MAKER HIGHLIGHT: SARA KIM
Today we are super excited to highlight Sara Kim, founder and designer of Handmade By Sara Kim. Sara is a pioneer in her industry, and contagiously passionate about what she makes—beautiful paper blooms of all sorts. She is a frequent workshop instructor at our shop—and has four coming up!
From paper flowers to succulents, macrame to violin, motherhood to business...Sara has experience in a variety of areas, and we're excited to share some of her thoughts on crafting, business, and self-care with you.
Hi Sara! Welcome! Tell us a bit about yourself—Where are you from? What do you do? In other words...what's your story?
My name is Sara Kim and I spent most of my childhood in Burbank, CA. I graduated with a Bachelors Degree in Music, violin performance. I ran a small in home music lesson business for 10 years and somewhere in between I picked up scrapbooking as a hobby. I would initially make cards and bows for my students, family and friends. I also made jewelry and everything crafty. I officially launched Handmade By Sara Kim to sell my handmade goods on October 10, 2010. It was an online store with handmade cards, bows, jewelry, bags, and even scarves. Over the years, I gradually let go of my music career and transitioned full time into HandmadeBySaraKim. I have taught myself various skills, from how to make jewelry, paper and fabric flowers, bridal accessories...even graphic design and photography. I ventured into the wedding industry, worked with numerous wedding vendors, designed for BHLDN [by Anthropologie] and was featured on various wedding blogs. [Making] paper flowers has been a huge passion of mine but I found myself never having enough man power to fulfill orders so I started teaching paper flower workshops in July 2014. I wanted to take your typical paint and wine class to the next level—so it would be a great idea for a night-out with your girlfriends to make paper flowers and even use for their weddings, bridal showers, birthdays...etc.
How did you get into making paper flowers?
I have always loved scrapbooking, card making, origami, and really anything paper related. I made paper flowers while making some decorations for an event and overtime it has evolved into the flowers I make now. When I first made them, there wasn't Pinterest or social media, so there were just a few tutorials out there on Youtube...it really was a trial and error process which is my favorite part of this art.
You have some workshops coming up at M.Lovewell! What can your attendees expect?
We have our regular paper flower workshop which is offered year round; we go through standard paper flowers and several different variations of it. I do not use any special tools, cutting machines, or stencils so it really is a true creative process throughout the class. The best part is when you see everyone's flowers at the end of class, and see how different they are, which is so special and truly mimics nature! We also have a paper succulent + macrame workshop where everyone gets to learn how to make succulents, then pot them! We make a simple macrame hanging for these succulents, which always gives these workshops a special direction.
Our holiday paper flower workshop is amazing since it's everyone's favorite time of year! We'll make paper poinsettias, pine cones, and branches, and a small wreath at the end. These are great gifts for the holidays—you could add these paper flowers onto cards, wrapped gifts, directly on your Christmas tree like an ornament, holiday party favors...There are endless ways to make these and gift them during holidays!
What do you love most about what you do?
I love that I can always make a gift for every occasion for friends and family. Baby girl shower gifts are my favorite since I can spoil them with little headbands, hair accessories, and paper flower garlands.
Tell us a bit about your creative process and how you began this creative adventure...
My creative process always involves a lot of morning walks through my historic neighborhood (not really for exercising, but more for inspiration). It has tons of orange trees, rose bushes, eucalyptus trees. Whenever I need inspiration, I always resort to my morning walks, even though they take discipline! My job was flexible when I was teaching music and with the time I had, I was able to really find inspiration, enjoy it, and experiment with it.
For someone looking to start a creative venture of their own, what tokens of wisdom do you have for them?
Number one is consistency. I love to look at it like learning violin as a kid. Practice makes perfect, and it took my whole life to be able to perform on stage as a violinist. It won't happen overnight, but with consistency, you'll see the progress you are wanting. I have yet to master the violin or what I make at home, it's still a work in progress and will always be. Also, networking has been such a huge part of my business. I am 99% introvert so networking is always a challenge; but overtime I realized the people I knew and supported me are the reason my business has made it this far!
What is your favorite creative tool or supply?
My best friend is the glue gun. I recommend the Martha Stewart one: it's cute (very important) and it has the best low temp setting. I went through tons of different glue guns and some are too hot or too cold and the Martha Stewart glue gun was the best medium.
What is your favorite way to recharge after a long day?
It's nice to recharge with family and friends, and some good food—creating a safe place. I also like to veg out on Pinterest.
What does self-care look like for you?
Working from home and being a new mom, it's so easy to roll out of bed and just go to my home office, but I try my best to get dressed like I'm going into work outside of the home—it really makes me feel better and not lose myself in the chaos of juggling work and mom life. I am also part of a women's ministry at my church where we meet weekly, and it's a safe place for me to be real with my life and be kept accountable, whether it is for my spiritual growth, marriage or learning to be a mommy, as well as my life and business goals. Self care is so important, both inside and out.
Interested in making some paper beauties with Sara? Check out one (or all!) of her upcoming workshops:
Paper Flowers November 11th
Paper Succulents+Macrame November 25th
And, of course, HOLIDAY PAPER FLOWERS on December 9th and December 16th!
Hope to see you there!