Absolute talks to Local sustainable Brighton based entrepreneur & owner of My Papercut Forest
Absolute Talks To Local Sustainable Brighton Based Entrepreneur & Owner Of My Papercut Forest
1) Explain to me, how did your company begin? What made you start it?
I started making paper sculptures as a kind of therapy around 11 years ago. I was getting sick of working only on the computer all the time so I started to do illustrations on paper. This led me to think about making 3D objects.
I wanted to combine my illustration skills with my digital design experience. That’s how it all began. While I was doing my MA in Art History in 2012 I opened my Etsy shop. I used my own name “Silvina De Vita” which proved a little hard to understand, especially with my Latin accent. (I’ve been called Silvia, Celina, Surina, Sylvana, Silvana Da Silva, that one was my favourite!) not great for SEO purposes.
In 2018, I decided to rebrand but I still wanted to reference my name in some way. My mother chose my name because she loved the writer Silvina Ocampo. Silvina, in Latin, means “from the woods or forest” so that’s how the brand came to life. Forests are my favourite place in the world. For the logo, the three trees represent my three children. They are the air to my lungs.
My Papercut Forest is a playground for my imagination, a place to try out new ideas, artworks and designs. A place to be free from my own name (and from the children!)
Here I create, make and sell a range of artworks including paper craft kits, miniature paper domes, illustrations, prints, greeting cards, and loads of other unique objects.
2) How has your company grown to be where it is now? What has contributed to your business’s success?
2020 was a massive pivot for the business. I went to a B2B fair called Top Drawer for the first time and it was a great success. Then the world changed forever. And I thought the opportunity had gone. Little did I know that this was actually a beginning. The online sales were just mental, giving a growth of 150% on sales. Of course, it was a mixed year as I lost my mother around then so I had to shut down the business for a few months to recover from the shock of such a huge loss. But I kept going all along.
3) At what point did you recognise the success of your business?
I think when I saw a lot of unexpected PR in November 2020 on blogs and websites which I always admired. I couldn’t believe it. That was a great pat on the back for me as a designer.
4) Being a recognised company, please name a few of your clients or brands that you do business with?
I did corporate workshops for Netflix and the V&A Museum, you can find my items at some National Trust sites and the Wellcome Collection.
5) And how has the advent of social media impacted on you?
Not really, I have a presence but I don’t have a huge following. I guess the product in this case speaks for itself. What I did do via social media is build a great friendship group and a massively supportive lovely community, that’s great.
6) How do you stay relevant, current, and continuously meet your consumer needs?
I work hard to research my ideas and stay on top of trends and changes in the design world. I’m very proactive in thinking of new products and ways to engage my customers with my brand.
7) Which project/s are you really excited about?
I’ll be leading workshops at Royal Pavilion, Worthing Museum and Make Festival in July and I would say it’s the human interaction that I’ve been craving most for the last few years. I really miss in-person workshops so I cant wait for the summer!
8) Why are you different to other businesses within your industry? Explain to me what your clients will receive?
I believe my unique selling point is having such a different set of original products. And I’m super proud of that after many years of work.
9) How has the town of Lewes & Sussex helped your business? Do you feel Brighton’s high creativity levels have contributed to your success?
I love living in Brighton, it’s such a vibrant city and it has lots to offer. There’s a wonderful community of makers and creative people here which I’ve loved being a part of since moving 6 years ago.
It’s a beautiful place. In one of my lower points of grief, I started swimming in the sea. Now I’m hooked. I’ve been swimming in the sea for the past 2 years all year round and my mental health has massively improved since, so I guess living by the sea is a great positive impact on my creativity and state of mind. I finally can say I found my place in the world.