FEATURE: Samantha Edwards of Anvil Handcrafted

I had the pleasure of interviewing the First Lady of Anvil Handcrafted, Samantha Edwards.

She is sharing with us today her story of how small business owners like most of us keep that balance of work, hustle, and play.

Read on and be inspired.

Can you give a little background about yourself? 
I'm 30 years old living in West Hollywood, California with my boyfriend (and Anvil co-founder) Karl and our three cats. My background is in fashion. I graduated from both the Fashion Institute of Technology and Drexel University with degrees in Fashion Design and Design & Merchandising. I have been working as a textile designer for the past eight years as my "day job".

When I'm not designing or crafting goods for Anvil I am usually adventuring outdoors with Karl. We try to get away as often as possible to sleep under the stars. I make a mean meal over the campfire and love hiking. During the week I try to squeeze in as much yoga and meditation as possible to maintain a healthy balance of work, hustle, and play.

Can you give our readers an overview of your Company / Brand and tell us how it started?
Anvil Handcrafted is an accessory and home line Karl and his friend Josh started about two years ago focusing on leather goods, candles, and aprons. Everything is sourced locally, and cut, stained, stitched, and poured in our apartment. We love collaborating with other stores and brands to create custom items, and teach a variety of beginner friendly leather workshops.

Originally, Anvil started when Karl was angered by the quality of a leather wallet I gave him as a gift from a craft fair. It fell apart and was made of cheap leather. We wanted to support the maker community, but after doing some research, we learned this brand was not handmade as they said. This sparked a fire in Karl. He did research, bought tools, and in no time had turned our living room into a workshop. In a month, with the help of Josh, they were doing local flea markets, making connections, learning lessons, becoming a legit business. After a few months, Anvil was accepted to a big craft fair and had custom orders rolling in. The guys added a variety of different waxed canvas and denim aprons to the product assortment which launched the business even further.

In the beginning I played a supportive role in Anvil's development. I helped out when needed and lent my design advice, but let the guys explore how they wanted to develop the brand. During the holidays I made woodwick candles to to pair with the leather goods Karl was gifting to our friends and family. I had extra candles laying around so we took them to the next flea market. The candles sold like crazy that day and I have been making candles for Anvil ever since.  I have also added various small batches of home goods including sachets, dishtowels, shibori dyed aprons and bandanas. I now proudly feel like I am as much a part of Anvil as the guys.

The goal of the SM Blog's Featured Creative Series is to spread inspiration to everyone with the same passion and craft, where do you get your inspiration from?
The common thread between everyone that gives their time to making Anvil happen is a shared love for the outdoors. It inspires us all, gives us a place to push our personal boundaries, and helps clear our heads.

Another source of inspiration comes from being a part of the maker community. Seeing people doing what they are passionate about is contagious and drives us to try new things and to keep thinking outside of the box. 

Do you have favorite tools that you use on a daily basis that you cannot live without?
My personal favorite tool is a small pair of scissors that I use to cut the woodwicks of my candles. I am lost anytime I temporarily misplace them. 

Can you give us a peek of your average workday?
While Karl and the rest of the guys get to put in a few hours in the evenings and weekends working on Anvil goods, pouring candles requires a lot of waiting time and often makes for a very funny schedule. When I am busy filling a big order I will often wake up early and pour a batch of candles before I head off to my day job. I return home in the evening and package the cool ones and pour a fresh batch. During this time I am free to help out with the rest of the guys with leather tasks or I'll make dinner. Then by the time I'm ready for bed, that batch will be set and I'll pour one last round of candles for the evening. 

Do you have new projects or products you are working on right now that you’d like to share to our readers?
We are really excited to be part of American Apparel's "Made In America" campaign that will be launching soon. 

Blog With Love’s Mantra is "Do What You Love, Love What You Do”, what is your personal mantra?
My personal motto: You do you. 

If you were going to give one final advice to our readers, what would it be?
Slow down. Make sure you are taking care of yourself. You’ll be surprised to see how much more you get out of your life and how much more you can give to your relationships when you first focus on taking care of yourself.

I'm definitely very excited about Anvil's Made in America campaign with American Apparel! Make sure you don't miss any of Anvil's cool adventures and work balance, so follow @anvilhandcrafted on Instagram and check out their amazing products at www.anvilhandcrafted.com