Unicorns, princesses, mermaids, and all magical creatures don't just appear in books and movies these days! We can watch them come to life in pieces we can use on a day to day basis. This is what Crafty Papillon Handmade Crafts and More creatively delivers through its well loved handmade resin collection and many more.
To kick off our revamped Maylikha series, we got in touch with Vanessa Erika dela Merced, whose gifted hands are behind the enchanting, delicate pieces of Crafty Papillon. She describes herself as an IT Analyst by day and a crafter by heart. She started Crafty Papillon in February 2015 as a creative outlet when she stopped doing event’s styling. Today, she continues to create items, and this story we believe could inspire and empower young creatives to do the same.
Quick trivia: Crafty Papillon actually came from the founder's name, Vanessa. Vanessa is said to mean butterfly, Papillon [pa-pee-yon] is French for butterfly. "It’s crafty me!" she shared.
Starting up (On Resin Crafts)
"I started around July 2016 because I couldn’t find anyone doing it in the Philippines at that time. I was actually inspired by Decoden Cases posted on Instagram. Decoden Cases are those uber cute custom made phone cases designed to look like cakes with prettily piped icings on them. Decoden artists work with silicone and uses cake pipes, they also work with resin to add to their designs." Vanessa revealed.
When asked on whether she intended it to be a business, she said, "At first I just really want to make cute stuff. I originally used air dry clays but found it really hard to control, I then discovered resins and using bezels. I can’t fully say that I intended it as a business but I decided to offer it to others when I saw the opportunity since it was somewhat of an untouched market in the Philippines–based on Instagram that is."
Because we seriously love the Crafty Papillon resin creations, we did not miss asking more about it. "Resin can actually refer to 2 things, one is the plant resin and the other is the synthetic resin. I work with Synthetic resins which come in liquid form and transforms by chemical magic into hardened plastic or glass like material. There are lots of types of synthetic resins but the ones I use are the UV cured ones and the ones that cure with a hardener like Epoxy Resins." Vanessa shared. "I mostly use bezels or frames for my pendants or charms and sometimes molds. Aside from the chemistry work involved with working with resins, I actually just “style” the components of my pieces from the color, the metal findings I use, to the glitters I add. I also do custom pieces but before I commit to it I request that I still have artistic freedom with the provision that I will keep in mind what they want to see."
Inspiration and Looking Ahead
"My heart wants to glorify God with my creations and my love for making (handmade) things. I love creating using my hands and people wanting a piece of my work also drives me to do more. I also get inspired by other artists, seeing beautiful artworks makes me want to try and make one for myself," she said when asked about how she stays inspired.
While it looks like she's got it figured out by now, she candidly confessed that she has not thought much about it when asked where she would like to take Crafty Papillon in the next five years. "But it would be lovely to be known for something and I’d love to be able to share what I know and inspire others. Maybe ask me again after a year?" she said in jest.
Challenges and lessons in running a start-up business
Running a business while at the same time practicing art is never easy. There will always be challenges along the way. And the biggest challenge may be how you rise above these challenges. For Vanessa, it was moving past her insecurities and turning them into motivation.
"Personally I think the first thing I worked on is overcoming my insecurities with what I make. I judge my work too harshly but I have learnt to move past it by not letting it stop me from creating and sharing."
"Getting feedback from others helps a lot, just remember to be open minded about it and try again. I go by trial and error and being my Obsessive Compulsive self, I do not stop until I’m happy about it. For me the important thing is to always have that drive to try again and want to succeed because it can lead you to great many places!" said Vanessa.
She continued, "Another challenge for me is how to remain unique while being inspired by other artists. I take effort into looking into other people’s work to be inspired and most importantly make sure that I remain true to my style. And If I am too much in love with another artist’s work and I can see it on my final piece, I make sure to acknowledge them. What I mentioned above may be more personal but I think they are some of the common topics artists struggle with when they get the idea of doing business with their work. I hope I somewhat helped by sharing."
So if she could go back in time to when she first started Crafty Papillon, what advice would Vanessa give to her younger self? "To commit to the Lord whatever I do and trust that failings are not doors closing but instead, see them as blessings of new opportunities in the future," she shared. We think these words of wisdom are gold.
Author’s note: This is part of a new series that will feature small, local art, design or crafts businesses and projects. Maylikha, in Filipino, means creator, and here it is very apt. Trust us to scout for you the best and most personal handmade or home-grown gifts and items in town.