By Laura Braden
Sacramento is one hell of a creative city. Chocked full of artists, graphic designers, writers, advertising gurus, photographers and PR professionals (to name a few!), the spirit of collaboration is alive and well.
The next event is themed “taboo” and scheduled for March 17 with Amal Iqbal, a fashion Designer, interior designer and graphic designer showcasing her talents as the owner of Studio FIG. She’ll talk about not letting taboo ideals hold you back from realizing your potential and advocate for 2-way dialogue for cultural understanding.
I caught up with Rebecca Plumb – friend, host of CreativeMornings Sacramento and co-owner of the Honey Agency .
Why/how did you get involved with CreativeMornings?
After 15 years of living and building my career/network in Sacramento, it became clear that we’ve lacked a collaborative gathering opportunity. There are plenty of options for designers, developers and even advertising specifically, but there hasn’t been a place that overlaps the entire creative class to include photographers, musicians, chefs, artists, brewers, bloggers, fashion designers, interior designers, product designers and so many others who collaborate and work alongside the typical ‘creatives.’
What I’m most excited about is hooking our local creatives into the global community. There are 165 chapters (and counting) all over the world, and it’s a super positive, collaborative group sharing ideas, tools and values. As an agency owner, I get emails every week from someone who just moved here from another city (NYC, Austin, San Francisco, San Diego) looking to find the creative community here. Our city is growing and full of really talented and friendly people. To
Our gatherings are one small way to express Sacramento’s individuality – while elevating and legitimizing it. When you go to CreativeMornings.com and drop down the city list, it makes me proud to see us sitting next to San Francisco and Oakland instead of skipping on up to Portland. Our first round of events will focus on speakers/experts, and our goal is to get even the most introverted creative types engaged.
It’s also been really fun working with a group of volunteers in this new capacity. Amanda Sebastiani, a designer at 3fold Communications has been my partner in crime from the beginning, getting our application and video together. We now have help from individuals who work for themselves or a variety of organizations all over town.
What’s been the response so far?
We truly thought we’d have to spend months getting the word out and building our audience, but we sold out the first event in four hours (the second in two). With so many recent transplants to Sacramento, quite a few folks have told me they have been looking and waiting for us to start a chapter. I started our Twitter profile, and within minutes, I had someone I’d never met volunteer to join the team!
Who should attend?
Anyone and everyone! I’m really focused on finding speakers with diverse and unique perspectives who perhaps haven’t been heard from in this capacity. I’m personally inspired by unexpected career paths and want to hear from different industries and backgrounds to appeal to wider audiences. I have friends (and coworkers) who always say they’re ‘not creative’ but it’s simply not true.
CreativeMorning’s manifesto says it all: “Everyone is creative, everyone is welcome.”
What makes the Sacramento creative community unique?
Stay tuned – the answer to this question is one of the things I’m most interested in discovering. I think the city’s legacy of pioneers is still shaping our culture, except now we’ve added more makers and entrepreneurs to the mix. I think even amongst competitors, friendliness and positivity (for the most part) exists, and there’s room for everyone to support and encourage each other.
How did you discover that you had the “creativity gene?”
I’ve always known (and been told) I was creative since I can remember. I also grew up in a house where it was supported and encouraged even though it wasn’t really directed into a specific focus. My grandfather was an artist and photographer, my dad has always been into graphics and my mom is super crafty and a problem solver. I think I’ll always be trying to figure out what ‘kind’ of creative I am–I tend to dabble in a lot of interests but have never been really focused on one specific thing. I started my career as a graphic designer, have always dabbled in a love of interiors, pretend to sew, attempt photography–basically I’m just super picky about how everything looks and have an opinion about all of it.
I think I’ll always be trying to figure out what ‘kind’ of creative I am–I tend to dabble in a lot of interests but have never been really focused on one specific thing. I started my career as a graphic designer, have always dabbled in a love of interiors, pretend to sew, attempt photography–basically I’m just super picky about how everything looks and have an opinion about everything.
What’s the #1 misunderstood thing about creativity?
The #1 misunderstood thing about creativity is that you’re either born with immense talent or you’re not creative at all. I think there’s a spectrum of natural talent, and we’re all creative – there’s value in the process of making things that should be enjoyed and respected. Even if whatever you make isn’t perfect the first time, so much of “making” involves practice and failure. There’s so much written about failure, and it’s critical to remember that every famous artist and innovator has hundreds and thousands of throw away attempts before the “masterpiece” is revealed.
How do you stay creative? Especially when you’re just not feeling it?
If I go too long without doing something intentionally creative outside of client work, I start getting grumpy. Recently I went through a funk and realized I wasn’t making time to do anything expressive, which really affected me. Now that I’m aware of it, I try and find small things to keep that side engaged. Since time is limited these days, I might fake a fantasy kitchen remodel in Photoshop, sew something quick for my daughter, make an invitation for a friend, rearrange a room or a shelf…I’m all about projects that have low expectations with an achievable end-result.
You’re a seasoned professional and entrepreneur – what’s been the most surprising thing you’ve learned about creativity over the years?
Something that I’m always balancing as a creative and business owner is how to give the creatives TIME to create. I mostly wear a business-owner hat these days, and I still remember what it felt like to be one of the only creative-types in a corporate environment. It’s not ‘industry standard’ but we don’t hold our designers to strict schedules when we want them to make incredible work.
Creativity needs room to breathe and be coaxed out so we give the design team time and space to find inspiration. They literally will leave the office with pencil and paper and come back with handmade sketchbooks spilling with ideas. I guess I’m surprised that more companies don’t recognize the need creatives have to be inspired outside the office walls.
Who are you most impressed with locally? Who’s killing it right now?
There are so many out there but to name a few: N’Gina Kavookjian hit a delicious and well-designed home-run with South, and go check out the perfectly imperfect vintage boutique The Quinn around the corner. I want to buy everything Sarah Perez of Electric Sun Creatives makes, and she is so warm and gracious in person. Maia McDonald moved here and launched the I-want-everything-shop Bitte last year and is legit internet-famous with almost 2 million followers on Pinterest.
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Be sure to snag tickets to Amal Iqbal on March 17 (they go fast, but be sure to sign-up for the wait list!!!).