I am excited to introduce Liz Qualman as our guest today!
Liz is a designer, a series writer for Scrapbooking & Beyond Magazine, and is the design team coordinator (and more!) for Little Yellow Bicycle. Liz has a passion for the paper crafting industry and the professional opportunities & responsibilities of paper crafts designers.
Today, Liz is here to talk about opportunities at Little Yellow Bicycle and to share advice & tips for pursuing those opportunities.
Wearing the Yellow Jersey
Have you ever thought about what it would be like to wear the famed yellow jersey, which signifies the leader of the race, in the Tour De France? The coveted yellow jersey has been worn by tremendous athletes like Greg Lemond, Miguel Indurain and of course Lance Armstrong.
At Little Yellow Bicycle we have our own amazing “athletes” who don the prestigious yellow jersey to showcase their talent and our fantastic product and we thought it would be fun to share with you the multiple opportunities you have to wear the celebrated yellow jersey.
Participating with Little Yellow Bicycle
1. Projects from the Peloton:
A few Mondays a month, we feature work from our fans and participating kit clubs with links to their blogs and/or websites to showcase the artists/projects created with our products. We find the projects on our Facebook page, online galleries like Two Peas in a Bucket, A Cherry On Top and Scrapbook.com. Sometimes we just google the collection name and see what comes up on the world wide web. If you are mentioning Little Yellow Bicycle and the collection name, chances are we will find you. This is a great way to get “discovered” by us. Trust me, we notice the work of our fans on our Facebook Page and yes we talk about it .
2. Cycling Team Members:
About every two months Little Yellow Bicycle issues a call for temporary design team members to spend a month designing with our newest collection. The call is pretty simple and we do not require the project submissions to be with Little Yellow Bicycle product. Of course we do prefer to see what potential designers can do with our product, but it is not a deal breaker.
We like to feature fresh faces for this design opportunity, BUT we also love to work with people again and it is not uncommon to see designers invited back for a second and sometimes third tour with us. This is a great stepping stone to be considered for our full-time design team the Biker Chicks.
So how do we select designers for this team? We get a lot of submissions and it is difficult to choose because there is so much talent out there, but we can give you a few tips for making the cut. We know that talent abounds and we really appreciate all of our fans and customers who create with LYB. However, beyond talent are a few things that get some designers the yellow jersey.
Project Photos: Can you take great pictures of your projects? This is really important. We are featuring the designer and our collection on our company blog and we really need our fans to be able to see both the technique and the product clearly. If you want to be taken seriously, spend as much time learning how to display and photograph your work as you do creating it. There are oodles of tutorials on how to photo edit and high quality cameras are now very reasonably priced that it is within everyone’s reach to take great photos of your work.
Social Media: Do you have a blog and blog regularly? We also look at how people feature their work on their own blogs. Are you active on Facebook? Social media has taken the industry by storm and we like our designers to be fluent in how to promote their work and our product.
3. Guest Designers:
We regularly invite one guest designer for each new collection and feature four of his/her projects (one each week) throughout the month. We also ask the selected guest designer to answer personal questions about scrapbooking so our fans can get to know the designer better.
How do you get to be a guest designer? We spend a lot of time thinking about who we would like to invite because this person will spend a month with us and we want to make sure the designer is a great fit for the collection. For example, we probably would not ask someone who did not have children to guest design with one of our baby collections. We might actually seek out a well-known designer who has recently had a baby because she would be full of fresh baby ideas and get excited about our collection.
Even though we do some of our own poking around the web, we would love for designers to contact us if you think you could guest design for us. In fact, I used to regularly send Lori Marek and Sharon Kropp my LYB work from a kit club …. and they eventually invited me to guest design. That opportunity led to becoming a Biker Chick, and eventually to becoming the Design Team Coordinator. Who knew a couple of emails would yield such a wonderful relationship. I couldn’t be happier that I “stuck my neck out there.”
4. Biker Chicks Design Team:
Biker Chicks are our full-time design team. They are responsible for monthly projects on our blog and all of the projects in our catalogs and booth at trade shows. We did our very first Biker Chick call last spring and it was tremendously successful. We tend to keep a smaller team, but even on a small team there is turnover, so besides the annual call we sometimes extend invitations to new designers to replace members who leave or to expand the team when necessary.
Recently we invited two new designers to join our gang of Biker Chicks. The call for Biker Chicks is more rigorous than the Cycling Team and we have very high expectations for the designers since their work will be used in print publications like our catalog and by our retail customers for advertising and we compensate them for their work. We look for professional designers who have proven themselves in the industry by being published, keeping a regular and interesting blog, being active in social media and generating a loyal following or fan base.
The key is being consistent, reliable and positive. We are very proud of our Biker Chicks! Not only are they professionals and outstanding designers, but they are also very nice people that we enjoy working with because they continually represent Little Yellow Bicycle in a positive, productive and diplomatic manner.
Guest designing or “riding” on our Cycling Team are both great stepping stones for getting noticed and being considered for our Biker Chick Team.
I hope this helps you understand all of the opportunities for working with LYB and encourages pursue that yellow jersey!
Please feel free to email me if you have more questions about design opportunities at Little Yellow Bicycle or even just to share some of your work. At least one of our most recent additions to our Biker Chick team has shared when she has things published so we knew she was already “working” for us even before she landed the full-time gig.