Groovy Friends I am delighted to share with you an interview I have with Nikki Sivils which will follow...but read all the way to the end because there is a GIVEAWAY!!!
Hi, Nikki! Thanks for being here and spending some time with us here at If It's Groovy today!
Well thank you so much for having me!
How did you start your art?
I’ve been doodling for years; I’ve never been a big sit down and draw kind of person but always doodling on restaurant napkins, on airplanes, car trips and I’m even known to wake up in the middle of the night and draw on the paper pad that sit on my night stand! I still doodle all the time. However I have now started to sit down and take the time to do more serious sketching. I can’t draw like a portrait of someone but I can sure draw some cute animals and fun images!
Are you a crop kind of girl or studio queen?
I’m both actually! I love my craft studio, as it’s a huge 2-room loft over the living room and kitchen. It’s also my personal office for work too. This use to be my preferred place to scrapbook b/c I get so much more done by myself at home but now that “work” is also in my home when I go to a crop I’m a machine popping out layouts like crazy! I especially like 2-day crops where you can leave your stuff and come back the next day, not having to set up my stuff all over again. Love that!
I also like going to crops because I love meeting new people at different events! I’ve met some life long friends at scrapbook crops! In fact one of my best friends I met at a crop 4 or 5 years ago and we go to crops all the time together and I even outsource work to her for my company!
When I read that you were "living your dream", I knew that I would love to have some time talking with you! Like so many other paper crafters, a little birdie told me that you like paper! Many of us have that in common! How many sheets of paper would you say you accumulated in your first year of scrapbooking and card making?
Well the thing is I started scrapbooking over 20 years ago and there wasn’t any scrapbook paper back then, instead I used magazines, newspapers, restaurant menus and construction paper. Crazy to even think that now! But when scrapbook papers started to appear I bought just a bit b/c it was so new and strange, well I’ve made up for that… I must have over a couple hundred thousand sheets of paper… seriously! (Don’t tell my hubby though.)
Paying visits to your blog, we learn that living your dream meant designing and manufacturing your own paper! That's how you do it! Create your own stash right? Can you tell us how you brought that to life?
I’ve been sketching for years and have jotted down every little detail of an image or character that I’d like to see come to life on paper. (I have several notebooks full of ideas, some of which I’ve used and some may never come to life.) Anyway I told my husband that I’d like to start designing scrapbook paper, knowing how much I loved to scrapbook he started researching the industry to find out if this is something that might be possible and what my first steps would be. Dan, my husband, is an attorney so he’s like a super great researcher that would in the end pay off big for me. Long story short, he left his law firm and started running this company with me. Which I can tell you was a huge risk and I still think his partners in the firm are thinking he’s crazy! But for me it’s in-house council, which was been wonderful…. I have not had to read one single contract, I’ve not had to spend 100’s of dollars on an attorney to negotiate contracts for me and we work really great together! But I think the best part is that his stress level has gone down by a thousand percent not having to deal with law cases, now he just has to deal with me! Bless his heart!
Please share with us about your adorable mascot!
That’s my sweet boy, Willie-B! He’s in dog haven now healthy and chasing squirrels I’m sure! My Willie-B was a bit round in the mid-section with these little legs so when I was coming up with a mascot I used him; and since his name ended with “B” I thought Willie-B in a bee costume would be awesome. Bees aren’t meant to fly because they are much too large for their tiny wings (kind of like Willie-B and his little short legs) that I thought it would be perfect for my mascot! I also wanted to keep his memory alive for as long as possible, he was very special to me and I had gotten him about 2 years before my husband and I met so Willie-B was my little “man”! I sure miss him! I miss him every single day!
I’m also huge “dog” lover too; and I’m apart of several “Yorkshire Terrier” rescues in the Midwest! I’ve personally rescued over a 100 dogs from puppy mills (which are really bad in my area) and well just finding them lost on the streets! If you follow my blog I occasionally have a dog I’ve found or rescued and trying to find him or her a forever home. I’m VERY strict about where I place my rescues, I’ve been told its like getting past a federal agent to meet with the president! But having said that my rescues have all been successful members of their new families in their new forever homes! (Please spay and neuter your pets and don’t buy your puppies in pet stores! Okay off my soapbox now! ;)
When I saw your paper lines and embellishments I was so taken by the cute names of each paper line! How do you come up with those?
Those actually are very easy for me, I normally come up with a name of a paper line first, then start writing info and details about what I want it to be, and then start sketching until its what I want. An example is I have a new spring 2011 paper line called Max & Mollie, its named after my twin niece and nephews then I just go from their. Sometimes they break off into two different collections and even a different name, but mostly I name them first.
My paper line “Victoria’s Street”, I designed b/c my niece, Victoria, had just moved down the street from me, well my sister, her momma did!
“Henry’s Brilliance” was named after my kiddo Henry because well I think he’s brilliant! (Don’t we all think our kids are smart!)
“Ellie’s Day Out”, it was named and designed for my niece Ellie, who is very sweet and shy.
“My Friend Birdie” is named and designed for my best friend, Birdie, who has these cute little bird legs!
“Sugar Cookie” the paper that you all get to play with, it was designed b/c my mom would make these giant sugar cookies for us on Valentines Day and we would decorate them and then eat them! That’s why the one paper called “Cookie Love” that has a huge cookie on it, its just like the one my mom use to make!
And some of my paper lines I dream up like “North Pole Nights” and “Willow Bee” these lines also each tell their own story!
How were you inspired when creating your paper products? Do you start with music, doodle, take walks?
Oops, I think I answered that in the question above… I ramble sometimes!
Which is your personal favorite? Can you show us creations with that line of paper/embellishments?
This is like asking which of my kids is my favorite! Which actually I only have one so I can say… Henry is my favorite! So I guess it would be like asking which of my 4 dogs are my favorite… I can’t pick just one!
When I actually talk about my papers individually I seem to always say “This is my favorite line….” but really I love them all. I guess “My Sweet Cherry Pie” will always be my “first born” and so I do have an attachment to it that I don’t have with the others. I design every paper line with some kind of memory or for someone or story line. Like “Victoria’s Street” which is named after my niece, Victoria, that moved down the street from me.
Along with running a fun business you had to have thought of downfalls too since we are living in an economy that is experiencing issues. How did you weigh the pros and cons for starting at the time you chose? Any advice you would give to someone wanting to follow this path?
Great question! Well when we very first decided to do this business the economy had not quite as tanked as bad as it has lately but we knew it was headed in that direction. So we took a risk, you have to take them if you want to live your dream. You just have too. We started the company about 9 months before our first release. It takes a ton of time and patients to start your own business. We had no friends in the industry that owned a scrapbook company so we had no one to ask for help or ask questions, we just found and did it our own way. Looking back now there are things I’d do again and many I would not, live and learn right! Be willing to make mistakes, because I’ve made some pretty bad ones! Like shipping a pallet of paper that weighted 100’s of lbs to the wrong state, not even the correct side of the United States… Oh and the best part I shipped it to a PO Box! Now that was an interesting phone call! We laugh now but it took a bit of time for me to get to that point!! LOL
It’s the hardest job I’ve ever had and the most fun and rewarding too! I’ve cried my eyes out and I’ve beamed with joy! I’m learning to not take things personal but when a paper line that you put your heart and soul into doesn’t sell well it’s hard to not blame yourself and get your feelings hurt. Once I got on a website that someone had said there was a really nice “thread” going on, on a certain forum, so I went and checked it out… there were so many nice things said that it brought tears to my eyes, then a couple of ladies were really hateful about some of my paper designs and it literally broke my heart. I cried and was really hurt, and certainly I understand my designs are not everyone’s style but words hurt when you’ve worked really hard on something and then it’s being talked badly about. So you have to have thick skin… which I’m trying to work on, but honestly not that good at.
You have to except failure… some things just fail. You have to have a good support group of family and friend’s b/c I work 70 plus hours a week, which was hard for some of my family members (outside my home) to except at first. Heck I didn’t even know how much work it would take. Also I often have to ask my family for help, when I need over 1,000 make-n-takes prepped for an event I can’t do it all by myself. You’ll often find my hubby on the couch at night before a big event punching circles and cutting paper, poor guy; he had no idea what he was getting into! Hee Hee
But mostly you have to BELIEVE. Believe in yourself and that your partner believes in you too. Dan has been my rock and is allowing me to live my dream.
Where can scrap and card enthusiasts find all of the exciting products you have created?
Several places. My website is http://www.nikkisivils.com/. I don’t sell to the consumer just wholesale but I do have a store finder on my website, and an awesome gallery where my Design Team Diva’s and I have our own galleries.
My blog has lots of inspiration every month and you can experience what I’m doing in my life and with my business on a weekly base.
Also I’m on Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/nikkisivilspaper and Twitter.
I have to tell you that one of the absolute coolest lines I have seen from your paper lines is Dan The Record Man! Groovy, if I do say so myself! Is there a story that goes with that one? Each piece reminds me of being a teenager~really awesome right down to the inserts for the 45's! Total flashbacks!
Thank you! I’ve heard that a lot! Gotta love flashbacks, right! Well my adorable hubby was in a band in college during the 80’s and he loves music so that’s how it came to be. I named the paper line first (which is how I normally start designing) then kind of went from there. I wanted something retro and groovy! ;)
One last question today that I like to ask...What makes you a Groovy Chick? I can answer it just by taking a look at the line we were just discussing, but what does being groovy mean to you?
Hee hee… groovy is great! Who doesn’t want to be groovy! Being fun and happy with a great personality, being able to go with the flow and see the lighter side of things. Also believe in who you really are!
Thanks also Nikki for sponsoring this month's challenge! I know that the lucky winner will feel so appreciative when she receives her goodies from Nikki Sivils, Scrapbooker.
No problem… one of the perks of the business is getting to share my products with people! Thanks for having me and I hope you all enjoyed play with my Valentine line, Sugar Cookie! -Nikki
We have enjoyed it SO much and cannot wait to spend the month showing all of the projects we have been creating! Thanks again Nikki, for everything!
HERE IS THE CHALLENGE:
Our theme here at IIG this month is to create layouts using ♥♥hearts♥♥ Why not try using Nikki's sketch below? She and I will start our interpretation of it then follow along this month for The Groovy Chicks to do the same. Email me firstname.lastname@example.org for a chance to win delicious products from Nikki's Sugar Cookie line :)
and made by Groovy Deb♥
A Little Closer:
I really loved the white hearts so I heavily glittered them. Yum!
Using a template I created the alphabets you see here was able to create a title using the Sugar Cookie line as well.