I had the priviledge of talking with Frances Naeve, owner and founder of Hearts in Touch, who has been running the successful rubber stamping company since May of 2002.
Q: I love your company name. How did you come up with it?
A: I considered my business name for a long time. Finally, I got so frustrated with it that I prayed, "God, what can I call this business that You have given me?" And, honestly, the name popped into my mind clear as a bell.
Artwork by Erika Taylor, Hearts in Touch Design Team MemberQ: How long have you been stamping and what got you started in papercrafting?
A: After I left the "work-a-day", 9-to-5 business world, and all my children were grown and married, I needed something to fill my spare time and hopefully earn some spending money.
I grew up with coloring books and paper dolls so paper art came natural to me. I am able to draw somewhat but never felt like an "artist". One day I needed an image for a card I was making and I didn't have the image I needed so I drew it. A stamp company owner saw it and asked about me drawing some images for her.
Within a year or so I was drawing for several other stamp companies. The natural progression for me was to start producing the stamp images myself.
Artwork by Sharon Briss
Q: You press your own rubber. What benefits does your personal touch give your customers?
A: I have an online Yahoo group and I show them first the images I have in mind for a new set of stamps. If and when I get a good response from them I can have them produced and ready to press within a week. Same goes with new products. I get their opinions and put orders in according to their preferences.
Artwork by Debby Boltman, Hearts in Touch Design Team Member
Q: Many of your plates feature vintage images. What is your main philosophy when selecting images?
A: I try to picture in my mind what it will look like when transferred into rubber. Is the black and/or white in the image balanced so it is easily recognizable when stamped onto paper? Is the image one that is currently popular and/or relevant? Also, I choose what I like and it usually works.
Artwork by Dee Richardson, Hearts in Touch Design Team Member
Q: A unique feature at Heart in Touch is the Family Album plates. Can you tell our readers more about those?
I have one sheet of stamps that has an image of my great grandmother on it. I started thinking that maybe others would like to see their family members immortalized in paper and ink. I started a service that provides this for them. I ask for high resolution images that can be emailed to me. We determine the general size they prefer and I put the artwork together. I show it to the customer for approval before getting it produced. When I have it ready, I mail them the rubber sheet along with a printed copy. With their permission, I add the images to my collection for others to purchase.
Q: I love how your blog has a such a wonderful focus on customer art. Why did you decide to go in this direction?
A: HIT is nothing without the customer's art. They are my friends and knowing that they can create such beautiful art with the images I provide them does my heart good.
Artwork by Jackie Kalchert, Hearts in Touch Design Team Member
Q: We are reaching the end of 2009. Which of the plates released this year was your personal favorite and why?
A: I personally love the "Words of Wisdom" sheet. It was mostly selfish on my part in wanting everyone to know where I stand on certain issues. With all the chaos in the world today, I believe we each need to take a stand and this is mine. I also love my "Mother" sheet. I put it together right after my own mother passed away and it was inspired by my love for her.
Q: Can you give us any hints as to what we can look forward to at Hearts in Touch in 2010?
A: I have a new sheet called "Love". It is my new Valentine sheet for 2010. I have asked my HIT Design Team to make up several pieces of their wonderful art to showcase on my blog. 'll also ask my friends (group members) to email me their HIT Valentine art to be showcased. This has been a very unusual year personally so that is about all I have planned for now. New ideas pop up in my head frequently so who knows?
Q: What is your favorite part of being in the rubber stamping community?
A: Rubberstampers are a group of such caring and considerate people. They are always ready and willing to help out when needed and it is my pleasure to be among them.
Artwork by Jackie Bednar
If you haven't had a chance to check out the Gingersnap Creations' Hearts in Touch Blog Hop, you can find out all the information on the blog hop post and find out how you can get a chance to win a Hearts in Touch Christmas 2009 collection.
I want to thank Frances for joining us today! I have really enjoyed getting to know her better over the last months, finding out more about Hearts in Touch images and seeing all the lovely art on the Hearts in Touch Art blog.