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  • Writer's pictureMichelle Levy

Personalized Portraiture

I gained an entrepreneurial spirit early on in life.

Shorty after learning how to make origami in elementary school I set up shop. From my top bunk bed support slats I hung origami from fishing line, mimicking a store window display. In the nook underneath the top bunk bed I arranged the rest of my inventory: origami dogs, pianos, boxes, and cranes. My little pink plastic cash register was strategically placed near an opening in the wooden slats near the ladder. This served as an order window for customers to peer in before they made their purchases.

It was all going well until I decided to monetize.

I didn't accept Monopoly money-or the fake cash you can buy in a dollar store toy section.

Money went straight from my dad's wallet to my sister's little leather embossed purse to my pink cash register-that is, until my parents found out. They weren't too keen on my entire sister's allowance becoming my profit margin. We were allowed to continue to play, but without real cash.

To the cynic, this game of play may seem like a real-life example of the evils of a capitalistic upbringing. But to my sister and I, it is something we still laugh about now.

It's also been a story that I'd largely forgotten about until my sister suggested that we do some family portraits to fill the old picture frames in my home. We hadn't taken family portraits since my father died over ten years ago.

We wanted the pictures to be fun, bright, and personal. "What about a backdrop with origami hanging from fishing line?" she joked.

"No, we totally should!" I insisted.

After some brainstorming, I found ombre shades of foil origami paper in silver, greens, and blues on Amazon. We decided a simple butterfly would photograph better than a crane with several folds. Finally, we nixed the idea of hanging the origami (something we weren't sure would photograph well, and were sure would be time consuming), and pinned it to the backdrop using crystal wedding bouquet pins in a whimsical swirling pattern.

We chose bright vibrant colors to wear that would complement the backdrop. Additionally, we decided it would be best if only one of us didn't wear solids so that it would not distract from the overall vibe of the photos.

During the photo shoot we laughed so hard some of the pictures didn't turn out, and tried some ideas that didn't work-like tossing the butterflies in the air. But mostly, we came out with beautiful photos that mean something to our family.

In the end, my sister even agreed to start an etsy origami shop with me-where we can both take over the world one sale at a time.

From what I can tell that might actually be a solid business plan.

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