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This is a fact: I go to the post office much more often than your typical high school student. No, it’s not because I constantly miss packages that are addressed to me. It’s because I send packages full of little handmade goodies to other people.
The long summer of 2013 gave birth to Temptation Btq, my online store through which I primarily sell polymer clay crafts, made by yours truly. After going down a rabbit hole on YouTube, watching video after video of young girls like me crafting clay Eeyores and hamburgers, I decided that I could do it as well. I dragged my parents (or rather, they drove me) out to Michael’s Craft Store, and I stocked up on multicolored clay, sculpting tools, and glaze. Then I got working. My first charm was a small yellow chick; I ended up burning it while baking it in the oven (that’s how polymer clay hardens). But, through practice and many YouTube tutorials later, I became something of a polymer clay guru.
I loved the process of putting a charm together — the molding, the baking, the glazing. My favorite part though, has to be all the tips and tricks I learned that make a charm seem more lifelike: pushing soft clay through a #13 star piping tip to make soft serve swirls, or using a needle tool to produce the crumbs of a chocolate cake, or using pink chalk pastels to give a face the illusion of a blush. I eventually had enough charms to stock my shop, or rather, Facebook page. At the time, online shops and advertisements weren’t exactly accessible, so I made use of my resources (Facebook and its “Find Friends” function) and built a network of buyers and sellers of “kawaii” stuff. I made and sold everything from rainbow macarons to kawaii tofus to social media app bracelets.
Eventually, I racked up $200 and made my first round of donations to Doctors Without Borders. These coin-sized charms that I put time and effort into turned into my tiny offering of support for those in need.
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