One of the things I want to more of this year is travel – both business and personal trips. Last month I went to Anaheim for CHA and this month I went to Florida to spend a few days with the folks at Cousin Corporation of America and the other Creative Circle Ambassadors.
There are three remaining original CCC members who call themselves “silver sisters” but they’ve got nothing on my head full of silver! Ha!
Hey, here is what we look like after a day of travel.
You know, I’ve always wanted to be met at the airport by a driver holding a sign with my name on it. But I’ve known the folks at Cousin for a while now due to CHA so I’m no stranger. Instead of a sign I got a big welcome hug.
I’m cool with that.
After rounding up all of the ambassadors at the airport Chris and Jessica took us to our beautiful ocean side hotel.
We were able to relax a bit before heading down to a lovely reception held for us. We got to meet the owner of the company and his wife along with several of the Cousin designers and sales team members.
The food was delicious, the beer was plentiful and the sunset was breathtaking.
On Thursday morning we were up bright and early to head over to Cousin Corp where we got a warm welcome and a tour of the facility.
There are walls and walls of Cousin and Prima beads around every corner.
We got a tour of the warehouse.
It’s like the scene at the end of the Indiana Jones movie where the warehouse goes on and on… only this one is full of BEADS!
Jeff Cousin is the owner and all around down to earth guy. He’s one of those hard working, honest speaking kinds of people that I respect.
And Liz is the sales manager. Another hard working, honest, no holds barred kind of person. Personal, approachable and professional at the same time.
Everyone at Cousin, without exception, was warm, inviting and down to earth. We could ask any question we thought of and I felt like we got honest answers. We got a rare chance to see how jewelry goes from concept to consumer during our time there. We even got to go to several stores (Michael’s, Jo-Ann’s and Walmart) to see the product hanging on the pegs and learn a bit about what it takes to get product in the stores.
Later that afternoon we got paired up with the Cousin in-house designers to work on some projects for A.C. Moore stores upcoming marketing and promotions. Each ambassador was given a color story (Mine was white) and asked to make a necklace, earrings and bracelet with the A.C. Moore customer in mind. I created some DIY wedding pieces that I will be sharing with you later this year.
BTW, I got paired up with Kristine and she was amazing! It’s just a wee bit intimidating to design with a companies’ designer at your elbow but she was kind and encouraging the whole time. She even laughed at my stupid jokes.
I have to say that I thought the designers would be designing jewelry as a major portion of their day but they really don’t get to design jewelry pieces as much as I thought. They are often designing individual components, looking at trends and all sorts of other technical stuff that goes on behind the scenes.
It was fun to design with the Cousin designers. I asked questions about their creative process while I worked on my projects.
In all of our meetings and sessions I felt like we were listened to and regarded as equals. Trust me, from my experience, that is a rarity when it comes to dealing with craft manufacturers. I left the Cousin offices on Thursday feeling like I was a respected member of the team – of the family. It was truly refreshing.
On Friday morning we had a few more meetings and then we got to go BEAD SHOPPING in the warehouse. We each got a “if it fits it ships” priority mail box to fill with whatever we wanted. It was almost as much fun watching the other ambassadors pick out beads as it was to pick out my own.
After that we all headed back to the airport. Several of us were delayed due to storms but I got to hang out and visit with one of the other ambassadors a while longer.
It was a great trip. The weather was marvelous, the Cousin folks were wonderful and my fellow ambassadors were amazing and I enjoyed getting to know each of them a little better.
On Saturday I stayed in my pajamas and read a book.
I’m read for my next trip now.
Where shall I go?
Cousin Creative Circle Ambassadors: