Artist of the Month - March

This month we feature a very colourful and sustainable business that produces a line of products that are environmental friendly, durable, practical and convenient for every day use. Whether you need to store fresh food, prep  a packed lunch, or save ready-made meals for a later consumption, these beeswax food wraps by Natalie Couto are the ultimate innovative solution! The wraps are not only handmade by Natalie, but the beautiful patterns are also designed by her! What a great example of combined passions and talents!

Read about her inspiring story here:

When did you start creating?

I started creating patterns from original sketches and paintings when I moved to Malta from Toronto, Canada just three years ago. I was inspired by my new surroundings -the sea, the plants and the ancient Maltese architecture – and was completely motivated to draw daily. I immersed myself with enthusiasm and passion into the world of surface pattern design and taught myself digital programs such as Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop. I launched my design studio called Patterntalk in October 2017 and I create patterns for textiles, home d├ęcor, wall paper and apparel. The patterns created for the beeswax wraps are developed from my sketches, then digitized and then printed on organic cotton fabric with toxin-free dyes. I have always enjoyed drawing and used to paint alongside my grandmother during my childhood. Her framed paintings of flowers, birds and landscapes adorned our walls at home. I feel very grateful and excited about the fact that I can be creative again as an adult and share my patterns for something environmental-friendly!

How did you start the business and how did it evolve today?

I started Bee Gracious last November because I wanted to show people a different way to preserve food items that would help them eliminate single-use plastic cling wrap. As we are all aware – there is a serious issue with the continuous production and disposal of plastic and if we can stop using plastic and start reusing sustainable options, we have a chance to be part of a change towards zero-waste living! I started to sell my handcrafted beeswax food wraps at local craft shows and artisan markets leading up to Christmas and I was thrilled to discover how many people were interested and excited to find my wraps!

How do you manage the work/life balance?

I’m learning daily how to juggle three jobs: a part-time office job, my pattern design studio and the new beeswax wrap business while being a full-time mum and wife. I love all of my jobs and have a very supportive husband who cheers me on and helps me with all aspects of running the Bee Gracious business. My businesses are fueled by passion, dedication and the founding belief of creating from the heart and handcrafting sustainable items with high-quality, ethically-sourced ingredients.

What has been your best moment so far?

My best moment so far was when I sold my first set of Bee Gracious wraps! I was thrilled to know that someone understood the sustainable value and beauty of my handcrafted product and they told others about it on the spot – generating more sales and genuine enthusiasm for my product.

What is your one piece of advice to other handmade sellers?

Stay true to the integrity of your craft and brand, meaning that you will not compromise on the quality of ingredients or materials even though you may run into delays or issues with acquiring these essentials or in the time it takes to craft your product. People who appreciate your handcrafted item will surely wait for it to be made as they understand the effort it takes to make something by hand in small batches and not mass-produced by a machine.

What's your favourite motto for motivation?

As long as you create things with true intentions and are passionate about your craft, doing what you love will never feel like work!

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