January 16, 2012

Our Lovely Designers

It's been a lot of fun starting up a small business together, and we can honestly say that besides making snow cones and sharing them with our wonderful customers, developing the Sweet Ice brand has been one of our favorite parts. Julie (of Jubilee Creative) is our graphic designer, and she's collaborated with Andrea Manica (our illustrator-friend from Toronto), to create something that we just think is so great, and such a true reflection of how we view Sweet Ice.

We asked Julie and Andrea a few questions about the work they do and the time they've spent with us and the Sweet Ice brand. Here's a bit of their perspective:
What sparked your interest in design? Well, that probably goes all the way back to Grade 7. One of our larger art projects for the year was something called a “Christmas Book”. Basically, using old Christmas cards, wrapping paper, and magazines, we had to layout 20 pages of cheesy Christmas goodness – recipes, carols, gift lists, awkward photos with Santa, you name it. I distinctly remember sitting at my dinning room table, assembling my “family memories” page. My mom looked over my shoulder, and remarked on how cleverly I used different pieces of Christmas cards to frame our family photos. Mom, who didn't even know how to turn on a computer back then, said “It would be great if you could make a career out of doing this some day”. And like usual, Mom was right. Every day, I’m cutting and pasting, bringing elements from different places together to craft something new and beautiful. Ironically enough, I can't cut straight with a scissor to save my life. 
What are you favorite projects to work on? Two years ago, I walked past one of my logos on a sign on Ottawa Street (Little Bird). It was my small part in something that is tangibly contributing to the city's landscape. I've been chasing that feeling ever since! This year, I had the chance to work with more Hamilton-based brands. I love identifying with these passionate, driven, local people. And the variety! In what other place could I work on a music conservatory logo one day, and a Canadian political policy journal the next? On more basic level, I love designing wedding materials, mainly because I get to make pretty things.

Where do you find inspiration? Everywhere! That's a cop-out, but its true. Blogs, books, magazines, movies, art, my cat.
What did you enjoy about designing for Sweet Ice? Lindsay and Meg are infectious in the best possible way - their excitement made me excited! Their vision was well-defined in their heads, so the challenge was visually bringing it to life. It was so rewarding to see it all take shape. Plus, they bought me coffee and cookies. Isn't the designer suppose to treat the client?

How would you describe the Sweet Ice branding? I have a hard time summarizing it better than Chris Farias did when we first revealed the brand publicly:  "[It's] Dick and Jane meets girl guides meets 1960 Folk Music Poster Art". If I could add to that, I would say it's sweet, authentic, a tad retro, and just a little unexpected - which is Sweet Ice in a nutshell!
How did it work to collaborate with another artist on this project? It was wonderful! I wish I could do it more often, to be honest. Most of the time, people assume all creative types can do exactly the same thing. But as much as I'd like to be a jack of all trades, I know my specialties. For that reason, I relish in the opportunity to collaborate with another artist, because they bring their own unique set of skills to the project.

Have you had a snow cone? What kind?! Oh man! Let me count down the list. I've tried: Raspberry Lemon, Sweet Espresso, Peaches & Honey, and Gingerbread. I'm a little upset I haven't had a chance to try the Apple Jack - but there will be plenty of time for that in 2012.
What are some future dreams and goals for Jubilee Creative? To keep doing what I'm doing! I want to keep creating, designing, and growing alongside this city. Hamilton's creative culture is second to none - I can't imagine doing it anywhere else.
From Linds and Meg: Thanks so much Julie! You are an absolute dream to work with, and we give you the highest recommendation everywhere we go. Every time we get an email from you, it totally makes our day. You're always sending over 'design goodies', and it's so neat to see that you're as excited by this branding project as we are! We're honored by your excitement and enthusiasm, and can't wait to work on future projects with you! 
What sparked your interest in illustration? I've always loved to draw, ever since I was young, and not until I was about 18 did I realize that I could be an illustrator as a job! My friends who I met at OCAD inspired me to switch my major and focus on studying Illustration.

What kinds of projects have you worked on? I started out making flyers for friends who put on house shows back in Kitchener, and since then have made posters for my church, for concerts of friends, the zine library school, and even pop!Montreal. I've been creating my own zines and crafts to sell at fairs and expos. My favorite projects are ones I can do which will bring acclaim to people I love.

Where do you find inspiration? I find inspiration in my friends!! And nature, beautiful things, joyful & free spirited ideas, food, animals and girls.
What do you enjoy about designing for Sweet Ice? Well, I get to draw food. And the girls are awesome! Not to mention - their snow cones taste AMAZING. I love supporting small businesses run by people who have so much desire to do well! For themselves and their community!

How would you describe the Sweet Ice branding? It's got an old-timey yet charming feel and is totally suited to the girls who run the show.

Have you had a Sweet Ice snow cone? What kind?! Oh man, I've tried the Apple Cider snow cone. It tasted like apple pie and I want MORE! I've also tried some of the other flavors that my friends have ordered. I really want to come back to Hamilton strictly so I can have more cones.
What are some future dreams and goals for you and your involvement in the arts? I don't tell many people this, but if I ever worked for Martha Stewart Living magazine, that would pretty much be my dream. Can you imagine if I met Martha? I'd faint!

From Linds & Meg: Andrea, you are so sweet and SO talented! We're really thankful that we can use your amazing abilities to make Sweet Ice the CUTEST EVER! Every time you send illustrations to us, we just squeal at our computers because they're so dang awesome. We're so excited to send you more requests, so we can see more of your great illustrations. Thank you for everything you've done so far - we can't wait to see how Sweet Ice can partner with you even more in the future!

January 3, 2012

Our year in review!

Happy New Year!

This was our first year of Sweet Ice goodness, and it was a whirlwind for us! Starting Sweet Ice and making all natural snow cones was an idea, and then a dream, and we certainly didn't plan on making it a reality as quickly as we did. One thing led to another, and a successful snow cone wedding turned into a business venture. Then a Shasta trailer ended up in our hands, and now, here we are, planning for a really huge Sweet Ice season! Even though it wasn't what we planned, we wouldn't want it any other way, and we're really grateful for the fun we've had, and the support that Sweet Ice Snow Cones has received this year. Here's a few monthly highlights from our year for ya. It starts in June because, well, that's when Sweet Ice started, and we like to keep things real!
Our first event! Our friends Jared and Michelle got married, and we made snow cones for their wedding. It was the cutest wedding ever, and they had a bike processional from the church to the reception, so all the guests were happy to have something cool and refreshing. We tried a watermelon flavor at this event, but it was a bit strange (still working on that recipe), but the other two flavors were DIVINE! We're really thankful that we were asked to make snow cones for this event, because it is really what started this whole crazy adventure!
We got our trailer! This 1962 Shasta was just HANDED to us! It was something we only imagined could happen, so we were floored when everything worked out as perfectly as it did. While we did have a really successful season, we still need to raise the funds needed to renovate this lovely thing so we'll be hosting an online fundraiser in the next few months, which we're really excited about!
Time for our debut: our first public event - the Art Crawl. We were so humbled by our success at Art Crawl. We totally didn't prepare for the Hamilton-snow-cone-love, and sold out of syrup before 10pm... less than three hours! There were line-ups all evening, and we were serenaded by the lovely Kori Pop. This is one of our favorite Sweet Ice memories so far, as we just couldn't believe how friendly and excited everyone was.
Our BIGGEST event of the year was in September. You know what it was... the best day of the year for all of us: Supercrawl! Supercrawl was incredible on so many levels. The vendors were amazing, the art installations were incredible, the music was AWESOME, and the Sweet Ice fans were aplenty! We served just under 1000 snow cones that day, and we sold out of all our flavors just as the night was winding down. IT WAS SO MUCH FUN!
Runner up highlight for September: Hanging out with Andrew (Songs to Wear Pants To) and Hannah (My Drunk Kitchen), and having our snow cones in their nomming video...
This was probably our favourite event of 2011. When we started Sweet Ice we had a crazy idea to do a Snow Cone Dance Party, complete with mixed-drink cones. It seemed a little too crazy to work, but ended up being just crazy enough! We were so excited for our giant light-brite, the spiked snow cones, the amazing music by DJ Donna Lovejoy...we kind of forgot that there would also be a room full of really awesome people with really killer dance moves. Once all these things came together, it became one of the best nights of our lives. We're already so excited for Sweet Ice Dance Party 2.0!

Hmm. What did we do in November? Oh ya... NOTHING! After all these crazy adventures we took a BREAK! Well, at least we tried not to talk about or think about snow cones. We retired our snow cone buttons for a few weeks. We stopped eating them for breakfast, lunch and dinner. We put pictures of snow cones on the wall and threw darts at them. OK, none of that is true. But we didn't have any events in November, and it was nice to catch a breath. However, a break can only last so long, and by the end of the month we really missed a lot of things about Sweet Ice.
Oh joy! Santa was good to Sweet Ice this year! We were asked to participate in the Kitestring Christmas Spectacular, and we were so honored to support the CKA charity alongside a whole bunch of other really awesome businesses. This was the first event where we didn't wear our aprons (Sweet Ice goes glam!), and also likely the only event where you'll ever be able to get our Gingerbread + Spiced Rum snow cone and get Christmas snow cone buttons!

It's been an amazing year for both of us, and we've had so much fun with this adorable little business of ours. Thanks to everyone out there who has bought a snow cone, made jokes with us at our booth, supported us behind the scenes, worn our buttons, and applauded our efforts all over town - we're SO appreciative! We're excited to see what the next year holds for us, as it is our first full season, and we've got so many thrilling goals, plans and ideas.

Happy New Year!

With much love,

The Sweet Ice Girls