Once Again Sam
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
NominationsJune 3–Aug. 29, 2014
Nominate yourself or other aspiring makers.Nominate yourself
JudgingJune 23–Sept. 8, 2014
Judges will select finalists throughout this period.Meet the judges
Online VotingSept. 15–Oct. 13, 2014
Vote for your favorite American makers.See the finalists
Winners AnnouncedOct. 17, 2014
2014 Award Winners and Audience Choice Winner announced.See past Award Winners
American Made EventNov. 7–8, 2014
Join us for our annual event in New York City.Buy tickets now