There is nothing like fresh flowers to brighten up your house. But, it’s inevitable that they must be chucked eventually. Meet Poy Granati, founder of Summer Space Studio. She creates the most beautiful paper flowers to fill the space of the short-term flower. Not only does she create incredible replicas of wedding bouquets, she also teaches others how to create their own with her DIY kits. Learn more how this UX designer became a flower artist.
SDS: Flowers are amazing, but flowers that live forever are even better. How did you know you were a pro at making paper flowers and when did Summer Space Studio begin?
POY GRANATI: It started in 2017 when I graduated from NYU with my master’s in Interactive Telecommunications. There was a class called “100 days of making” where you pick any topic you want to work on for 100 days. I didn’t take that class but my good friend did. Then after I graduated It took a long time for me to find a job as a UX designer.I was very stressed out, so that friend suggested I try a 100 days project while waiting for a job interview.
I picked paper crafts because it’s something I’ve always wanted to do but never did. After a few days, I realized I had to narrow the topic down to focus on one thing and paper flowers showed up on my Pinterest. I’m not a flower person but I’m a color person – so I made a decision to stick with paper flower making and see where it would take me.
Fast forward to 100 days: I fell in love with it. The joy of matching the colors, studying the structure of the flowers and the fact that I can keep them forever makes me want to keep making them and spread my joy to the world. Summer Space began in a tiny fifth floor walk-up apartment in NYC. I was born and raised in Bangkok,Thailand – the land of always summer. So I named the studio Summer Space, as it’s my happy place to do what I love and it reminds me of home.
SDS: Paper is what you give the first year of marriage. Tell us more about giving the gift of paper flowers.
PG: Before I made Summer Space a thing, I just made paper flowers for my friends and family. The first project was to recreate a bouquet for my best friend’s mom. She had a bouquet she loved but it died, so I recreated that for her. My friend mentioned the American tradition of the first year’s wedding anniversary gift (paper) so I started by recreating their bridal bouquet as a gift. Then I added the service on my website.
In general, flowers have scientific proof that it makes people happy. I am a person who always wants to bring people joy and spread their joy. I take these findings to develop the bouquets, bringing people joy. Happiness is contagious and I’d like to be a small part of creating something that they can treasure forever.
SDS: Before you were making your gorgeous flowers, you were a UX designer at Estee Lauder. Do you have any advice on finding your creative outlet?
PG: I was lucky that my team at Estee Lauder Companies were very supportive so I could work full-time and ran the studio on the side. I managed the time to teach after working hours or on the weekends. I sometimes have to wake up earlier to work in the studio. But at the time, my main work with the studio was teaching workshops so it wasn’t interfering with my full-time job at all. I think it’s very important to block 1-2 hours a day to work on screen free and paper flowers. They are always on my list once I get all my work done.
To find your creative outlet, I highly recommend 100 days of making. There are so many people who create interesting things out of it. The point of this project isn’t about perfection, it’s about letting yourself explore the topic – you never know where it could lead you. Once you’ve done your first 100 days, it’s addictive. It’s mind blowing and it’s definitely a life changing experience for me as I’ve found my calling in paper flower making.
SDS: Not only can we buy your flowers a la carte, we can also learn how to make them. Can you tell us more about your upcoming workshops and events?
PG: Yes ! I am working full time in the studio right now since I lost my job because of COVID. I’m planning to host online workshops and partner with online communities to co-host the workshops. I am also launching paper flower making kits, hopefully in early 2021, and more exciting projects for those who are small business owners out there. I’m very excited about this one and can’t wait to show you more!
SDS: You recently completed a program called Self Made, did community help you in achieving your goals?
PG: Oh boy, there are so many! I think one thing that I was struggling with is to have someone to bounce my ideas off of. The Self Made community was really good at that. Being a solo entrepreneur, you have to shuffle between many hats a day. I had to work on my website, make and pack the flowers, answer all emails and DMs, set up social media calendars and campaigns – the list goes on! I think I’m more open to delegate some of the tasks to other people so I can focus on what matters and what I can do best.
The second thing is a “just do it”’ mindset. I considered myself a perfectionist and as a designer/ UX designer I was waiting for my website to be perfect so I never put it on live – until my coach, Naomi Powell, told me to just do it and tweak later. Once I did that, I started to get orders right away. Now I have a long to-do list of what needs to be fixed. Not just the website but market research, SEO, photos, social media, customer service, etc. I’m very grateful for this and 100% would recommend this class to everyone who wants to start a business even if you don’t have a legit idea yet.
SDS: What’s next for Summer Space and where do you see the brand going in 2021?
PG: Great question! This is exactly what I had on my notebook asking myself “What’s next? How can I scale up?” There will be a wider product selection available (and possibly a print shop!) One product I’m currently developing is a paper flower prop box. Small businesses are growing this year and I thought having a prop box that you can reuse and customize to the aesthetic of your brand would help small businesses save their money on their photography and social media posts. I’m planning to have my beta version launch around the end of January, if you’d like to be one of the people who get their hands on this first version you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org. See my latest updates or keep in touch on Instagram @summerspacestudio and my website www.summerspace.studio.