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Meet the Maker #1

Hey and welcome to my first ever Meet the Maker feature. I'm quite excited by the responses I've been getting about being featured and I've found some amazing crafters and some gorgeous shops because of it. I'm hoping this will become are regular feature so if you want to take part please get in touch.

So lets get to know our first maker.

This is Alya Sayer who is the proud owner of A. S. Miniature Studio.

First off thanks Alya for joining me in this feature. Tell me a little bit about yourself - I’m a geeky mum from Amersham, Buckinghamshire. I have two wonderful but hard work children.

Wow so when do you find time to run your business?
 - I run A. S. Miniature Studio in-between school runs and once everyone is in bed.

I get that, i do the same when Agent M is at school or in bed. So how long have you been crafting? - I've been crafting for just over 27 years but it wasn't till around 10 years ago that i started to enjoy building and painting figures. – I have always loved working out new techniques to painting miniatures, which I hope allows me to stand out as a commission painter.

Its great then that you have been able to turn your hobby into a business. Tell me a bit about your store
 - This will make you laugh as I consider my shop to be my third child, yet it can be more demanding than the two children I already have. In my Etsy shop I am slowly building up a stock of pre-painted miniatures from a wide variety of companies in-between working on separate commission pieces.

How do you make the miniatures Alya? - The detail is so intricate - I make my items using pre-cast kits, then build the actual figures with either super glue or plastic glue (depending on what the piece is made from), prime them using an acrylic spray and hand paint each figure using acrylic paints and washes. Then once the hard work is done I make sure each piece is based allowing the miniature to instantly join a game.

I know its hard to pick favourites, especially since A.S Miniature Studio is like your child but if you had to pick a favourite, what would it be? - I have always loved working on the more sci-fi themed figures as you can create some really wacky colour schemes that you hope no one else has come up with before, as well as go a little over board with the fine details.

What have you learnt about turning your hobby into a business?
- It’s the hardest thing I have ever done and I’ve been forced to change how I think about it so many times it would make your head spin. I always knew the market was competitive but I didn’t realise just how competitive it was until I went from a simple hobbyist to a commission painter so networking can be very frustrating at times.

Networking is definitely important. finally, What advice would you give to other small businesses looking to succeed in the craft market?
- Go with your gut, if something feels not right then don’t do it.

You can also find Alya and her miniatures on Facebook.