November 28, 2013

Handmade Marathon - isavirtue

Editor's Note:
I have been completely in love with Kaitlyn's shop isavirtue - her products are so fresh and interesting and UNIQUE.  Her note about celebrating special occasions has really struck a chord with me, so be sure to read on. 
P.S. Get out there and send more snail mail! 

Tell us about your business
isavirtue stationery is a personal passion for letter writing, mail art and daily surprises that turned into a handmade business. Using 8.5x11 sheets of paper, I create all sorts of letter writing and note making essentials including envelopes, writing paper, postcards, confetti and gift tags. Every piece contributes to the same general idea which is "going the distance to show that you care."

How did you get started?
In the summer of 2010 I worked for a gallery which was situated in a very removed outdoor country shopping centre. The centre had a very clear elderly demographic so there wasn't a lot nearby that interested me on my lunch hour! There was however, this awesome little stamp and paper shop. I signed up for a card making class and learned some really great inking techniques. However, afterwards all I could think about was how much I wanted to transfer what I'd learned to envelopes! And thusly the envelope obsession began. 

The gal/guy behind the business - Tell us about yourself, how do you spend your Saturday mornings, a little glimpse into your life, your family etc.
My life is all about doing the things I am passionate about - namely creating, planning, and art. I studied art in school, and have made it my mission ever since to surround myself with creators, and to make art a major part of my career. My life is always really busy because I love to be involved in multiple projects at once. This fall however, I hope to take more time for my stationery. It's always been a source of calm for me - something that will be important as we prepare for the arrival of our little one next spring!

What inspires you? Where does your creativity come from?
I am inspired by so many things! Colours, typography and unique images. I have ideaesthesia (also known as synaesthesia) so most of the time I don't really question the way I put text, colours and papers together. To me the letter "S" is red, and the month of "February" is green simply because it conceptually *feels* right to me. I craft the same way - I just do things because they feel right, and they make my heart at ease. 

What's one thing you would like to improve about your business?
I would like to improve my brand message. To me it's so clear "Write a letter! Don't let Hallmark say it all for you! Take the extra time on your loved ones! Handmade is better!." But I'm not sure that I'm really conveying all of that properly when I list and sell my products. 

What is the best gift you have ever given or received?
I LOVE to give gifts. Of course I enjoy receiving them as well (that's why snail mail is so wonderful! It's like a little surprise gift in your mailbox when you least expect it!). The anticipation of waiting for someone to open a gift is pure delight for me. Last Christmas I made a commitment to learn new skills, and to create every gift by hand. I learned coptic book binding and made photo albums and journals. I was taught to knit and I made scarves and cowls. I learned needle felting and made adorable little ornaments. Unfortunately I didn't live near my family last year so I don't get to see how they were received - but I do know that there is a distinct joy in giving something handmade rather than something plastic, storebought, or something that they were expecting.  

How do you celebrate special occasions?
When it comes to special occasions I think we place too much pressure on "the moment." That moment when someone comes home to a surprise party. That moment when someone blows out the candles. That moment when the kids open their Christmas gifts. That moment when we all sit around a turkey giving thanks. Those moments are wonderful but they sometimes don't turn out as we'd hoped, especially if we focus too intently on them. I like to revel in all of the moments leading up to an occasion. For Christmas in particular I start preparing months in advance. Not because I'm one of those annoying people who stretches the holiday out to an unbearable length. Simply because it's all those other moments that make it special - stringing the lights, decorating the tree, sending out cards, making gifts and listening to carols.  

What do you do when you make time for yourself (you and only you)
If you can believe it, creating stationery is right up there on the list of things I do to make myself happy. It's a pleasant reprieve to come home after work and be able to do something crafty and fun - especially after six years of post secondary and an endless series of readings and homework. I also love to read fiction novels - the kind that totally entrench your mind. I always feel a little bit guilty when I'm in the middle of a really good book!

Loving Kaitlyn's Products? Use one of these discount codes for your purchase.

ISAVIRTUEHOLIDAY - 15% off anything throughout the holiday
ISAVIRTUEJINGLE - 30% off holiday items or orders over $20 that include at least one holiday item

You can find more isavirtue here: 

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