Say Hello to ...
Amanda Carpenter. Together with her mother-in-law, Valerie, Amanda owns Red Cherry Publishing, a new, family-run, publishing business based in rural Leicestershire.
Tell us a little about yourself and your company ...
The company was set up as part of a life changing career move for me, having spent many stressful years working in Local Government. With no previous background in publishing or the creative industry we started with a small idea, lots of passion and a dream to publish a book.
The dream was based on a little brown book of memories we discovered which had belonged to our Auntie Ruby. From the 1930s to 1974, Ruby had used the book to ask her friends and family to complete a short set of questions about themselves, their lives and their hopes for the future. The book was full of hand written answers, mostly in pencil, which revealed the special qualities and personality of everybody who had completed it. Relatives who we thought of as very mature and forbidding were transformed in our minds when we saw the humour, thoughts and dreams that were evident in what they had written as young people.
Touched by what had been captured in the book, Ruby’s book of memories inspired us to design, create and publish a brand new set of memory books to enable others to capture and share their own special memories about the important people in their lives. The special quality of all the books is that they really can be “All About Everybody” in your life. No special person or occasion need ever be forgotten again.
Describe your typical working day ...
I love my work everyday. From the moment I wake up I am excited to get started on the books. First stop Twitter!! The support we have received on Twitter has been the making of us. Our followers are now part of our team and with the extra support when we were picked by Theo Paphitis for his ‘Small Business Sunday’ in September, it has been an incredible journey.
Sorting out the books orders comes next, closely followed by speaking to our stockiest and sorting out our trade orders. All punctuated with a lovely Americano coffee…yum! Working from home means I can balance work and family life perfectly, which makes me really happy. In a typical day once the school run is over, I can be doing a spot of marketing, approving illustrations, sorting out distribution arrangements, designing our Spring Fair trade stand, writing my blog, updating our website, sending out press releases, developing new product ideas… you name it and we do it at the moment. The beauty of such a small team means we get to experience everything!!! It has been a steep learning curve but there is not much we have not had to do in the past year.
What is the best thing about your job?
The best thing about my job is the social interaction I have daily with our fans, customers and our extended AAE team. Everybody we have worked with on this project has become great friends. Our aim is that we always have fun working on the books and I think we have achieved this so far.
Do you use any specialist techniques or equipment to create your products?
Both Val and I have worked hard to make sure our books are beautifully finished, from sourcing elegant Italian covers to ensuring the paper inside is smooth and a joy to write on. We have always wanted to achieve the ultimate keepsake, a book that will stand the test of time and be a true legacy for the lives of everybody that owns a book. The books are all hand finished to make them truly special.
The Products ...
Tell us a little about your products ...
All About Everybody Memory Gift Books; for everybody in your life to complete, for you to treasure and keep. These special gift books offer a new and unique way of creating a lifelong legacy by preserving the personalities, wisdom and memories of the important people in your life. Each book has been beautifully illustrated with space for you to add photographs, keepsakes, drawings, or whatever you would like to make the book your own personal ‘treasure trove’. What makes the book unique and different to the traditional memory book is that they are about everybody else in your life. You simply pass the book to the important people you meet in your life and ask them to complete a series of short questions about their memories of you, their hopes and dreams. Each completed page gives you an insight into the wit, humour and personality of friends and family.
What is your personal favourite product in your collection?
I love them all but my all time favourite, if pushed, is the All About Everybody 'In My Life’ book. This book represents my style completely and it was wonderful to work on it with the super talented Gemma Milly. It was the last book to be completed and I think we knew exactly what we wanted from it.
What are the most popular products in your range?
The most popular books so far have been the school friendship memory book and the life memory book. They make perfect Christmas presents which is why I believe they are more popular.
What are you working on at the moment?
We already have lots of ideas for future products in the ‘All about Everybody’ range and we are looking forward to showing them all off at the Spring Fair at the NEC in February 2013. We are especially excited to be revealing our wedding memory book which as also been hand illustrated by Gemma Milly.
What do you have planned for 2013?
For 2013 we have a busy year planned as we officially launch to the trade and we are also have a ‘pop-up’ shop at the ‘Who Do You Think You Are’ Live show in London at the end of February 2013.
What inspires your products?
The true inspiration behind the books is family. There are so many things we take for granted, so many relatives we expect to live forever and so many thing we think we will remember about our lives, friends and family. I lost my dad to Prostate cancer, when I was 23 and he was 53. With two boys of my own, they ask me about him often. I have photographs and my own memories but not his memories of me or insights into his personality that would be so valuable now for my family. The books are fun to complete but there is a serious side to them as they will not only help to remember loved one but also when early onset of dementia or Alzheimer's is detected. I hope that families can use the books to ensure that no person is ever forgotten.
What other card & gift designers do you admire?
I have many favourite card and gift designers but two very special ladies pop into my mind instantly. I just ‘love’ Megan Claire; her designs are so amazing, contemporary and fresh. Megan brings so much excitement into the card world and I admire her personal determination, passion, and her extraordinary work ethic. We have had the pleasure of working with Megan Claire on not only our brand designs but in collaboration with our school friendship memory book. Megan Claire is our ‘doodle master’. We also adore the bright, cheerful and beautiful designs of Rossana Rossi. Her designs make us smile and we love her new card range for men, truly inspirational.
What current or upcoming trend are you coveting?
All of our books have their own individual character and reflect both the subject of the book and the personal style of the illustrator. We wanted each book to contain original artwork from some of the UK’s most up and coming illustrators and artists. Our birthday book is illustrated by Sandra Salter, a successful animator who has developed many short animation films for Channel 4. The book is full of funny birthday scenes to make you laugh out loud. This book doesn’t take itself too seriously but allows you to capture the important people who share a birthday celebration.
The life memory book is full of beautiful typography, hand drawn flowers, patterns and famous quotes. This colourful vibrant book is a designers dream and was illustrated by Gemma Milly, who has illustrated for the Sunday Times and Browns. The family book is a very special book, which, enables you to collect the precious thoughts and recollections of everybody in your family. It helps to build enough information to start your own family history record and keep personalities of your loved ones alive for generations to come. The character illustrations were hand drawn by the talented surface designer, Hollie Brown.
Quick Questions ...
Favourite card or gift brand?
5 Dollar Shake cards – just beautiful
Favourite website or blog?
Card & Gift Blog of course!!!
What can’t you live without?
What is your guilty pleasure?
Watching ‘Made in Chelsea’ the horror of it shhhhhh!!!!
Thank you Amanda!