BOO! Halloween in July is Here!<br>
Take 11% OFF Orders $100 or More With Code:
BOO! Halloween in July is Here!
Take 11% OFF Orders $100 or More With Code: SPOOKY
×
^

The Story Of Pebbles™


"Whenever we took our five girls on trips, they always gathered pebbles, seashells, & treasures and would stuff their pockets full. Once home, they would empty their pockets and look at the treasures they collected and remember the memories that we shared together."

Built on the idea of treasure collecting and remembering the experiences that we live through, Pebbles Inc. is a scrapbooking company that creates "simple, clean, cute, and comfortable" supplies for every crafter - that's how the Creative Director (and Founder) of Pebbles Inc, Brenda Birrell, describes their products.

tealightful pebbles stickers

Stickers from Pebbles Inc.'s 2017 TeaLightful Collection.

"The Pebbles style is simple, clean, cute, and comfortable. It is mainstream and not overly trendy. The color palettes work well for a variety of projects. The style works well for scrapbooking, card making, and paper crafting. When you see a Pebbles Inc. Collection together, customers can see that it all goes together. It makes sense," Brenda tells us a bit about Pebbles' recognizable style. Now, as the Creative Director, this is her area of expertise. However, she didn't start as the Creative Director of the company. She started the company. 

pebbles inc.

"Pebbles Inc. was created years ago to create product that was needed in the scrapbook market. Our first partnership was with EK Success, and we created many wonderful products with them, like the Paperkin Paper Dolls, ABC Tracers & Tracerkins, Punchkins, and more. We branched out on our own for many years, before selling to American Crafts about 8 years ago." 

Brenda takes us back to before American Crafts, before EK Success, even before adulthood. 

How Pebbles Got Started

"I remember being in the 3rd grade and being asked if I would draw pictures and design my teacher's bulletin board about Stuart Little. I can still remember how I felt doing that. It's important to give people opportunities... even a third grader."

"I never grew up thinking I would be an entrepreneur," she admits, "I simply wanted to share the joy I felt... I remember being in the 3rd grade and being asked if I would draw pictures and design my teacher's bulletin board about Stuart Little. I can still remember how I felt doing that. It's important to give people opportunities... even a third grader. And it's important to say yes to opportunities, and not shy away from them." 

Her encouraged creativity was never lost on her, and she took that nurtured imagination with her through her adolescence, to her teen years...

Pebbles Inc Papers

"[My favorite is] hands down, the paper. Always the paper. And the stickers. I can't help myself," she confesses, "I have been collecting stickers since I was making money babysitting in my early teen years. I love them so much that sometimes I don't like to use them..." 

And she carried that with her from her teen years, then carried into adulthood, then to the beginnings of Pebbles, where she combined her love of art and her love of her family into a company.

Brenda Birrell wood decor

Some of Brenda's precious wood decor pieces 

"I was a painter for wood decor for many years," she shares with us, "I even had product in Disneyland. My most memorable customers at the time were a pair of sisters who would sell their plasma to buy my wood [decor]. But my favorite thing to do as a young mom was to put my paint brush aside, occasionally, and put together pictures and journaling of my family. It brought me so much joy. The kind of joy that came from knowing that this was more than a hobby; it was very important work that would strengthen families." 

With her artistic background and her deep-rooted passion in sharing and passing down stories, Brenda knew that she had something special to offer the crafting industry. 

"In 1992," she explains, "we founded Pebbles in my Pocket, our retail store, and I put my paint brush down. We did not have business experience; we learned as we went along. "

From Retail to Brand

CHA

Brenda with family and friends at CHA in 2009. 

Pebbles in my Pocket was created and began flourishing in Utah, which gave Brenda, a true entrepreneurial spirit, her next idea. 

"Pebbles Inc. was created from our retail store, Pebbles in my Pocket. The name came to me easily, which I feel was inspired. Whenever we took our five girls on trips, they always gathered pebbles, seashells, & treasures and would stuff their pockets full. Once home, they would empty their pockets and look at the treasures they collected and remember the memories that we shared together," Brenda reminisces, "Pebbles in my Pocket came from these times. Memories are like these keepsakes and are gathered throughout our lives... scrapbooking and journaling help strengthen families." 

Pebbles Inc

A logo from Pebbles' earlier days.

Though Brenda's path from creativity to artistry, artistry to retail, and eventually retail to brand is recalled fondly, the days were not without struggle and sacrifice. 

"I like to think of these times [roadblocks and sacrifices] as learning lessons," Brenda tells us, just as warmly as the positives, "My heart is in creating and I had a difficult time running the business side and the creating side of Pebbles Inc. when I owned it. As Creative Director for the Pebbles Inc. brand with American Crafts, we ask ourselves: How do we bring quality products to our customers at an affordable price? ...There are times, given these guidelines, when we are limited in what we are able to do, but we strive to create the best products possible."

Pebbles Inc. Today

American Crafts purchased Pebbles Inc. in October of 2009, from Brenda Birrell and her husband, Larry Birrell. 

"I sold Pebbles Inc. to American Crafts, located in Lindon, Utah. It has been a blessing to be able to be Creative Director for our brand and to help guide and grow it for our customers. I respect American Crafts; it has been a good home for Pebbles Inc. I love this job," she beams, "because each day is so different, yet there is so much needed structure. Joining American Crafts has been helpful to me in this area of schedules and timelines. We create style sheets, design development, product development, creative samples, and more. I meet often with my Creative Team and, together, we create the Pebbles Inc. style. I feel blessed to work with them."

Together

Though Brenda spends much of her time directing Pebbles Inc. with American Crafts, she still owns and runs her retail store located in Orem, Utah - Pebbles in my Pocket. 

The Design Process at Pebbles Inc.

As Brenda divulged, the creative process at Pebbles Inc. is an organized process, from development to execution... but that's just the logistical part. She lets us in on what runs through her mind as she's creating the beloved Pebbles panache that is so adored. 

"We strive to keep our designs fresh, fun, and very usable!" Brenda notes as she tells us a bit about the process. 

CHA Pebbles Inc

A design that Pebbles displayed at their CHA booth in 2017, created with Pebbles Inc. supplies.

"Our collections always begin with a piece of inspiration and then we build on it... something that can help us get on the same page as we begin to create. It may be found on the internet or in life around us - but we recognize it when we find it."

By focusing on coordinating themed lines that cater to specific events, such as a new baby or a cherished holiday, Brenda is confident that Pebbles Inc. stands out within the vast territory of paper craft design. 

"I think we do 'cute' pretty darn well," she points out, "We keep our designs and embellishments fresh and simple, easy to use. I believe we create a wonderful mix of paper designs that coordinate beautifully together. When you see each of Pebbles' Collections together, you understand how it all works together. It makes sense." 

For Brenda, and Pebbles Inc., it's not only about the inspiration, but about the people contributing too, and making sure she has the right individuals on her staff as Pebbles Inc. continues to thrive. 

"I look for kindness in a person first. You can't beat kindness. An understanding of the paper market - and how the product we create will be used is always a plus," she tells us, as she talks about the designers on her team, "then I look to see if their design style leans towards cute. There are plenty of designers out there, but not all can do 'cute.' There is always a learning curve and I love when we finally capture it." 

The Future of Pebbles Inc.

"I do believe we will see a strong comeback of connecting with the community in more personal ways." 

pebbles inc

Brenda Birrell and her 2017 Pebbles Inc. collections. 

"There have been so many changes to this market of ours. Scrapbooking and card making continue to be the core, though styles change quickly through the years. Parties, celebrations, and home decor have gained a lot of strength. The digital world has brought many challenges and it has effected our market in many ways. Many people do not print out pictures, and open ended social media has sucked up much of the consumer's spare time. I do believe we will see a strong comeback of connecting with the community in more personal ways, and see new independent stores with fresh ideas open up." 

And, like she affectionately recalls from her childhood, and decorating the board for her teacher, Brenda looks to the future with others involved, sharing her creativity and encouraging others to contribute. 

"[In 5 years?] I see Pebbles Inc. in the hands of more people as we grow our brand," she smiles.

Whether it's Pebbles Inc. or Pebbles in my Pocket, Brenda Birrell has a passion for creativity, and, unquestionably, a monumental sense of empathy and the desire to give everyone a chance.

The Birrell Family

The Birrell family.

"My heart belongs to my husband, Larry, and our five daughters, their husbands, and our growing number of grandkids," she shares openly, "I love serving people, being outdoors in all the seasons, photography, working with my hands... BBQ chips and dark chocolate. When it rains, I can usually be found outside, walking along the sidewalks, saving the stretched out worms that are struggling to live." 

Through all of the years of Pebbles in my Pocket, to creating a brand and building it, Brenda shares with us what brings her the most pride when it comes to Pebbles Inc.

"Pebbles Inc. brings happiness to our customers. All that we do is for them. Simple as that." 


Shop Pebbles Inc. products here, where you'll find their clean, cute collections. 

Connect with Pebbles! 

Follow Pebbles Inc. on Instagram

Like Pebbles Inc. on Facebook

Check out Pebbles Inc. adorable blog to get your inspiration-fix. 

 


In This Article
About The Authors
Additional Articles
Paper
Scrapbooking

Comments (1)

Please sign in to view and submit comments.