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H E L L O ! My name is Naomi Shiek (pronounced CHIC).
I've been very fortunate to have my own small independent atelier called Woodland Papercuts. This is my private blog exploring my favorite things in beauty & design.

L E T S__B E__F R I E N D S !
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Monday, 11 December 2017

Often Copied

handmade by Naomi Shiek for a Jewish wedding, traditional design
Whenever I see an artist write about copycats and forgers, I get this ugly feeling in my stomach. I feel angry on their behalf and on behalf of anyone who purchased the fake not knowing what true art they were missing out on. Also, I don't like to see ugliness online (who does, right?). It's why I struggled with posting this. I wrote this post after several of my works copied one afternoon and quickly wrote out my frustration. I've since seen more of my designs replicated and I AM NOT FLATTERED. So I'm going to be a bit negative here, then post some pretty photos. Be warned.

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Monday, 4 December 2017

fashion | More Retro Style

After my post about my trousers, I wanted to share three more bottoms I tried on in my plunge into retro clothing - still no photos of me wearing them though, sorry - which didn't fall into that category. Actually, they're standouts in my wardrobe no matter how you look at it, and I love them for it.

COLLECTIF NOMI SHORTS | the only shorts I'll ever wear. I mean, we almost share the same name, I had to test if we were meant for each other - and I was right! Feels like a corset due to the super high waistline (and functions like one , too!). Note: These are extremely stretchy so you should order a size down and they'll cinch you in with the zipper down the back.

HELL BUNNY SADIE CAPRI PANTS | Like with the shorts above, these pants are a standout choice for me. I never intended to buy any pants that are not full length, but when opportunity knocked I decided why not. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality and comfort. As long as I wear them with heels to keep the leg elongated, I am good to go. (Private Sale - bought from @the.elegant.giraffe when she was having a closet sale. Good news, she now has a vintage shop!

COLLECTIF NOMI JEANS | When I saw Collectif had a full-length version of the Nomi Shorts I could not click the 'Add To Bag' button fast enough - and they were part of their massive sale! I love skinny jeans, they work great for me and, and these are SO COMFORTABLE, just like their shorter sister. If I didn't think it was crazy, I'd buy several pairs of them. Again, super stretchy so order a size smaller than your usual.
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Sunday, 19 November 2017

BUSINESS UPDATE | So... what now?

I wrote my last post on the subject fueled by far too many hours deep diving into Aeolida's world (a design & business consulting firm for creative businesses) which instead I should have spent fulfilling orders. I was optimistic. I was empowered. I was... meh.

It's not that I don't want to improve, I do. In one of her newsletters Aeolidia's founder Arianne spoke of a client that wrote her:
“I’m still interested in staying relatively small. Relying on Etsy less and gaining more sales in general is definitely a goal. But I’m not interested in having the same growth as some of your success stories – warehouses and dozens of employees and $100,000 in sales every month. I like the quiet days and flexible schedule that my business provides me, as well as the ability to work at home as I raise my family. This probably makes me sound so unambitious, but I thought it would be important information for you to have as you think about my best next step.”
This is me, guys! I have the same dilemma as the client above. I don't want to stop drawing and cutting each product by hand. I just don't. I like the personal interaction I have with each client. I think keeping the process handmade and having a human voice with clients are the foundations of my brand, but more than that this is what I do to fill my days and my source of happiness. If I had to exchange that with managing employees, overseeing wholesale accounts, relinquishing the joy of hand-making to a machine, and I don't know what else - I won't like it. Just thinking about it makes me stress. It does sound unambitious to some (the number of times people urged me to find a lasercutter and make paper gifts in bulk, yikes...) but my ambitions are different: Live comfortably and quietly, run a small artisan business successfully. That's what I want.

I'm not above streamlining my process. And while I struggle with delegating I am employing others to fulfill roles I know I'm not good at, and we're learning together how to make it work. So first thing's first: I do also realize that my studio is in dire need of expanding its online presence, and overhauling the website to be more informative and easier to navigate. It's dedicating that time and money to create the content and execute the overhaul that's overwhelming me... have I mentioned the idea itself makes me exhausted?

Now that the wedding season is ending I have the time to rework the user flow on the WOODLAND PAPERCUTS site - and that means rewriting and adding lots more content. I'm also going to streamline my social media. I gave it a few months on Facebook and Twitter and such, but I really don't like those platforms and I am not seeing any meaningful results. So I think I'm going to cut it all down to INSTAGRAM, PINTEREST, and NEWSLETTER (when I set one up). I've already spent far too long trying to make my landing page a bit... friendlier? Easier to navigate? It's a work in progress.


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Saturday, 21 October 2017

work rant | When life gives you crappy paper, try not to burn the house down

I'm beyond upset and stressed right now - in fact I'm so mad I've slid right into apathetic. Here I am, ready to finally start papercutting again after a shitty week - it's my stress reliever - and lo and behold! the new batch of papers I open are complete shit! Sure, despite my best efforts and instructions art supply employees don't know how to handle paper so I often get packets with errant dimples and scratches I have to work around - but this time it goes beyond low quality. Way below. It's the definition of 'I picked this up from the trash and got you to pay full price for it HAHA there you go!' I paid A LOT of money for this heap of garbage. I spent 10 hours driving back and forth to get this!

So I decide to take a big breath and open the second batch - Maybe only the top one was shit?! - BUT NO! THE 2ND BATCH IS WORSE!! It's thievery, is what it is. I don't know what to do. On the scale of bad days at the office this is up there with the paper crisis of 2011 when this shit happened. I am... beyond annoyed. And disappointed. And stressed. And murderous. And this day isn't going well.

I wish I could say there's a happy ending here but the reality is I have orders waiting, no paper, have a supplier I can't trust anymore, and am out hundreds for a product I can't return or use.

And this day really isn't going well.

[/self-pity]

UPDATE A FEW DAYS LATER: After the terrible, awful thing that happened Saturday, I decided to call the shop where I bought the papers to notify them I received subpar product and will be returning it. They are called ARTA by the way, an establishment well-known to all Israeli artists & crafters, I am sure.

Now mind you, I don't make it a habit of calling out shitty shops and services for bad customer service. {Don't know why not, I probably should do it more often, really.} And yet, I know I'm justified to call ARTA out for their suckage simply because it is so epic.

To note, I buy quality speciality artist papers, which are an investment of both my money and time, to say nothing of the stress of transporting them flat and unharmed cross country. They come in giant sheets which are packed into batches of dozens each. Shops open these up to sell individually, but if you buy them in bulk you should get them sealed and in as close to pristine condition as to when they are arriving from the importer. I moved to the edge of the country years ago and still I make sure to drive down to Tel Aviv at least once a year to buy hundreds of these sheets so my stock will last me for months. I go through the trouble because I bought from these shops for years and I trust them. Imagine my surprise when I discovered my last two batches of a large order were in such deplorable condition. I've bought these papers from ARTA for years and did not expect to find them damaged, especially considering all the other papers I got in the same order.

You can guess: my phone call did not go well. I don't want to repeat what took place because it still gets my blood boiling. Not only am I out time and money in unusable product, ARTA handled it very poorly, really adding salt to the wound. I got yelled at, hung up on... Let's just say that the lack of common sense and civility lost them their dignity, reputation, and me as a client.

So moving on... I took a deep breath after that call, kissed that money goodbye, and started searching for other paper suppliers. I'm happy to announce a few hours later my assistant found two lovely shops (much closer than Tel Aviv - YAY!) that I hope to count as my new base for all future paper runs! In fact, through them I've been introduced to a cheaper, more readily available but completely comparable in quality paper that I'm really excited about. I already took it on a "test run", printing and cutting it, and there's no difference in the weight, color, and grain between it and my beloved paper stock. SO LONG Fabriano! I HAVE A NEW LOVE!

In the end, all's well that ends well. Without the above debacle I never would have even looked for those new shops and new paper! In the end I got to #papercut all week and orders still went out in time. Count your blessings.

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Image credit | A custom papercut in progress, my studio table, June 2017.
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