"I think it’s good if it hurts to ship out the final piece…you should love your work that much."
- Sarah Unghire
If there is one thing I feel is lacking in the handmade community, it is empowerment and support from others. So, to help fill that gap, I’ve decided to begin a monthly series called, “Artist of the Month” where I feature handmade artists in multiple fields and host a fun giveaway with them to help spread the word about their gift and their mission within this community.
August came too fast and went too fast, but we're lucky to squeeze in Sarah Unghire of Hazel and Bean as our Artist of the Month. Living with a passion for all things crafty, Sarah took the plunge a year ago to take her many talents to the public (as well as help others in the process). From print making to wood burning to hand painting, she is a quirky jack of all trades who has a deep passion for God as well as helping families who are adopting or have a special needs child. So, buckle up and prepare for all the bright colors and donuts as Sarah fails to disappoint with her eclectic enthusiasm on following your passion while giving back to others.
1. How did Hazel and Bean get its start?
I have always been creating since I was a kid (probably stems from my ADD haha, I can’t just sit and do nothing). But a little over a year ago, I decided to try to sell some of my wood burned pieces when we needed some extra money to pay bills. I had two sales on Instagram and they both did very well so I figured I would take a leap and turn it in to a handmade business. Even though I started Hazel & Bean to help with bills, God has transformed it into a ministry to help families in need (we now give a percentage of all of our sales to adopting families and families that have special needs children).
2. What inspires your work the most?
This is probably the hardest question since everything inspires me. Like seriously, I draw inspiration from anything and everything: nature, songs, my favorite movies, even food haha. But I would say at the root of all my inspiration is Jesus (even the donut shoes hahaha). I always say do what you love, love what you do and let all you do be done for the glory of God.
3. Which came first: wood burning or painting?
Wood burning came first. The shoes were actually a beautiful accident. I couldn’t find a pair to match my outfit for Valentine’s Day so I painted myself a pair…the rest is history (honestly it is crazy to think I have only been selling shoes for six months)! The shoes exploded and took over Hazel & Bean for awhile, but I am getting back to my roots and wood burning again (and it feels so good)!
4. What is your favorite piece you have made and how did you develop the idea for it?
Ok, so maybe THIS is the hardest question! Usually whatever piece I am working on at the moment is my favorite piece. I am currently working on some wood burned/hand painted pieces that I am pretty obsessed with (and might cry to see them go). I honestly have no idea how I developed the idea or any idea for most of my pieces. I usually just sit down with a cup of coffee, turn on Netflix, and start drawing. I am sure more thought goes into it than that, but I think my subconscious does all the planning for me.
5. Has there ever been a part of your business that was a disaster? If so, what happened and how did you remedy it?
Shipping! All aspects of shipping: how much time going into packaging, the best way to package the items, the most cost efficient way to ship, which post offices let packages just sit for days (ugh seriously the worst), and what to do when packages go missing. The remedy was (and continues to be) to find which local post offices are the most reliable, and to plan my packaging time properly.
6. Is it tough being your own boss or is it the easiest job you’ve ever had?
I seriously love doing this and being my own “boss” but I wouldn’t say it is the easiest job I have ever had. The joy is totally worth the hard times as I get to create daily (and create beautiful pieces that others want to buy). It's all good for my soul and I don’t think all of this will ever feel real (the fact that I am doing something I love while providing for my family)! But, the number one struggle for me is time management…definitely something I am constantly working on.
7. Name one job that you wish you could hire out to someone else.
Packaging and shipping…hands down. Please someone come help! Haha!
8. Any advice to those out there wishing to start their own handmade business?
Just be true to you. Be original. Love what you make. I think it’s good if it hurts to ship out the final piece…you should love your work that much. There will be days where you forget to smile and the stress builds up, but never lose your joy. Dream big, but expect nothing…trust me you will be pleasantly surprised! And don’t forget to have fun! I love what I do so even when the orders pile up, it never feels like work and there is nothing I would rather be doing.
Hazel and Bean is giving away a "Joy Comes In The Morning" hand burned wood slice as well as a $15 shop credit towards a pair of hand painted shoes. Gulush Threads is also giving away a $10 shop credit to her shop to the winner.
To enter, leave a comment below letting us know what kind of shoes you would like Sarah to paint (if she could paint any shoe). // Mine would be a pair of mint cowboy boots because reasons. :D
For an additional entry, head on over to Gulush Threads IG and like the giveaway photo. Don’t forget to follow both @gulushthreads and @hazel_and_bean to be entered!
Giveaway ends Tuesday, Sept 1st at midnight CT with winner announced on Sept 2nd.
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