During the CHA Summer 2011 show Scrapbook Update had the chance to sit down for a few minutes with designer Amy Tan to talk about scrapbooking, Big Picture Classes, and, of course, her new Amy Tangerine product line with American Crafts!
Scrapbook Update: I know you started generating a whole lot of buzz in the industry when you did your online class on a private blog last year, and I think you gained a lot more followers then. So, can you tell me a little about that class that’s now at Big Picture and how it came to be?
Amy: Sure. So last year when I offered the workshop, it was my first one online, and it was a success in my mind because a lot of people who signed up just loved it, and they made their projects and they really enjoyed the two weeks that they spent with me in the class. So, I met with Big Picture, and they were hoping to put together a workshop, like a live workshop, when the line launched, and I said, “well, I already have this one on my blog…I don’t know if you want to look at it and see if it’s something you want to offer to your students as a download any time.” So, they looked at it, and they loved it, and they offered it for a really good rate, and students are able to just go onto the site and download it whenever they want, and they can use it anytime, and they’ll have access to it forever.
Scrapbook Update: So, how many people did you have in the original run of it?
Amy: Ummm, enough! [laughing]
Scrapbook Update: And have a lot more people downloaded it since then?
Amy: Oh, yes! I really like the fact that the people who signed up the first time were able to have a little bit more of an intimate classroom experience because I was on the blog every day and they were able to comment and I was able to interact with them a lot. This workshop on Big Picture is more of a self-paced class, so they’re able to gain the same knowledge from those lessons, but in a way that they can just do it on their own. So now with the workshop coming out, it’s going to be announced in a few weeks…it’ll be a four week workshop where it’ll be very interactive.
Scrapbook Update: That was actually going to be my next question…did you have any new classes at Big Picture or anywhere else coming out, so that’s exciting!
Scrapbook Update: So is the workshop the workshop version of the downloadable class, or is it a totally new class?
Amy: It’s a totally new class.
Scrapbook Update: Can you tell us anything about what that is?
Amy: Sure! It’s called “The Good Life,” and I can just tell you that it’s going to run for four weeks, and it’s going to use some of the products that are launching with the line with American Crafts. And I’ve got new techniques, and it’s jammed full of fun stuff.
[Note: Amy Tan’s new workshop, “The Good Life” was officially announced last week at Big Picture Classes!]
Scrapbook Update: That’s great!
Amy: I’m so excited!
Scrapbook Update: So, are you going to offer a kit or anything like that with it?
Amy: Yes, we’re talking about that, too…which, I’m putting together right now. I think that people really enjoy having a kit to purchase along with the class.
Scrapbook Update: And so the kit will of course draw from the new line pretty heavily?
Scrapbook Update: So, let’s launch right into the new line from American Crafts- it’s really exciting for you! How long ago did they contact you about that?
Amy: So, actually we were talking about it since last June.
Scrapbook Update: Last June…so it’s been a little over a year.
Amy: Yeah. So we were just talking, and it was just put out there as a suggestion…an idea…and we just kept it in the back of both of our minds, and I got the call in December saying that it’s a go, and it was really exciting. So I spent a week in Utah in January, and here we are now at CHA in July.
Scrapbook Update: So during that one week, that was when you designed the whole line? Or did you go in with some ideas before that?
Amy: I went in with a lot of ideas, and I had two wonderful designers working with me during that week.
Scrapbook Update: So, a lot of the product types are based on things that you already used in your mini albums and your travel books, but what was your inspiration for the style of the line?
Amy: I guess I was just really influenced by stationery and home office and things that I loved that I didn’t really see in the scrapbook world, so I drew inspiration from just the world around me and just kind of everything that I liked, which was just so fun and natural because all I did was select elements that I loved and we were able to put it together in a really cool way. The designers that I worked with were just so incredibly talented. I feel very, very lucky.
Scrapbook Update: It’s got a very eclectic feel, but it all pulls together nicely.
Amy: Oh, thank you!
Scrapbook Update: Can you tell us if there are any new lines planned…being talked about?
Amy: [laughing] We’re talking about it. Hopefully. I think that the response so far has been great. It’s just day two of CHA, but so far I’m really, really excited, and I know that I think American Crafts is really happy with the response.
Scrapbook Update: If you did one, do you think it would be a follow-on with more additions to this line, or a different style of the same types of items, or is that not decided yet?
Amy: I think that it would still stay true to Amy Tangerine and American Crafts, so we’ll just have to wait and see.
Scrapbook Update: So what’s your favorite piece…your favorite product…from the new line?
Amy: If I just had to pick one, I think it would be the mini book because I was so excited to be able to mass produce something that’s so unique and offer it at a really good price point to everybody. And I think it’s something that I would use all the time if I had it available to me in the past couple of years that I’ve been scrapbooking. So instead of having to make an actual mini album yourself, you have it ready-made and you can add your bits and pieces to it to have your own twist.
Scrapbook Update: And that book wasn’t sneak-peeked with the rest of the line. In fact the email just came out from American Crafts yesterday in their newsletter that it was released, so you guys kept that one under wraps!
Amy: Yeah, we tried our best. You know, we try to release things and make announcements as we go, so we’re always cooking up something.
Scrapbook Update: I was actually very excited to see those, as well!
Amy: In 2007 when I was doing my t-shirt line heavily, I actually stumbled upon a local scrapbook store who had a class the next day with Emily Falconbridge, and my cousin and I signed up and we took the class and just fell in love with her and her techniques and scrabooking in general, and I guess it’s just kind of been a ride from there.
Scrapbook Update: How is designing your product line different from designing scrapbook pages? Is it harder? Is it easier? Is it just different?
Amy: It’s just different. I mean, it’s so much fun, just as scrapbooking is. I have to think a little bit outside the box because I want to kind of get into the minds of other scrapbookers and try to fill in a need that maybe isn’t available already. There are so many wonderful products out there, and I want to be able to come up with something fresh that complements everything else that’s out there, as well. It’s been a fun challenge.
Scrapbook Update: So, you work in the industry in another kind of unique way. You’ve got your own business. Can you tell us a little about that?
Amy: Sure! When I was making the transition sort of out of the fashion industry the way I was enveloped in it before, I decided that I wanted to do something really fun at events where I would put together scrapbooks for clients and the scrapbook would actually be made the night of the event. So I teamed up with a company called LA Photo Party, and they basically set up a photo booth without the booth at events like weddings, bat mitzvahs, birthday parties, and corporate events, and they print the photos on site. Once they’re printed, they hand them over to the scrapbooker. The guest can write a note to the host, and at the end of the evening a full scrapbook is presented to the host.
Scrapbook Update: Wow! So you have to scrapbook a whole lot of pages really fast.
Amy: Yes, so that’s what we first started doing, but we fine tuned our formula a little bit and we’re able to get the theme and the color scheme beforehand from the event planner and we put together a lot of base pages. So we got a little bit smart about that and it’s a really good system, and everybody is always so happy with their album because the night goes by so fast, especially for weddings, you know, it’s such a nice keepsake that they can take home with them right away.
Scrapbook Update: Is it stressful at all, having to make that many pages in that short of a time?
Amy: You know what? It’s fun! I don’t think it was ever stressful. I really enjoy the process, especially after we fine tuned the way we were doing it.
Scrapbook Update: On average, how many pages do you scrapbook at an event, or is there an average?
Amy: I would say the average is about 30 to 40.
Scrapbook Update: 30 to 40. Wow! And what’s the most you’ve ever done at an event?
Amy: I had help, but we did I think 70 pages.
Scrapbook Update: You scrapbook for some names…some people that I’m sure our readers are going to recognize, so can you maybe just drop some names for us?
Amy: [laughing] Well, I do like to keep my clients’ privacy in mind, but the ones that I can mention are…we did Dr. Phil’s 60th birthday party, and that was a whole lot of fun. It was just an amazing event. And I scrapbook with Mindy Weiss, she’s the party planner who does a lot of celebrity weddings and events, so we have a really good clientelle, and we feel so lucky to have those people to work with.
Scrapbook Update: And it’s definitely one of those niches that doesn’t get filled.
Amy: [laughing] Yeah.
Scrapbook Update: Well, those were all the questions that I had. Is there anything else that you want to add before we wrap it up?
Amy: I just want to thank you for your time and thanks for doing this. I really look forward to when the line hits the shelves and everybody gets their hands on it and starts using it. I’m most excited about that – to see what everybody else creates.
Scrapbook Update: And I know our readers are excited to get their hands on it, too! Well, thank you so much for joining us, Amy!
Amy: Thank you! I really appreciate it.
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