Samantha Ushiro is the industrial designer, photo stylist and baking addict behind the glorious design blog Aww, Sam. We talked to this Brooklyn-based lover of all things fun about life, work and her amazing sense of color. Read on for more.
Tell us a little bit about lil’ Sam. What were you like when you were young, and when did you realize what you were interested in?
Ha, I love “lil’ Sam,” it’s like an R&B name! Growing up with Pokemon and video games, I was a huge tomboy and all of the pinks that you see on my Instagram feed now were definitely not part of my wardrobe as a kid. I’ve always been really wishy-washy with what I wanted to be, and I think some kind of singing career was what I had imagined for the longest amount of time. But everything I was interested in was in the creative realm, although I wasn’t even convinced I could have a successful creative career until right after high school. Let’s just say “lil’ Sam” was really off in thinking she was going to be a famous singer!
What drew you to your Fab picks? Can you tell us about your thought process as you curated your collection?
I’m always on the hunt for special pieces, and I’m a sucker for anything novelty; bags, jewelry, pillows, you name it. Once I had a few initial items picked out, I chose a color palette and looked for anything with a fun, colorful pattern. I also tried to choose an equal amount of home items, wearables, and tech for a wider range of products.
When you look at your career path, was it deliberate? Did you visualize it unfolding the way it has?
I think I would have always ended up in some kind of art-related career path, but if you had told me 2 years ago that I’d have my own business blogging and creating content for social media, I would have never thought that was possible. Since it’s such a new field and nothing like this is taught in schools, it’s crazy how different this is from what I thought I’d be doing. Even in my last year of college I was under the impression that I’d be taking a job at an industrial design studio making furniture or doing 3D modeling work. It’s incredible how social media has opened up so many more possibilities and now I’m able to do something I truly love.
The things you make are all about FUN. Can you tell us how your work and your life combine?
My work for sure makes my life look a lot more fun than it is. Even though my business is all about fun, it’s still work at the end of day. Since my business is still so new, I’m trying to figure out how to balance life and work and create a clear distinction where one stops and the other begins. With so many social media sites, it’s hard to know what to share, but I’m a huge believer in not sharing my personal life and staying off my phone once the work day is over. Some of the fun in my life isn’t shown in my work, but I’m always trying to have fun everyday no matter what!
Your eye for color is super amazing—can you tell us about what color means to you and how you work with it?
Color, to me, means happy! One of the best feelings is when someone tells me that the bright colors on my Instagram feed or my blog have brightened their day. I use A LOT of color, but to keep everything looking cohesive and true to my own brand, I have a color palette of pinks and yellows that I stick to when working in color.
What does a day in your life look like?
Whenever I sit down to think about my daily routine, it doesn’t ever sound as fun as it looks, but I definitely have my fair share of fun! I usually start out getting up at 6:30am and working on answering my emails for the day. Once the sun comes up, I start to make projects for blog posts and plan my posts for Instagram. I then move on to shooting anything I have scheduled, and editing the photos right after. My day usually ends around 11pm when I prepare and write blog posts and answer any additional emails. And there’s almost always an ice cream break thrown in there somewhere!
What is one accessory you can’t live without?
It’s not just one accessory, but I have a pretty large novelty bag collection that I wouldn’t want to disappear anytime soon. Novelty bags add instant fun to any outfit, and how can you go wrong when your purse is shaped like a flamingo or a pineapple?!
What are some words you live by?
I always stick by the motto that if you work hard enough, there’s nothing you can’t achieve. I’m definitely the type of person to jump into something and figure out how to accomplish it later, which might not be the most obvious way to approach things, but it works well for my personality. It forces me to do things that may be a bit scary, though, and they are almost always worth it in the end. (And if they aren’t worth it, I’ve at least learned something valuable!)
How do you curate your living space?
Although I try to make my living space a little more minimalistic than my studio space, I always seem to still be drawn to lots of color and patterns. I like finding pieces that are really unique and that you can’t get anywhere else, so I end up with a lot of decor items that might not all match perfectly, but somehow feel like they still go together.
Describe your dream dinner party.
This is a tough one! First of all, I wouldn’t want to be the host. Too much pressure, ha! I think my dream dinner party would be really chill, with pizza and french fries and all of my favorite filmmakers as the guests.
Read any good books lately?
I never know if they count as “books” or not, but I’m a huge fan of graphic novels. I recently re-read Charles Burns’ Black Hole and it’s definitely one of my favorites, with Ghost World by Daniel Clowes always being #1.
What are you listening to these days?
I’m ALWAYS listening to Beach House. My subway rides consist of either Beach House or Belle and Sebastian every time. And when I’m wanting something a little more upbeat, I’ll throw some Phoenix into the mix!
If you were an emoji, what would you be?
I would definitely be the rainbow or the unicorn! Ha!