Get Real!

So the title is a little tribute to our Co-Founder, Erica, as this is one of her favorite sayings. But in all seriousness, I think she’s on to something.

 In a globalized world full of mass markets and instant gratification, it has become increasingly challenging to be truly unique. It’s an interesting paradox really; while we live in a time where self expression is encouraged, and even applauded, it is difficult to really stand out.


At aftcra, we thrive on challenges like this because it forces us to be purposeful. The challenge to stand out is especially important because we live in amazing country where the freedom for individual expression is foundation of our existence. Plus, we think your pretty cool and deserve some credit for it!


So how do you stand out? Here’s a few helpful tips:

1) Create a personal brand.

Think of some of your favorite brands and values they represent. Now think about the values and mission you have in your own life. Note how you would like to be seen and live by it…be your own brand.


2) Stick with a style.

Don’t try to be everything all at once. Stick with a style that makes you feel inspired and stimulated. Whether you’re classically elegant or a modern trend setter be true to yourself. This is how you will establish an identity that stands out rather than blending with the masses.


3) Shop

Ever buy something because it’s close enough to what you wanted only to have remorse later because you don’t really love it? We guarantee that won’t be the case with the products offered on our site. Our products are uniquely handcrafted by artisans that know how to stand out!


Have your own tips on how to get real and stand out? We’d love to hear them so please share!


Keep it real!

Liesl, Co-Founder

What does aftcra stand for?

What does aftcra stand for?


We know you’re thinking it … what does aftcra stand for? We get asked this question regularly since aftcra seems like a random jumble of words. But we promise you that we didn’t just throw down our scrabble hand and go with it; the name aftcra actually has meaning behind it.

We’ve heard quite a variety of interpretations from you – everything from “American Crafts” to “Americans for the Crafting Resources in America”. You have shared some creative answers – and we love it! But, we won’t keep you waiting anymore. Here’s the quick story behind the name, aftcra, and what aftcra stand for.


It all started in 2010 when the concept of the business for aftcra was born (a whole ‘nother story). The four aftcra co-founders were throwing around names (many too embarrassing to mention). During the brainstorming session one of aftcra’s co-founders shouted “aftcra”. We joked about the name “aftcra”, but after a few days we found ourselves still thinking about the meaning and directly correlation to our handmade marketplace. The name, aftcra, had the feel of fun and funky that we were going for. We were searching for a name that would fit both our brand and what we were trying to achieve. We wanted the name to be something intriguing but also have meaning.

So, what DOES aftcra stand for? aftcra is an anagram for “a craft”. We wanted a name that highlighted the skill needed to make beautiful, handcrafted pieces as our artists are nothing short of incredibly talented individuals! So, aftcra seemed to be the perfect fit to us.

We know that aftcra is a new name, and it may not be in your current vocabulary, but we think it will be soon.

Until next time,

Laura Martindale has an Artistic i


We recently met up with one of our first sellers, Laura Martindale, to learn more about her passion for art and her thoughts about aftcra. First and foremost, who is Laura?

Laura is an artist from the low country of South Carolina, just outside of Charleston.  

As the founder and owner of Artistic i, Laura wields her brushes and paints on behalf of diverse residential and commercial clientele. She paints everything from nurseries and children’s rooms to model homes and commercial interiors. Whether it is a detailed mural or commissioned painting, Laura’s art is beautiful and purposeful. She works closely with clients to fulfill their vision and the potential of the space often in ways the client may not even have thought possible. Not only does Laura paint throughout the Southeast, she travels world-wide to perform at live events. She even creates live wedding paintings! 

Laura’s artwork doesn’t stop at the canvas, she also designs websites & logos to develop company branding. As quoted in Daniel Island News, “Laura has fine-tuned her craft so thoughtfully that she can produce a stunning oil painting one week and a tight corporate graphic design package the next.”  

 “Artwork can be a very powerful tool for any setting. I understand the importance of layout, design, color persuasion and how to speak visually to people. Instant gratification and awe are part of my weekly repertoire. The fulfillment of being a professional artist is immeasurable.” – Laura Martindale


Laura, we think you’ve got talent! How would you describe your art? 

Modern, colorful/bright. I enjoy high contrast and realism. My goal is for my artwork to demand attention when you enter a room.


 We love that your artwork can be customized.  How do you work with your clients to deliver what they want?

One of my strongest talents is listening to my customers. I ask a lot of questions and ask for photographs of the space (when necessary) or if I live close by I will visit the space. I listen to what my customer is envisioning and I make it happen. I’m happy to say, I’ve never had a disappointed client. My customers almost always say “This turned out better than I ever expected.” They are over the moon with the final product whether it is a mural or on canvas. That is my goal – to exceed their expectations.


 As an American artist, how important is “Made in America” to you?  

Products made in America are very important to me. All of the products I use: paint, canvas, stretcher strips, giclee printing, etc. are all made here in the states. I feel the government needs to do more to make it possible for more companies to operate this way.


What makes you excited about aftcra? 

I think it is wonderful that you are supporting “Made in America” companies. I know people that only shop this way, and now you have made it easier for them to do so!


 For original artwork by Laura, check out her aftcra store, myArtistici, by clicking here: