Once Again Sam

American Made Since 2009

Sarah Mandell

Greenville, South Carolina
Once Again Sam features handmade jewelry made from recycled leather & a collection of "Felted Curiosities" showcasing quirky needle felted art.
South Carolina

Tell us about your business.

Sarah Mandell is the brains and busy hands behind Once Again Sam, an indie craft business based in Greenville, SC. Her modern handmade jewelry repurposes scraps of wood and leather, giving the material new life, once again, in a whole new way. Many designs are made entirely by hand with basic tools, others with the precision of a laser cutter. Sarah is also addicted to the time-intense but always rewarding craft of needle felting. She creates soft sculptures from wool roving, using only a felting needle (no glue, sewing, hot water, etc.). These "Felted Curiosities" range from quirky sea creatures, to realistic-looking plants, and even anatomical hearts. The owner / designer / artist has a background in commercial interior design, and although she's been lucky enough to trade in her career for her dream job of making things from sun up to sun down for her small business, the skills she brought with her from the architecture industry have been critical to her designs.

What makes your business stand out?

At first glance, you may not believe everything you see at Once Again Sam is made by one person. The needle felted plants, laser etched pendants, and bold leather earrings could easily come from three different artists. With a seemingly endless supply of ideas for new handmade pieces, Sarah Mandell is limited only by how fast her hands will go. She makes makes makes all day every day and loves every minute of it, and has been fortunate enough to balance her handmade business by collaborating with local shops and galleries, working with wholesale customers, selling on Etsy, and participating in craft shows. Once Again Sam showcases handmade goods that are all at once diverse and cohesive. One brain, two hands, and a love of all things handmade!

What's the best business advice you've received?

Don't give up and do what you love. How true! When Once Again Sam first started out, it was nothing more than a hobby that brought in a little extra spending money. But over time, the right people started to find the online store, and eventually that led to retail opportunities and craft shows, and is now a full time dream job come true. Running a business and taking on life as a "working artist" was never the plan for the owner Sarah Mandell, but this long shot gone very very right has proved that patience and hard work can and will pay off. If you make things you love to make, and others love what you make too, then you're doing something right and it's worth pursuing as more than a side hobby.

Mark Your Calendar

  • Nominations
    June 3–Aug. 29, 2014

    Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.

    Nominate yourself
  • Judging
    June 23–Sept. 8, 2014

    Judges will select finalists throughout this period.

    Meet the judges
  • Online Voting
    Sept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014

    Vote for your favorite American makers.

    See the finalists
  • Winners Announced
    Oct. 17, 2014

    2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.

    See past Award Winners
  • American Made Event
    Nov. 7–8, 2014

    Join us for our annual event in New York City.

    Buy tickets now

More Nominees

  • Threadbeat Handmade

    Rebecca Tanner- Russell
    Bodies are complicated, but math is simple. No matter what your size or shape, classic, simple style is within reach. custom means possibilities.
    Style, Fashion
  • Glace Yar combines tradition with innovation using the timeless art of stained glass to create fashionable, mosaic cabinet knobs and pulls.
    Crafts, Ceramics, Pottery & Glass
  • 2014 Crafts Finalist

    manny and simon

    Eden Yaskil & Nurit Yaskil & Amnon Yaskil
    An exciting collection of classic children's heirloom toys made from recycled and sustainable materials.
    Crafts, Toys
  • Using my camera and computer I create digital photo artistry that is printed onto fabric and made into unique pillows and decor for your home.
    Design, Textiles