Monday, October 5, 2009

Manufacturer Mania: Cornish Heritage Farms

During this wonderful time of harvest, we are visiting with one of my favorite farms - Cornish Heritage Farms.


I had the pleasure of interviewing both of the owners of this wonderful stamp company, Liz and Richard Pomeroy. They were both kind enough to spend some time chatting with me.

Liz and Richard Pomeroy

Q: Cornish Heritage Farms is a family-owned and operated business. It’s the one of the first things you tell people about the company on your website. Why do you feel this is an important aspect of your stamp company? Can you share how the family works together in your business?

Liz: So many businesses today are very impersonal. I have to be honest and say that nothing bugs me more than to go onto a website and find an About Us page that tells you nothing about the people behind the company.

Richard and I wanted to create a company that showed the world what we stood for as a couple/family and for our personal values to come across to our customers. When our customers call us they know that they will reach a real person who is not just interested in taking their money but also interested in who they are. For example one our customers was very sick with breast cancer. When she would call in her order I would always ask her how she was doing and we would maybe talk for 5 minutes before getting down to business.

As for how we work together, we have 4 children ranging from 20 to 3. Our eldest daughter presses all the rubber for us and our eldest son, before he moved out, used to cut all the rubber. Because the rubber stamps are manufactured right here on the farm, our two little ones get to be around us as we work. Daniel (6) is already quite the Thomas Kinkade fan and, of course, knows the Elvis and GM lines very well. He is very apt with the tape gun but we haven't put him to work packing the orders yet!

Cornish Heritage Farms Stamps: Boys will be Boys Collage stamp; For the Men collection

This business would not be what it is without our "outside" staff, including a very talented group of designers. Each one of them is a part of the extended family here at CHF. We "talk" most days on the CHF forum and our lives are very much an open book to them just like with family.

Richard: My family is always there for me, even if a job isn't. That's why family is so important. We always tell those that work for us to remember that. Also, family is most of what stamping is all about. Who gets all of those creations our customers make?

Q: So, do you both stamp?

Liz: LOL! Now the secret is going to come out :) Neither Richard nor I are stampers! However, I do stamp the new images when they are pressed to make sure that we are pleased with what we have created. If we are not, then it is back to the drawing board.

I will let you into another secret though. Richard is very good at embossing. In fact, he tried that before I did. So, although we are not stampers, we are knowledgeable on how to stamp so can answer the many questions our customers throw at us most of the time.

Richard: Although we are not stampers, we obviously associate with some of the best stampers in the industry. Some of those lessons rub off!

Q: Many people don’t realize that the "Farm" part of Cornish Heritage Farms reflects your actual working farm in Montana. Can you tell us a little about your farm?

Liz: We do live on a working farm but we don't make any money from it! It is more a stress reliever and a way of life for us. I am a country gal. In fact, my relatives still dairy farm back in England. We all love the wide open spaces and fresh air.


Tulip

I go out most mornings and milk Tulip, our faithful cow, who is a cross between a Holstein and a Dutch Belted. We enjoy drinking "real" milk and also make our own yogurt. Tulip's milk is very creamy so she doesn't produce us enough cream on the top to make butter plus we keep two calves on her so that if we have to be away we do not have to find someone to milk for us.


We also raise Large Black Heritage Breed pigs and Heritage Breed turkeys. Geese, ducks, chickens, 6 dogs and numerous cats and kittens also make their home here. All our animals are pastured raised and enjoy the fresh air 24/7.

Richard: I'm a city boy, born and bred. At one point, I wanted to be a vet until I spent a summer following one around on his rounds in the country. There was no way I wanted to put my hand where his had to go! I ended up with a successful career in computer programming, until CHF came along. Would I ever want to go back to the city life? No way! (I still hate muck though.)

Cornish Heritage Farms Stamps: Primitive Beginnings collection

Q: So, if the farm part of the name is a real farm, does that mean that you also have roots in Cornwall, England?

Liz: Both Richard and I were born in Cornwall, England hence the "Cornish Heritage." We lived there for the first 19/20 years of our lives. We moved north shortly after our marriage and then emigrated to the USA on our 10th wedding anniversary in 1997! That's an anniversary never to forget!

Richard: Cornwall: the land of pirates (the swashbuckling ones, not the modern equivalent), pasties, clotted cream, hogs pudding and saffron cake. There's a lot of other stuff as well, but those are the most important.

Q: Your stamping company has grown steadily over the last few years. Can you tell us how you got started?

Liz: It all started in the summer of 2004. I had a large Ebay store selling books at the time and started to buy large lots of rubber stamps. It just took off and, at one point, we had the largest rubber stamp store on Ebay. We closed it in 2007.

From that store, I made a contact with a lady in Canada who somehow knew that Cat Dancing Design was up for sale. That was June 2005 and the rest, as they say, is history.

Richard: Liz has threatened to never let us retire when the time comes. She is always doing something and usually making sure that I'm kept busy as well! Ebay was just the start of something that was bigger than either of us ever imagined.

Cornish Heritage Farms Stamp: Fall Harvest

Q: You manufacture your stamps right on the farm. How does this hands-on approach benefit your customers?

Liz: By manufacturing right here on the farm we can oversee every part of the process. It also means that we are NEVER out of stock of a stamp and if a customer should call up and need a large number of one particular stamp, all we have to do is talk nicely to Michelle and she gets them pressed ASAP.

We do keep a good number of each stamp already made ready to go out the door hence customers do not have to wait weeks for their order. Of course, there are times we make mistakes or a faulty stamp slips through. When that happens we do our best to rectify it ASAP and because everything is made here that process is hassle free.

Richard: So many times we have been complimented on the quality of our product. It would never be this way unless we had direct control over the manufacturing process. Cheap imports can beat us in price, but you get what you pay for. Also, like Liz says, we can never be out of stock of a current stamp.

Cornish Heritage Farms Stamps: Oriental Vines Backgrounder; sentiment from Ornamental Beauty collection

Q: Cornish Heritage Farms has several different stamp lines. Do you have an overall philosophy about image selection?

Liz: Oh my! That's quite a question. Each line is so different that there are no hard and fast rules. For example comparing a Thomas Kinkade to a backgrounder is impossible. When we get approached by a new licensor we do critique the images and ask, "Can this be converted to a rubber stamp?" and, if so, "Will it convert well and be appealing to the consumer?"

Richard: The only real philosophy we have is that we want to ensure that we have something for everyone. We don't carry only one style of image - that makes for fun for everyone.

Cornish Heritage Farms Stamp: 100 Years of the Railroad

Q: Being in the agricultural arena, you know the value of freshness. Your customers see it in your new releases. How often do you release new stamps?

Liz: We release new images twice a week so there is always something fresh coming from the farm.

Cornish Heritage Farms Stamp: George and Esther Love Birds

Q: You feature a selection of stamps especially for scrapbookers. What makes that line of stamps distinctive?

Liz: Scrapblocks are 6" x 6" & have larger features than our backgrounders.

Richard: Well, the Scrapblocks are obviously aimed towards the more scrapbooky areas of the business, but just like our scrapbook papers everything we make is designed to be multi-purpose. Any of our stamps can be used for scrapbooking, card making or any other projects. Some are just easier than others. Our scrapbook papers are in the 'crossover' market as well, at 8x8 they work for scrapbooking or card making equally well.

Q: I hear that you have a new book in the works. What is it about and when will your customers be able to purchase it?

Liz:
The Thomas Kinkade "How To Guide" released in early October. We are very excited about this new project. So many folks worked on this to get it "just right". It features different techniques on creating fabulous projects with the Thomas Kinkade, or any other detailed stamps. It is high quality, colorful and each tutorial has step by step photos making recreating it very simple.


Q: And, finally, what do you enjoy most about being part of the stamping community?

Liz: Both Richard and I love our job most of the time. Most of our customers are the best in the world. They are courteous and pleasant and we love getting to know them via phone calls, emails, our two blogs etc.

2009 has been a pretty stressful year for us due to our eldest son's antics, but folks have stood by us and let us know that they are thinking and praying for us and Michael. It has been a true blessing and comfort to us. We're in this for the long haul and look forward to many more years of burning that good ol' red rubbah!

Richard: Personally I think it's wonderful to be part of someone's creative process. Many of our customers cannot create art with pen and paper, but give them some stamps, ink and ribbon and they rival the best artists around. This industry brings out the artistic talents in everyone at every level from concept to creation and end project. Everyone involved is an artist at some level. I love it.

I would like to thank both Liz and Richard for answering all my many, many questions!

They have also been kind enough to offer one of their new How-To Guides as blog candy. For a chance to win this great guide, follow the directions below:

1) Visit Cornish Heritage Farms and check out their many fantastic stamp lines.

2) Come back here and comment on this post letting us know which line you like the best AND your favorite stamp from that line.

The opportunity to win the blog candy will end on October 22nd, 2009. One winner will be chosen at random on October 23rd, 2009 from the qualifying comments.

Keep coming back to see more Cornish Heritage Farm art throughout the month!

25 comments:

  1. What a fantastic interview. Liz and Richard sound like such great people with a wonderful attitude towards their business, customers and life. This interview makes using Cornish stamps so much more personal. Thank you!

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  2. I love the cute images in Friendly Kritters. One of my favorites are the cuddling cardinals. Thanks for all the info on CHF. I really enjoyed the interview and learning so much about the owners. Darlene

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  3. This was so interesting! it would be great to read more interviews/articles like this.

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  4. I love them all - I have to say I own a lot of the Scrapblocks, so maybe that is my favorite catagory? But I must admit - i use Beautiful Flourishes most that is from The Rummage Bin and if I had more money I would buy one of each from Kim Hughes Collection .... I am afraid you can not make me commit ....
    Thanks for the information - it was fun reading about how the company got started!
    Thanks for the great stamps and service Liz and Richard!
    Sandra

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  5. Great interview. I really enjoyed learning about Liz and Richard ,their family and how they run their business. You can tell its a labor of Love. I would have to say my Favorite line is the Saturday Evening post collections, Gotta Love all the vintage images!

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  6. What a lovely post. So nice to read how much dedicated they are to make such wonderful stamps. I really love the Rummage Bin line and like the Sweet Little One Collage the most.
    Margriet

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  7. Awesome interview and awesome stamps. I own several, but the Haute Couture is my current temptation.

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  8. I love Thomas Kinkade's fisherman. I've gotten a lot of use for my Hubby and son and others that love to fish. It's tranquility is what drew me to that particular stamp. My men just love that peacefulness that comes when fishing. Also have Kim Hughes from CHF and a no. of flower stamps. They are the best!

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  9. I love, love, love the new stamps...and...have just made a card using the Haute Couture plate...tis FAB!!!! Brilliant interview...but I now think it is gonna cost me...cos I neeeeed more of these delish stamps!! LOL x

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  10. Hi there,
    I have visited the Cornish Heritage Farms site and I have got to say that my favourite line is the Elvis range of stamps - I am a HUGE Elvis fan and my favourite stamp has to be the Graceland Christmas (Elvis) stamp by Thomas Kinkade. Absolutely gorgeous!
    Hugz
    Dawn xx

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  11. Akkkk how am I sposed to chose just one? I have been addicted to CHF for a couple years now and have a TON of their stamps!!!! I love the backrounders - so much so that I had to rearrange all my UM storage because of them...but I also really love the Thomas Kinakde line as far a chosing just one stamp - HA - sorry just can't - love them all!!!!!

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  12. I love all the backgrounder stamps, they have so many uses. I got mine sent to a friend in the US and she brought them over when she came to visit me in Scotland.

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  13. Oh PLEASE! I can't pick just one favorite from CHF. I have been a fan of theirs since around 2006. I knew them back before they added a bunch of their newer lines. I have several favorite lines including Thomas Kincade, Scrapblocks, and Kim Hughes. I guess I would have to say that right now my favorite set would have to be "U R A Hoot" by Kim Hughes. It has the cutest owls in it. It is great because it has a lot of stamps in it including graduation, birthday, and Christmas accessories for the owls. Thanks for a chance to win their new book! Woo Hoo!(or should I say Who Hoot! LOL)

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  14. I too, cannot pick just one line!!!! I probably have most of, however sets from the Kim Hughes line...I luv the simplicity and adorableness of this line....I am rapidly expanding my scrapblooks and see that Julia over the last few months has introduced a few must have for me.....the Rummage Bin...luv luv luv....and last, but not least...I MUST START BUYING...out of the ATC line.....my wish list is pretty extensive right now...just waiting to make my move! I guess though, if I only coul pick ONE line as my favorite.....I pick Kim Hughes line!!!

    Thanks for the chance to win!

    Trudi

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  15. This is not a fair question w/everything CHF has to offer!! Only because I "have" to chose one I'll say Make a Wish Cottage by Thomas Kinkade. Each line is unique & CHF does everything right!!

    Linda

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  16. Favorite line? Oooh, that's tough. But I have several Backgrounders, so maybe that's my favorite. Favorite stamp from that line? Well, the next one on my list is the Asian Backgrounder, so I'll claim that as my favorite for today...!

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  17. I can't really pick a favorite line -- it varies between Thomas Kinkade, Backgrounders, Scrapblocks, The Rummage Bin and, and... Although there are many stamps I would love to have, I would have to say my oldest favorite is the Thomas Kinkade "Village Christmas".

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  18. wow
    what a beautiful stamps/
    I used to pait folk art tehme so my favorit is THE RUMMAGE BIN line
    and the 'Primitive Beginnings' great set

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  19. I love Cornish heritage Farms, and my favorite line by far is Shady Tree Studio. Choosing one favorite from that line is really impossible, but right now I'm loving the new Christmas set, Just Believe!

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  20. That was a great article. I have ALOT of Cornish Heritage Stamps. It's nice to have some background.

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  22. My favorite is the Kim Hughes Collection, with the parrot from Ahoy Matey-Pirates being my fave. Cornish Heritage Farms are very high quality stamps & it's difficult picking just one collection & one stamp!

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  23. All of the CHF stamps are delightful. I only own a couple, but hope to remedy that. It's hard to pick just one line, but The Shady Tree Studio really appeals to me. I'm not a scrapbooker. I create cards and gifts. The stamps in this line lend themselves to all themes for cards. And I like the way the colored samples inspire me. My favorite stamp (for now) is the "Fall Cleanup" because Fall is my favorite time of the year and I love the way the stamp inspires me.

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  24. I love CHF stamps - there are SO many clear stamps out there, and I prefer real red rubber!! I own quite a few CHF, but haven't bought any in the past year or so. I love ALL their stamp lines, but Rummage Bin is probably my favorite, and my favorite set right now would be "Night Before Christmas". I love the vintage feel of this set!

    Susan, aka Soozie4Him on SCS
    moot96 AT aol DOT com

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  25. I love the Thomas Kincaid stamps. I'm still working on mastering coloring them, but in the meantime I rely on embossing and distressing. Would really like to have the Clocktower Cottage. That will probably be my next purchase. Thanks so much for highlighting this great company and for the blog candy.

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Thanks for your wonderful words!

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