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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, 18 December 2017

in the studio | playlist

Whenever I need a pick-me-up, I play compilation videos of all the Golden Buzzers on the Got Talent shows, and other great surprise auditions (I'm looking at you Susan Boyle!). These acts make me smile and pull me out of the slump, if only for a few minutes - I mean, who can resist smiling when watching Light Balance's awesome dance routine?

When I need to dream up new designs but struggle with concentration, I go for a tried and true music playlist I have, that never fails to get my creative juices flowing. And yes, I sing along!


My playlist is a bit of a mess and lately I jump forward to the quiet songs, but if you want to have a look I go through four separate stages in the playlist:

First, I start with the T-Mobile flash dance and the T-Mobile Welcome Back flash song to get in a positive feel-good-about-the-world mood.

I'm a true believer of life-changing songs, so I love watching successful Britain's Got Talent auditions, like Janet Devlin, Out of the Blue (they're amazing!), and Calum Scott.

Onwards to the professionals for upbeat songs you surely remember from when they were stuck in your head - because I gotta get the manic energy out before I can concentrate, and you haven't had a workout until you danced to Moves Like Jagger, Single Ladies and Shake It Off in quick succession.

Then come the songs I listen to in order to get into the mood for designing new papercut ketubot. Creedence Clearwater Revival's Have You Ever Seen Rain, Ed Shereen's Thinking Out Loud (GOLD!), from Passenger's When We Were Young (they've never made a song that I don't like) to the incomparable Adele's When We Were Young - the fragile, bittersweet songs get me every time.

And if you were just introduced to any new music - YOU'RE WELCOME.


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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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