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Designer Interview 05: Uncooked!

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Designer Interview 05
Who: Nat & Armand of Uncooked

One of my first posts on this blog was for a (then) little greeting card company called Uncooked. The funny, off-kilter messages and quirky drawings completely drew me in. In no time at all, their card line has branched into kids clothing, and {most recently} some super fun TV spots for MTV. So, it's been a while since my last interview..but here's a new one with the duo behind Uncooked!

1 ~ Where does the name of the brand come from?
"Uncooked" perfectly describes our style of humor. Very raw, rare & unrefined. And also very blunt and honest and not very well thought out. The second we thought of it we knew it was perfect. Actually, that’s not true. I don’t know why we said that.

2 ~ What inspired you to start your line?
Our inspiration came from pure frustration. There were no funny, cool, unique greeting card lines out there. Every time we went looking for greeting cards we would quite literally throw up in each other’s mouths at how horribly awful and unfunny the selection was. We got tired of throwing up in each other’s mouths and eating each other’s vomit so we started our own line.

3 ~ What is your role in the company?
We both do everything. Technically, Natalie is the writer and Armand is the illustrator. But really nothing is anything until the other one says it is. We both have such a big hand in everything. But it’s kinda hard not too because we both have really big hands. Seriously, it’s gross.

4 ~ Did you find it hard to get started? Did you start the business cold turkey full-time or did it start as a side project while at another job?
No, getting started was pretty easy. We worked as a creative team at an ad agency in Manhattan. That was our full time job. It was where met actually. We started Uncooked on the side, after work & late at night.

5 ~ What is your favorite product or series of products in your collection?
So far, our cards are our favorite. Specifically, the weirder ones that don’t really make any sense are the ones we hold dear. We have this one love card that says, “ sometimes I fantasize about spending time with you in my backyard, grilling salmon steaks and giggling about my big fat crooked back.” We have no idea what it means or where it came from or why we wrote it. But we knew we had to include it.

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6 ~ Where are your items made? Are they made in factories/mills or in your own studio?
We use an outside printing house to print everything. Our cards are printed up in Maine and our baby line is printed somewhere in New Jersey. We’re very continental.

7 ~ What inspires you in general?
Subconsciously we’re inspired to work as hard as we do so we don’t have to work for the man and we can continue to work for ourselves. Not subconsciously, we’re inspired by sunsets. And lobster meat.

8 ~ It's not often that you see stationery designers go into multi-media and TV. Tell us a little about the MTV spots, how that came about, and if you have more plans to do this sort of work...
Our relationship with MTV came about after someone at MTV saw our cards and thought how appropriate our style and humor was for the channel. We always talked about turning our cards into little animated art pieces and this was the perfect opportunity to do just that. Creating MTV’s new brand image campaign based on our card style has taken Uncooked to a whole new level, way beyond greeting cards. We’re currently working on our next project that’s sort of along the lines of the animated mtv work, but bigger. And a lot hairier.

9 ~ What is one piece of advice to other designers and creative types who are looking to start their own business?
Just before you start whatever you want to start, be sure that what you have is totally, completely, one hundred percent unique and original and unlike anything else that is out there. There’s no point in putting something out there that’s already out there. Find your own voice, your own humor, your own style and people will welcome it.

10 ~ What's your favorite thing to do on a Saturday afternoon?
Watch tv, eat egg sandwiches and tweak each other’s nipples.

Thanks to Nat & Armand for their wonderfully honest answers and their take on a running a small business. See more of Uncooked here and purchase their baby onesies at Broadway Paper.

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{To read past designer interviews, check out the Business (Mixed with Pleasure) section!}

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