Meet the Maker: Poumi Stamp Studio
Amy Paterson from Poumi Stamp Studio grew up in a creative household – her father is Scottish painter James McNaught – so maybe her creative path was set from the start. However, it was only after signing her name on hundreds of photos that she came up with the idea of designing and selling beautiful custom stamps that combine pretty calligraphy and simple typography with a traditional wooden design. We caught up with Amy to find out more…
Can you introduce yourself?
Hello! My name is Amy and I’m the main person behind Poumi Stamp Studio. I am 29 years old and live in Cupar near St Andrews in Fife, Scotland. I live with my husband Kevin, one-year-old son Kit and mog Ivy.
How would you describe what you do?
I run Poumi Studio myself, so I do all the stamp artwork design, mock-up shots, customer service, research, invoicing, ordering supplies, packaging and mailing (although sometimes my husband does a Post Office run.) When people ask me though I simply say that I design rubber stamps and stationery. I’m a full-time mama too, so I have to fit all this around caring for my son.
How did it all begin?
Back when I was trying to do more with my photography, I was sitting writing my name and website on the back of a pile of photos, when I realised a rubber stamp would be easier and faster. It was while designing my own business stamp that I got a taste for it and haven’t stopped since.
Where does the name Poumi Studio come from?
I got the name Poumi from a cat we had when I was younger. It’s actually a made-up name. We had a lot of cats (I love cats). My mum and dad brought home two kittens from London in the late ’70s – they were Mimi and Poumi.
Have you always been creative?
Yes, absolutely! We were always doing something arty or crafty as children and I thank my parents for that. My dad is a Scottish artist and my mum also enjoyed painting and brought her German heritage to the table. They surrounded my sister and me with art, books and culture, and it definitely rubbed off on both of us. We went to many summer classes at the Art School in Glasgow. Art & Design was always my favourite subject at school – I would have happily stayed in that department all day.
Which one of your childhood creations were you most proud of?
To be honest I can’t remember making anything I was particularly proud of when I was younger because I was (and still am) a perfectionist. I made a lot of things but never finished most of them because I felt they weren’t good enough. I don’t think I was ever really proud of something until I got to art school.
What was the first ever Poumi Stamp Studio product?
It was my business stamp. When the idea formed to design and sell custom stamps I had a very clear picture in my head of the physical style of the stamp I wanted to offer – very traditional with a wooden handle. I scoured the internet for businesses in the UK providing custom stamps in that style. It took a while but I eventually found my current supplier. I ordered a stamp of my business details and that became my first product. It’s still available in my shop today.
Can you describe your making process?
Sometimes I have an idea in my head already and I will get on to Illustrator and get it done, other times I get started with an idea in mind but end up with something completely different. Things don’t always work, so then I’ll leave them to maybe try another time. When I’m happy with the artwork I transfer it on to one of my mock-up shots to show as an example. Because most of my products are customised, I don’t order the stamp until the customer is happy with their proof.
I’ve just started offering powder-embossed stationery as well. The first product I’ve listed is a custom stamp and embossed notecard set, so again I don’t make anything until proof approval and I have the stamp. Very soon I’ll have ready embossed cards and bookmarks.
Are there any artists or designers you particularly admire?
My dad, James McNaught. I’ve grown up surrounded by his work and have gone to many of his exhibitions over the years. I’ve seen his style change as he’s grown older and always love to hear his ‘stories’ behind the work. I’m like him in the way that I will do something purely because I like the look of it or because I know I can do it, very much the overall aesthetic. He has always been very encouraging, supportive and interested in my creative path. [Amy photographed her father at home here.]
Who, or what, else inspires you?
Inspiration comes when you least expect it, like when you’re standing rocking your baby to sleep in the pram and you’re just looking around the room. Getting out and doing something different helps too, that’s good for motivation. My mum, Iris, is an inspiration as well. She’s such a hard working, caring and loving person. I try to be like that with my customers – I like to make the whole experience a pleasant one.
Where do you work?
Despite the name, I don’t have a studio, yet. I work where I can, mostly the living room or my bedroom while Kit naps. In the living room I have a large shelf and four dookets in my library, which is where I keep all the things I use the most and try to keep tidy and organised. One day I will have a designated work space, so that I can do all of the designing and making of the stamps and stationery myself.
Is your home as beautiful as your work (and your Pinterest boards?)
I’m not so sure! We moved here four years ago and still haven’t got round to hanging most of our pictures or paintings. It’s a work in progress and I doubt we will still be in the same house in a few years. My Pinterest boards are inspiration and styles I like. Simple but a little bit cluttered and homely. I will definitely be going to them for ideas in the future.
What’s your most treasured possession?
That’s hard to pinpoint! Probably family photographs. I’m very nostalgic and love to look back at when we were kids and at my parents before they had any! And now since I’m married, and have a child of my own, the photos we have of our little family. After that, it would be my 35mm SLR cameras and my library!
I love your ‘From the Library Of’ book stamp. Which book would you most like in your library and why?
I have a book wish list the size of me! I’m currently crushing on Rifle Paper Co’s Puffin in Bloom books, though – I do love a good illustrated cover and I’ve only read one of the four.
How would you spend your perfect day?
My perfect non-working day would include my husband, my son and a beautiful day exploring an old village and a bookshop. The best thing about being a designer and maker is that I love what I do, and I can do it from home so I can spend more time with my son while he’s in his early years.
What would you say to someone thinking about selling their work?
Definitely do your research before you get started. Figure out what, where, how and why you’re selling. A good base understanding helps, a lot of other things progress and come with time. I’ve been reading ‘Making It! The hard facts you need to start your own craft business’ by Mollie Makes [read our review here]. I wish I had read something like this when I was starting out.
You can get 10% off Poumi Studio Stamp products with the code YAYFOLKSY