Saturday, 27 May 2017

An interview with Debi McCormack of Boxcitement

As my readers will know, I like to champion the creative and artistic talents of others at Not Compulsory. 
Debi McCormack of Boxcitement (UK subscription box)

Today I share a short interview held with Debi McCormack (pictured above). Debi is the Creative Director at Boxcitement, the UK subscription box. 
With a background in Graphic Design Debi uses those well honed skills everyday, but she also happens to be a clever maker with a wonderful creative eye for things. Debi (and her partner, Sean) work hard at bridging creativity with the business world in an effort to 'earn their crust'. Debi describes her job as being a perfect one for her. 
Debi makes, sources, as well as 'buys in' bespoke pieces for a themed gift buying subscription service. Items are generally a mix of stationery, jewellery, craft items, home accessories, greetings card and gift wrap items.
Design by Debi McCormack

In the Q & A below Debi talks of the creative process involved in designing exclusive stationery, jewellery and gifts for each monthly subscription box release
Is it hard to come up with different design themes on a monthly basis?
As a designer I have always been used to drawing inspiration from the strangest of places and I carry a notepad everywhere for when an idea pops up! A colour combination, shop display or headline in a newspaper can be enough to get an idea started – for example I came up with our Wild West theme after seeing a picture of a cactus I liked in a cafe! The hardest part is knowing how to bring a theme to life once we have the overall concept with the products that we create.
Do you prefer creating stationery or jewellery?
Both! I enjoy the hands-on element of handcrafting jewellery, and there is something very satisfying about making something from scratch using a pair of pliers, though we make far too many now for me to be able to create every single item – I have a small team of makers to help once the design has been finalised. With the stationery, I love creating illustrations and then sending them off to a printer and waiting for everything to come back. Of course I am very nervous seeing my designs come to life as I can’t help but get personally involved; but when customers say they love what they receive it makes all the hard work worth it!
What is the most challenging aspect of the business?
The longer we have been creating boxes, the more I realise that you simply can’t please everyone all of the time. Our boxes are so different from one another that someone who loves one month may not like the next one so much. However, I think creating surprises is better than being predictable or repeating ideas, though there is an element of trust involved for customers to purchase a box from us without knowing what is inside. That is why we post pictures of our previous boxes on our website – and we also share sneak peeks every month across social media so you can get a bit of an idea about what is coming!
What’s next?
We’d love to be able to invest in our own equipment and learn new crafting techniques so that we’re always coming up with fresh ideas. Needlefelting, clay sculpting and laser cutting are all on the list!
The following images demonstrate Debi McCormack's designs and presentation. These are four items from a previous Boxcitement box from March this year called 'Out of this World'.

Note: this box also included an Alien keyring, and a set of notecards which we've not photographed. More information about Debi and the subscription boxes visit her own blog here

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