Tell me a little bit about yourself!
Drawing, painting, sketching, and creating things was something I did ever since I could hold a crayon! I always knew art would play a role in my future but was not always sure what the medium would be, which has taken me on a journey that has finally led me here! I graduated from FIDM with a degree in fashion design which led me to work in the corporate fashion world. It made me realize I was not fit for a cubicle job and I found it very unsatisfying to work for a big company that didn't do much for the world we live in and I missed working with my hands as everything is so digital these days.
This led me to start making custom cakes and at the same time I got to go to South Africa with TOMS shoes in 2007. I met a group called Food4Africa who provides meals for toddlers and children in poverty stricken areas of South Africa. Their work really inspired me and shaped my future-- the whole F4A team has become very special to me and to this day we continue to keep in touch via email.
I came back to California with a new mission to help support Food4Africa's work by donating proceeds from cakes that I made to help provide meals. Eventually I left fashion, and started making lots of custom cakes! I got burnt out and created a children's clothing line with my friend. Then while freelancing in fashion to make ends meet, I came up with the idea to make paper goods that would give back, which leads me to where I am today!
I feel like I have been searching for what I wanted to do with my life for many years and finally found it after exploring different options! I am inspired everyday by the different non-profits I pair my items with and the amazing work they do for people and animals all over the world.
When I am not creating items for the shop and working on atiliay, I love to hang out with my 2 rescue dogs and 3 rescue kitties, watch the Amazing Race and think about what to do for my audition tape, bake / cook / eat vegan food, listen to music, blog, read, and find things to make out of pallets on Pinterest. :)
Where did the name of your store come from?
atiliay is a play off the French word "atelier" which means workshop. I feel that my shop / site / blog is my workshop and wanted to spell it the way I felt like it was pronounced. I also liked the idea of creating a new name and not using something that already existed.
Why did you start making goods for atiliay?
atiliay was born in December of 2012 while I was driving home in rush hour traffic from a freelance job that I could not wait to be over! I was trying to think of ways to fundraise for a preschool in South Africa I sponsor and thought, what if I did a Valentine's Day fundraiser where you can donate $5 and I will send a handmade Valentine's Day card to the person of your choice? So many people buy gifts and cards for Valentine's Day, I thought it may work and the idea of spreading love to others on a day we celebrate love seemed to make sense! I am happy to say the fundraiser was a success and with the help of many card senders, we raised enough money to provide meals for The EEC preschool is South Africa for over a year! Because we were able to do that, I thought what if I continued to make paper goods to raise funds for additional non-profits as well? That was how atiliay came to be, to fulfill my passion for art and creativity as well as put something positive into this world.
What is your favorite item?
I really love the nom nom nom / all gone! gift boxes! I think they are really fun with the hidden message inside for recipients once they empty out the box. I really like little surprises and fun details and I think this makes people smile! My other favorite item is the succulent print, I really like both elements of the piece-- the block printed outline as well as the colorful watercolors. I also really like the cat in the box card, which is inspired by my cats because they are obsessed with boxes and sometimes I just see their little ears peeking up :)
What is your most popular item?
On Etsy my most popular item are the nom nom nom / all gone! and peony gift boxes, that have been shipped across the US, to Abu Dhabi, and Australia to be used as favor boxes for weddings! I haven't done too many shows yet, but so far it seems the I'll Eat You Up and Flowers In My Hair prints catch people's eyes when I am at an event.
Where do you get the inspiration for your work?
Everywhere! I get inspired from quotes, art, music and song lyrics, my dogs and cats, places I have been to, and experiences I have had, interior design, fashion, and pop culture. I also look at what is trending now and how I can incorporate that into my work and style and turning it into a product that will last through the years. I am also inspired and motivated everyday but the non-profits I support and all the amazing work they do.
What makes your store unique?
Every item has an element that is hand finished- such as hand carved stamps that are individually printed or hand painted details. It makes every item special and I hope that when someone receives a card or one of my items they can tell a lot of thought and love went into it. I also pair each item with a non-profit, so when you purchase an item from atiliay, a portion of the proceeds will be donated. It is an easy way for everyone to support great causes around the world and spread the love! I talk about the organizations and how my customers have helped on my blog, social media, and newsletter so everyone knows what they have contributed, which I think is very important!
What is the toughest part about making your goods/your artistic process?
I would say the most frustrating part is making a mistake when you are almost done with an item-- like I may be stamping the last image onto a card or art print and I accidentally drop the stamp or smear the paper. I hate wasting paper (I do use all my mess ups as scratch paper and recycle!) and having to start all over again, but on a positive note it forces me to be very in the moment when I am making each item. The other part that is tough is scaling my business- I love the fact that ever item is handmade, but it makes it tough to produce on a mass / wholesale scale. I am still figuring out a balance between reproducing items while adding that little touch of hand-finished detail.
Do you take custom orders?
Yes! One of the things I love most about Etsy and my business is creating a custom order for one of my customers. It's a lot of fun to collaborate and see an idea come to life! If someone is interested in a custom order, they can always send me an email or message and go from there. Any listing in my Etsy shop can also be customized by adding a note to the seller or sending me a message. The timeline depends on what else is on my plate, quantity, and difficulty of the piece but that is the first thing I discuss with customers so that they will get their item on time! The most popular custom order items in my shop are bridal shower invitations and matching recipe cards.
When is the last day I can order in time for Christmas Day?
I recommend people to order as early as possible just to be on the safe side, especially during the holidays when post offices can be busier than usual! I will continue to ship items as I receive the orders. I normally mail via USPS First Class, which takes about 3 - 5 days to deliver in the US. When it is more economic I also ship using Priority mail. If you want something rushed, just let me know and I can create a listing for you for an item with Express shipping.
Where can I see more of your work and buy a gift?
Are you going to be at any shows soon, so I can see your work in person and say hello?
Here are upcoming events, I also have an events section on my site.
December 1st, Sunday // Patchwork Show - Santa Ana
A modern creative festival with handmade local goods from 100+ vendors
Downtown Santa Ana – 2nd @ Sycamore Street // 11 – 5PM
December 7th, Saturday // CITYstage Holiday Showcase Fundraiser
CITYstage is an amazing non-profit inspiring inner-city youth to become artists, leaders, and member of the performing arts community in a program that cultivates individuality, fitness, and artist expression. Hosted by Leanna Lin’s Wonderland, stop by to enjoy performances from CITYstage students, enjoy a snack, shop for gifts, and get them wrapped (by yours truly :) with proceeds benefitting CITYstage! Learn more about them here.
Leanna Lin’s Wonderland – 5024 Eagle Rock Blvd. LA, CA 90041 // 1 – 5PM
December 14th, Saturday // A Little Known Shop Holiday Craft Show
Shop local and handmade in Anaheim!
Community Retail Center - 423 S. Brookhurst St. Anaheim, CA 92804 // 11 – 4PM
December 14th + 15th, Saturday + Sunday // Renegade Craft Fair Winter Show
Renegade Craft Fair is a curated indie-craft marketplace. Shop unique designs from local artists and designers!
Los Angeles Historic State Park // 10 – 5PM (both days)
I just adore the pretty cards and prints Olivia makes! Yet, I have to admit that my favorite item is the nom nom nom / all gone! baking boxes. It's the baker in me! Visit atiliay to buy some loveliness and support a good cause!