Congratulations to artist Mina of @taggedbyollie! Originally from Japan and now based in British Columbia, Canada, Mina hand makes earrings and personalized pet ID tags using resin and polymer clay: "My pieces are known to be very unique in colour and shape as I make my own moulds and colours, and mix multiple mediums."
Mina is entirely self-taught, learning how to work with polymer clay by studying books, blogs and YouTube tutorials: "I'm still learning every day. It's funny because I never considered myself to be a creative person or an artist, but here I am and I love being creative with what I make."
What started as a hobby after a Covid related lay-off, soon turned into a small business after she brought her pup, Ollie, home in 2021: "I couldn't find a fun and unique tag [for Ollie] anywhere. I love a simple, colourful pop, so I thought it would be great if I could make my imagination come true. I wanted to make our products unique, colourful, and as customizable as possible. Because, why not? Why can't pet ID tags be as cute and colourful as human accessories? Epoxy made this a reality!"
As an animal lover and dog owner, Mina understands how stressful it might be for a pet to go missing. She wanted to create tags that are fun to look at, but by including contact information, serve a purpose too: "I am hoping that people all over the world discover my pet tags to make their lives brighter, to give pet parents peace of mind, and, most importantly, to allow lost or missing dogs and cats to come home safely. The American Humane Association estimates that over 10 million dogs and cats are lost or stolen in the U.S. every year, so it's very important for furry babies to wear an ID tag in order to identify them!"
Mina creates pieces for both furry babies and their humans, recently expanding her line to include earrings for pet parents that match their animal's ID tags: "I've always loved wearing earrings, so that was something I naturally started making one day. Now I make matching earrings and tags!"
Epoxy resin has been Mina's main medium since she started Tagged By Ollie. She mixes epoxy with many different mediums including mica powder, inks, dried flowers, glitter and, most recently, polymer clay: "Oh, the sky is the limit when it comes to creating tags with epoxy resin! I love how durable, lightweight, and waterproof it is, which is essential for pet tags.
"I love working with polymer clay as much as with resin. They are totally different materials, but for polymer clay, I love how much attention to detail makes a big difference, and small details are so worth it!"
It takes Mina a few days to create a pet tag since she pours several resin layers and mixes in different mediums: "Sometimes I use unusual items, such as real sugar sprinkles to make an ice cream tag, for example!
"The bubble torch is my best friend, and making sure my work area is dust free is very important. As my pieces are unique in shape, sanding and smoothing the pieces is something I do every day. Oh, and liquid latex! As I work with tiny pieces and both sides of tags, overspread resin is my enemy. Therefore, I seal one side with liquid latex while I work on the other side so it protects the surface. Such a lifesaver!"
Mina says that inspiration comes to her from many different sources: "Sometimes it comes to me on daily walks with Ollie, when I'm having dinner with my friends, when I go on an adventure with my family, or when I am watching a movie. When that happens, I handwrite a note quickly so that I won't forget. Other times I have ideas a year ahead, or make things up at the very last minute, and if it satisfies me, it will be in my store!"
Though fulfilling orders is satisfying, Mina especially loves to hear how much customers love her work or how the tags helped someone's pet get back home safely.
Mina hopes to be an inspiration for someone who wants to take on a new challenge or start an art or craft but feels scared to try. She says: "I was one of [those people] not too long ago. I didn't have any plans to start my art or this small business back in 2020. I thought I was relatively happy with my previous work. But now that I am looking back, I am definitely happier with where I am now and I love what I do. I am not going to lie, it is a lot of work to own a small business on your own. I feel like I work 24/7 (and I probably do -- haha) but I am happier than 2 years ago and I have a whole goal to achieve one day!"
Mina started her small business by selling through Etsy, but now focuses primarily on her website sales.
To see more of Mina's art:
Congratulations on your win, Mina!
To celebrate our amazing resin artists, every month we send out a 32 oz kit to a couple of folks who have tagged us on Instagram—and then we share their work with the world!
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