Hello! My name is Allegra Cheung, and I create DIY printable gift boxes and paper toys for my Etsy shop Little Luxuries Loft. I live in Vancouver, BC, where I work as a graphic designer and a 3-D animator for television.
I opened Little Luxuries Loft in 2011 while I was attending university. When I first started out, I was sewing baby shoes, superhero phone cases, and random felt ornaments. I didn’t really know what direction to go in, and as a result, I felt my shop was lacking an identity. It wasn’t until December 2014 that I started experimenting with 3-D paper designs. I created a series of tiny hot chocolate cups for Valentine’s Day, but I didn’t think people would be very interested in them. Then I noticed a big spike in views and favorites, and I realized that there were other people as excited about paper crafting as I was! From that point on, I decided to focus my energy on designing paper kits that people could download and assemble themselves.
When I’m trying to come up with ideas for a new product, I usually don’t have to look far. Often I have more ideas for products than I have time to make. I get inspired by pretty much everything around me — the latte art at my local coffee shop, the cotton prints at my favorite fabric store, and (of course) cute animals. Who doesn’t like cute animals?
Once I have an idea for a design, I make a rough sketch in my notebook. Then I create a template for the design in Illustrator and print it out for testing. From there, it’s really all trial and error: I keep testing it until the item folds together nicely and I’m happy with the way it looks. If I’m really stuck on the assembly, sometimes I will build a mock-up design in my 3-D software, but usually I prefer to figure it out with paper because I love working with my hands.
Running my Etsy shop has been a roller-coaster ride; for me, it’s been all about experimenting until I found something that clicked. As an artist, it’s incredibly liberating to design what I love and share it with the world. Another thing I like about selling on Etsy is that there’s no pressure. I feel like I’m able to create the kind of store and experience that I want — in my own time. In the future, I’d love to continue growing my shop and someday have pre-made templates for people who don’t want to print and cut at home. I’d also love to get more engagement going on Instagram, and maybe do a collaboration with another maker at some point. For now, I’m pretty content to keep making cute stuff. As long as I have paper, glue and coffee, I’m set!