Sunday, November 20, 2016

An Interview with Avanti Morocha: the Paper Flower Princess

Oh, Pinterest, that great, big, colorful bulletin board in the sky! Recently, I've been doing a lot of pinning for my niece's upcoming wedding spectacular and I started to fall in love with GIANT PAPER FLOWERS (visit my board to see more!) Paper flowers are popping up everywhere from weddings to baby showers and since they're made of paper, they fit just about any budget. Plus, they're BIG, bodacious, and extremely versatile, making them the perfect choice for photography backdrops, props, centerpieces, bouquets or wall décor. For the allergy folks - which I have a lot of in my family - paper is a sneeze-free alternative to the real thing. Plus, you can recycle them when your event is done with no trouble at all. Hurray for eco-friendly design!

One of the most outstanding paper flowers designers who is making a huge splash on Pinterest is Avanti Morocha, the owner and founder of AvantiMorochaDIYs. She is a wizard when it comes to creating easy-to-follow DIY patterns for passionate crafters. I couldn't resist reaching out to Avanti to learn more about how she got started making larger-than-life flowers and what her experience has been like selling on Etsy.

First of all, I love your work. You’re the princess of paper flowers on Pinterest! But, when I see an enormous flower, I immediately have thoughts of Alice in Wonderland. Tell us about yourself and what led you to the world of origami.

I was born in Peru and studied architecture and urban planning. While I studied more structural design for dense metropolitan areas I can remember being in love with crafting from an early age. I simply loved activities that required creativity. As a child I recall painting, drawing murals and making my own decorations, which was likely why I was so drawn architecture.

After finishing college and receiving my degree I decided to take some time to see the world to broaden my horizons and improve my English. I joined a cultural program, which placed me in Northern California for year, and provided total immersion. While I was on a mission for self-improvement and greater education something unexpected happened, I met the love of my life and I ended up staying in the USA. 

After doing quite a bit of soul searching, I decided I would not peruse architecture anymore in the USA. I came to this conclusion for various reasons but in general the differences in building techniques and materials used presented itself as a total re-education and I wanted to purse something else. While I was a little distraught walking away from a career in architecture, I found my passion in blogging and building crafty products.

Why paper flowers? Why not fabric? What do you like about your material of choice?

Well, I choose to use paper because it’s an easy material to work with and is very affordable. I have made flowers with cardstock and crepe paper and both are simply a pleasure to work with. Crepe needs a little more work because of the sculpting required so it’s a little more “crafty” but also provides a more realistic flower.  I did experiment with Fabric flowers but found it wasn’t the best material due to it not being very rigid...which becomes a problem especially when trying to create  “giant” flowers.

How did you get started making paper flower patterns?

As you may know, I also have a YouTube channel and it was one of my followers who had asked me to make more projects for event decorations; décor for weddings, birthday’s parties, baby showers etc. I remember looking for inspiration and finding beautiful pictures of flowers and I thought, why don’t I make my own paper flowers? I thought it’d be fun and exciting to create my own build technique and a collection of tutorials to help people become interested in paper flowers. At that time, there was almost no information around on how to make them. It took me a long time to build a set of coherent patterns, but once I started rolling I was super proud of what I had created!

Avanti, you have a background in architecture, that’s amazing! How do you think this influences your work in terms of design & functionality?

A lot! My professors always come to my mind. I remember them telling me, "It doesn’t only have to look beautiful, it has to also be functional." I’ve carried these lessons with me and tried to apply this philosophy in everything I do. Being a graphic person, I dwell on the minor details and need everything to be perfect before I release new products. I take a lot of time making prototype flowers before I even consider adding them to my shop and once I’ve settled on a design, I painstakingly go through every aspect of the product to make sure it’s easy to build, looks great and won’t come apart at your event. Essentially, architecture influences just about everything I do.

You also teach workshops in the San Antonio / Austin, TX area. How do you feel teaching in person has influenced your business?

To be honest, I just staring working with in person workshops and I really enjoy interacting with people. I hope this adventure grown and eventually lead to visiting other states - allowing me to meet new people.

Why did you choose Etsy as an online marketplace in addition to running a website?

I choose Etsy because it works so well and is very easy to use. Additionally, my clients are all over the world and Etsy makes it easy for just about anyone to purchase goods online securely. I also run my own website as a place of discovery. I love showing people new and exciting things and feel my site is a great place to visit and derive inspiration from.

Do you have any tips for other Etsy sellers?

Use the powers of social media to grow your business. Many people don’t realize just how important social media can be for a business. Now that we live in a globalized world, everything is connected and participating in various social networks can be a great way to get your name out there.

If you could go back in time, what business advice would you give to a younger version of yourself?

I wish I had known more about branding! I struggled trying to find my online persona and had I studied marketing or simply knew more about advertising when I first started I think I would have had a better beginning.

Where do you see yourself and/or your business in the future?

While I love being known as a pioneer in the field of paper flowers, I’m looking to expand outside of my comfort zone and inspire more people in different areas such as DIY home improvement, crafts, and décor. Building a business is hard work but I really enjoy it and I hope to see my brand continue to grow.

Any plans to visit DC?

I love traveling and DC is on my list of places I want to visit, but first I have to finish reading The Lost Symbol from Dan Brown ;)

Thank you so much Avanti! Keep up the amazing work!

xoxo jamillah

Visit and follow her on social media for more information! 

Instagram:  @AvantiMorocha_1

Etsy:  AvantiMorochaDIYs
Pinterest: AvantiMorocha

Avanti on Facebook

Avanti's YouTube Channel

(all photos and videos courtesy of Avanti Morocha)

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