DIY, bake or Instagram much? If so, then you're familiar with Sam Ushiro of @aww.sam. If not, then you've probably seen her images of donuts, pastry art or imaginative Halloween costumes regrammed and reposted over and over again all over the Internet (seriously!). In this edition of Meet the Creators, Sam gives us a glimpse into her colorful world and shares her personal story, how she stays inspired to create, maintains her beautiful blog, and how planning ahead is essential for her sanity.
Hi, Sam! Tell us about yourself in a nutshell (background, career, and leading up to your blog and creation of @aww.sam).
I grew up with Pokemon and video games, and believe it or not I was a huge tomboy! All of the pinks that you see on my Instagram feed now were definitely not part of my wardrobe as a kid. I've always been wishy-washy with what I wanted to be, but was interested in everything in the creative realm. I wasn't convinced that I could have a successful creative career until right after high school. I studied Industrial Design in college, so think furniture design and building, and although I learned a lot of helpful tools, I figured out that the stereotypical way of "Industrial Design" wasn't something that was right for me. Nearing my last year of school, I had started sharing projects on Instagram that I'd made. When people started asking how they could make the projects themselves, it was only fitting to start up a DIY blog. I wanted to create a place for other girls to feel inspired to create, and just a general happy source of color in the virtual cloud. I never dreamt that it would turn into what it is today, and I'm so grateful to be able to do what I love every day!
Walk us through a day in the life of Sam. What does your typical work day look like?
My morning starts with a cup of tea while I catch up on a TV show I've been watching or finish up a movie. I try to start out the day giving myself an hour of relaxation so I have the momentum to keep going afterwards. Next, I answer emails or start making a project for a shoot later in the day. Since I do a lot of photography, I only have so many good hours of daylight, so I have to plan my day out perfectly when I finish projects so that I don't miss that crucial moment.
Is there any one project that you've worked on so far that has resonated with you? Which project(s) are you the most proud of?
The Emoji roll cake is still a favorite of mine. It was been a crazy week prepping for Valentine's Day crafts, and we were pressed for time that day so the photos didn't come out the way I wanted them to. I know that other people looking at it won't think the photos are terrible because they really love the cake. Valentine's Day came around, and that picture was everywhere!
Your Instagram is perfection and we see your work regrammed on a daily basis! What keeps you inspired to create new content and how do you keep your creative juices flowing?
Thanks! In blogging, you're never going to have an entirely original idea (there's just SO MUCH out there already), but I like to look at things completely unrelated to the DIY world, where you can come up with your best ideas. I'm a huge fan of film (I almost went to school to do film analysis instead of industrial design) and in film, there is so much that can inspire fun ideas. One of my favorite filmmakers is Michel Gondry, who does Surrealist film, and he has the best set design and stories for sparking your creativity.
What role does planning play in your profession overall and what are your tips for those who may be struggling to streamline their content or strategy?
Planning is essentially the bread and butter in this profession, I feel (Ha!). Project management is tricky especially when you're your own boss. You represent your brand, and it's your responsibility to maintain a level of self-discipline to meet deadlines when working with other companies. A Tip: It might sound crazy, but I plan out most of my photos in advance. I'm obsessed with making sure photos look good next to each other on my feed, or not posting repetitive images.
What advice would you give to young aspiring creatives wanting to be in your profession?
There are always going to be some who don't understand what you're doing or understand that blogging IS a job. Negativity comes with the task especially since you're putting yourself out in the public eye but it doesn't matter as long as you enjoy what you do. I know it's easier said than done (Ha!), but learn how to shake off the negativity and do you!