What It's Like Being a Martha Stewart American Made Finalist

We always love hearing about the experiences makers have with different promotional opportunities. Recently you've probably seen a lot of makers posting about voting for them in the Martha Stewart American Made contest. If you've done it in previous years, it seems like they've changed it up a bit this year. Pei from Austin's p.s Paper Shoppe wanted to share what her experience has been so far as a nominee and now a finalist. Thanks for sharing Pei!

Q: Introduce yourself!
A: Hi, I'm Pei! I'm a twenty-something year old gal who is inspired by all things fun: confetti, doughnuts, cartwheels, just to name a few. As a life long, self-proclaimed right brainer, I am perpetually dreaming and constantly finding reasons so celebrate life's little moments. 

I launched p.s. Paper Shoppe in the Fall of  2013 as a local, handmade stationery line based in Texas. My goal was simple: Create beautiful, quality and accessible stationery and paper goods for every day.

From the initial doodle, formatting, printing and packaging, every piece is handmade in house. Our materials are carefully sourced from local small businesses whenever possible and p.s. Paper Shoppe actively participates in local craft markets and art shows in communities all over Texas.

Q: Tell us a little about American Made and what it's all about.
A: American Made spotlights the maker, supports the local, and celebrates the handmade. The program is made up of people and communities that have turned their passion for quality craftsmanship and well-designed goods into a way of life.

Nominees fall under one of four categories: Crafts, Design, Food and Style. Up to 1,000 nominees are selected as finalists: 800 selected by the panel of judges including Martha Stewart herself, and up to 200 selected as wildcard finalists based on Social Media.

From the pool of finalists, 9 winners will be selected by the panel of judges and 1 winner will be selected based on voting as the American Choice Winner!

Q: How did you hear about American Made? Why did you decide to apply?
A: I found out about American Made through Social Media. I decided on a whim to go for it after perusing some of the amazingly talented folks who were a part of it. It felt like an honor in itself to be in the same running as some makers I personally idolize! 


Q: Who is it good for (and who is it not)? How is it supposed to help makers?
A: I personally think that the American Made movement is great for both makers and folks who love to support makers. Browsing through all the nominees and finalists, I've been exposed to even more talented folks across the nation. There are SO many incredible people doing such incredible things it's hard not to get inspired just reading about their stories. American Made makers could be someone standing next to you on the subway or the person in line behind you at your local coffee shop. Just thinking about how American Made has created a space for people to support the handmade, local movement gets me excited! There are American Made makers in four amazing categories it really opens your eyes to what's local and even what's local to check out when you're traveling through the states. 

Q: How has the contest helped your business?
A: Filling out the American Made nomination was a way for me to share my personal story and journey. To be transparent, I panicked a bit when I realized you couldn't edit your nomination once you've been selected as a finalist. I wanted to be sure to cross my T's and dot my I's, I wanted it to be perfect. 

The truth is, what I typed up for the nomination is the most genuine and raw way I could have communicated and answered all the questions. And I am so proud of that. It may not be perfect to someone in PR, or someone who is a seasoned more established business. But it perfectly tells my story, and I feel like that is so powerful when you can share without inhibitions. 

Q: Has it cost you any money? Time? Resources?
A: It has not cost me anything more than pushing me outside of my comfort zone. I've been very open about sharing my finalist nomination to friends, family, the community and public. Reaching out to you (Academy of Handmade) and other communities for support has been a little bit nerve wrecking for me but I've been blown away by the support from everyone! 

Q: Did you do it last year and if so how has the experience differed this year if at all?
A: I did not participate last year! But I did notice a gap in makers represented in Texas and could not be more honored to represent the Lone Star State :) 

Q: Where can people find your stuff?
My website www.pspapershoppe.com launched on our one year birthday/anniversary. p.s. Paper Shoppe stationery can also be found on Etsy atwww.pspapershoppe.etsy.com