Have you heard? It's International Women's Day tomorrow. We would love to celebrate all of the fantastic women we have met and connected with through London Makers Market, but unfortunately, there wouldn't be enough room on this post to include everyone.
We would like to introduce you to Paper Kites Studio who is taking part in our 'Chats with Makers' series. Founder Yara Bou-Antoun hopes to reflect empowerment, positivity and connection through her stunning paper cuttings.
Why not add a personal touch and impress your family and friends with Yara's work. She offers bespoke options such as family trees, initial designs, personalised cards, affirmations, and much more.
We are looking forward to catching up with Yara tomorrow evening!
Monday 8th March - Paper Kites Studio x LMM Instagram Takeover and Live at 6pm.
Tell us a little more about Paper Kites Studio.
Paper Kites Studio is a brand focused on positivity, empowerment and connection.
These sentiments are brought to life through the art of paper cutting. My paper cuts are framed and presented as wall art and I also have a range of greeting cards.
I like to offer personalisation across many of my designs because I want my customer to connect with their piece.
When did your business first start and what made you take the leap?
It started over 6 years ago when I decided to design my own wedding invitation and stationery, this was my first paper cut design and it sparked my passion for this illustrative style. For years I was making paper cuts for friends and family.
After having my second child, I decided that I had a unique opportunity that offered me time to open an Etsy shop. As with most creatives, there is always doubt and confidence issues but at the end of the day, if you see an opportunity to at least try and do something that you're passionate about, you have to take it.
Of course, I had no idea how much time and work it would actually take but it’s been amazing to learn so much as the business has grown.
What is the process of making your work from start to finish?
If it is a personalised piece the first thing I do is tweak the design and add the requested information. Before I make the cut I always send my customer an image of the design to look over and check that it is as they wanted it. I then send images of the final paper cut on the chosen background colour.
I love framing my pieces and helping my customers find the perfect background colour for their order. Choosing the colour is usually the hardest part of the process!
I tend to gift wrap the item and then write a little thank you note or if it’s a gift I write a message from the customer on a gift tag or a card. Finally, I wrap the order in bubble wrap and box it up. I reuse bubble wrap from big furniture deliveries and kids toys (that makes me feel a bit better about creating unnecessary waste).
What do you most enjoy making and why?
Difficult question! I think my favourite piece to make would have to be the Family Tree. A family tree is so personal, it is usually bought as a gift and so I always end up having nice chats with my customers about their family and who the piece is for.
It is my most time-consuming piece to cut, there's lots of intricate lines and curves. Even after my Circuit has cut it I spend a good few hours perfecting the details. But then it's such a pleasure to see it finished and it always feels like an accomplishment.
How do you juggle looking after your children and running a business?
Not very well! I always wonder how other mothers are managing to juggle it all. I'm a parent by day and a businesswoman by night, which really means I'm just always tired. But I love my day job and my nightlife, so I just decided that I'm going to have it all.
What has been the biggest challenge you have faced within your business?
Juggling being a full-time mum and running a business. And the accounts and numbers, I just can’t get my head around it!
Which digital platforms and programs have helped shape your business?
Instagram is amazing for small businesses. I'm very lucky to have found myself in a supportive community of other creatives. There's also a wealth of knowledge and resources for how to build a small business on Insta. I’m currently trying to work out Pinterest, which I love as a user but as a business its a totally different story.
What advice would you give to someone beginning their small business journey?
Do a little research first, understand the basics, but then just do it. You learn so much as you grow.
Find one business coach that speaks to you and follow their advice, whether that's on how to use Instagram or how to build a newsletters list or whatever it might be. There's so much information out there and you will get bogged down with it all if you try to listen to everyone.
And, secondly, be accepting of change and growth.
Do you have anything exciting in the pipeline this year?
I'm currently working out the brief for a big commission that came my way. That's something very exciting for my business.
Otherwise, I’m working on a few ideas for some new designs and new products.
How can readers get in touch with you and find your shop?
My work is available on my website www.paperkitesstudio.co.uk. I have a contact form on there if anyone would like to get in touch. I am also on Instagram and I'm more than happy to chat on there as well.
If you've enjoyed this interview, or have any further questions for Yara, please get in touch. Join us on Monday 8th March at 6pm to find out more about Paper Kites Studio via Instagram Live.