Silhouette art entrepreneur Vana Chupp built Le Papier Sudio by taking a distinctive idea and making it marketable. In her papercraft book “Silhouette Art,” (Chronicle) she shares her technique for creating hand-crafted silhouettes and applying them to heirlooms and everyday household items. Here, she sheds light on her experience growing a craft company. “I feel blessed to be doing what I do,” says Chupp.
How did your architecture background influence your work with crafts and with opening your business, Le Papier Studio? I've always been passionate about handmade things. Having trained as an architect earlier on helped me streamline my creative ideas and find a focal point on my craft.
You’ve created a brand for yourself with Le Papier Studio that is based on doing one thing well and using it for a lot of different applications. Do you think this focus and consistency has helped market your products?
Earlier on I created a niche, offering my service of not only creating custom silhouettes, but also applying them on various products, such as stationery, prints, jewelry, housewares, etc. This helped me determine my brand's identity. I quickly found out people loved the idea so I continued — and still do — to develop it.
Your business, Le Papier Studio, does a lot of customized silhouette design. What is it like building a clientèle base and growing as a company?
I enjoy seeing the reaction on my customers' faces each time they get to approve a proof. Interacting with them has helped me understand what they want and learn how to address their needs accordingly.
In your book "Silhouette Art" you list two ways of creating silhouettes, digitally and hand-cut. Are there certain crafts that call for one technique over the other? What are the advantages of each style?
Both techniques are great and give wonderful results. I personally prefer and use mostly the modern [digital] way. The advantage is that once a silhouette has been created, it can be applied to various surfaces and products fairly quickly, such as invitations, stationery, prints, jewelry, fabric, and so on. They both require a unique craftsmanship.
Are you following any current craft blogs or sites?
I follow a few blogs which inspire me daily including subjects like photography, cooking and traveling. Although, I pay frequent visits to the craft blog http://www.handmadenews.org.
Photo credits: All Images from "Silhouette Art" except the picture of Vana Chupp by Imaginative Studios.