Today’s interview is with the mom and daughter duo from Polka Dot Chicks, whose designs can be found at MyMemories.com and With Love Studio. The Polka Dot Chicks have lots of cute, colorful, and charming kits that reflect their down-to-earth personalities. Find out more about their beloved pets, the appeal of James Bond, and their shared love of birthdays!
Tammy and Shelby, I’d love to hear a little more about each of you outside of the scrapbooking world.
Tammy: I have been fortunate to be a SAHM since my oldest son was 10 – I loved going to school parties, chaperoning trips etc. I love being home even though Shelby has moved out on her own (granted she is very close), and we spend lots of time together each week… When I am not designing, I love to READ – I love books! I also cross-stitch and do other type of crafty items. My husband and I love quirky animals, and until January 2013, we had a pet hedgehog who was such fun…sadly she passed away in January but we plan on getting another. I also love to travel, and hubby and I are planning a fab 15-year anniversary trip for 2014. I am also Shelby’s assistant for photo shoots….
Shelby: I work full time at Old Navy as a Merchandising Specialist/Manager, I am also building my photography business (I recently just did my first wedding!) and going to school for the business side of photography. I would like to have my own studio one day. I recently moved out into my own apartment, and I have an adorable dog named Bruno who I rescued.
How did the two of you decide to collaborate as a design team? Were either of you formerly paper scrappers?
Tammy: I was always a paper scrapper and still do some paper scrapping. When I discovered digital scrapbooking, Shelby was in love as well. She was around 12 or so, and we were hooked. She was the one who convinced me that we should design kits and stuff. I taught Shelby and her two older brothers digital scrapbooking, and they have all used it for various school projects, etc.
What’s the story behind your design name – Polka Dot Chicks?
Tammy: We used to be “The Queen and the Princess” when we started out in 2008 – we had some ups and downs between 2008-2010 with some stores that…umm…took advantage of us and things that weren’t quite right. We decided we needed a break and a change, so we decided to embark on a makeover! Shelby said “Mom, we love polka dots, and we are chicks!” So there you go.
What inspires your designs and how would you describe your style? What designers have influenced you?
I would describe my style as anything…I don’t really do the art journaling much – dabbled for a while, but I love taking a theme and running with it. I/we are influenced by KIMB (she was our mentor for a while).
As a team, what is your design process? How do you make it all work? Are you each strong in a particular thing, such as one of you being better at creating papers versus elements?
Tammy: Well, prior to Shelby moving out on her own, we would pick a theme, and she would do the papers (she loves making papers). I mostly did the alphas, elements, previewing and packaging, uploading, etc. Since she has moved out, she offers suggestions, and I run things past her, but I do most of the designing now, but that’s ok as she does dabble….I keep her updated, and she offers suggestions or ideas for me.
As far as the process, I am a note taker/list maker/research kind of person. I do research or look up ideas for themed kits and make sure I get all the relevant facts. For example, when we did the princess collection, some of the movies we hadn’t seen, so we either rented them or did a lot of Googling to make sure we didn’t leave anything out…lol.
I also LOVE making previews…I don’t know why, but to me they are like works of art….if the preview is great, then the customer can really tell what the kit is about and what’s included.
Is there anything you find challenging when it comes to working together as a team?
Tammy: Prior to this past April, no. Now, it’s a bit more challenging since Shelby is no longer living at home…but it’s not bad.
What tools (i.e. software/hardware) do you use? What is the one design tool you can’t live without?
Tammy: I use PSE6. I have 11, but I love 6. Can’t explain it. I can’t live without my iMAC… I have a laptop, but prefer designing on my 26 inch screen! Plus STYLES. I love and collect styles!
Shelby: I prefer PSE10, and I love my laptop.
Describe your creative workspaces/areas.
Tammy: I have an office off our entry way that used to be my husband’s work office before he retired. I love it. My craft room is upstairs, so if I make a mess I can shut the door…
Shelby: My workspace is my laptop and my bed…lol.
Which of your products is your favorite and why?
Tammy: My all time favorite kit is my princess collection…I know that’s more than one kit.
Shelby: Well, when I used to sell in a store on my own, my kit was called Spirographics…granted it’s not for sale anymore, but it was one my favorites. I think now it’s hard since I dabble in the papers only. My mom has a new kit called Classic Beauty that is gorgeous, and I really like the colors in it.
Do either of you have time to scrap or is most of your time spent designing products?
Tammy: I scrap all the time. I am only on one CT (OurMisAdventures, formerly Ocean Wide Designs), but other than that I make digital scrapbooks for my youngest son. He and his husband, Kevin LOVE THEM. I have made one for their anniversary for the last 2 years and am getting ready to work on their wedding digital scrapbook. I made Shelby one for her graduation and have made them for my parents and friends. I made one for our hedgehog as well – her whole life with us…2 1/2 years worth of scrapbook pages. I need to print it.
What is the best or favorite highlight of Polka Dot Chicks’ design career?
Getting to work together as mother and daughter. It’s not as easy now, but we make it work.
What are 5 fun facts about yourselves?
Tammy: I am currently reading and catching up on some books by Stuart Woods – the Stone Barrington series; my favorite color is RED, then any kind of polka dot or plaid; I am hooked on Cutthroat Kitchen and Project Runway; favorite food is Mexican, then BBQ. There is a Mexican restaurant right by Shelby’s apartment that has the BEST chicken tacos ever.
Shelby: I am not reading anything at the moment (other than books for school – you know, Marketing, Speech) – the last books I checked out were photography poses; I love Revenge and Betrayal and also Cutthroat Kitchen. Umm…I like all music…favorite food besides OREOS – my mom’s chicken and rice casserole (which she made me last week so I would have leftovers for work!) and CHIPOTLE. Am addicted to it.
Time for random questions!
What’s your favorite movie and why?
Shelby: Hard to pick just one. I love all the Twilight movies and any James Bond movies starting with Pierce Brosnan as James Bond…I don’t care for the older ones. But right now I am getting hooked on the Hunger Games movies. I am not a fan of Steel Magnolias…
Tammy: Steel Magnolias – I love the story of friendship thru everything. Plus that’s how I got Shelby’s name - then ALL THE JAMES BOND movies. Love me some James BOND. I have all the movies organized in order of release, and I have to watch them in order.
Pick 5 words to describe each other.
Tammy: (About Shelby) - funny, loving, sweet, goofy, kindhearted
Shelby: (About Tammy) - kind, giving, organized, friendly, great mom!
Tell us a quirky thing about you.
Shelby: Umm…hard to say. I cuddle at night with my dog, Bruno. Not sure if that is quirky or not.
Tammy: I am a HUGE hugger. Love to hug. Even if I just met you, I will hug you. ALSO, I love to organize. Yep.
What’s your favorite holiday and/or tradition?
Tammy: We both LOVE our birthdays. I can make mine last a week in celebrating. When I was little, my birthday (July 1) was always celebrated on 4th of July. Till I was about 5/6, I always thought the fireworks were for me!
Shelby: Yep. MY birthday is my favorite, then I think Christmas because we have lots of family and friend gatherings and get to visit with people I haven’t seen for a while. Plus my best friend who is 3 hours away at school is home for almost 2 months!
What is a resolution you’d like to complete in 2014?
Shelby: Finish my schooling and focus on getting my photography career going.
Tammy: Finish all my scrapbooks (paper) and then do all digital after that. Take more pictures.
What do you love most about being a part of the scrap-booking community?
Making new friends and meeting them in person! I have met at least 4 in person in all the time we have been doing this. Shelby and I took a road trip to Ohio once to meet a long time customer/fan…it was great fun. Recently, I (Tammy) met Meg of Real Life Scrapped/OurMisAdventures!!!
Lastly, what are you working on now?
Well, right now we just finished the Friends of the Woods collection, so not working on anything at this moment, but will probably start on a certain puppet kit…(gotta consult my list!).
Thank you both for taking the time to let us get to know you better! The Polka Dot Chicks also has a freebie for you – an add-on to their newest release Classic Beauty! Just click on the image to download. Remember, this download is only available for 3 weeks, so download it while you can. And be sure to stop by the Polka Dot Chicks’ Facebook fan page to drop them a little thank you note!
Don’t forget – we take applications for Designer Focus features! Tell your favorite designers you would love to see them featured here at Real Life Scrapped!