Some time ago I wrote a blog about Samantha’s business, Sunkissed Handmade. I am a huge fan of her beautiful headgear, flower crowns, mermaid crowns and every single design she presents.  This past week I saw another post on her page where she showed the fact that she can now turn you/a loved one into a MERMAID, as well as creating digital art of your pets.  Now I don’t know about you, but I have always dreamt about being a magical being and this honestly excites me so much.  Plus I know that my animals are royalty at heart so her creations are right at the top of my birthday wishlist!

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Your name: Samantha Hanlon

Business name: Sunkissedstudio Design

Social media handles: Design – Facebook; Handmade – Facebook and Instagram; Photography – Facebook and Instagram

Tell me a bit more about how this business came about:  I have been running my own business as a freelance photographer and designer for almost 12 years now. Before I decided to work for myself, I worked as a fashion designer for suppliers to top retail stores and international brands.
I have been focusing on my photography and crown-making mostly, but when this lockdown started, I realised that it would need to change my focus.
My clients have come to expect a certain level of pretty, light and happy imagery from my photography and a delight for princesses, young and old, in my crowns. I wanted to offer the same feeling but in something digital.
I decided to promote my design page and particularly the fantasy portraits, as a whimsical escape from the harsh reality of life. They make the perfect gift in a time when we can’t leave our homes to actually give loved ones presents, and there are no courier costs involved. The A4 digital image can be sent to anyone with an email address anywhere in the world!

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Have you always been so creative:  Yes, absolutely.
I studied Textile design and then fashion design and worked in the fashion industry for many years as a graphic artist and designer, which is where I honed my photoshop skills, which came in handy when I started doing photography. I always have a creative project on the go.

Please can you tell me a bit more about the specials you are running at the moment:
I am currently offering A4 digital portraits for just R250 each during lockdown.
I have a variety of themes to choose from but an happy to make custom orders too.

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Where did these ideas come from:
I have always photoshopped fantasy images for fun, usually for birthday cards or making memes.  It always makes people so happy to get something personalised and meaningful as a gift.

Which have been your favourite mermaid & pet portraits:
I have to say, one of my favourites is the mermaid – purrmaid portrait I did of my cat Lilly.
I enjoy doing each artwork and love hearing how much my clients love them.

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Can people still order from you during lockdown & how will they receive their images:  Yes! I email your digital file to you, so it’s easy.

Who do you think your ideal clients would be:  My ideal clients are the same amazing people who love my photography and crowns.

“They are day dreamers and night thinkers, they love music, books, movies , art, sunsets, forests and oceans and all things that make this world a more beautiful place. They are people with imagination.”

What do you need from people to create these images:
I need 3-5 photographs emailed to me. I do offer some guidelines as to which sort of images work best.  You can email these through to me.

How has lockdown affected your business:
I have been unable to run my small business, I am a single mother and also support my parents and handicapped brother. So quitting is not an option.
Thankfully creativity is my super-power and I can draw on my experience and talent to keep providing for my family.

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Quote you live by:
“A person who is a master in the art of living makes little distinction between their work and their play, their labour and their leisure, their mind and their body, their education and their recreation, their love and their religion.
They hardly know which is which and simply pursue their vision of excellence and grace, whatever they do.
Leaving others to decide whether they are working or playing. To them they are always doing both”
― James A. Michener

Anything else you want to add:
Please support small businesses at this time. There is no such thing as an “essential” or” non-essential” business.
Every business is essential to the person who earns a living from it.

“Have courage and be kind….and keep day dreaming”

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Please follow all of Sam’s beautiful pages and support her artistic talent.  These would make great birthday gifts, lockdown happiness, anniversary gifts, or even simply just-because.  If you have always dreamed of magic, or if your daughter/niece/friend has a vivid imagination; why not make it a reality.  Or if your pets personality makes you picture them as a dame from the 1920s, or a court jester, or even a student at Hogwarts – make this happen by contacting Sam.  Her talent truly knows no bounds and she is one of the kindest people I have ever dealt with.

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