Wednesday, 12 December 2012

So This Is Scrapbooking: Vicki..and a giveaway

...and a very warm welcome to the latest edition! When I came up with the So This Is Scrapbooking idea, I was hoping to encourage us all to think about what scrapbooking has brought us and what we can give back to the hobby we love. So I'm bringing you bloggers to enjoy AND scrapbooking businesses to support. Today, not only do I have a great post for you, for UK readers I have a giveaway too. My guest today is generously offering a superb sampling from her online mail order store, the UK based A Sprinkle of Imagination , so , please, read on to find out more...


Vicki's Story

I'm Vicki and I have the pleasure of being the face behind A Sprinkle of Imagination, which has been an unspoken dream since I was about five years old, and this is a short story of my journey to fulfil that dream. It starts waaay back!



Like most kids, I loved to draw when I was little and I remember admiring my Grandmother's paintings when we used to visit her. marvelling at her talent and how I wanted to do that as well. She was my first real introduction to art and proved to be a great influence in my young life, even though we lived what felt like forever away from her and only saw her a couple of times a year.

She is also responsible for my introduction to stationery stores..evil woman! She bought me my first fountain pen, a silver Scheaffer, which I still have today. Until then I had never set foot in a stationers, but this was an art store that happened to sell posh pens. it was love at first sight. Even now, when I walk into an art store the smell takes me back to that day.

I followed my love of art and attended art school, but towards the end of my time there my Grandmother died and it shook my world. For the best part of thirteen years I didn't do much more than doodle on a note pad. I left art school, got a job in a bank and drudged through life without a scrap of creativity in it. I even ended up with a career in IT.

Things changed when I met my now husband. It partly started with a question..."How much?" when looking at wedding invitations. "OK, I can make them for a fraction of that.." met by a smile from the other half! We've all been there, right? I started to look for card making tips, got myslef an ink pad, a couple of embossing powders, heat gun, a stamp and a trimmer. That was the beginning of a stash mountain: everything fitted into one small drawer. I can't even imagine that now.

That was in 2004, fast forward six years and I discovered art journaling, having joined a couple of workshops run by Dina Wakely, which really reawakened my creative self, reignited my ultimate love of paint and gave me a new freedom. It was like taking a breath of clean air for the first time in nearly twenty years.

The shop, at this point, wasn't even a twinkle in my eye. It wasn't until, chatting at my local crop, bemoaning the lack of craft stores, that when talking to hubby about it, we decided why not look into what it would take to set one up. Initially the idea was just to get basics for the crop.

One thing led to another, and being "why not?" type people, before I knew it we were purchasing domain names, setting up websites and ordering stock to launch with. The hardest part was coming up with a name and a logo. Oooh, the hours we spent agonising over it. I didn't want it to sound like a scrapbooking store, or an art store, as my plan was to cater, eventually, to both. I do stock Ranger paints as I use the dabbers and Claudine Hellmuth's range because I use them and like them. But I also like my "art" supplies, so went hunting for those. It was hard work, frustrating, stressful and painfully slow at times.

The timing was perfect, though. My youngest was starting school that September. we started talking about it in March. By July we were live! i don't think we slept much those four months.

The aim is to carry in the store what I use. I'll often buy a product, try it, if I like it I go looking for supplies. If I don't, it gets consigned to the reject bin. I can't talk about and sell something I don't believe in, something I don't know how to use. I believe in customer service. We spend way too much money for it not to feel like something special.

Running the business is not a pert time job, but at least I can work around the school run. I start work the second I get back and literally break to go pick them up. Although I'm often seen in the playground twiddling with my phone, checking emails or talking to various magazines trying to get me to advertise with them. I swear some of the mums must think I'm having an affair as hubby works away, rendering me a single parent from Monday to Friday!

I work while the kids eat dinner, then start again when they go to bed. I can often be found burning the midnight oil catching up on paperwork or planning ideas and doing research. The list is endless. two months ago I had to make an agreement with my family that I wouldn't work on weekends any more. So I only sneak in a little work on Saturday mornings..(sshh..I'm hoping they haven't really noticed..)

It was wonderful to be asked to write an article for Scrap365's Journal Journeys feature; and even better to see it in print over a whopping for pages. Four pages! I had phone calls from complete strangers to say how much they enjoyed the piece.

Vicki's beautiful piece for Scrap365

The biggest downside for me is that, being chief bottle washer and cook, I get little creative time any more. It's just so rare I get enough hours to be able to indulge myself properly. But I'm changing that. Plans for 2013 are in place. Wish me luck!


Vicki, we most certainly do! Thank you for your wonderful, honest insight into life as a small business owner. What a journey! This is scrapbooking...

..and now for the giveaway:

Vicki is very generously offering a pocket moleskine notebook and a set of Claudine Hellmuth mini mediums as a giveaway prize! UK readers for this one ( across the pond? I'm hoping to have something for you in the New Year) - to be in with a chance, hop over to A Sprinkle of Imagination and have a browse, then come back and tell us here which particular product or range caught your eye. What's your favourite item Vicki has in stock? Leave a comment and I'll make the draw next Tuesday with the winner to be announced next Wednesday. Best of luck!


With many thanks to Vicki who takes time out from packing orders to post on her lovely blog here

23 comments:

helena said...

how have I missed knowing about this store?? I clicked on alphabets because they are my secret love and the prima tiny alpha stickers are going to be ordered as soon as I finish this comment

Sheena said...

Wow x what a wonderfully stocked shop :)
I'm very taken by the sheer array of stamps stocked but also the Acrylic inks x

Ifa said...

Hello Vicki. I have ordered from this store before but it is nice to see the person behind the scene. I have been eyeing the Glitz Design Yours Truly collection. Should I ?

Jennie Atkinson said...

I recently discovered A Springle of Imagination and am so pleased to find a store which has all my favourite things in one place! I think my favourites are the Graphic 45 stamps (and the co-ordinating papers ... and ....)!

It was lovely reading Vicki how you came to open your lovely online store. I hope you find some more time in the coming year to craft as your work is very inspiring. Thankyou !

Cheri said...

Being from the wrong side of the pond, I'm just hopping in to say how much I admire Vicki for making her dream come true - and for sticking to the products she knows and loves!

Beverly said...

Vicki, Loved reading your story and was thrilled to read that you will be giving up work weekends, after all we only have now to make memories. Sian, I am really enjoying the variety in this series.

Sarah said...

Oh my! What an amazing store - just spent a few moments there, and it looks so much like the imaginary store in my head! Liking the look of the Glitz Designs Vintage Album, for a start...

Niky Sayers said...

Fantastic store im sure I could spend hours looking round but the things that jumped out at me were the tim holtz stuff and the moleskins did not know that they came in so many sizes!

Ali said...

A very lovely story - and so inspiring. I discovered this store only last week which has lots of my favourite products in it - and among my very favourite of all are masks and stencils, and Vicki sells so many of them :)

Elizabeth said...

What an inspirational life story. I can relate to the introduction to stationery stores. My sweet aunt took me to my first, and I still love the smell of small, family-owned stores to this day.

Liz said...

Love Vicki's store and the way the parcels always come wrapped in ribbon its been nice to watch it grow

Carmen said...

I sat and smiled and nodded my way through this post. I recognise so much of myself and Craig in it. Firstly the stopping art quite young (though for different reasons) and then rediscovering it later on. Secondly - how you describe yourself is like someone describing my Craig - he runs his own tool business and I swear we have threatened to drown his phone in the washing machine if he doesn't stop working! He has even taken some of his best selling stock away with us on holiday... "just in case!" And yes, he has then packaged and shipped stuff while we were away!

I love the look of the shop and as other people have said, can't believe I haven't heard of it before! I love that you combine both art & craft! My favourite thing would have to be the Liquitex Heavy Body Acrylic Paints. I got a sample in one colour from another online shop and I am in lust now. I have promised to treat myself after Christmas so shall definitely bookmark your store.

Great post Sian and Vicki :)

Louise said...

another lovely story and how nice that Vicki made it happen.

I too haven't come across this shop before and have spent ages having a look around. I now have my eye on the Glitz Design Yours Truly range x

Jennie Hart said...

Fascinating story as I am thinking about starting so thanks so much for sharing. I have been to the shop often and when I get to the stage of not just paper scrapping but using more arty stuff, I would love to get the melt art equipment to make my own embellishments. Thanks Sian and Vicki.

Deb @ Paper Turtle said...

I love reading success stories like this one! Wishing you continued success, Vicki. :o)

Jennie said...

Thanks for sharing Sian - I am enjoying this series - and loved Vicki's story - and the store! Will definitely be back to shop! Great selection of items - I just loved browsing!

Lorraine said...

This is a great series. I am at the point that I want to go deeper with my craft love affair and so this is great motivation.

Suzy said...

Thoroughly enjoyed reading Vickis story. Fab store. THe items which caught my eye were the Dr ph Martins Bombay India Inks - what fab colours. Im just beginning to dabble in art jounralling and might need to treat myself in the new year.

Fab giveaway, thanks so much for the chance to win :)

Gill said...

Thank you for introducing us to this store!
I love the Donna Downey journals and I'm off to place an order!

Sue Althouse said...

This is a great story, love the influence of a creative grandmother. I'm not really the art journal type, but can appreciate the creative spirit I read about here!

Missus Wookie said...

Vicki - how lovely to hear of the growth of your business and as a woman who runs her own business I recognise the need to work at strange hours.

I'd love to try the mini bottles of mediums was so excited to hear about those after CHA.

What I've got my eye on (but am waiting until after Christmas) are some of the gorgeous alpha stickers - Prima and Jenni Bowlan yummy!

Allycat x said...

Vicki's store is one of the top 2 sites I think of & visit when I'm after some new goodies so its great to read this successful story. I'm so chuffed for you Vicki :)

Just don't be selling out of those gorgeous Stampotique stamps any time soon - I love them!

X

Jennifer Grace said...

I always have memories of my childhood when I go into an art shop too as my mum is an artist, so we'd go to them often and I'd marvel at all the colours of paints. I've just been having a nose around your shop and I shall be back soon to purchase some goodies! x

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