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Sora Designs, a sampling of flora and fauna

My name is Wen (Yueh-Wen Chang) This is my second year full-time running my jewelry brand Sora Designs. I design and make all things floral and whimsical that you see in the collection.

What inspired you to go into the craft business, do you still have a day job? I quit my day job last December after working as a social science researcher in the academic field and government research agency for 8 years. I never dreamed that I could one day make a living on my handmade jewelry business when I first started my online shop part time. It’s a dramatic change from what I was brought up to do. I grew up in Taiwan in the mid -70s and 80s. The mentality during that time in terms of education is for a child to just focus on the academic and nothing else. Get a good grade, pass the entrance exams, an then get into the best public high schools and colleges. I did not question much when I was growing up. I studied hard and got into the good schools all the way. I did it right in every aspect. It’s funny that my dad is an artist. He is a composer and plays piano and violin. But getting a good grade in the academics is still a safer way to go, he told me. I joined Fine Art Club when I was in college but was told to keep it as a hobby.

I came to the United States in 1995 to pursue my graduate degrees in Educational Psychology. I was amazed about all the local craft fairs and amused about all different majors that I haven’t heard about when I was in Taiwan. I finished my degrees and enjoyed the time in the graduate schools. Though I would be constantly taking some knitting classes or making jewelry for friends as my creative outlet. I finally got my Ph.D. in early intervention and policy research and was happy to get out of the school for all those years. Six years fast forward, I found that I could just be as proud and happy in creating stuff to make other people happy too. Now I am fully supporting myself with my growing business

Describe your creative process when designing/making your product line. I draw inspiration from almost everywhere, but there are some central themes that are pretty constant. The first theme is floral and fauna. There is nothing like wandering through wispy branches, sculpted shrubs, and layers of blooming color and texture. I could lose myself in a garden or field for hours. They are the perfect juxtaposition of art and nature. You can see those components in my 3-D nursery collections and all the critters and creatures in my designs. I also draw my inspiration from the hustle and bustle of the city life. The walks in the park, cooking with family, shopping, stuffing my face with food from a new cafe in town, and always enjoying people watching. These have all inspired and shaped me to become the person that I am today.

What’s the best thing about what you do? And the worst? There was no boss, no getting up at 6 a.m. to catch the BART, and no office politics. Our son just started kindergarten this Fall and I feel so fortunate that I can be more involved in his daily activities. He does not need to go to the after school programs and we can make and enjoy lunch together. This extra bonus is something that I did not think of when I first quit my office job.

Trying to be everything in my own business can sometimes gets stressful. I’m the creative director, tea girl, the artist, the marketing department, the accounts department and the PR department and the model in all the photo shoots. Luckily, I do not have to be the photographer. My husband took this title early one and does it very well.

I am so happy to be featured at the San Francisco Bazaar blog. I want to thank all the readers with a 10% discount coupon. Just enter “BB2011HOLIDAY” as the coupon code when you check out at my Etsy shop. The coupon code will expire 12/20/2011. But you are welcome to join my Facebook to get future updates and giveaways news.

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