For many of us, the pandemic has been a tough time. It has left us exhausted and fearful, adding another wrench of obstacles for us to overcome as we try to find our "normal" lives again. But for others, the pandemic has been a time of re-centering and reflection. It has provided an opportunity to do something different and change the things were weren't loving about our life before we knew what COVID-19 even was. Today, we want to feature one of these stories, a story about channeling inner-creativity to create something special! In today's blog, we are talking with one of our newest vendors/local artisan, Cards by Zac. His story is inspiring and we are so thrilled to be able to share his story!
How did you get started?
I started crafting for fun maybe about 9 or so years ago. I actually started out by making wreaths. Then I found out about a Cricut machine and moved more into the vinyl and paper crafts. I starting making cards maybe a year or so ago and I really got into them during quarantine. I live a pretty busy life so I never really had time to fully explore the Cricut and get into the card making aspect of it until I was off of work for about two months during the pandemic.
How did you get the idea?
I got the idea to start selling cards because when I really got into making them during the pandemic, I had gotten quite a big collection of them and wasn’t really sure what else to do with them! When I originally posted them, just thinking I would sell a couple, they exploded and the orders came pouring in. I didn’t realize people wanted handmade cards that bad! It was also a wonderful time to send cards since we couldn’t see all of our friends and loved ones and the USPS needed support.
You mentioned you use a Cricut, what is that?
OMG a Cricut is only the best thing ever invented! So it is a crafting machine. It can cut, draw, score, emboss, etc. You use an app on your tablet, phone, or computer to design your project and then the Cricut machine uses blades, markers, or other tools that you load into it to help you create your piece! It can work with multiple materials as well! It’s seriously amazing!
How did you get your following?
So it all started with just my personal Facebook and Instagram. Then when my original post blew up with orders I decided to make a separate account. My following is all just mostly people I know and then word of mouth. I love having customers that I don’t know though! Especially when they trust me to make a custom card for a special occasion!
How do you deal with a custom piece?
Custom orders are my favorite! I love when a customer just gives me a little bit of info about what the card is for and let’s my creativity kick in. I usually will explain to them my idea or show them the card as I do it to make sure I’m on the right track. I also do not hold it against someone if they absolutely hate the card. Anything can be changed!
What is your favorite custom card you have done so far?
Oh it’s so hard to pick! I did get to make a card for someone for their Grandma who was turning 100 and wanted floral and glitz and glam. Which that will always stick out to me because 1. 100 is an awesome age to hit so that was an honor to make the card for that. And 2. Anyone who tells me to glitz and glam up a card is my favorite because I love my glitter and rhinestones.
How did you stay creative during the pandemic and just such a time of high stress, anxiety, and uncertainty?
Crafting is always just fun for me. It always makes me happy to piece things together and see a final project. It was something, at least during this pandemic and being off of work for 7 weeks, to keep my mind off of what the world was going through for a little each day. I needed happiness and positivity in my life. And then when I started seeing how much people enjoyed my cards I knew it was bringing joy to others as well.
What is your normal day like?
Well I wish I could tell ya! I don’t think I know what normal is! Haha! So I work full time at Moio’s Italian Pastry Shop in Monroeville. Which if you haven’t tried a cannoli from there you aren’t living ;), and cards is totally just for fun! I have 3 dogs, Elliott, Nora, and Sherman and you can follow their lives on Instagram at @2.5pghpugs. My boyfriend Lucas and I just recently bought a house in Avalon too so we are busy doing what home owners do! So yeah, normal isn’t a thing for me. I try to craft 2-4 days a week for at least an hour or so each time. It really depends on my mood tho. I can’t be creative unless I’m feeling it!
What kind of cards do you make?
EVERYTHING! I’ve made pretty much every occasion at this point, pop-up cards, shaker cards, small, big, whatever!
What do you see for the future of Cards by Zac?
Honestly, I haven’t really thought about it! Would I like to quit my day job and craft for a living? ABSOLUTELY. But I am happy at my job because who can hate being surrounded by delicious pastries all day? I think I have a good balance of work and play and having an outlet for my creativity and stress relief. I guess we will see what happens!
How can you support Cards by Zac?
If handmade cards and written notes are your kind of thing, you should check out all of Zac's work on his Facebook and Instagram to see a full collection of his work thus far. And remember, we at Fresh Nostalgia always carry some of Zacs cards right in our shop!