We like to play with bugs. I’m sorry. I mean, “insects.” My fiancé, Steven, gave me a side-eye after he read the first sentence. The word, “bug,” is the same as Student Affairs professionals saying the word “dorm.”
Together, we run . B&S is a small crafting company that we work on in our spare time, outside of our full time jobs. Steven is an entomologist and spends his days studying insects. He has multiple degrees in , and I have a degree in computer graphics from Purdue University. So really, Steven plays with bugs and I play with computers and shiny stuff.
Our goal is to create, design and preserve nature in a way that you will be proud to display it in your home or office. We use real butterflies or other insects, frame the design, and seal it for protection so that it lasts. We take our crafts to fairs and we work on custom orders throughout the year. Creating, building, buying, and managing B&S takes up maybe about 35% of our outside-of-work time usually, and 80% of our time during busy seasons likes Christmas and summer.
Frequently Asked Questions we get at Craft Fairs:
Q: Are the butterflies real?
A: Yes, the butterflies and other insects are real. They are professionally, and naturally spread, mounted and the frame is sealed, so that the designs are long-lasting.
Q: So, you… like… killed them?
A: Actually, no. We wouldn’t do something like that. We know someone in Australia that receives all types of insects native to tropical regions from local farmers that raise the insects to preserve natural populations in the wild. So in a way, we are contributing to their local economy and to the sustainability of the beautiful variety of species you see here today.
Q: What is this one called?
A: A Harlequin Beetle! We put it out during craft fairs to show people that we are not just into butterflies, but all types of insects. Also, it got you to come into our tent. Did you see this other frame that you might like?
In my role, I have used the past year to launch a , revamp the page, create print materials, and utilize and Pinterest a little more to our advantage. We are still in the beginning stages of most of these initiatives, but they are still contributing to our income. My other responsibilities pertain to online and print marketing along with branding, customer service, and design consulting. I like to refer to myself as the, “Department of Marketing and Design of B&S.” It is a great way to reach back to my bachelor’s education and refine my design, print, and 3d skills while reusing the strategies of marketing and technology that I use in my professional job.
In my current—and first—professional position, I have a lot of room for innovation and creativity. This is unusual for an entry-level position, but it suits me very well. Having an artistic outlet that helps develop more of my right brain only aids in my creativity and implementation in my professional position. Keeping up with marketing trends in higher education most definitely helps in my B&S online marketing strategies with the community. So it is becoming a win-win situation.
Steven and I are both new to Baltimore, MD and moved from other rural states. So when we started trying to find our way in a big city, we were looking for social groups, team sports, and a community garden. It was when we looked for craft fairs to display our custom B&S frames that we found a way to connect to the community.
We started looking for craft fairs because we needed help paying our bills while also saving up for a wedding. With both of us being in entry-level positions in the education industry, we needed help. There’s something to be said for mental health through a cathartic, artistic outlet and supplemental finances.