I came to work at Studio Calico after the first couple of kit had been sent....I missed some of the beginning stuff so it has been really fun to go back and talk with Scarlet and April and find out how everything came together. Did you know that Studio Calico was born in a 5x5 room in Greg & April's garage? Let me just say that they outgrew that space quite quickly and when I joined the team two months later, we had moved into the living room.
I'll never forget that first time that I went to pack kits.....I had no idea what I was getting into. I had known Greg & April for a while. We were friends, brothers & sisters really, we attend the same church and I'd always felt close to them. My husband and I had just adopted our daughter a few of months before and I had left my full-time job to be a stay at home Mom. April approached me with an opportunity to work part-time with the added perk of being able to bring my baby with me while I worked. I've said this many times before, but some of you may not have heard it.....Studio Calico was a blessing from Heaven for me and my family. I had this great flexible schedule (that revolves around reveal night) AND I could take my infant daughter with me when I worked!!! Little did I know that my daughter would soon prefer April and Greg to me.....she's two years old now and still thinks that Greg belongs to her!
Sorry, I digressed.....back to packing those first kits......I got there that first day and April had all of these stacks of paper spread out around her dining room table. She also had all eight of her dining room chairs lined up around the perimeter of the room, each overflowing with stuff. I guess that I need to clarify something here....I'd never scrapbooked before, so I had no idea what a rub on was, much less what to do with it! I remember walking into that room and thinking, "What on earth do people do with all of this stuff?" Needless to say, I asked a lot of questions and tried not to look too clueless when April and Scarlet would talk about products. Fortunately, I'm a quick study and it only took me a couple of months to tell the difference between Sassafrass and Basic Grey. Man, I digressed again....anyway, April looks at me and says, "Okay here is what you do....go around the table and take one of each paper, slide them in the bag and then go around to all of the chairs and take one of each item and put them on top of the paper in the bag." My response was, "All of that is not going to fit in a bag!" She told me to trust her and follow her lead. So I did and she was right! We worked together for about an hour and she said, "Okay, you've got it, I'm going to go work, shout if you need anything." That was it, that's how my career with Studio Calico began....my 5 month old daughter was snoozing away on the couch, Addy (April's MinPin) was standing guard...watching her every twitch...and I was walking in circles around April's dining room table trying to figure out how anyone could use so much scrapbook stuff.
Once I had a couple of kits under my belt, I began to get extremely curious about how the whole kit club thing worked. I signed up to be a member on the site and started lurking on the message boards. Every month, I faithfully sat up during sneak night and then again on reveal...watching and listening...learning that scrapbooking is not just about capturing memories, it's about releasing your inner artist, creating something where there was nothing and sharing your soul with others who actually understand and appreciate your art. As I learned more and more and started to recognize manufacturers and products, I finally felt confident enough to start to communicate with the Design Team. I have to tell you, the whole concept of a Design Team was quite fascinating for a novice like me. I remember asking April countless questions about what they did, who they were, why the loved to scrapbook so much....she patiently answered all of my questions and encouraged me to get to know them more via the message boards. Well, I took her advice and I'm telling you....these gals are phenomenal!! I have never met a more creative bunch in my entire life. Month after month they blow me away with their galleries of never ending eye candy!
Well, now that I've droned on for a while....I guess that I'd better give you what I promised.....exclusive interviews with our awesome Design Team. I sent them all a list of questions....Here are just a few of their answers....
1. What was your first impression of the concept of Studio Calico when the call came out for Design Team members?
Nicole S - I remember seeing Scarlet post something on another board about SC when it started and really loving that first kit. I loved the mix of items they put together and it seemed so refreshing from other kits I had seen. Then I saw the info about the DT call and decided to check out the place some more. I think they had me from the Studio Calico logo to be honest! Then after signing up for a username and starting to post, I just really enjoyed everyone here. I decided to subscribe soon after which was HUGE for me. I had never bought a kit let alone subscribe for 6 months to a kit club! I was always afraid I wouldn't like the next month's kit. or that all my layouts would look the same using the kit with the same line over and over...but I had no such fears with SC. I just knew that April and Scarlet would come up with a fabulous mix or product each month based on the couple months I had seen so far.
Tina - I thought it was fresh. Not too funky or far out there. Just the right mix of fun, playful and sophistication. I always thought the kits were "user friendly"
Davinie - The site drew me in right away. And the way they put together the Farm Fresh kit and photographed it really got me. I loved the vintage look of it all. When I saw there was a DT call I just had to go for it. I knew that I would not be disappointed. And when April and Scarlet called me at home, our whole family was in my girls' room playing house. My husband answered the phone, and I just KNEW it was SC before he handed it to me. It was an awesome phone call!
2. Had you ever heard of April or Scarlet before?
Kelly - Yep. Scarlet and I worked together on the Arctic Frog design team a few years back. And both Scarlet, April and I were HOF runner-ups in 2007. I've always been impressed by their work.
Joy - I had heard of them both in passing from 2peas and CK. I loved Scarlet's name, so I remembered her the most:)
Kirsty - No, I'm afraid I hadn't at the time. Being in the UK we have a smaller community of scrapbookers and keeping up with the US scrapbookers is difficult if you were not a member of scrapbook.com or two peas. But I will never forget them after I first spoke to them when I was chosen to be on the DT. April liked my accent so much she put me on loudspeaker. I liked her accent so much I wanted to bottle it!
3. How do you keep your creative juices flowing month after month?
Nicole H - prayer? no seriously...i just kind of push paper around on my desk until it lands in a somewhat sassy fashion that i find agreeable, lol. i am not a sketch person and i have never had an inspiration journal. what i do have are a million tidbits of paper floating around my desk with notes on things Allie has said, stories i want to get on paper, something that may have happened that day that i want to remember...i guess you could say i start with the journaling.
Emily - i look all around and try to find ways to translate things that grab my attention into scrapbook elements. it's a constant fear that one day i won't have any creative juice at all!
Jenn - Keeping them flowing is less the problem than translating them. I have the huge issue of seeing things in my head and being disappointed in the way I've translated the output.I guess that's where I look at the DT girls and just take admiration and wonder in their creations and hope a little osmosis hits.
4. What sets Studio Calico apart from other kits clubs that you have worked with before?
Nicole H - i briefly worked with 2 other clubs before...briefly as in, 2 months? they both would order every paper/embellie of one line and call it a kit...umm, no thanks, lol. they were also very 'themey'...example: for February, they would order the entire KI Memories love line. one HUGE diff here is that A&S genuinely seem to value our opinion on product/contests/everything...and as silly as that may seem, it feels nice to be asked what you think and know that it will be taken into consideration.
Nicole S - I've guest designed for a couple other kit clubs before and I think the thing that sets SC apart is their mix of product in each kit. They have a thing for pulling together a perfect mix of stuff from all different manufacturers and making them look like they were made to go together. I also love how the add-ons complement the main kit but sort of steer off into other directions. It's so cool how I can make 4-5 layouts with the main kit and a couple add ons and they look nothing alike...they have different color schemes, styles, alphas, etc.
Tina - customer service by far. april and scarlet are so interactive with everyone and I think that's really unique. The kits are always filled with the newest products and it's put together so well, it makes scrapping a breeze. One-stop shopping as far as scrap supplies go.
5. What is the biggest perk of being a DT member?
Davinie - I've made some great friends working at SC. I have never been on such a supportive team before, and I wouldn't trade it for the world. We all have different creative styles and are always learning and growing from each other creatively, and there is ALWAYS a shoulder should you need one. The DT at SC is the BEST. I'm so glad to call them my friends.
Kirsty - I cant deny that receiving a complimentary kits the best perk however the community spirit on the SC forum is what I like the most because everyone is crazy about the kits - and that's inspirational.
Joy - The free kit of course :) And seriously the community here is so friendly and caring. That is a huge perk. The DT loves each other like family and we love the members!!
I hope that you enjoyed the interviews and the history lesson this week. I know that this post was very wordy and maybe kind of boring, I didn't even have any pictures for you.....
Hey wait a minute....that gives me an idea....I see a challenge brewing.....wait for it....
I'd like to see pictures of you with your very first kit. I know that there are some of you out there that pulled out your camera and took pictures.....don't be shy, let me see them. Post them to the Blog Update thread on the message board and I'll draw a winner for a set of Fabulous Die Cuts. I'll give you until Noon CST on Tuesday to post your pictures!!
Thanks for reading!