While there are some of us out there who are still thinking hard about our future plans, Rachel, 19, a young and graduating student from Nanyang Academy of Fine Arts (NAFA) is fixed on her future goals — freelance design, while developing her rubber stamp making enterprise as a sideline.
Rachel began making her own stamps while she was in secondary school, and eventually found herself addicted to stamp making. She has experience with different kinds of crafts, such as felt making and sewing. With illustration as her major, she tends to incorporate illustrations into her rubber stamps. Rachel thought that rubber stamps could be useful when designing notebooks and tote bags, and thus proceeded with selling her products.
Rachel’s rubber stamp designs look so real, they remind her of food
We were really interested to find out the story of how Rachel named her stamp business, Drool Stamps. It sounds pretty funky and well, it suggests some elements of hunger too! We were not the only curious ones as this question is commonly asked. In actual fact, Rachel chuckled, it was just a spontaneous idea.
“When I carved out the first stamp, it looked like food — tutu kueh to me. For one of my school projects, we had to explore a lot of food themes. Png Kueh was one of the stamps I did for my projects.”
When people look at the food, it pretty much draws a connection between the attraction of food and the idea of drooling. This led to the birth of Drool Stamps.
Drool Stamps: leaving its mark on startups, bakeries and weddings
Rachel sells her stamps to startup companies, bakeries as well as weddings. The first stamp she sold was a simple tree design, which was priced at three dollars. It was sold to her sister’s friend about three years ago, and this first step towards success was a proud moment for her sister. “My sister was like: I am actually very proud of you when I say my sister is a stamp designer. She was very happy!”
When asked about her most memorable experience, Rachel said, “I think the happiest one was the wedding invitation. I did wedding stamps for one of my seniors. She was stamping on all the invitations and she took a picture and sent it to me. I felt like ‘ahhh’ (excited), with all my stamps on the invitation! It’s kind of that feeling!”
Thinking back, the biggest stamp that Rachel designed was one that measured 10 by 6 inches; it required the carving of many thin lines, which put a strain on her eyesight. “It was crazy and I don’t know why I even did that design. I think it was my first few orders. So I was ready to take it. But now when I think back, I was crazy.”
Even so, making bigger stamps could be part of her future plan. This would allow her stamps to be used on more platforms, such as printing her stamps on postcards. At the same time, merging embroidery with rubber stamps could be one area that Rachel intends to explore.
In times of doubt and uncertainty
Rachel might be a design student, but getting this far was neither an easy nor quick journey for her. Learning from books and tutorials was the method she adopted. “Different people have different methods. And I think for myself it is whatever that works. I try to be as neat as possible, which I’m always learning to improve,” Rachel said.
At times, makers themselves can be uncertain about the quality and aesthetics of their work. Rachel faces a similar issue as she sometimes wonders if her creations are good enough. Thankfully, her friends have been a constant source of encouragement for her and they would give honest and constructive opinions about her work.
“I think they are more certain than I am,” said Rachel jokingly.
We then asked her, “Let’s say I want to do something, but I don’t know what to make. How would you advise me?”
“Some people have the fear of not knowing what to draw. So, don’t draw, go and find a picture and you can just print it out and trace it. Use that as a template and then you start making. You can look for a minion or anything you like.”
Feel that you are one of them out there? Want to create something, but fear is pulling you back? Fret not, just heed Rachel’s advice and start simple now!
For more creative works by makers, check out: www.epikk.co/
Written by Mak Yin Kar for Epikk
Photography by Sufyan Selamat for Epikk