Erica here and I am so excited to be bringing you our September Designer in the Spotlight today! This month our kit featured the beautiful Hello Lovely collection from Cocoa Vanilla Studio.
Cocoa Vanilla Studio is a newer company from Australia and the face behind the company is the fabulous Zoe Pearn! Not only is Zoe so very talented she is super sweet! In this industry I have been so lucky to meet and speak with some amazing people and Zoe is one of them! If you have not yet liked Cocoa Vanilla Studio on Facebook I would love for you to head on over and give them some love! She has recently released a holiday collection that you are going to love! We are very thankful that Zoe took some time out of her day to answer our Q&A and be our September Designer in the Spotlight!
Please say HELLO To Zoe!
1. Tell us a little bit about your creative process and what inspires you?
When starting any new project, some kind of plan is a must for me. If it’s a design project, it usually starts with a mood board with beautiful inspiring images, words and fonts, and my collections will generally grow from there. If it’s a scrapbook page, it usually starts with Pinterest! I am inspired by lots of things, but pattern will always be my first love – a good floral makes me happy!
2. Where and when are you most creative?
I am a bit of a night owl, so I find that my best ideas usually come to me when I’m trying to go to sleep LOL! I love to work on projects in my home studio, and it’s a great place to create as it has lots of windows and amazing natural light.
3. What are some of your must have supplies?
Patterned paper is my number one supply that I can’t live without. To me it is one of the most important supplies in scrapbooking – you can do anything you want with it! Backgrounds, titles, borders, flowers… All the other bits and pieces are the icing on the cake, of course, but they wouldn’t go very far without paper! Also, my whole life I have been drawn to pretty patterns in paper, stationery and fabric, so to me it is a natural favourite.
4. Have you always had a love for design?
Definitely! I remember studying patterns in fabric, paper, and even floor tiles as a small child to see where the “repeat” was. Not that I knew what it was at the time, but I could never stop studying a pretty pattern until I could work out how it all went together to repeat the pattern. I’ve always had a love of colour as well, and I love the endless possibilities a palette can offer when combined in different ways. I’m very lucky that my creative outlets have also become my career because it makes work so much easier when you love it!
5. 3 things people probably do not know about you.
I am arachnophobic and can’t even look at a spider on the television without having a panic attack. I have even jumped out of a moving car to escape a spider LOL! I have a very weird phobia of cotton wool balls. I can’t touch them, and even thinking about the feel and texture of them makes my hands start sweating and heart racing. I don’t know if there’s a name for that one LOL! I am completely self-taught and have no formal training in design… I’ve been very lucky to have had the opportunities that I have because of that.
● Book “Anybody Out There?” by Marian Keyes.
● Movie Horrible Bosses
● Candy Snickers Bars
● Drink Pepsi Max
● Music Hip Hop (Australian & American)
● Color Aqua blue
● TV Show Arrested Development
7. Out of all the collections you have created so far which is your favorite?
So far it would have to be “Hello Lovely”. It was only Cocoa Vanilla’s second release, but I felt that it was really “me” and I was happy that everyone seemed to love it too!
8. Can you share how Cocoa Vanilla Studio came about and where the name came from?
I had worked as a designer in the industry for some time, and starting my own brand was something that I wanted to do for a long time before I actually did it! I believe that scrapbooking about everything is important, not just the good times, and the name Cocoa Vanilla reflects that. Life is bitter and it’s sweet, things aren’t always black and white, etc. Plus I just liked the way it sounded! I actually bought the business names and registered my trademarks about 5 years ago, but kept chickening out at the last minute because I didn’t know if what I had to offer would be something that people wanted. I took a couple of years break from designing for other companies while I had some time off to focus on being a Mum. Then in 2011 we lost our home in the Brisbane Floods, and it really made me re-evaluate my life and how things can change in an instant, whether you want them or not. I decided to pursue my dream and make it a reality because I didn’t want to live with any regrets or wonder “what if” – I’d prefer to die trying than not knowing!
9. Who are some of your influences?
I think I can safely say that Heidi Swapp has always been an inspiration, not only as an artist/crafter, but as a person as well. I have always loved her fun, no stress style, and her bubbly personality. I guess the way that has influenced my design is that I always try and think how my products will be used by the customer, and try and make it as easy and fun as possible to create a project.
10. Can you share what you did before Cocoa Vanilla Studio was created?
Well, before all of this I was a medical receptionist, working for different hospitals and specialists. I started designing as a bit of a hobby after my wedding in 2005, and started selling digital scrapbooking products around that time. I worked at that for a couple of years, and then when I had my oldest son I decided to try and make a proper living out of designing, just to get us through my time off. I never thought I’d ever see the day that I wouldn’t be going back to my real “job”, but I was very lucky that it took off for me. I was contracted by My Mind’s Eye to design some collections for them, and I ended up designing with them for a number of years. As a result of my work with MME I had the opportunity to go into fabric design, and have worked with Riley Blake Designs since their inception, and still design fabric for them today. I have also done freelance work for the Australian company, Kaisercraft, and in between all that I sold my digital products at Sweet Shoppe Designs.
Zoe thank you so much for being our September Designer in the Spotlight and we look forward to you next release! You can find more information about Cocoa Vanilla Studio from the links below! Make sure to check out their website and sign up for their newsletter!