MEET THE MAKER: SAILORZCREATIONS
Written by Tabletop Crafter
Get to know one of our Featured Creators: dicemaker SailorZCreations!
We settled in with Zara of SailorZCreations as she relaunches her webstore, to find out how she discovered her nerdy side, the inspiration behind her business, and to celebrate her return to the world of dice making! Grab a cuppa and let’s get to know one of our makers a little better.
SailorZCreations, that’s such an interesting name, what’s the origin story?
SailorZCreations is really an amalgamation of a few things. SailorZ has been my username on everything since I was a teenager, it’s a mixture of Sailor Moon, Sailor Jerry and my name, Zara, or Z for short. I love Sailor Jerry Tattoos and loved the rum, though now I am unable to drink due to my Crohn's disease (aka Otto). I still have a large Sailor Jerry collection! I also adore Sailor Moon, it was the first anime I watched and it got me hooked! “Creations” because everything I sell is one of my creations and I am proud to put my name on them.!
Let’s get to know the person behind the business! Tell us some quick facts about you.
Of course, I’m a massive geek. Always have been and always will be. I’m currently waiting to start my new job as a Complaints Expert; resolving rather than creating! I love Pokemon Go, Snorlax is my favourite - I have a Snorlax that is almost as tall as I am! Obviously, I love to craft and create things, I have a strong interest in etymology, mushrooms, nature and the colour purple; and my favourite food is ‘melt in the middle’ chocolate puddings.
How did your business start?
I always had a stack of dice on my wishlist and ‘saved for later’ because I was obsessed but never really had the money to buy them. In April 2021, I set out to specifically try and make some bean dice after a joke my friend made. Sadly, I still haven't mastered the right bean juice consistency!
This happened around the same time I started watching dice-making videos on YouTube. As is very common with dice makers, I started by picking up some cheap ‘Wish’ style moulds and was instantly addicted. I wanted to make my own! I got some cheap silicone and started with some of my factory dice just to make some sets for myself.
Once I had made my first mostly usable set, I decided I was fed up with bubbles, so I bought myself a pressure pot and compressor. Most of all, I enjoyed the experimentation, and it has all grown from there! I looked at the price of masters and then I looked at the price of resin 3D printers. The decision was mainly based on my dyspraxia and my fear of buying expensive masters and ruining them - if I own a 3D printer, I can just reprint another one until I get it right.
I started with the Rybonator commercial-free set and printed a different set for Axolotl Dice. All throughout this I was making dice with whatever moulds I had at the time. I didn’t start selling until I was onto my second font on my masters, and each set was put up for a £5 starting bid.
From there I ended up with my own font, Gladius, and my own set of masters with my logo. These were rendered by Axolotldice who has been a dice-generating angel. I printed my own masters and never looked back.
How did you first discover you were a nerd?
One of my earliest memories is Tom Baker's Doctor Who offering a Dalek a jelly baby. I was brought up on Monty Python, Doctor Who, Blackadder, Red Dwarf, and Mr Bean thanks to my Dad. From the age of nine, I was playing warhammer with my family, I enjoyed painting my armies, learning the rules, and the structured play. Dice-making rekindled my enjoyment of painting, and reignited that childhood passion to paint small things.
I discovered D&D while working in retail at the video game shop, CEX. A few of us decided to get together and give it a go. One of those people was Claire from Axolotl Dice! From that session, I was absolutely hooked. I bought a standard set of purple factory dice, and my adventuring life began!
What do you like best about being part of the TTRPG community?
In all honesty, I have struggled to make friends my whole life, not helped by the fact that I didn’t know I was on the autism spectrum until I was in my early 30s. This community has been the most welcoming and supportive place I have ever been. It’s given me the safe space to be the most like my true self, and I’ve been able to work out some social cues from my interactions that have led to greater confidence in other social situations. If it wasn't for this community, I don’t think I would have found out I was ASD+ADHD for a long time, if at all.
The TTRPG community is an amazing place to be. I have found so many friends and so many supportive people I would never have imagined possible. I wish I could go back in time and tell a 10-year-old me that you will eventually find your people. It has been an emotional journey but I am settling into my new place and working on myself to create a new person. The Tabletop Creator Hub is a great space where I have had the chance to grow my business and confidence as well as create amazing connections.
Tell us about your favourite product!
I didn’t want to give up my Groot dice; I loved painting and making those and they turned out so well. Someone has already ordered a chonk version so I am excited to get started on that. A very close second is the Black Sunday chonk, my attempt at replicating Cypress Hills ‘Black Sunday’ album cover. I really enjoyed making the Art of War chonk. It featured the quote “In the midst of chaos there is also opportunity” with green and red to symbolise the two different cover colourways, along with gold foil for the gilded pages.
I do think I will be doing a lot more chonks, especially now I have my art view masters, as I definitely enjoy making little scenes.
What’s a hidden gem product you’d love people to know about?
My D&D Crackers - I love them and will be doing them again next year. You get either a d20, d6 pair or if you’re lucky, a 30mm chonk along with a D&D-themed joke, custom homebrewed magical item cards, a keyring and a crown hat. Between the puns and nautical-themed magical items, they are a true reflection of what SailorZ is a brand. There will be major improvements to them this year, including the choice to personalise the crackers, plus I’ll be adding a guide for the hat; did you know not every country uses paper crowns in their crackers?
What inspires you to create?
Anything and everything can set me off down a creative rabbit hole for a few different reasons. Firstly, I have a version of Echolalia that means that random words can start me down a path I cannot stop my brain from pursuing. Even if it’s a misheard word or one that has several meanings. So you may say I have a never-ending random idea generator!
I also have to know why and/or how something is the way it is, whether it be a scientific principle or a social requirement. This inbuilt curiosity drives me to want to try new things, see what happens when I do something different and just see what happens.
I like to find the inherent beauty of things, some say even where it doesn't exist. I like to look for that hidden beauty, that geometric pattern, a unique difference and try to capture it in my art.
What inspired the return to your store and socials?
MENTAL HEALTH TRIGGER WARNING
The last few years have been a bit crazy for us all in our own ways. For me, it was no different. I had a rough year that ultimately was the accumulation of living as an undiagnosed autistic all my life coupled with a flurry of blows that even the strongest of NT people would struggle with. I was very deep in autistic burnout and hated myself because I didn’t know why I couldn't keep up. After the diagnosis, it took me a lot of time to come to terms with it. I can’t remember who originally said the quote but “just because you become aware that your version of the game is set to hard mode, doesn't make it easier to play”. I knew what the ‘problem’ was, but I still had no idea what to do. I had been struggling to reconcile conflicting social rules and was making so many social mistakes that I didn’t understand what to do. I was terrified that my continued participation would cause people upset without my knowledge and as a result, I just didn’t want to post anything. It took me a long time of working through my diagnosis, looking at myself and who I wanted to be and building my confidence back up to be able to post and participate socially again.
What new creations can we get excited about?
I’ve expanded my range to include handmade dice soaps, more variations of dice types available, tiered packaging options, and 3D printing services. The Chonk soaps smell amazing and it has been really hard to not use them all. People have been very excited by my new shipping tiers and the Captain's Chest has been really popular. Keep your eyes on the horizon for my Christmas Range pre-orders coming soon; advent calendars, new improved crackers and lots more festive fun.