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Life & Work with Amanda Ostby

Today we’d like to introduce you to Amanda Ostby.

Hi Amanda, we’re thrilled to have a chance to learn your story today. So, before we get into specifics, maybe you can briefly walk us through how you got to where you are today?
My husband deployed five days after our first son was born for a year. I was planning on staying home with him, but living in an unfamiliar area and living alone kept me from leaving the house very often. I love being a mom and wife, but I felt like my identity was being overshadowed by those titles. As a creative soul, I would find myself doing small projects and trying new skills which quickly became my outlet. During the next few years, my skill level improved and I honed in on some of my favorite ways of creating. A business blossomed from there!

Alright, so let’s dig a little deeper into the story – has it been an easy path overall and if not, what were the challenges you’ve had to overcome?
I think there are struggles with every small business. This is actually my second shop. My first shop had many of the same items/offerings but lacked organization and strayed from my vision. I tried to offer too many options and spread myself way too thin. When I had my second son, I took a year off to refocus, get a handle on the direction I wanted my business to go in, as well as work on my image/vibe which helped immensely. I built a website and created my new shop from the ground up. This was another challenge. I’ve learned so many new skills from website building, coding, branding, taxes and licensing, and so many back-office things that are outside of my realm as a creative. 2020 was a challenge for everyone, of course. We all had to learn how to pivot and change our “normal” way of doing business. I rely on in-person events for a good chunk of my income. With the closures and cancellations of events, I was forced to find alternative ways of getting to my shoppers. I’m lucky to have made it through last year and the other obstacles I’ve encountered. I take pride in my “problem-solver” personality and credit it for being able to navigate many of the challenges I’ve faced as a small-business owner.

Thanks – so what else should our readers know about your work and what you’re currently focused on?
I create handmade jewelry, accessories and apparel. I specialize in metalwork with my hand-stamped pieces, digital and hand-drawn designs for my apparel and stickers, and unique jewelry design. I’m known for using upcycled materials like bullet casings, vintage keys and other found elements to create my pieces. This helps me create one-of-a-kind items. I love all things nature so I find inspiration in the outdoors and love incorporating it in my collections.

One of my favorite offerings is my Memorial Collection. With my ties to the military, I wanted to offer a service to loved ones of fallen service members. I transform the spent rifle casings from military funerals into a memorial keepsake to hold their service member close to their heart. https://littlewandershop.com/collections/the-memorial-collection

Another thing I’m proud of is my commitment to eco-consciousness with my business. Not only do I use upcycled items to create my pieces, preventing unnecessary waste, my packaging is almost completely plastic free, too. I also use my platform to encourage others to lead a more eco-conscious life. Each Earth Day {as well as throughout the year} I share ways I personally and professionally make strides to reduce waste and suggest ideas on how to implement small changes to make a big difference. One product is my Eco-Friendly Tote featuring my hand-drawn recycle design. I hope to encourage others to reduce/replace their plastic bag usage by offering a cute tote alternative! https://littlewandershop.com/collections/accessories/products/eco-friendly-tote

How do you think about luck?
I’m not sure if luck of either kind has played a role in my business. My hard work and dedication to my shop has opened many new doors for me. Putting in the time has created the path for any successes I’ve achieved. Any challenges/struggles I’ve faced have been reflective of the current economic climate or human error and simply create new opportunities to overcome.

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