We had the good fortune of connecting with Azurell Papka and we’ve shared our conversation below.

Hi Azurell, what was your thought process behind starting your own business?
I’m a crafter. For much of my life growing up my sister would say that if she won the lottery she would put me up in a house with access to my favorite stores for a year and then open the most eclectic store ever with what I make. I’ve been making and selling everything from headbands to corsetry for years as a way to support my own crafting habits, but only in the last couple of years decided to make a real business of it.

Honestly a lot of the drive behind it was watching the success of my friend Michele of FourLetterWordCards. There’s a draw for quirky, edgy, interesting paper goods. I’ve always giggled at the joke “Silence is Golden, but duct tape is silver”, it was in my head one day and I designed my first sticker.

Silence is Golden Sticker

I loved it and for a while couldn’t stop, I started designing my pride stickers and there was no turning back. One of my favorite things is getting requests for gift messages with pride stickers and seeing people support an LGBTQ family member or friend. I’ve gotten messages thanking me for making inclusive items available, I can’t imagine stopping.

Can you open up a bit about your work and career? We’re big fans and we’d love for our community to learn more about your work.
I’ve called myself an “artist” longer than I can remember, I build, I create, I bake. Construct tables and planters, scarves and hats, stuffed animals, skirts, anything you can craft from anything I pick up. But no matter how often people tell me that they love what I’m making, I’ve never been able to get the foothold into people I DON’T know personally.

Having so many ideas all of the time has both helped me creatively, and kept me from being able to start an actual business as I kept moving between this, that, and the other thing. I have a closet full of different experiments waiting to find a home, but somehow I found the winning combination between universally cute and accessible price point and I don’t know if it was just a combination of the right SEO or the universe lined up and said “yeah it’s time” but they started to take off.

More sales allowed me to offer more and more inclusive options, I was selling enough to take suggestions and include lesser represented pride flag options to let others show off how proud they are to be them. If I ever doubt whether or not I’m in the right business, I just have to look at my customer’s comments, reviews, and gift messages. Every time a family member sends a pride sticker telling someone how proud they are that their relative is living their best life, or someone thanks me for having the options available for them I know this was the right direction to go.

I still make non-pride related items. I will continue to let my creativity take me where it wants me to go, but I consider myself lucky to have the option to run a business that supports love, and joy. (as sappy as that may sound)

If you had a friend visiting you, what are some of the local spots you’d want to take them around to?
This question is a bit hard to answer at the end of a Pandemic, when we’ve gotten used to staying in more than going out. But L.A. has a million things to offer, pre-pandemic my happy places included Venice Beach for a combination of the ocean and the fantastic people watching. I love going down to Fabric/Fashion district and sharing the bustle of the streets with friends. On a whim I went with a friend to Flutter, and it was a pretty fantastic interactive art experience. If we’re talking food we’re stopping by some Korean BBQ, or hitting some of the random locations in China Town where the food is less “American Chinese”. There’s so many options to choose from.

Shoutout is all about shouting out others who you feel deserve additional recognition and exposure. Who would you like to shoutout?
It seems like a trope but honestly my partner has been my largest source of encouragement. Staring at images I’ve been looking at too long to tell me if I’m crazy or that one color really is wrong, reminding me that it’s ok to pursue things I love, covering their water bottle in as many of my stickers as fit! I have a wonderful network of support and have a lot of creatives to reach out to for tips although the largest hands-on support has been Michele from Four Letter Word Cards who has always been happy to answer my silly little questions about having a small business and how to work through issues I’m having.

Website: https://polaritydesigns.net/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/polaritydesigns/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/polaritydesigns

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/PolarityDesigns

Nominate Someone: ShoutoutLA is built on recommendations and shoutouts from the community; it’s how we uncover hidden gems, so if you or someone you know deserves recognition please let us know here.