10 Questions with Cynthia Coulon
As a former Scrapjazz Design Team member and CK Hall of Fame winner, Cynthia Coulon has inspired many scrapbookers with her layouts. In the last few years, she has been busy using those same talents to create fun new product lines for her company, Scribble Scrabble. I caught up with Cynthia recently to find out how she is doing and ask her more about her adventures with owning her own company. Here is my interview with her.
- When did Scribble Scrabble get started and how did you come up with the name?
Along with my husband and another couple, we officially started Scribble Scrabble in July of 2006. I had been creating and imagining our own paper company in my head for a lot longer than that though! The company name grew out of my first line of papers---they were literally "by-hand" scribbles. Somehow "Scribble" as a name just wasn't enough, so we added "Scrabble." By definition scrabble means scrawled or scribbled lines and writing-so that worked!
- Do you design all your own products or do you have a collaboration of designers?
I designed all the products in our first seven collections. All our subsequent products are a combination of my designs and those of some free-lance graphic artists. When it's time to start designing a new line, my partners and I first collaborate on possible themes and color schemes, and also the number of paper patterns and other products we'll want in the collection. I think one of the best features of our double-sided patterned paper was thought of by our partner, Charlene, who suggested we make the ½-inch product ID strip on the bottom of our paper useful to the customer---so we put a coordinating color/pattern on one side of that strip and the product information and barcode on the other. Now, it's a useable "Scribbled Strip."
- How many paper lines have you released so far?
I think we've released 19 paper lines to date.
- Which has been your favorite?
That would be a tossup between Carmen's Collection and Evelyn's Collection. I've found I can use and use them and never tire of them. There have been a few papers in our past collections that I've liked, but then found hard to use (I'm sure everyone can relate) and I think that's a big bummer! It makes me happy when the products turn out beautiful and useable.
- Some of the layouts that you won HOF with were digital. Will we see a Scribble Scrabble digital line in the future?
That's a good question for which I don't have an answer. We've thrown the idea around a bit, but never have dug into the details.
- If someone came to you with an idea for a new scrapbook product or paper line, where would you tell them to go to get started in the industry?
I'll tell you what little I know from personal experience-so understand that this information is limited. About five years ago I designed products for two other companies, and it was common at that time to receive royalties on designs. This involved lots of contracts and negotiation, etc. As time progressed, both of those companies and others I heard about switched over to paying one time flat-fees for product designs and were basically willing to take a look at anyone's ideas and might offer to "buy" the design if they liked it. I know that we get, and so I assume that other manufacturers receive, emails from free-lance designers with links to their online portfolios. There are also a few really good "stock-art" websites where designers can show their designs and sell different licenses for them.
- From the design stage to completed products, how long is the average production time for a new line?
Three to six months.
- What influences your designs?
Popular color schemes and motifs are a good place to start.
- Do you ever get time to scrapbook for yourself? If you do, what one thing is a must-have when you sit down to scrapbook? (a tool, music, favorite snack, etc.)
I wish I did scrap more for just myself! I do scrapbook quite a bit in order to make samples with Scribble Scrabble products. I can't live without my Rotatrim paper cutter-I think it's over four years old and still cuts like a charm. I need all my supplies and stash around me. I doubt I could go to a crop and get anything done because I love to have all my stuff available to play with. I "try things on" a page-until I find what I really like. Consequently, I'm a pretty messy scrapper!
- Having five children, how do you balance creative time and product development with the demands of a large family?
I would like to be a better balancer! I have an office at home-but it is open to all my kids. They are welcome to play with toys in here, do their own projects and homework, talk to me, etc. (I just got up to change a stinky diaper.) I don't work constantly---I have busy times and less busy times. Mostly, I can be available to my children and flexible with my schedule. When I really have to put in some concentrated hours, I wait to work until Anthony (my dh) is home and available.