* 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!