maker Spotlight is part of a month long series during Maker/National Craft Month, where NY Handmade Collective artists and Etsy small business shop owners are featured. They share a bit about themselves and their craft, helping to create connection between them, the team, and our reader and customer base. We hope you enjoy learning about and seeing the people behind our multi-faceted handmade collective.

Etsy NY Rocks BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn!

Etsy NY has fantastic news to chase away your hump-day doldrums this week: Wednesday, June 8th marks the opening night concert for the 37th season of BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! This music festival is one of New York City’s longest running outdoor performing arts concerts. Launched in 1979 to reinvigorate Brooklyn's performing arts scene and to bring people back into neglected Prospect Park, BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! was an early anchor in the park’s revitalization. Across the years, the festival has presented over 2,000 artists and ensembles reflective of the borough’s diversity.

What does this have to do with Etsy NY, you say? We've partnered with BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! for the past five years, and we're excited to work with them again this summer, running the sole merchandise booth!

Everyone loves a memento of an amazing concert experience, and Etsy NY is here to deliver. This is not your typical merchandise tent. Of course we'll have BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! goodies for sale, but you can also check out a carefully curated, all-handmade capsule market chock-full of goods made by Etsy NY local artists – your friendly staff during all the shows. Come in and talk shop to find out more about our handmade market collective, the techniques that go into producing our wares, or just to say hi when you need a dance break. Whether you are a local Brooklynite or a visitor to the borough, we're sure you'll find something to love.

Can't wait until tomorrow to see what's on tap this year? Here's a sneak peek of the Etsy NY makers to tide you over!

Rachel is the force behind Ye Old Stamping Grounds - your source for fun and quirky hand-stamped metal keychains, bottle openers, and carabiners. Her designs are inspired by Brooklyn, music, wanderlust, geek pride, and emojis. Put a smile on your face each time you use your keys. The lightweight and modern designs also work great as gifts.

Designed and made in Brooklyn, traceytoole designs creates everything your picnic needs. Denim picnic blankets, Hawaiian-style pillows, cloth napkins, and even something for the kids. Keep the little ones entertained with their own artist roll-up kit complete with color-me fabric and markers.

Suniq makes one-of-a-kind upcycled clothing and accessories. Upcycling makes her happy as she gives each piece a new life. Her one-of-a-kind designs can be worn many different ways.

Suit Up Peanut was created in 2014 - the day owner Maddy's nephew was born. Using Carter brand's amazingly soft cotton onesies and tee shirts, her clever designs are the perfect addition to any child's wardrobe, all at an affordable price.

Slope Girl Knits specializes in handmade personalized gifts and decorations to make the most special moments matter more. From hats, headbands, and scarves to buntings and tote bags, all items are knit, sewn, crocheted and embroidered in Brooklyn, NY by Emily herself.

Rock That Gem is owned by Molly, a gemologist working in the jewelry industry for over fourteen years! Using her gem skills and expertise, she chooses the very best stones to create fabulous necklaces, earrings, bracelets, and rings.

Rising Phoenixx makes all-natural bath and body products using simple and uncomplicated ingredients. Each item is formulated by Coleen Phoenixx, a mercurial, multi-tasking, do-it-all diva. Her products keep up with her rock n' roll life style, and yours!

Located in Brooklyn, Prairiefunk specializes in modern, easy-to-wear hammered metal and natural gemstone jewelry inspired by the artisans of antiquity. These elegant, eclectic, and stylish pieces can be worn in multiple ways.

Naturally Susan's products are what your sensitive skin is craving, with ingredients that stay as pure to nature as possible. Susan's products are effective, long lasting, and versatile. You'll want to add these eco-friendly, travel-friendly, and cruelty-free options to your daily routine.

konnichiwagrl makes quirky cards and other little accessories that serve as both an easy way to say "hey!" or a strike up a conversation. What's better than sharing a mutual love of pizza or poop than wearing one or gifting it to a friend?

Kaibelle creates block-printed stationery, textiles, and home decor. All designs are inspired by organic forms, hand-carved, and printed by hand in Brooklyn.

Jes Switaj creates unique and eye-catching graphic designs. These images are screen printed onto t-shirts, blankets, and handmade silk neckties.

J. Topolski hand-carves and acid-etches jewelry inspired by the city and animals. Don't miss the limited release special-edition charm jewelry just created for the Bandshell!

Brooklyn Owl creates magical unicorn horns, monster horns, and mermaid hair clips that are the perfect addition to any imaginative play adventure. Brighten a child's day with these Brooklyn made hair accessories.

Be in the Moment jewelry was established in 2010 with an eye for creating functional and original wearable artisan jewelry. Melissa works to create colorful and unique enamel jewelry as well as beautiful sterling silver bracelets and rings, perfect for every occasion.

Aperture Agog is a mischievous blend of photography, stationery, and textile art inspired by dirty NYC. You won't be able to resist these unique pieces of art!

Follow along with our adventures on the Etsy NY BRIC Celebrate Brooklyn! Facebook page!

See you at the Bandshell!

Wednesday, June 8th is the free opening night concert featuring Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings (6:30PM Gates, 8:15PM Show). Motown comeback queen Sharon Jones, and the Dap-Kings, the beating heart of Bushwick-based Daptone Records, are hellbent on topping their legendary 2010 closing night show. Check out the video for a behind-the-scenes look at the making of Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings' 2014 Grammy nominated album "Give the People What They Want."

Post by Rachel Soares // xoxo from NYC // Ye Old Stamping Grounds // Instagram // Facebook

Fabulous 5 Friday and this weekend's Markets

Happy Friday! It's finally here! Do you believe it? Of course you do because it was a short week. Most of us had Monday off.  Today I am doing something special.  I am bringing you a combo of Fabulous 5 Friday and where you can find them this weekend.  June has lots going on. So if you need a Dad's Day gift or something for the grad I am sure you can find it from one of our makers.

Saturday June 4, in Park Slope Brooklyn is PS 321 Metro Flea

SdV designs

SdV Designs creates beautiful jewelry and you can find this African Dancer Remix statement necklace from Saskia.   Or get it right here in her Etsy Shop

On the Upper Eastside is Popup NY and you can find beautifully crocheted creations from Billoware Jewelry.  I love the simplistic yet entangled beauty of these bracelets. 

Stock up on your stationery and get your Father's day and Grad's day cards from Tamara Garvey at Artists and Fleas  in Williamsburg Brooklyn.  

FAD Weekend is a new market happening on Sundays in Boerum Hill Brooklyn at 22 Boerum Place. This will run thru June then move to a new location.  A well curated market, indoors with air conditioning, coffee, and other treats to snack on while you shop.  Different vendors every Sunday so you are sure to find something new.  It's right above the MTA Transit Museum which is a must see.  

ye Old Stamping Grounds at FAD Weekend

Wandering Laur is an amazing artist and a very sweet woman.  I love this alphabet poster as a grad gift for the little one in your life. Or if the older grad and animal lover in your life. You can find Wandering Laur at the Renegade Craft on Saturday at the East River State Park in Williamsburg Brooklyn.

It was hard to choose my Five picks this Friday. So many fabulous finds at markets this weekend all over the city! Get out there and shop local for your dad or grad this weekend!

Happy Friday!

Tracey  |