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it's Rebecca from Children Inspire Design

Monday, 14 December 2009 by Irene Hoofs

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Artist, mother, and entrepreneur, Rebecca Peragine is a woman of many talents. When she is not working on her creative business, Children Inspire Design, she is busy devoting time to her two small children and husband. Rebecca recently moved into a new home, which you will see here. Enjoy the tour…

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In what kind of home do you live and with whom?  

Currently, we live in a Spanish style hacienda home in Arizona. In the past four years we’ve moved from an island in the Caribbean Mexico to a farmhouse in Wisconsin to here in the Southwest, so our home style has been way across the spectrum.   We’re very happy here. It’s a nice compromise from our past homes.  I live here with my husband, Gianluca, our two sons, Giovanni, 6 and Matteo, 3.  We also share our home with our dog, Sniffy.

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What is your favorite thing to create for Children Inspire Design?

I really like making the wall cards.  I think the product itself is great because you can fill any sized wall space with the cards.  And they are helpful tools for learning ABC’s and numbers, so there’s dual function at work there.

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On average, about how much time per week are you able to put into creating?

It depends.  Now, it’s more of a creative mood issue than time itself.  I can sit on an idea for months and months before I pick up papers and start creating.  Every idea has a gestation period, I have to make sure first, that I know how to create it properly, and then that I have creative spirit to do it.  I’ve created some real junk when I’m forced to make something.  I know myself well enough now to know not to push the creation part of the business.

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How has being a mom influenced or guided you as a small business owner and maker?

It’s taught me a lot about my own strength.  We all know its not easy raising children.  Add a business to it and you end up questioning your own sanity sometimes.  But for me, to be able to create art for children, all while my children are present with me was a total blessing.  And my boys played a huge part in using CID as a tool for fundraising and awareness for non-profits.  I was able to show my children that helping those in need is simply a part of life.  If you can help, you should.  They’re so young, but they already get that.  I’m more proud of that than anything I’ve ever designed.

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What has been the best project, in your mind, you have worked on so far in your career and why? 

My favorite project by far is the creation of a Recycled Park in Jalisco/Nayarit area of Mexico.  I work hand in hand with a non-profit there, PEACE.  PEACE is an umbrella organization which helps women and children in rural, under privileged areas of Mexico.  One of their ongoing projects the creation of a play park in school courtyards made almost completely out of recycled materials found in the community.  The project is simply amazing. It’s unbelievable to see the before and after of this project, how many lives are affected by the park and how much it helps bring joy to kids who are living in very dire circumstances.   Children Inspire Design will be sponsoring a park project in February. Apart from participating in the build, we will be designing a 15’x15’ mural on the school wall.  And, my boys are old enough now that they will be able to participate in the project. 

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How would you describe your design style?

Flea market, for sure.  My family has always been a bit nomadic, so we never pick up substantial pieces for our home.  I guess once we really feel we’ve found the right spot we will buy that something special.  But for now, if it’s not useful, it’s not in our home.  When we moved from Wisconsin to here, we gave practically our whole home away.  A week after we got here, we had our whole home furnished by Craigslist and Goodwill, all for $300.  Flea markets, garage sales, and Craigslist are an addiction for my husband and I. 

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Tell us the back story on one of your favorite pieces in your home. Where did you find it and what drew you to it initially?

My husband is from Italy and the last time we visited, I found a really great set of vintage canisters from a thrift store.  They ended up being the inspiration for our whole home.  I use these canisters for everything, vases, cookie jars, fabric scrap jars, anything.  Currently, they are hosting our mini Christmas trees.  I love them for their color their vintage font, I feel like they really embody my family’s personality. 

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Many artists and makers are working to become more environmentally conscious. How important is it to you to make eco-friendly choices for your own shop?

My products are made with eco friendly materials, 100%PCW paper, soy ink, recyclable or biodegradable packaging.   The original art I make is made with scrap papers, and when possible created on salvaged wood instead of canvas.  I just think that if you can create your products this way, you should.  And I think it’s a healthier choice for parents.  It just makes you feel better about what you create.

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What has been the best advice you have received as a small business owner? 

The best piece of advice I’ve been given is that outsourcing is necessary to grow a business.  It took me a very long time to get that.  I think that’s my piece of advice I’d like to pass on to other moms when starting a business.  Even if that means sending your child to a daycare program a few days a week or enlisting a neighbor to help in shipping, or god forbid, making your husband spend his evenings packaging your product.  You have to have time dedicated just for you and your business.  My business is starting its 3rd year and I just started applying this to my life a few months ago, and it makes all the difference in the world.  My big problem was shipping.  I used to tell myself that I couldn’t afford a fulfillment center to house and ship my products.  But, the busier I got, the more it cost me.  I was spending my time doing work that someone else could have done.  I was too busy running the day to day that the business growth fell to the wayside.  And I ended up paying for it.  I wasn’t creating new product, had no time to network and market my brand, so eventually my sales tapered off.  It took me a while to figure out what was going on. 

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As a creative woman and mother, how are you able to encourage creativity in your child/children?

I try to make them feel like creativity is their right and they should express themselves however they choose.  My husband is a musician and music and art is deeply rooted in his family. So between that, the different languages and cultures that are present in our everyday lives, my kids are really open to all sorts of types of expression.  And that’s what I try to relay in my children’s art.  I want kids to feel like this world is very small and all our neighbors have something great to offer.

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..Visit Rebecca’s website, Children Inspire Design..

..Visit Rebecca’s blog..

And Thank you Brittni for creating the interview!

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