We Are Scamp Blog
A Wee Bit of Wonderful - Lala and Bea April 26 2017, 0 Comments
*A Wee Bit of Wonderful - Bookishly* April 12 2017, 0 Comments
We can't wait to let you learn all about our latest Wee Bit of Wonderful designer/maker. As avid readers we couldn't help but be drawn to the lovely work of Louise and Team Bookishly ... it's a fascinating read learning how her business has evolved over the last 8 years!
Hey! I’m Louise Verity from Bookishly. We’re a literary gift company based in Northamptonshire. We design and create a number of products, the majority of which are inspired by all things bookish - with a touch of geek thrown in for good measure. Bookishly’s motto is a quote from writer J.M Barrie: ‘Always try to be little kinder than is necessary.’
Bookishly first started in 2009 as Wall Envy Art. It all began with an antique dictionary and my grandfather’s set of water colours. I used to hand ink our signature book page prints in my spare bedroom, and sell a handful a week. As time progressed, both my team and product range did too. Eight years later, our framed book page prints are still an integral part of our brand, but the business is driven by a number of other products too. The two most significant of which are our monthly book club subscriptions and our personalised star chart prints.
Bookishly couldn’t have expanded without the input of our amazing team. My design skills are limited, so having the input of a real designer meant we could do so much more! Our subscriptions are now basically a business of their own, so organising and fulfilling them is a major undertaking. We are now a team of 12, including designers, a marketing wiz, and the super heroes that keep the orders going out the door.
We find inspiration in all sorts of places, some maybe a little more surprising than others... words, of course, are a huge inspiration. As Albus Dumbledore once said, they are our most ‘inexhaustible source of magic’. Our customers and their stories inspire us too, we love that our star chart prints have played such a special part in the lives of so many. On a personal level my small creative business friends are constantly an inspiration. By sharing our successes and challenges we have been able to support each other so much.
Going forward, we’re constantly working on new designs and products that our customers will love. It’s still just as exciting planning for what’s to come as it was eight years ago! We’re working on our new Bookishly Crate, which is a monthly box of bookish goodies themed around a different book each time. Creating new products for a monthly regular release is quite a challenge but we’re up for it!
*F is for Fairs* April 05 2017, 0 Comments
In our continued quest to bring you a bit of background to all the little elements that make up Scamp we couldn't get to the letter F without mentioning Fairs. This is a photo of me at our first ever fair in Primrose Hill, London. It was June 2010, Scamp (Baby Gifts as it was then) had only just begun, we made all our products either by hand stitching or machine sewing and although it was creative and fun it was quite the labour of love! There were personalised pictures, super soft blankets, elephant mobiles, hair bands, cards, cushions and bunting in a riot of colours and styles! I had my little helper with me (who is now 11!) and we sold a grand total of £85 worth of products. I was very proud ... first time I'd ever done anything like that and really had no expectations of what people might buy from us but it felt like a good day.
Fairs and markets have been a big part of Scamp's development over the years. We've travelled all around London and Yorkshire to take part in them and met so many lovely designer makers through doing them all. We've recently moved beyond just having an occasional market stall and some of the designers I've met along the way have also become my co-pop up shop 'owners' for a week at a time over the last year!
We no longer hunt out lots of fairs all around London but tend to pick and choose a few that have been tried and tested for us. We are much busier online than the days when we began so it can become quite difficult to do regular events as they are pretty time consuming to plan, organise and prepare for and take up precious weekend days. We also have a lot less stock that we can sell there and then these days now that we are more focused on personalised gifts. These days we tend to concentrate almost exclusively on markets around Christmas time finding they work best for us - including taking up a stand at Olympia for a week at the Spirit of Christmas fair but we do manage the odd one or two events scattered throughout the year.
Writing this post and seeing these photos makes me realise how how our range and styles have evolved and developed since the Primrose Hill Fair Days! Here are some pictures of recent fairs ... spot the difference!
Etsy London Local Christmas Fair in Crouch End 2016
Scamp's stand at Spirit of Christmas in 2016
Pop Up shop at Craft Central in March 2017
*A Wee Bit of Wonderful - Bread & Jam* March 22 2017, 0 Comments
In our continued quest to share some more 'wee bits of wonderful' with you we are so happy to be able to introduce you to two of our favourite designer maker friends. The wonderful Jame & Catherine who run Bread & Jam and create the happiest and jolliest products we know!
We are Catherine & Jamie Douglas, the couple behind Bread & Jam. We are a small giftware company based on the border between Cumbria and Northumberland in the wild and beautiful North Pennines. We have a range of personalised and non personalised products which have a distinct happy tone and everything we do is intended to leave a smile on the recipients face when they receive our work, spreading happiness one product at a time.
Jamie has a background in design and graduated from De Montfort University after studying furniture design and Catherine is the brains of the company and has a business and banking background, also graduating from De Montfort. We met at uni and settled locally to raise our two girls. Jamie started a commercial interior design agency and has worked with some of the most recognisable brands in the UK and on an international basis.
The agency traded for 8 years until it folded in the economic crash in 2008. It was a very tough time for both of us and our young family but despite the turmoil we still knew we wanted to work for ourselves, it didn’t leave any lasting damage to our determination to make something work for us. It was Catherine’s suggestion that we worked together and within a month of that seed being planted we had formed the company, produced the branding and website and bought our first batch of notebooks which we could apply our designs to. We started out hand printing note cards, notebooks, and pencil cases, we made our own printing blocks and we started screen printing, all from our dining table.
Some of our earlier products were designed to give to one another to cheer each other up, others were to perk up other family members and we had very little money so we ended up making most of the gifts we gave. So you could say the backbone, the essence of the business was about adding some cheer into the lives of those who received our products but this has evolved into all aspects of people’s lives not just unhappy moments. We’re fortunate enough to be involved in the most intimate and heart warming areas of people’s lives. This includes birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, kids leaving home for the first time, proposals of marriage and many more joyous moments, we’re very privileged.
We get our inspiration from lots of sources, it’s all around us, our kids, our friends, our peers and of course there are swathes of blogs and magazines and social media. It doesn’t have to be related to what we do but it does generally have to come from a really positive perspective, motivational or simply a good feeling. Being able to translate these influences into something “Bread & Jam” is the key, we have a tone of voice for the company and this is pretty sacred and protected at all costs.
As the company has grown we have had to reassess how “hands on” we are with the production as we have had to employ people to fulfil orders. We are currently looking at how we can grow further at the same time as keeping the soul of the business intact and making sure we still get our hands dirty, it’s a fine balance and one we constantly wrestle with. We are happy to make the first batches and samples the way we would like them and then pass that knowledge down the line to the people we employ.
We’re currently working on new designs for 2018, focussing mainly on more stationery and a brand new fabric line. We’re also working to explore new untapped areas for us including weddings and more things for kids. We’ve just had our best ever year and we intend to build on this without losing the original ethos and soul we started the company with.
* I am a Girl * March 17 2017, 0 Comments
Scamp began when our children were very little (one not even born). We struggled to find brightly coloured unisex baby wear so we created our own. Now our children are getting older we have decided to add to our personalised baby grow collections and start producing sweatshirts for kids aged 3 up to 10.
These are not just any old sweatshirts. They are made from 85% organic cotton and all the processes involved to get to the end result use sustainable methods. We are super excited that the first range we are launching is a range of empowering sweatshirts for girls.
The inspiration behind this range, as always, started with our very own family. Three out of five of our little Scamps are girls and sadly it remains evident in so much of our world that girls and women are still judged on their looks rather than their attributes. This is worrying and makes me sad and cross in equal measures. Don't get me wrong it was the same when we were growing up and we managed to negotiate our way through the judgements and self doubt but it seems somehow more prevalent due to the influence of social media, which was not around in our day, (thank goodness). Everyone looks perfect on their Instagram feed, they eat the perfect balanced meals and their selfies are literally spotless. Of course, as adults, we know a lot of this is staged and photo shopped beauty in magazines is everywhere but for tween/teenagers this is what a lot aspire to.
Our new range of Go Girl sweats are made to show our girls, your girls, every girl that there is more to them than looks and beauty. My girls are physically strong, they can boulder to the top of climbing walls like monkey spiders and they can do pull ups on a pull up bar many more times than I can but we need all our girls to be mentally strong and confident; allow them all to believe in themselves and believe they can achieve anything. Let's tell all our girls they are pretty bloody awesome not just pretty.
* E is for Early Days * March 15 2017, 0 Comments
So the #smallbizatoz alphabet keeps moving on and now we are at the letter E. Seems to make sense to go back to the Early days of Scamp for this. When we first started we were called Scamp Baby Gifts, selling mainly new baby gifts and gifts for christenings. We literally made every single product by hand. A real labour of love that we thoroughly enjoyed doing at the time but if you added all the hours it took to produce anything we most definitely were not making money out of these products!
We sourced fabrics, cut, stitched, mounted and personalised each product, bubble wrapped, lovingly wrote everything by hand and posted these off to quite a number of customers! It was these products that got us to the attention of notonthehighstreet and we were invited to join their platform in it's reasonably early days. Something that has been a big factor in growing the business to the size it is now so we have a lot to thank those early products for!
Letting these products go a few years ago felt a big thing to do - they were the beginning, they sold, were popular and looked pretty - but we knew how long they took to make and we knew that we couldn't sustain a business only selling them so it became obvious it was was time to move on. We didn't let go completely though! We kept some of the original stitched picture ideas and turned them into screen prints. For a couple of years our Hootie McTootie the Owl baby grow was the most popular design we sold. Initially, we screen printed these ourselves but soon realised we were much better placed creating the designs but getting others to actually print the finished product.
Although Scamp as it is today has moved quite far from the original concept for the business those early products definitely shaped us. The lessons we learned from creating them, how we ran the business, the value we put on making products, the level of quality we expect of everything we now design and sell all stem from those early products and early days ... without them, we'd be nothing!
* A Wee Bit of Wonderful * - Bec Gilray March 08 2017, 0 Comments
This week our 'a wee bit of wonderful' features the very lovely girl boss behind Do You Punctuate? The home of original, cheeky greetings cards and prints. Here she is to tell us her story.
Hello I’m Bec Gilray and recently I’ve become a big cheese. Not quite sure what flavour yet but I’m the CEO of Do You Punctuate and we’re a print to demand greetings card publisher (but we also make gifts and prints too).
We’re based in Yorkshire, in a little town north of Leeds synonymous with traditional printing presses known as the Wharfedale. Originally DYP was a letterpress print shop but we liked digital so much we swapped metal for LED digital printing and never looked back. (Though we still have our old girl called Mabel, she sits proudly in our dining room!)
Our cards are very cheeky, rude and funny. What makes them the best though is our amazing customers who request personalisation. We work with them to bring to life their ideas and we love that we can do that. We connect people’s stories from around the world and though it’s a card, it speaks more words than you would realise.
DYP was born out of my MA research question and my passion for printing and typography. I love the structure of typography and grids but I also used to be scared of colour!
When I finished my MA I knew I needed a job that fitted around my young family and at the time caring responsibilities for my mum. Initially I planned on trying to find a design job as a junior but soon realised that wasn’t possible, so in a left field idea I bought a little tiny printing press called an Adana 8x5 and I didn’t look back.
Very quickly I had a small letterpress print shop and several printing presses, and too much work! Though I loved letterpress I found it limiting and expensive, particularly for customers because my presses were driven by pedal power and not electric; this meant that prices were quite high due to the cotton paper and time involved.
As the business grew, my love for this traditional printing method waned and I knew that I had to change before I fell out of love with it completely.
Around this time, I experimented with several digital printers, various stock and found that I came into being a card publisher a bit by accident. I had very high expectations for paper, having worked with cotton and so sourced excellent stock that was made in Yorkshire. As we have grown, I’ve employed more people and invested in a professional beast of a printer. It made our production go up from 1 cards every 1 minute 30 seconds to 20 cards a minute!
Though I initially didn’t start a business to become a business woman, as we continue to grow I love the challenge and the ways in which to tackle running an online business. I know we are disruptive because we sell directly to our customers and have bypassed the traditional route to the retail market. This means we can maintain a personal touch without compromising quality.
Language is my inspiration. I love combinations of odd words and I love listening to people’s phrases, accents and dialects. I also listen to a lot of audiobooks and Gothic horror, with Victorian language, is a brilliant source of inspiration. I love a good solid justified piece of text! Strong graphical lines and black are where I feel safe but it’s very easy to stay there. When I first started designing the cards I was frightened to use colour because it was an unknown and I was probably being too puritan by trying to keep the typefaces woodblock style and black! I learnt that the best way to change though is to push yourself out of your comfort zone so I started incorporating bright primary colours. In my previous work, colour features and you can see how I experimented, but always had the limitations of the press and the print runs holding me back. When we changed to digital it was like being a kid in a sweet shop and I became overwhelmed with the choices available!
The people who inspire me the most are our customers though. It sounds contrite but actually when you hear their stories, the ideas just pop in my head and 99% of the time I know exactly what style of card they need, with what colours to fit the story they’re trying to tell. Haha! Maybe that’s my super power? Who knows?
* D is for Duo * March 01 2017, 0 Comments
* D is for Duo *
It’s #smallbizatoz time again. This is a time for you to get to see behind the scenes of Scamp. Who we are, what we love, what gets us up in the morning and why we do what we do.
D is for duo. This was an easy one. There are two of us. Two sisters in fact. Jennifer is the eldest and me (Stacey) the younger of the two although we do have a third younger sister who chose not be involved on our venture to bring our personalised baby gifts into the world! The photo below is of Jennifer and I at Christmas time last year in one of our happy places - back home in Dumfries at a beautiful beach called Rockliffe.
So what to tell you about me. I am 42, married to Robin for 10 years, actually very nearly 11 year and have 3 (mostly) lovely kids and one big soppy dog. I started my working life as a Physiotherapist working in the NHS but the strain on the NHS took it’s toll on my love for the job. I started to think of other things I could do to replace my Physio income and low and behold Scamp was born (albeit in a rather different form to how it is now, but that is for another blog post!). I left the NHS job to work privately and juggled this, kids and building Scamp until September last year when I took the plunge and decided to work full time in the business.
Things that make me tick. Hmmmm I actually think I might be a bit of a work-a-holic. This is only because I am hugely passionate about what we create and trying to make Scamp a success. My husband is constantly telling me to switch off the computer and relax!
So the things I like to do when I am not working or thinking about work. Obviously number one is mucking around with my kids - dancing, singing, crafting, lego building and playing board games (a secret passion of mine from childhood). I enjoy the outdoors - walking the dog or taking the kids on a jaunt or a bike ride. In a past life I did a lot of hiking up hills and mountains but expectations have lowered to walking round reservoirs since having the kids!
I have a huge love of modern calligraphy and typography. I always remember my Grampa having lovely, neat writing, particularly his capital letters, and maybe this sparked something off in me. When i was just 14 I did traditional Calligraphy with a bunch of adults in a community hall and I absolutely loved it despite being the youngest by at least 30 years. Last year I picked up this hobby again but went to learn about modern calligraphy at Quill in London. I am hooked. Sadly, I don’t practice as much as I should to become brilliant but it’s hard to beat beautiful writing in my eyes. You can read more about my calligraphy exploits on the blog here.
I also love going to my local studio gym – Fitbarre. This is 100% me time. It feels indulgent but for too long there has been little or no me time and I am now rectifying this and enjoying every sweaty minute of it! As Victoria, the owner of Fitbarre says, if you don’t look after yourself then it will all fall apart. I totally agree. There have been times throughout our Scamp journey I really have felt I was holding on by a thread. But we are still here to tell the tale.
Over to Jennifer.
So, hello, it's Jennifer now, the elder Scamp sister (well, by 15 months!) so you can do the maths to tell how old I am! I've been married to a fellow Scot, Mark, for nearly 13 years and we've got 11 year old Ava and nearly 9 year old Jonah and last month we welcomed a new (fur!) baby into the family as well. 3 month old puppy Alba joined us in February and it's been nearly identical to having a real baby - lots of tiredness and cleaning up wee and poo! But pretty joyful the rest of the time!
I started my work life in rubber ... the Gates Rubber Co to be precise! I was in the marketing department for both Hunter Welly Boots and Tredaire Underlay for the first two years of my career as I was sponsored through university by them. Once the excitement of rubber wore off (VERY quickly!) I headed overseas to work as a marketing consultant in Pakistan - one of my favourite experiences ever! If we ever meet up ask me about the Karakoram mountains and I will wistfully tell you tales of my time there! Moving swiftly through various fundraising charity jobs in London when I came back from my travels and then into a career at the BBC. Again, staying international, as I worked in a creative team for BBC World News (the BBC's international channel). A great job but a difficult one to make work and keep challenging me once I opted for part time hours after my babies arrived!
My Scamp story really started after that ... with my marketing background I chatted to Stacey about the idea of me working with her to put together a small business that would keep us both challenged, interested. learning and working. Marketing is now only one of many aspects of the business I'm involved in but, alongside design, remains one of my favourite parts of my job!
What else do I like doing? I love exploring and travelling. Pre kids travelling to far flung places was a big passion but post kids is not quite so easy or regular! Last year we had a true trip of a lifetime taking them to Kenya to visit friends of mine who lived in Nairobi and in a national park and we've visited family and friends in Thailand with them as well. I want to give them opportunities to see people and places that are very different from their London lives and experiences they will never forget.
Now we are with dog I see more UK based adventures happening. I want to explore more of Scotland - despite being born and brought up there there are lots of places I've yet to visit. Highlands and islands in particular take my fancy. I'm also keen to discover more of the English countryside so we can take a bit of time out of London as well as time in! We've already got a weekend on the Norfolk coast pencilled in soon!
I've always loved the water but over the past couple of years I've been regularly swimming (through all seasons) outdoors in lidos, rivers, lakes and Hampstead Ponds with a group of friends. A very cathartic and energising way to exercise. I'm a real wild swimming convert now!
I love the cinema, love theatre (don't go nearly enough) and love exploring what London has to offer when I get a chance. A recent discovery is E17 (not the group from the 90s but Walthamstow!). Visiting the William Morris Gallery and God's Own Junkyard helped occupy a very happy Friday a few weeks ago.
Lastly, well, I'm sure I could go on and on about plenty other things I like but this seems a good (and fitting!) point to stop. I love and am inspired a lot by creativity, design and art - be it interior design, product design, being with friends who design, shopping from designer/makers I admire, visiting exhibitions of artists whose work I love. It feels like I'm now working in what I really love and something that keeps inspiring me and though it's not always easy, the decision to have our own business has easily been the best work decision I've ever made!
* C is for Challenge * February 22 2017, 0 Comments
Here we are again with our #smallbizatoz just trying to give you a little more insight into Scamp and where we have come from and what makes us tick.
Now this could be a very, very long blog post as much of setting up Scamp and growing the business has been a challenge but I will keep it reigned in I promise!
Jennifer has a marketing background and used to work for the BBC before starting Scamp so there was quite a lot of business knowledge from that but in my former life I was a Physiotherapist and, although there were many skills involved in that, I didn’t really know anything about setting up a business.
When you start your own creative business you initially think it’s all about being at home with the kids and making lots of beautiful items to send to others! However, it quickly dawns on you that there are a whole heap of other things you need to do in order to make your business a success!
We thought that in this blog post we could share with you some of the Challenges we’ve had to face as we’ve grown the business (and show you you’re not alone when it comes to things not being quite as straightforward as you might originally think!)
Where to start though?
Websites (which platform to use , how do you upload anything, what’s SEO, how do we write engaging copy for our products, how do we get people to find our website in the first place – waaaahhhh)
Accounts (what’s a spreadsheet, how do we keep all those receipts neat and tidy, VAT registration, how do I not fall asleep at the thought of all of this but how do we even have a business if we have no idea of incoming money and expenditure?) – luckily for me I was a pretty poor Maths student at school and therefore Jennifer has taken on the accounts side of the business. Phew
Social Media– another minefield - how do we keep up to date with what all our customers are doing? Snapchat (yack) Facebook (it took me about 3 years before I opened a FB account), instagram, Pinterest, blogging, Linked in, Twitter (please hear my voice fade out as I list off all these endless amounts of chores). I have just taken a fabulous 21 day social media course with www.slsocial.co.uk which has really helped us to be more organised with social media rather than just winging it on a daily basis! I would high;y recommend it.
Photography – how do we make our products look beautiful - when people see them in the flesh we know they love them – they buy them and they come back again. We get a lot of repeat customers which is fabulous but how do we portray the quality of them online. How do we show our customers with pictures that they want to buy the product and come back for more. Hours and hours have been spent trying to get the right light, the right props and finally the right shot.
Wholesale (what does that even mean, should we have a catalogue of products, should we spend lots of money on a trade show, should we even do wholesale?)
All of the above and much, much more, that I haven’t mentioned, have been a challenge and a big massive learning curve over the last 6 years. But the biggest challenge of all has been time (or lack of!). With 5 kids between us and the youngest one only starting school 4 months ago Scamp has been run predominantly on a part-time basis. It has been built up over time and fitted in with all the other things that come with family life – school runs, homework, fun times, changing nappies, play dates, after school activities yada yada yada. This has often meant working at very odd hours in the 24 hours that make up a day. Two Christmases ago I was laser cutting in my garage until 1 in the morning and then going to bed only to get up about four hours later to make up all the products ready for dispatch and then going off to be a Physiotherapist for the day!
We have been very lucky to have gained some business mentors along the way who have helped us see the wood from the trees when it has come to analysing figures, reviewing the year gone by and setting targets for business growth. We are very grateful to each of them who have helped us train our brains into a more business like approach and really helped Scamp develop, evolve and grow into the business it now is and that Jennifer and I are really proud of.
A Wee Bit of Wonderful - Lizzy Chambers February 15 2017, 0 Comments
We so happy to be sharing a week long pop up shop from 6th March with the lovely Lizzy Chambers and Samantha Morris. You can find us at Craft Central 33-35 St John's Square, London EC1M 4DS from 6th - 12th March.
This week we thought it would be a really good idea to have 'a wee bit of wonderful' featuring one of the lovely designers that will be in the shop with us. Here is the very talented Lizzy - maker of gorgeous jewellery.
Hello my name is Elizabeth Chambers and my trading name is Lizzy Chambers. I create keepsake jewellery inspired by nature and nostalgia. I am based in Wembley in North West London where I have a studio and a garden where I grow some of my flowers for my jewellery.
I specialise in using British grown flowers that either come from my garden or a British farm, which are dried and preserved.
I originally graduated in Law but art/design and plants were my true passion. I took evening classes and poured through many a book, where I self-taught myself how to grown and look after plants and my passion for art shone through with my love for colour.
After having children it felt right to have a change and I started Lizzy Chambers. Here time spent in the garden with the children and their love for creating inspired me to put the two together. After picking flowers and seeds I wanted something to keep that little memory alive, the glass was perfect for my keepsake jewellery.
Five years later the garden and my collection has changed and grown. I now have private clients that want me to dry their wedding flowers through to keepsakes that they want to treasure and pass to their children. I also work with some beautiful boutique shops and museums.
My inspiration for my collections comes from things that we used to love as children, the simple things, the walk in the park blowing the dandelion seeds, the buttons that Gran always had, the small bits and pieces that Grandpa used to keep in his little metal tin, the old sand egg timer, watching the grains of sand pass through. All these little memories that mean something to us personally.
As a child I always used to pick the flowers from the garden and try and keep them, now I have found a way to keep these. From time to time I still get flowers from my mum’s garden to add to the collection and these ones are always the first to sell out. I suppose mum’s flowers have always been special.
You can find Lizzy on social media at:
* A is for Ava * February 08 2017, 0 Comments
Well our social media plans for 2017 started off a little bit topsy turvy due to not quite kicking off our #smallbizatoz on the first week of January as planned so we began with B rather than A. Oops! We are now about to rectify this faux pas. Our aim with these posts is to give you all a little more insight into our business, where we have come from and what we (Jennifer and Stacey) and Scamp are all about.
So today drum roll everyone please .... we are jumping back to A and going to introduce you to the oldest Scampette Ava.
Ava is 11, a Sagittarian and is Jennifer’s eldest child but she also carries the medal for being the oldest one of the five mini scamps that we have between us. In order to let Ava introduce herself to you she answered 10 questions for us and here they are along with her answers.1. What’s the funniest thing you've ever seen?I like watching stupid pet videos2. If you had three wishes, what would they be?To have infinite wishes, to have a good job and to have dogs and a horse3. What are the best and worst things about mum and dad?Dad is normally playing on pokemon go but he is really fun when you go outside and do go ape or play outside. Mum is normally on her phone so when you are talking to her she forgets what you say because she is doing something on it although she is good fun all the time when she isn’t on the phone.4. Can you name one thing that scares you?Dentists giving injections5. What do you do when you’re scared to make it less scary?Fall asleep6. What’s the nicest thing a friend has ever done for you?Made me happy when I’m sad7. Would you rather give up TV, chocolate or friends?TV8. Who are your three best role models?Family, family and family9. Which five words describe you best?creative, nice, arty, dog-lover and skiing-lover10. If you could time-travel, where and when would you go?I would go back to the 1980’s to see what mum and dad did when they were younger
A Wee Bit of Wonderful - Introducing 'Mrs Booth' February 01 2017, 0 Comments
We are so happy to be introducing a brand new (and regular segment) to our blog. Scamp is all about being 'a wee bit of wonderful' - as well as hoping we are spreading some wonder around with our own products we want to tell you about other designer/makers that we know and love and think are rather wonderful too!
First up is the brilliant 'Mrs Booth'. Judith (a fellow Scot) creates a range of simple, imaginative gifts for children that are both nostalgic in feel yet super useful in function! She is also a rather great graphic designer who has worked on all the Scamp rebranding that was done last year!
So, please give a wonderful welcome to Judith Booth :)
My name is Judith Booth, I’m a graphic designer and I live with my family in North Berwick, a seaside town about half an hour from Edinburgh. I design and produce paper products as Mrs Booth - prints, colouring books, alphabet friezes, cards and wrap.
2. My Design Life
Island Adventures January 30 2017, 0 Comments
So here we are on the Isle of Mull for our Scottish Island Adventure. It is my aim to make Scotland feel as much home to our kids as Leeds and I think I am succeeding so far. Their is a very definite affinity to Scotland and much excitement when we cross the 'border' at the signpost were we all hold hands (well just one of mine as I tend to want to keep the other on the steering wheel) and shout 'SCOTLAND' at the top of our voices . They are very aware of their half Scottishness and are very proud of it.
We spent Christmas last year in the middle of nowhere in the Highlands where we spent a week watching the weather change out of the big window that looked directly over Loch Linnhe. Atmospehric to say the least and totally mesmerising. Every time you looked the picture was different.
We head to the Isle of Mull next week and I am hoping for more of the same. Well, secretly, really hoping that the weather is a little warmer than at Christmas time but just as mesmerising. Looking forward to checking out the beaches, mountains, colourful houses of Tobermory and the sea. Would love to catch sight of a dolphin or a whale but that may just be too much to ask.
Scamp's new strap line came to Jennifer in the middle of the night and sums up pretty much how we want you to feel about our products but also about how my family and I feel about Scotland. I am going to keep you posted on our trip to Mull so maybe you, too, will fall in love with Scotland as much as us.
* B is for Burns Night * January 24 2017, 0 Comments
Yes, yes I know we missed out A but we are going to gloss over this for the moment. People always ask us why we started our business, what was our motivation, tell us a bit about yourselves so the Scamp sisters (Jennifer and Stacey) decided it was about time we did some behind the scene peaks and introductions into our family business and thought it would be more fun and perhaps a little more challenging to do in the form of an A-Z.
So B is for Burn’s Night. Unless you know us you might wonder why on earth this is relevant to us. Burn’s night has been a yearly event in our household whilst growing up. The Scamp sisters hail from Dumfries, a small town in the South West of Scotland, where Robert Burns lived on a farm after moving from his birth place of Ayrshire. Every year on 25 January (Rabbie’s birthday), Scotland raises a glass of something alcoholic in patriotic celebration of the national bard. He was a prolific poet and song writer and also had a bit of a reputation as a ladies man – naughty!
A traditional party would have poetry readings, ceilidh dancing and usually in our case a CD of piped music (sadly not the real thing) but central to the event is a hearty feast of haggis, neeps (mashed swede) and tatties washed down with a wee dram of whiskey. This is a tried and tested recipe with the thumbs up from us http://www.jamieoliver.com/recipes/lamb-recipes/haggis-neeps-tatties/
After much drinking and dancing, to bring the evening to an end everyone stands and joins hands to sing ‘Auld Lang Syne’. It’s always a fantastic evening of fun and friendship where there is no holding back and we all Gie it Laldy. This means to give everything you’ve got. See this and other Scottish sayings on our wooden pennant flags.
We are super proud of our Scottish roots and despite both of us having moved South of the border, Jennifer to London and Stacey to Leeds we still hold Scotland very close to our hearts. In fact, just yesterday I saw a funny Facebook post that rang true.
“A Scot isn’t someone born in Scotland. A Scot is someone in which Scotland has been born in them.” You will see lots of Scottish references in our collections of products and now you know why.
To celebrate our Scottish roots and this Burns tradition we have decided to offer you lovely people a discount of 25% off everything on our website from today (25th January) until the 31st January. Fill your boots with Scottish goodies or anything else you fancy. Visit us at www.wearescamp.co.uk
Muahahahah - It's Halloween October 21 2016, 0 Comments
Around these parts it’s been Halloween for a few weeks already. As with all gifting businesses we are always a couple of months ahead of ourselves if not about 9 or 10 months. We have been making new Christmas Gifts since around February or March time this year – yikes!
But back to Halloween – muahahaha! Halloween is thought to have originated with the ancient Celtic festival of Samhain, when people would light bonfires and wear costumes to ward off roaming ghosts. Sounds a bit scary to me.
All things Halloween certainly do not have to be scary though, they can also be pretty darn cool. Here at the Scamp studios we have decided to create what our dream, non-scary, version of a kids Halloween party would be and this is how it looks.
First things first is obviously what to wear - well you can’t go wrong with either of these little numbers.
One of our very own Scamp Halloween 'No Tricks only Treats' babygrow. Get your baby to rock up in his or her moses basket with this little number on and I would pretty much guarantee that they will receive all the treats in the shape of hugs and squeezes.
Or what about this smily, fun and not at all scary personalised little monster outfit by Sparks Clothing. We all know babies can be little monsters so let’s not beat around the bush and just say it as it is!
And really what is an outfit without accessories?
Firstly we work from the top. Check out this very cool and intricate Incy Wincy Spider hairclip brought to you by Candy Bows.
and then to the bottom. Personalised Googly eyes shoes by Born Bespoke in ghoulish green have got to be THE finishing touch to these outfits
And what about accessories for the big kids coming to the party I hear you shout. Well we’ve got that covered too. Scamp studios are in love with Hobbynoo's nail transfers
but if you fancy just being a plain weirdo lurking in the sidelines of the party this mug from A few home truths will do just the trick!!
Finally, we need to decorate this party of ours so we have opted for a multi purpose Auntie Mims personalised decoration which would be hung around the room and then given to each person at the end. There is a choice of spooky ghosts, pumpkins and bats. You gotta love a bat at Hallowe'en.
And that concludes our dream Halloween party. So much Halloween goodness out there that doesn't fall into the scary but the pretty darn cool category! Enjoy and stay safe.
My favourite place is Scotland ... April 07 2016, 0 Comments
Not my words but those of my 9 year old daughter whose thoughts echo mine.
"My favourite place is Scotland - I like Scotland because there is loads of beautiful countryside and the sea is refreshing but cold but in the summer it is usually warm enough to swim in".
It didn't cross my mind that I would still be living South of the border after moving to Leeds almost 16 years ago. I always thought I would end up back somewhere in Scotland and my kids would grow up with a Scottish accent.
It's not to be, they are settled in their school and they are happy living in Leeds although they do put on an amazing Scottish accent when asked to perform! The Scot's language is somewhat unique and the girls especially love to hear all the unusual words and try to work out what they mean. Their favourite word is bahoochie (bottom) and their favourite saying is aye dinnae ken (I don't know). There are an amazing number of words and sayings that are not heard anywhere else in the UK. So many that my husband (from Derbyshire) is sure that my family and I just make up a new saying whenever he is around so he doesn't understand what we are talking about! Scamp is excited to have used some of those sayings to create a fun but contemporary product suitable to use as a gift for someone else or fer yersel! You can see them all here.
A little quiz for you - what do you think these mean?
Typography, calligraphy and my new hobby March 18 2016, 0 Comments
So, I am a little bit in love with my new hobby. Well, actually, it is a rekindled hobby which has given me a fire in my belly to learn more. A feeling I have not had for long enough due to young kids and generally a lack of time and brain space.
Twenty five ish years ago, when I was around 14, a love of typography and writing (not of the writing a story kind of writing - I am rubbish at that) but just putting pen to paper kind of writing and making pretty words, took me to a Calligraphy course where I learnt all about the old letter form. I was the youngest there by a million years but I learnt so much and totally loved the creativity of it. It was something I was hooked on for quite some time until it fell by the wayside when I left home to go to college.
For the last six months or so I have been thinking of taking it up again and tried to find a local course which proved pretty hard around my area. I then spotted that this beautiful little shop called Quill in East London held Modern Calligraphy classes for beginners. Perfect. It was exactly what I was looking for. The modern calligraphy style is very up my street, more so than the slightly more formal traditional calligraphy. More flowy and allows you to express yourself in a different way.
The course definitely didn’t disappoint. I am a teeny tiny bit of a stationery lover so Just sitting in the beautiful shop surrounded by gorgeous coloured inks, washi tape and pretty notebooks and cards made me smile. In front of me was my gorgeous little pack of practice papers, a letter guide to help with formation of the letters, a pot of ink, a pen holder and a nib.
The course was split into 3 mini sessions. First of all we were taught how to make marks with the pen – how to make fine lines on the up stroke and thicker lines on the down stroke. We progressed then onto forming letters – both capital and small letters. This was done by first of all tracing each letter and then copying them. We spent a long time on this to ensure we were creating the correct shapes.
The final part was trying to create a word and then playing around with the layout of it and adding in extra flourishes. I chose the word 'wonderful' as this is now part of our new strapline and I thought it would be nice to see how it could turn out.I practised the letters individually which you can see at the top of the photo below and then went on to join them together with deliberate wide spacing.
Everything about putting this sort of pen and ink to paper feels good. I found my old style of calligraphy was creeping through a little so I think lots of practice to try to shake off that more formal way of writing is required.
It was a super enjoyable evening and it really has made me come away wanting to practice and learn more. I immediately bought the newly released book Nib + Ink by Chiara Perano to help me continue to make time for this. I am hoping to be able to go to the Intermediate class at some point soon too.
I would love to be good enough to create and make beautiful words into cards or prints to add to Scamp’s product range so watch this space. In the meantime, I have come up with these typographic pictures which still allow me the chance to play with the layout and flourishes albeit in a more digital way. Indeed, let this adventure begin. These typographic pictures are yet to be photographed properly but as soon as they are and are up on the website I will add a link here for you.
Rebranding Scamp - the story of colour February 15 2016, 0 Comments
We've wanted to rebrand Scamp for quite some time as our old logo really wasn't reflecting what the business has become in the last couple of years and what we want it to be like in the future. The original logo was created based around a product range we created right at the start of our business life and one we no longer make so really was feeling pretty obsolete!
It took us a bit of time to formulate in our minds what we wanted the new branding to represent so it was only as New Year and 2016 came around that we were in a position to start looking at the changes we wanted. We asked our designer to help create a new identity for Scamp which showed our fresh, modern, playful personality and added in a hint of our roots (Scottishness!) and a nod to the fact that we have some rather lovely things in store for you to buy! Not much of an ask then! Added to that we also wanted to make sure our colours were contemporary and colourful ...
I had been looking through How to Style Your Brand (a very interesting read by Fiona Humberstone) and one of the aspects that really fascinated me was finding a season that you felt reflected the mood of your brand. I had a whole lot of fun creating a Pinterest board recently trying to think about Scamp's new colour palette. It is overwhelmingly 'autumnal' but at the brighter end of the spectrum ... and with some of my favourite Indian colours creeping through as well! So, hello to a new shade of red, teal blues, oranges and deep pinks - we are delighted to welcome you into the wonderful world of Scamp!
(Say it with) Everlasting Flowers February 10 2016, 0 Comments
I'm sure you won't need to be reminded but it's coming close to that very famous flower giving time of year, Valentine's Day. I can't say I've ever received many bunches of red roses from my husband and as lovely as it would be to get some real flowers I am rather partial to the idea of something that lasts a bit longer. We came up with our concept of wooden laser cut flowers at Scamp to be able to give something as a gift that will last. Our alternative floral gifts really won't wither away after a week and will look lovely in a vase on your mantlepiece or bedside table for as long as you want them to!
Lots of pairs of tulips and daisies have been winging their way across the country these past few weeks for Valentine's Day but they have also been very popular as fifth wedding anniversary presents for the whole year. Being a wood anniversary they've been perfect!
If you can take or leave Valentine's day (I've got to say I would happily do this!) but still love the idea of flowers then I think you might like what we have in store for Mother's Day! Sharing the floral love with your mum ... who needs red roses eh?!
Christmas isn't far away - time to start planning some festive decorating! November 24 2015, 0 Comments
Christmas gifts, Christmas decorations, festive ornaments and having a Scandinavian style December are getting me really excited this year. We'll be hosting Christmas for some of my family in our house for the first time in a while so I've got myself thinking about how to make it as lovely as possible! We usually travel back to Scotland which I love but there is something really nice about waking up in your own house with the kids on the morning of December the 25th too! I'm a real sucker for a star shape and I also love the simplicity of Scandinavian design ... with that in mind I've been putting together a Pinterest Board of lovely festive ideas - I utterly embrace the (quite unrealistic!) world that Pinterest can create for you ... I wonder if my house will bear any resemblance to my mood board! In the hope that it might I thought it would be nice to share some of my favourite images here for you to get some inspiration too!
If I could make my mantlepiece look and feel like this photo on Christmas day I'd be very happy! photo credit Sweet Paul Magazine
these decorations almost look like they've been rolled out of icing! So delicate. image c/o nordic bliss
I also may be just a little bit biased but very much loving the new Personalised Wreaths that Scamp has made for Christmas this year. The star design is a particular favourite of mine and I can't wait to hang ours on the wall this December.
don't these honeycomb tissues look gorgeous at the christmas table. You can get lots of colours and designs of them from the lovely Petra Boase.
oh the simplicity of these ornaments is so lovely and seeing them hanging from above the table is making me very happy! All available from Olivia.cc
And finally a Christmas isn't Christmas without a lot of glad tidings and good wishes. Our friends Bread and Jam have created a lovely range of exquisite tree decorations available exclusively on notonthehighstreet with personalised wishes for those with you this year.
October Half Term in London ... October 16 2015, 0 Comments
I've been on the look out for some fun things to do with the kids this half term and have managed to come up my top five list (I'm hoping the kids think the same!) - some are specific events others are places we've not visited for quite a while. I wonder how many I'll actually be able to do?
Southbank Why Festival
In my opinion you can never go wrong visiting the Southbank (at any time of year) and this half term their WHY? festival looks like another fantastic week of events for kids. With rhyming, experimenting, protesting, singing there is something for all ages of children. An amazing opportunity to learn about and celebrate young people's rights alongside artists, thinkers and social activists.
Story Stock at the Bush Theatre
A literary festival just for children - STORYSTOCK is a travelling circus which lands in unusual spaces to bring families stories. Taking place over 3 days from 28-30th October this promises to have something for all primary school aged children - animation workshops, live-literature shows, author talks and storytelling sessions.
An anthropological museum set in 16 acres of landscaped gardens in south east London, the Horniman has a traditional natural history gallery which is super child friendly. My kids particularly love the aquarium. This half term you can take part in the Horniman's Halloween costume parade, enjoy spooky storytelling as well as getting a chance to handle creepy creatures.
Roald Dahl Museum and Story Telling Centre
Lots of my choices seem to be based around children and stories but that is what they love to do. The fabulous Roald Dahl museum is a short train ride out of London to Buckinghamshire ... a few hours can easily be spent in the museum itself (there are lots of craft activities on in half term) and there are some suggestions of countryside walks that can be done in the local area once you've finished. For any BFG, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory or Matilda lover out there it is special treat to see where they were created. And, there's the great Cafe Twit with it's Dahl inspired food to enjoy afterwards!
and last but never least in our books is London zoo.
For half term there is always a heap of animal activities at their Boo at the Zoo events in both ZSL London and Whipsnade Zoo. For the entire half term week visitors will be treated to a week of fiendish fun. The zoo never fails to disappoint.
Celebrating Independent Retailers Month with a chat to one of our favourite stockists, Harriet, from Chirpy in Leeds! July 02 2015, 0 Comments
One half of Scamp (Stacey) is a Leeds dweller and was thrilled when Chirpy (a very cool design led gift store) opened up in her neighbourhood a couple of years ago. She was even more thrilled when Harriet Vaight, the shop's owner, wanted to stock our baby wear and baby mobiles! If you are ever visiting this fine city get yourself over to Chapel Allerton and pop in to say hi and enjoy Harriet's extremely well edited and selected choices of lovely 'Design to Make you Feel Fine!'
What is the Chirpy story and the idea behind the shop?
I’ve lived in Leeds for over 15 years, but really struggled to find cool and unique gifts for friends and family. I loved going to the local craft fairs and arts trails where there were lots of talented people making amazing things, but they just didn’t have an outlet in Leeds to sell their wares. And after 10 years in the private sector getting disillusioned with the corporate world, I decided that maybe I should be the one to do something about it.
It’s Independent Retailers Month this July - what do you think makes independent shops so special?
Independent shops are amazing! They have so much more character, personality and uniqueness than the high street shops. We can support the smaller UK makers by stocking their lovely products, and provide people with a more exciting shopping experience and something just that little bit different.
Where do you find inspiration when it comes to filling your shop with such lovely items?
It’s easy as there are so many makers out there designing and creating such amazing products. I just keep an eye out for something unique and fun, that you wouldn’t find in the usual high street store. Discovering a new supplier who makes a really cool product that you haven’t seen before, but you know that people would love, is really exciting.
Most of all I love the customers, everyone is so friendly and lovely and a real pleasure to deal with. And I love how every day is different, there are so many aspects to running a business, there is no way that you can get bored. The creative side is also really fun, being imaginative with new product displays, putting on crafty events and taking photos for social media.
What is next for Chirpy?
Putting on more and new events in the cool upstairs space. I love it when people come and have a fun time trying out something new and I’d like to expand this more. Then getting my head around an ecommerce site and starting to sell online, it’s something I get asked about more and more. And maybe eventually another Chirpy somewhere, who knows?!
A perfect day includes?
Starting off with a tea in bed with my book, then getting out and about in the fresh air in the garden or to one of Leeds great parks or nature reserves, eating some yummy food at one of Leeds many great places to eat, and ending the day with a movie night at an independent cinema.
thanks so much Harriet :) x
Dot to Dot London - fellow exhibitor Carly from Braveling talks shop with We Are Scamp June 15 2015, 0 Comments
We Are Scamp will be taking part in Dot to Dot London on 21st and 22nd June. It's our first foray into trade shows specifically aimed at the children's market so we thought we should speak to one of the show veterans - Carly, from the the fabulous Braveling team (the home of the coolest tights aimed at boys) - to answer some of our questions!
I only wish that Braveling was around when my little boy (now 7) was a baby. I’m sure he had very cold legs a lot of the winter time! What is the Braveling story and the inspiration behind the brand?
It was my son Kit. I couldn't find any cool tights for him when he was a baby, so I set about designing some myself (and so the Little Titans range was born). I wanted to do something a bit different though, to come up with designs that feed the imagination. Our Little Hero and Wild Thing designs are still two of our most popular. I had no idea they would be such a hit!
This is Scamp's first time exhibiting at Dot to Dot - can you tell us what to expect from what sounds like a really fun show to be part of?
It's such a great show, you will love it! All the brands exhibiting share a real passion for design. I think it's also fair to say that Dot to Dot offers something quite special over other trade shows: it is an intimate event that gives visitors and exhibitors the opportunity to share ideas.
A word of warning though, you'll feel like a kid in a sweet shop! There are so many beautiful pieces and products, though thankfully most aren't available until the following season, so your bank balance is safe.... for a while.
Where do you find inspiration when it comes to designing your pieces?
Oh, everywhere! Everyday sights, the things our children say, the way they play, film, theatre, books. Sophie and I work on the designs together - it's much more fun that way. For true creativity, look to your children though. Their creativity is totally unbridled. I will often get my daughter Matilda to come up with ideas and there's always a winner in there somewhere. You have to work hard not to lose that creative ability as you grow up.
What do you love most about what you do?
I find the creative side of the business incredibly rewarding, in particular seeing our designs make it from paper to production.
What is next for Braveling?
Our hero product is tights and we want to keep the focus on producing beautiful legwear, using European manufacturers who care deeply about quality and sustainability. We are exploring some new products... but you'll have to wait for Dot to Dot to find out more!
As a fellow London dwelling mum I’d love to know what are your favourite things about living in London with kids?
The people. I love the people in London: the diversity of people, their creativity. If you have an interest or a passion you can easily find others that share it. And I find that amazing for the kids growing up here. As a kid, I remember after-school clubs consisting of Brownies and Ballet with not much else on offer. Kit and Matilda seem to have so many other options and a real opportunity to try out different things, discover their passions and ultimately who they are.
A perfect day includes?
Oh, the simple things. Lazy start with the papers, big breakfast, then a walk across the Heath to Greenwich to meet with friends. And always a film in the evening. We are complete film nuts. But a book at bedtime too.
Great Father's Day Gift ideas! May 29 2015, 0 Comments
We do love Pinterest here at Scamp so when I was putting together our latest board about things that would be lovely to be given or made for Father's day I was amazed at the variety of products on offer. I've found a lot of cool ideas for gifts for Father's Day as well as adding quite a lot of pins which will give you ideas for crafty hand made father's day cards and presents for children to get involved in making! My sisters and I spent many days crafting away (normally following the latest Blue Peter tutorial!) and making gifts for our mum and dad and each other when we were younger and I know they are the ones that mum has still got somewhere in our family house!
The other very thoughtful type of present for your dad is something that can be personalised - many of the presents I've chosen for the board can be. Scamp has some unusual personalised father's day keyrings as well as a fan 'tache' tic wooden moustache bookmark but there are so many great products to choose from.
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