Many of you are already familiar with Gina Krupsky, also known as Gina K, her designs, her blog, her store. I had an opportunity to interview Gina and learn a bit more about her. Whether you "know" Gina or not, I think you are in for a treat. She is one busy woman! Gina does a million things, including designing, making and selling her own line of stamps. Good grief, I don't know where she gets so much energy, but I've loved watching her from a far! Her stamps are absolutely adorable!! When I think of Gina's style, two words pop up -- bright and fun! (Note: the first 3 cards here were done by Gina, and reprinted with her permission -- the 4th card is from Erika Martin, and reprinted with Erika's permission.) Here's another card that showcases her adorable images and awesome sense of style. I love those fishies!!! Imagine being able to draw your own stamps! Too cool. And, isn't this vase of flowers lovely? Daisies!! Can never have too many daisies! Gina also carries the elusive big 8 ounce refill for Ultra Clean Stamp Cleaner! (Yes, I've tried this and it is the best cleaner out there. Buy it now!!). As I said in my earlier post about Ellen Hutson, I'm very impressed by crafters who take risks to start a successful business. That takes courage! Here's the short interview I did with Gina recently. How long have you been papercrafting?; How did you get interested? I began stamping back in 2001. One of my very first stamp purchases was the stamp that Stampin' Up made to help raise money for 9/11. It was the flag. I still have it. I began scrapbooking shortly after that. I got interested when a friend of mine became a Stampin' Up demonstrator and I saw all the cool things she would make. I liked the idea that you didn't need to be an artist because the art was in the stamp, however, stamping made me realize that I was a more artistic person than I realized. I became a Stampin' Up demonstrator shortly after that and earned a couple of cruises and a few recruiting awards which was so fun and such a great experience for me. How did you get involved in designing your own stamps and how difficult a process is this? Sometimes, when I couldn't find the right stamp, I would draw something instead. I also have a series of rubber stamping techniques DVDs and many stamp companies would not give me permission to use their images in my DVDs. (That would be a electronic reproduction.) Some did, but others did not. So that was a motivator too. I had people tell me that I should be making stamps. I laughed and said, oh, yeah, sure. But then, I thought about it more seriously. My husband and I talked about it and thought long and hard about it. We knew it would be a huge investment but we thought the time was right. I resigned as a demonstrator because I didn't want to violate my demonstrator agreement and I began to create my own stamps. How about the store? When did you open it? I opened the store in November of 2006. How time consuming is it to run the store and how do you pick which products to sell? It is unbelievably time consuming! I spend almost every waking hour working on it. Most nights I don't hit the sack until about 3:00 AM! I choose our products based on what I love. I think if I love something, that I will be able to produce the right samples to showcase it well. The store is a great way for me to get my images out but it is not the best way to make a living. Anyone who has an online business will tell you that it's a lot of hard work to update a website constantly and to promote your store effectively. No one can keep this kind of schedule going forever. LOL! My goal down the line is to get my stamp images into stamp stores across the country. I am also looking at opening a store in my home town here in Wisconsin. I would love Gina K. Designs to be 'household" name in the stamp world. Do you have a partner in the business? Did you have to invest a lot of cash to get started? My only partner is my husband. He is so helpful and supportive. He is an attorney by day and helps me do everything else by night. My daughters will be part of the business someday. My older daughter is a fabulous artist and one of her recent drawings will be a stamp soon. My younger one has a great business head so she'll be a great asset! The investment was HUGE! We had to buy a vulcanizer. Most manufacturers require a large investment to carry their line. (Large Minimums and warehouse and retail space is pricey.) We have a large amount of duplicating equipment and a studio for recording. We have a lot invested in lighting and whatnot. We also have several websites that are expensive when you add them all up. Start-ups are high but if you believe in your product, it's worth the risk. How did you choose your design team? (Note from Joan: this is a card by the fabulous stamper Erika Martin, who is on Gina's design team -- I'm not sure which is more adorable, Gina's bunnies or Erika's gorgeous card). My design team was chosen based on artists who I believe represent the way that I like to stamp or the way I wish I could stamp. Each member of our design team is unique. Their varied styles showcase our products well. We are not finished choosing our design team. That will be an ongoing process. Some of the people that I originally approached turned me down for various reasons. That's okay. I believe that God blessed me with the right ones and will continue to bless me with more of the right people. We are really excited to have guest designers starting in April. The art being submitted is fabulous and their are so many stampers out there whose names are unknown who are unbelievably talented. How well someone is known is not a pre-requisite to getting a guest designer spot with us. We want everyone to try submit! Anything about your personal life that you'd like to share? I have a wonderful family and I am proud to be a wife to Tom and a mother to Alicia and Brianna. I am a Christian woman and my husband and I play the music at our church. I am starting a new spot on my blog with "little interesting facts that you would never have known about me" so my readers get to know more about where I came from and what made me who I am today. Some of that stuff will be wild and crazy! LOL!