Aww snap, this is a fun one! Sam Ushiro is the wildly popular creative behind Aww Sam – a lifestyle and DIY blog built on fun! From the sweets she bakes to the things she makes, Sam is bringing exciting projects and decked out donuts to a screen near you – all in pastel rainbow shades. We think she’s pretty cool. And after scrolling through her colorful studio, you’ll not only be filled with happy thoughts, but also fun office decor ideas. A pink fridge? Why not! Cake shaped pillows and curly straws? Yes, please! Read on for more on her life in the business of blogging and what’s just as fun – and not as glamorous – as it looks!
Let’s start from the beginning! Tell us a little bit about how you got started with Aww Sam!
I started Aww Sam when I was still in college in 2015, and it was something I initially just did for fun in my free time. I was making a lot of donuts, embroidery, pins, and a bunch of little projects out of my apartment before starting an etsy shop where I sold crochet food brooches! (You can see how my love of food has translated throughout this whole journey. Ha!) During my senior year, I started to see more and more followers responding to my recipes, asking for tutorials and photos, which is when I really started to flesh out Aww Sam as brand, and I built a website and created a logo. I’ve always been a jump first, figure everything out later kind of person, so once I graduated I decided to get into this weird business world full-time and I’ve been working on growing this brand ever since!
When did you move into this great studio? What goes on here on a daily basis?
We moved into our newest studio back in August, after leaving our very first studio in July! We like to call this space the Aww Sam 2.0 Studio. On an average day, we are doing any number of things, from brainstorming a DIY, photographing a sponsored project, or planning out the next week’s work and Instagram content. We currently have two employees, Kyle, my husband, and Nova, who has been with me for three years! Kyle primarily helps me photograph all of our projects, and any larger scale backdrops you see in our photos are usually his creation! And Nova does a little bit of everything; she makes our gifs, graphic design, and is an amazing paper artist.
Your studio is seriously colorful, and we are so into it! Are there any colors you stay away from?
I tend to stay away from colors that don’t fit within our brand identity, so black, grays, browns, and reds are colors that you won’t see appear often on our feed! We think of our brand as a rainbow without the red!
How would you describe your aesthetic? Has your decor style evolved over time or have you always loved colorful design?
I think my style is pretty much what you would see if you fell into a bag of skittles! Ha! All jokes aside, my aesthetic is a modern, pastel take on patterns and prints from the 60’s and 70’s. I love the fashion from those decades, and being able to look at it for inspiration for home decor, style, or colors is one of my favorite things to study. If it’s floral and rainbow, I’m wearing it! Surprisingly, my style has definitely evolved over time, though I’ve always loved color. When I first moved to NYC, I had the phase that I think everyone goes through when they move here and they go to art school. I pretty much strictly wore black with a pop of color in my shoe choice or bag. I dressed a lot more punk, and if any of you remember the scene in the movie Ghost World when she dyes her hair green and wears a black leather jacket and creepers, that was me!
Where is your favorite place to shop for fun pieces?
I always seem to find my favorite things in vintage stores! Nothing beats the feeling of finding a really special piece that you know 20 other people aren’t going to have in their spaces too. For more contemporary things, we love Urban Outfitters and CB2!
Your recipes are always so adorable! What does the creation process look like from idea creation to seeing it up on the site?
It starts with an inspiration idea, like seeing a fun pool float or wallpaper. Then I try to imagine how I could take that inspiration and turn it into an edible cake or donuts! Donuts have always been the easiest thing for me to imagine as different objects. For example, I could be looking at an orange slice and think that it would be cute in donut form! We figure out the recipe for each dessert and then onto the decorating! Once they’re decorated, we get them ready for their close up and take 6-8 photos for the blog, edit, and push everything live!
Do you have a favorite sweet treat?
This may be a bit of a shock, but I absolutely love a run of the mill chocolate chip cookie! It’s simple but when you bite into the perfect one it’s a dream! I love crazy desserts too, but give me a bag of Tate’s chocolate chip cookies and I’m good.
How do you stay organized with so many fun little nick-nacks and DIY supplies?
Sometimes it can be hard to be organized, especially with the sheer number of smaller materials and craft items. Once we moved into our new studio, we made it a priority to organize our supplies, with holiday materials going together, and smaller knick-knacks having their own place on our prop shelf. I’ve very proud of our prop shelf, because it showcases some of our DIY projects throughout the years and lots of our more unique objects! By keeping things organized and grouped together, it makes it easier to find them and also makes the process of creating things go much faster.
Your life looks like one big party!! What are some of the not so glamorous aspects of running Aww Sam?
A lot of people see my Instagram and blog and tend to think that I live one huge party, and although I try to bring fun into everything I do, my job is very much a job! We have bad days where everything goes wrong just like everyone else does, and there are some days where I don’t feel like being in a photo or working on a project. When you own your own business you have to start paying attention to things and learning things you never would have imagined. I’ve read so many contracts I sometimes feel like I went to business school! Ha!
I have had to learn to not take rejections to heart, because not every company wants to work with me or understands my brand, but that’s totally okay! Before I started this business I knew it was going to be a lot of work, but I had no idea just how time consuming some of the simplest things could be. I feel so lucky getting to do something I love everyday, but owning a business is also the hardest thing I’ve ever done.
Where do you go for inspiration?
My favorite places to go for inspiration are weird dollar stores or party stores. Browsing the aisles of a party store can guarantee some of the most bizarre objects or ideas that I then love to reimagine and reinvent in my own style. We also use Pinterest A TON for inspiration. Saving images for anything from fonts to patterns can help spark a brilliant idea for a project or post!
What can we expect in the future from Aww Sam? Do you have any fun projects in the works?
In the near future, you’ll still be seeing plenty more crazy and creative recipes and DIY projects from us, because that is what we love to do! But we’re also working on what Aww Sam products would look like as well as figuring out a book and some other bigger projects!
Now, that, sounds (and looks!) like a good time!