If you know Cary Collins Designs, you probably know the calendar. It is BY FAR my biggest selling item. I do a new one every year and by God’s grace it has quite a little following! I thought you might like to hear the answers to the questions I am most frequently asked about the calendars…
1. How long have you been making calendars?
2014 is my 16th calendar. I made the first one is 1998. That was a year after I got married.
2. How did you come up with this idea?
I had started doing some watercolor and ink around scriptures for gifts. At that time, my Mom was buying me a whimsical wall calendar every year that I loved. It was larger, but had 12 separate sheets that fit into an acrylic wall frame. It was my Mom’s idea to combine the two. Moms have the best ideas! I give her all the credit. 🙂
3. How long does it take you to draw them?
It takes me about a month to draw them and about a month to paint them. That is with me working HARD…it is very tedious! I usually wait until the end of the summer to start and get myself into a bit of a time crunch!!
4. Wouldn’t it be better if you did one a month all year round?
Why, YES, it would! This is my favorite question :). I do see the logic in this plan, but I just can’t do it. I need the pressure of a deadline. Usually this question comes either from someone who doesn’t know me very well or someone who is so organized, they just can’t relate to me!
5. Do you draw them in order (Jan, Feb, Mar…)?
No. Here is my process… First, I pick the verses. I usually jot some down in the back of my Bible throughout the year and I go back over the ones I didn’t use the previous year. Then I brainstorm and search. This is the point at which I start praying that God will guide me to the right verses and that He will guide me in the process of matching up the verse with the month. After that it is more ambiguous. Some verses inspire designs because they have a “subject”. If that is the case I might use Google image to get direction (like a lamp, umbrella, flip flop, etc.). I usually do these type of verses first and assign them a month. Some months need a more seasonal design. I like to do a floral in Spring, a sun in Summer, Fall colors in October, etc. I usually do those months next. Some verses can be used any time with any design. For those I just start doodling!
Ironically, the holiday months have become the hardest…particularly July and December. I also put a little extra pressure on myself for January to be good. 🙂
6. How do you come up with new stuff every year?
I truly believe that is God’s grace to me. As far as designs go, it is not that hard for me. I am always on the lookout for little things that inspire me (mostly scrapbook paper and greeting cards). I guess if it starts getting hard, I will question if I should keep making them…but for now, I ‘m good! 🙂
As far as verses go, I have been known to repeat a few. Very few people saw the early years and I started with my favorite verses!!! We joke that I will never run out of good verses! I do strive to pick some unique, or less common, verses to keep it fresh. I’m always up for suggestions! If you have a favorite verse or idea for a month, send it my way!!
7. What medium do you use?
Pencil first (I try to make all my mistakes here!). Then, a black pen. Then, water colors. Next, a graphic designer has to scan them and turn them into digital files. Then, off to the printer!
8. How many calendars do you print and how do you sell them?
6,000. Can you believe that?!? Online sales and Holiday shows are the primary ways I sell them. A few stores carry them, but retail has not been a focus for me. Perhaps I will build that area more in the future.
9. How did you know I would need THAT verse at THAT month?
That magic is also known as the grace of God…for both you and me! I give all credit to Him and the power of his Word in people’s lives. He is the Great Orchestrator!
Here are a couple of examples of this… In September 2011, the verse was Job 1:21 (The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away. Blessed be the name of the Lord.) I had been trying to use that verse for a few years and it finally landed there. I had a customer at the end of 2011 say, “The verse you picked for the 10 year anniversary of 9/11 was so perfect. I love that you had the forethought to pick that verse for that time.” I had no idea what she was talking about! I hadn’t planned that! That was God.
Another example was from this past summer, I had a friend that returned from a mission trip and took the time to tell me that while she was burdened by what she had seen and the people she had met, the verse in July really ministered to her. (Psalm 46:10 “Cease striving and know that I am God; I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”) That was God.
Isn’t His Word amazing? It is so crazy of Him to orchestrate those times for both you and me!! Theses type of stories humble me. Believe me…I have nothing to do with it if something cool like that happens! Thanks, God!
10. What is the best part of your calendar business?
By far, the best part is hearing your stories of how God’s Word impacts your life. I also love that as you give them as gifts, you are ministering to your friends and family! (That is why I keep them $15!). It has been amazing to watch them spread all over the country over the years. I have very sweet and loyal customers that have helped do that!! I am forever grateful for this journey!!
Happy Holidays and I hope you enjoy every month in 2014!!!