Hey there everyone, my name is Sean, and I sometimes help out Sierra with the blog for New Origin Shop. I...also happen to be her husband (aww).
Anyway, this year we started doing "Meet the Maker" posts where we get to know some of the exceptionally talented artists and small business owners behind the brands that New Origin Shop hosts.
And with the absolute dumpster fire that is 2020 finally coming to a close, we wanted the last blog post of the year to be a positive one. With that in mind, we’re looking at 7 of our favorite quotes from the makers we featured on the blog in 2020.
First up, we asked jewelry maker Fredric Savhad, What is the biggest lesson he’s learned since starting his brand, Soul Rebel. His answer was:
"I learned to not set expectations to avoid disappointment. I learned to just let things be what they were gonna be. As long as I worked hard and be true to myself I would be successful."
- Frederic Savhad, Owner of Soul Rebel
I think that’s a lesson every maker and artist could take to heart. Sometimes you just have to let yourself play without the pressure of “making something great”. There’s always a possibility that someone isn’t going to like your stuff...but there’s also always the possibility that you’re going to make someone’s favorite thing ever.
Now, New Origin Shop hosts a few skincare brands, but one of the first ever brands to partner with the shop was Our Village. The brand has this philosophy that aims to “cultivate a space for people to find love within”. We asked the owner, Meagan Cook, why this philosophy? And she told us:
“Because I think we forget about ourselves way too much. True love for ourselves takes time and a boatload of courage. I want people to fall in love with themselves, their minds, their freckles, their skin tones, their everything.”
- Meagan Cook, Owner of Our Village
I don’t know about you guys, but this is something that I struggle with and am learning to overcome every day. For instance, this video is a small step to learning how to love my tired muppet-sounding voice. But look, there’s enough negative stuff out there in the world working against you, you don’t need any added negativity coming from within. Right?
Alright, next up we spoke to Jimmy Jackson, of Flame Candle Co.. He’s a fellow Texas maker and longtime friend of the shop. The brand is pretty active on Instagram, offering live videos and tutorials. We asked him about how he’s managed to make that platform work so well for him.
“I find it to be a great platform to share product information, tutorials and just connect with customers in a much more personal way. Since we are not currently attending markets, it allows for a similar type of interaction, but virtually.”
- Jimmy Jackson, Co-Owner of Flame Candle Co.
Small business owners live and die by the community that they cultivate. One of the silver linings of this year is that, more than ever, it seems like everyone is trying to stay more connected to each other.
New Origin Shop has been far more active on Instagram this year, and thanks to that we’re coming up on 6,000 followers which is nuts since we started out with just our friends and family following us. (And hey, just between you and me, follow @neworiginshop if you haven’t already...it’ll make Sierra really happy).
Alright, with that shameless plug out of the way, let’s talk about Hannah Armstrong for a second. She’s the owner of Quiet Cricket Studio, and has a background in Ethnobotany. She uses a lot of interesting ingredients in her natural deodorants, candles, serums and more. We asked her about her process when it comes to making new blends. She told us:
“This is one area that’s a lot of fun for me. When I’m concocting a new recipe, I play with different ingredients that speak to me until I find a combination I like. There’s a lot of trial and tweaking. I research each ingredient to learn about it’s history, harvesting and processing practices.”
- Hannah Armstrong, Owner of Quiet Cricket Studio
The thing that I take away from this is that you shouldn’t be afraid to really lean in to what you love and what you know. Be an unapologetic nerd about something. I guarantee you that you’ll find a community or audience that will embrace you and appreciate your passion and your knowledge.
Next up, we talked to Jaydee Devine, the owner of Shop Uh-Huh. We couldn't help but noticed that she used friends as models on her website. When we asked her about this, she gave us some insight on her thoughts on collaboration and networking:
“I absolutely love collaborating with other creatives...As I mentioned before, leverage your network! If you admire someone’s work, reach out and let them know! You never know what kind of relationships will be built through those connections.”
- Jaydee Devine, Owner of Shop Uh-Huh
Being a maker can be pretty isolating. You’re often spending many hours alone toiling away on a project. And as such, your network becomes everything to you. It’s there to revel in your success, and cheer you on when things get hard.
And the more you collaborate and build your network, the more opportunities tend to appear. I mean, if New Origin Shop hadn’t took the chance to reach out to our network, we wouldn’t have even had our Meet the Maker series...or a shop for that matter.
Ok, this year we also spoke to Sarah Miller, the owner of Awkward Auntie. We wanted to know how her 2020 was going, and she told us an anecdote that sounded very familiar:
“June was an especially crazy month due to all of the support for black businesses and makers...I think black creators, makers and business[es] have had to figure out how to rectify the fact that business is good due to the reaction of bad things happening in our community.”
- Sarah Miller, Owner of Awkward Auntie
Sarah also mentioned feelings of guilt about her success in 2020. New Origin Shop also saw a lot of growth this year, obviously, around the same time—which Sierra and I had a few conversations about. And I imagine a lot of black-owned businesses wrestled with the same internal conflict and guilt this year. Like Sarah, we decided to move forward, appreciating the support and the exposure but also doing our best to earn repeat business and continued success.
Last, but certainly not least, we caught up with the owner of Conscious Goods, KC McDaniel. And that brand name isn’t just for show. Conscious Goods is one of the most environmentally friendly brands in New Origin Shop. We asked KC about the brand’s commitment to sustainability. Here’s a little of what she had to say:
“From the sourcing of ingredients, packaging and shipping materials, every tiny detail has a lot of thought and love in it. That’s why we use fair trade ingredients and why every single-use product is in 100% compostable packaging. I obsess about every tiny detail to make it easier for our customers to feel good about what they buy.”
- KC McDaniel, Owner of Conscious Goods
New Origin Shop has always tried to be as eco-friendly as possible because we believe that people ultimately want to do good things for the planet—especially when you make it easy for them. But it’s not just about being sustainable, I think that if you’re a brand that believes in something positive and commits to it—your audience will appreciate it. That could be a commitment to the environment, social justice, or other humanitarian efforts.
Wow, so this year we definitely learned a lot from the makers we talked to.
We learned that we should allow ourselves to play and work at the same time.
We need to love ourselves a little more.
We should try and stay connected (in a good way).
We should be unapologetic about our passions.
Embrace our network and lean on our communities.
Understand that our good days and bad days aren’t always going to be mutually exclusive.
And try our best to do a little bit of good out there in the world when we can.
These are all fantastic lessons, and I can’t wait to see what we learn next year as we continue this series. If you’re interested in seeing more, you can check out the full interviews with all of these makers on the New Origin Shop blog. Thanks again everyone for your support, have a happy new year and we’ll see you in 2021!