The year was 2015, and we were flying high. Claritystamps and stencils were selling very well, our Create & Craft TV shows were getting busier, and we were going like the clappers!
Our new website was looking good, and we were certainly moving online. We had never had a bricks and mortar shop; we had always been a mail order company, and we have had a website / online shop for as long as I can remember back! It was very clear to us that retail was changing, and the future was online – which is quite prophetic when you look back! We used to do so many exhibitions back then; Covid certainly put the kibosh on them.
So, let’s recap: our stamp store was growing, our stencil store was growing – we were growing. We had taken the design team to France for a little holiday to say thank you, and Sylvia Marshall – a traditional parcher – had brought her Pergamano things with her. Well, Maria got right into the art of parchment. Sylvia showed her the ropes – and she was off! Bought a load of tools and started learning how to parch. She loved it! She asked whether, since we could etch the registration lines into the acrylic Megamounts for the Gelli plates, we could also etch designs into the acrylic to emboss. Long story short, our Jim figured it out, and together we came up with the Groovi System. The Plate Mate with the aperture was a real Lightbulb moment..
It was a gamble, but we tried it. We took some of our stamp designs and etched them into the acrylic…and that’s how it happened. Mats and tools were duly sourced and ordered, a Starter Kit was designed, Tina Cox came on board and helped us – and we launched the Groovi System on Create & Craft.
Did it work I hear you ask.. Oh yes! So many crafters loved the actual look of parchment craft, but hadn’t known where to start, or were daunted by the tracing and inking stage. So we designed a small collection of lovely designs – and just went for it! Here’s the Open Day at the Rugby Club just after we launched on TV!
The new Groovi system was so popular, we were barely able to keep up with production actually. We kept having to add laser machines to the production room. Then Dave had to start building extensions, to house the machines – and so it went on.
There were mixed feelings among the traditional parchers. Many poo pooed the system, saying it was cheating. We however felt the Groovi design plates were simply a confidence builder and a bridge to the other more traditional skills down the road. It was a bit of a battle actually, but we weren’t backing down! The lovers far outweighed the haters!
Several top trad parchers got involved too, like Linda Williams and Josie Davidson, so we just set our sights on the road ahead and kept going! Linda had a lot of sway with the trad parchers. Since she is so highly respected as a Master Pergamano Tutor, folks trusted her opinion, and followed her over. And so it grew…
We won the craft award for Best New Product that year too. Groovi certainly climbed to the top of the crafting charts! Our Laser machines now number not 3 but 13. THIRTEEN!!! And still we can’t keep up!
Gridwork was next. Tina Cox and Josie Davidson paved the way…
We had designed the Groovi System to fit Pergamano tools. Our opinion was why reinvent the wheel? If the best tools in the business had already been developed, why make more? So we worked with the Dutch, and it was fine. So imagine our surprise when they called us and asked us if we’d like to buy Pergamano!! All the stars were aligned that day…we were able to. I shall never forget calling Linda Williams to tell her we’d bought Pergamano. She was over the moon, as were we.
The two of us went to Slovenia together to run workshops in a shopping centre too. A week to remember!
And still, these three working always tirelessly and selflessly in the background, just getting it done…just keepin ’em fed here !!!
Since Groovi was born we have certainly evolved, and so has our artwork. The Groovi Design Team is pretty formidable. Actually, so is the Clarity Team! These talented crafters also work tirelessly to create inspirational artwork. I cannot express my appreciation enough for all they do. x x x Beautiful, clever and exciting.
Which brings us to 2018, and the 4th chapter. That is very interesting too…
Love and hugs
Barb x x x
PS. Tomorrow is a Big Groovi Day on TV. At 4pm on Create & Craft, we are releasing the 5th and last set of Christmas treasures, illustrated by Linda. And to celebrate the wonderful Collection, Linda has also designed a superb A4 Advent plate, which ties it all together beautifully. Join us at 4pm for the final launch, to complete this wonderful Christmas set. I shall add a cheeky little blog later, showcasing the plates and some superb art samples…
Oh how far we have come…