Handmade: Mental Wellness and Art from afton \ by palm

Updated: Aug 21, 2021

Meet afton \ by palm, a vendor for the Spring Box! We chatted with founder Bonnisa about afton \ by palm, her handmade clay products and connecting mental wellness within her artwork.

How did afton \ by palm come to be?

I started afton \ by palm during maternity leave with my second son, and not wanting to return to the long hours of office work, I needed something that would fit around school runs and every day family life. It was the perfect time to finally trust in my creative skills and turn my love for craft art into a business venture.

Inspiration behind the name?

Afton is actually my middle name! Then as you know; all of the products in my shop are made by hand so, naturally, 'afton by palm' felt like the perfect fit for a brand name.

Why did you choose clay as your medium to create earrings, jewelry dishes and other products?

I love working with air dry clay because it is non-toxic and a lot more durable than ceramic clay, but still gives a similar look. It's great seeing the transformation with something I have freshly moulded, to then seeing it once dried or baked. I love the stuff!

What is the meaning behind your tagline 'Crafting Good Vibes'?

Everything in my web store is handcrafted by me from start to finish. I am very passionate about mental well being and try to reflect that in my work such as; the Positive Affirmation Cards I make. It also refers to my brand ethos in relation to sustainability and crafting with the environment in mind.

How do you translate your passion for mental well being into your artwork/business?

My passion for mental wellness is demonstrated in my work through my Positive Affirmation Cards and illustrated Jewellery Dishes. Each card features a motivational or self-loving quote that are all original wording I put together through my own daily journaling. They all have neutral, calming tones, as much of my personal experience and from talking to others, has shown me that minimalist colours and surroundings can have a very relaxing affect on the mind. My clay Jewellery Dishes also feature 'incomplete' faces as a representation that we don't have to have everything together, or be perfect, to be considered worthy of love and to be valued.

You recently changed your brand name! How has the re-branding process been?

The re-branding process has really helped me to reflect on how much my brand has evolved over the last couple of years, and to really cement the look and feel I want customers to get when they see it. It's going well and I'm really excited about having a name that is more personal, and captures the essence of what I do, as well as creating a buzz for new and loyal customers.

What tips would you give for other companies thinking about re-branding?

Before you get started, write down a list of everything that will need changing - from your social accounts, to your business cards. Think about the timing, and what would work best for you or any outside situations. Don't rush into it - take the time to let any decisions marinate for a day or two, such as; your new brand name or the colours for your don't want to make rebranding announcements too soon and find yourself regretting it a few days later!

What does it mean to you to be Black owned business?

It means that I can freely inject aspects of my cultural background however I want to, without the constraints of merely hitting some sort of limited diversity quota that large companies seem to follow.

What is has been your greatest accomplishments so far and challenges as well?

Reaching 300 sales on Etsy was definitely a great feeling, as it's amazing to know that people from so many different countries have seen my work and wanted to spend their money on it! One of the hardest challenges is knowing when to take a break. As an entrepreneur, you know that you are responsible for your own success, so it can be hard to put the tools down!

What makes afton \ by palm different from other handmade jewelers?

What makes afton \ by palm different, is me! Nobody else has shared all the different experiences I have, along with my cultural heritage and setbacks as well as celebrations, which have all shaped the approach I have when it comes to reflecting that in my product design and brand ethos.

Do you advice for Black creatives or entrepreneurs?

Be passionate about what you are doing and great results will be inevitable. The more positive energy you speak into your business, the more growth you will get out. There will be times you will want to quit, because it involves a lot of hard work and dedication, but the more you picture in your mind your business thriving and flourishing; the more motivated you will be to real life it!

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