Creativity Found

Adam Roe – storm chaser, catastrophe modeller and eco-crafting forward thinker

November 21, 2021 Adam Roe Season 3 Episode 7
Creativity Found
Adam Roe – storm chaser, catastrophe modeller and eco-crafting forward thinker
Show Notes Transcript

As a young boy in Bermuda, Adam Roe was fascinated by hurricanes and storm chasing. He choose to study geography at uni, hoping it would be less inside and studying and more outdoors and doing, which to a degree it was. There was also a lot of music in his life at that time, as a member of Southampton’s most organised band – very rock-and-roll – but music ISN’T where Adam’s creativity lies today. 

Fast forward, and when Adam started crafting with his young daughter, he found her moving on to other things when her attention waned, while he wanted to keep at it. He is, of course, not the only adult to enjoy crafting, so he now makes kits to help other creative grown-ups discover and try new crafts, all plastic free and eco-friendly.

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Music: Day Trips by Ketsa
Undercover / Ketsa Creative Commons License
Free Music Archive - Ketsa - Day Trips

Artworks: Emily Portnoi emilyportnoi.co.uk



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Claire Waite Brown:

Today I'm speaking with Adam row, who enjoyed playing in bands, his youngster, and while studying geography at uni, spent much of his spare time performing. But music isn't where his creative aspirations lie now. Let's find out more. Oh, PS, this episode was recorded in October 2021. So don't be confused when we talk about the autumn leaves later. Hi, Adam.

Unknown:

Hello. Hi. It's good to be here on your lovely podcast.

Claire Waite Brown:

Thank you. Can you start by telling me about your creative enterprise and how you can help other people to get creative for themselves? Of course.

Unknown:

So I'm the founder of craft box club. And that is a monthly subscription box. So people get a new craft to do every month. And it's video guided. And I'm very kind of hands on with customers. So I'd love to help people out and give people kind of hints and tricks if they get stuck as well. So yeah, you can subscribe to craft book club and get a different craft to try every month.

Claire Waite Brown:

Oh, that sounds so cool. Okay, what about you? What were your early experiences of creativity? Like?

Unknown:

Yes, going a long way back. I was super into Lego when I was little. And I absolutely loved getting the kits and building the thing that was in the kit, and then playing with it for a little bit. But then tearing it to pieces and seeing if I could create something completely different. It was usually my little brother that turrets pieces actually. As little brothers do. But yeah, then then after that I'd love building sort of any any old random thing. And what about experiences at school. So growing up and going to school and then also at uni, I got much more into doing music. I learned a few different instruments, but I really really got into it when I started playing saxophone and I stole my brother's bass and turned up in a number of random jazz bands at school and then a little bit after school and then through to university. The first thing that I did in Freshers Week was join a band there. And then I had my own bands shortly after that, all the way through university. So writing our own songs and, and gigging in some some really cool places.

Claire Waite Brown:

Brilliant. So it was it was heavily music influence then your creativity as a young person?

Unknown:

Yes, absolutely. And I come from quite a musical family. Basically everybody in the family does something musical parent parents are in the choir, my brother's a composer. So there's lots of music around.

Claire Waite Brown:

Brilliant. You studied geography at university. Why did you choose that subject and what were you hoping to do with it?

Unknown:

I chose geography for a few different reasons. One of the main reasons I guess, was when I when I was it was between eight and 11. I was growing up in Bermuda, which I absolutely loved. I'd recommend it to anyone. It's sunshine and beach. It's It was great. But yeah, one of the things there is that there's a lot of focus on on the weather. General and all that kind of stuff on on hurricanes. And I got kind of obsessed by play watching, watching hurricanes and a bit of storm chasing and things like that. I guess it was just just wanting to be outside, you know, not so much stuck in and studying. That was my perception of it anyway.

Claire Waite Brown:

And was that a realistic perception?

Unknown:

Well, I think you know that with any course at university, there's got to be a lot of reading and essay writing, which you know, you can do in the field. But you know, there was a fair bit of that. It was, it was fairly realistic. I went Southampton, and the New Forest was right there. So it was yeah, it was lovely to go out there and do some fieldwork there. It was a bit less storm based, mainly involve what we're doing on lots of books in the rain. But it was nice to be out.

Claire Waite Brown:

And how was how was your balance of doing your university work? And you said, you did a lot of the band stuff there. Were you? Were you a good student? Or were you more interested in the band stuff?

Unknown:

Well, the short answer there is I was more interested in the band stuff. I I'm fairly good at being organised. So I got all of the stuff done. But I yeah, I guess I didn't have the passion for going through the journal articles and writing the essays that I needed to. So it probably took a little bit of a toll against the band stuff. And I think it was, it was just something that I couldn't believe the amount of it was small. But I still couldn't believe the amount of success that we had with this band of people who just met at uni. And, you know, I was writing songs, and I had no idea what I was doing. Going back to being organised. Actually, just because we were, we were kind of we were reliable. And we managed to, you know, send out the, the marketing packs and stuff like that to various venues, we managed to get quite a lot of gigs just for being Southampton's most reliable.

Claire Waite Brown:

I think that's going to play into our later discussions about craft box club as well, a mix of the creativity and the reliable ness and the organisation. I really like that. So what happened after uni then.

Unknown:

So after uni, I did a few sort of random geography jobs, but then ended up working in the city, and insurance and doing catastrophe modelling.

Claire Waite Brown:

Sounds amazing what is catastrophe modelling.

Unknown:

So that's kind of going back to the interest in storms and storm chasing. And he said that. So basically, what it is, is that insurance companies have got to make sure that they've got enough money to be able to pay for the really bad things when they happen. A really big part of that is, is hurricanes in the US. It's also earthquakes and terrorism incidents, and all that sort of stuff. So the job was modelling those big events and then saying, you know, we need to hold this much money to make sure we can we can pay for the bad things when they happen.

Claire Waite Brown:

Wow. Sounds fascinating. Did you enjoy that? Was that challenging? Was it creative?

Unknown:

Yeah, it was great. It was certainly challenging, I think coming straight out of uni into doing that, that there was a huge amount of jargon to try and work out. But I really loved the academic side of it. There were lectures all the time about new research that I could go to. And yeah, learning about the science behind all of those models was fantastic. And see, I learned a lot of new skills like programming and all about how the market worked. So yeah, the first few years of doing it, I really enjoyed it.

Claire Waite Brown:

You said the first few years, what what changed?

Unknown:

I had a I guess it was it was almost a decade of having a really good really good time in city meeting lots of my friends now. But yeah, I guess it just became as you sort of made up, it becomes more of a kind of managerial thing more kind of it based where you're you're moving numbers around. And I like the the creative side of developing new bits of software, quite enjoy coding. And then there were loads of different types of data visualisation that you could, you could experiment with. So I tried to let my creativity kind of blossom on making the coolest looking graph which is fine initially, but you can only go so far with that. Yeah, so So it became a little bit less interesting. And then then also, various things happened that led to you know, me suffering from a bit of depression and then I I also saw that happening to people around me, my peers, my friends. You know, really just getting stressed out about the working situation and burning out.

Claire Waite Brown:

Okay, so what's the how does that move to the craft box club? Firstly, we've heard about music in your life. But we've not heard about crafting being a thing in your life so far. And you've gone from your geography degree to working places and getting to this catastrophe modelling, which then now isn't as exciting as it was, and is a bit pressured. There must be something in between the between that path and what we know now, which is craft box code. So first of all, how did you come to crafting perhaps

Unknown:

there's always the odd sort of crafty arty bit around but I think the the main catalyst, if you like, for getting into crafting really was a crafting with my daughter. So we really started to grab together as an omen she was, you know, quite early, like one and a half or two, we would play with, you know, play doh and things like that. And then work up to doing making jewellery with beads, which we did again over the weekend, which is really good. But yeah, initially, when I was crafting with my daughter when she was very young, I, you know, we get all the stuff out, and I absolutely love it, and I get lost in it. And she just want to do it for a minute and then run off and do something else. And I just think, Oh, come on. Let's stay and do this for a few more hours, please. And yeah, it was it was just fun. And it took me back to the days of making Lego and just experimenting and going, Oh, well, what if we put these two things together? What does that look like? And yeah, it was just it was just great fun.

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah. How did you come to combine crafting, and business and start the craft box club.

Unknown:

Part of it was about getting some sort of freedom, you know, moving away from the job that I didn't like, and also having a young daughter to look after, I had no no real time in the day to do the sort of fun stuff and experiment apart from you know, when I was being no crafting with her. So I found out about this, these guys called the rebel business school. And they were the pop up business school at the time. So they popped up in reading, and you go along for a week or so. And they teach you for free. They teach you all of the skills to start a business. So that's things like social media, marketing and sales. And you get to experiment with over like a prototype for your product, and potentially trying to set it at the business goals. And that was just absolutely a wonderful experience, and really kick me off in the direction that I've I've, I've got tea now. And actually the day before the weekend before the course. I ended up meeting some people who'd been on the previous course. And they said, look, you've got to go to this course is fantastic. And we've we've done everything that they've said. And we've we've created this escape route business. And the way they did it was they started through the reading Fringe Festival. So they went oh, well, we'll just we'll we'll introduce you to the person who puts together the reading Fringe Festival. And you can just do something there to give it a try. And I sort of apprehensively went okay. It's nice to meet people when we meet this person. So yeah, I met her the morning of the business course before I even really sorted out an idea and said, Oh, you know, I really want to get people together to do something creative. And that will be fun women. And I expected her to just go, you know, come back when you thought about it a little bit more. And she just went, That's great. Let's do something. Or you can you can host it in the escape room. You know, these guys already. It's that's fantastic. So I sort of right, okay, I really have to do something now. So yeah, over Christmas that year, we we hosted something for the interest of all, which is a scrap challenge. So I got loads of bits of rubbish and random scrap materials. And people had to come in and create the like, like head to head had to create the best piece of art. And that was great fun.

Claire Waite Brown:

That does sound great fun. I think that's often the way that you get thrown in at the deep end and you just have to do it. So well done. Yes. Creativity found.co.uk is the place to go to find workshops, courses, supplies, kits and books to help you get creative. So if you're looking for your own creativity found experience, go have a browse to see what's so far. And if you can help adults to find their new creative passion, please get in touch on social media, or through the contact details website. You've talked about this that with the scrap art, which makes me think of obviously, you describe your kids as eco craft kits. So how are they eco friendly? Why is that important to you? How have you built that into the kit.

Unknown:

So I knew that I wanted to do something that was eco friendly. And just from the start of doing it, what that meant, I wasn't sure, but I knew that I wanted it to be to be eco friendly, and you know, wasn't wasn't going to damage the environment. And I started crafts club by doing lots of different workshops, and some of them quite random, like the scrapper thing, and then some a bit more structured. And I started by trying to reuse plastic because there's a whole load of plastic that you find in craft materials in general, even in the yarn and things like that they couldn't plastics, there's, there's a lot of it. So I thought that I'm not going to be able to get around is too big a challenge taken to be completely plastic free. Let me try and reuse things. And then just after, after doing that for a few months, it just really wasn't working out, it was quite hard to rewash, paint bottles and things like that, and people would just throw them in the bin. So I just saw, even from one night of workshop, all the waste that was was created and just thought I can't be doing this anymore. You know this, this is not the way forward. So I committed to stopping the workshops a bit, and then starting the next year, has been completely plastic free and taking on that challenge. And I was kind of terrified about whether I'd be able to make that work, because it seemed like a big challenge. And nobody's doing it at all. I shared the new box design with some friends, and it has a big plastic free stamp on it. And I bought like 1000 boxes, and they went whoa, do you really want to commit to that is he going to be able to do this, you know, all of these gets plastic free. And I was like, if I can't do it, I don't want to do it. And actually, it's been, it's been great, I've not felt like it's been a limit at all. And if anything, a little bit of an inspiration. So all the kits for craft box club, you know, come come plastic free. That's the packaging, the tools and materials, absolutely everything. We're also supporting a tree planting initiative in reading, that's run by ethical reading, that's planting urban trees within reading. So that really improves the environment reduces carbon pollution. And it helps to check or tackle climate change just makes the the world a nicer place. Aside from that there's there's other things that we do. So we use a printer for the leaflets in the in the boxes that uses really efficient process. So it's like climate change positive, essentially. And then we also work with with local suppliers. So I try and buy as much as possible of the kit from small businesses and local businesses as well.

Claire Waite Brown:

That's brilliant. And I think that's really taking the work out of it for other people. But the people that buy these, they want to be able to buy those materials. And when you said about there being plastic in yarn, and it's kind of that kind of secret stuff that ordinary people who aren't putting in the effort that you're putting in aren't putting in the research wouldn't necessarily realise. So I think it's wonderful that they can come to you and know, all the work that you've done, has meant that this kit is completely plastic free. And it's doing so much good in all the possible ways that it can. So tell me about your process because you design the kits and you actually make the things and you come up with the finished article. So tell me about your process of designing.

Unknown:

So this is really the reason for doing this because I absolutely love learning new crafts. And then going through the design process and making it all work with the tools and materials I can I can get hold of at the moment, I'm trying to plan a few months ahead. I'll generally come up with a craft that I want to try. So we type of craft like needle felting or knitting or making paper flowers or something that's that's coming in a few months. I'll basically just start to research that about three months out and try and find the most sustainable ways of doing that. So there's there's an awful lot of crafts that go straight to having a glue gun or something like that. And you have to go, oh, well let's find a different way of doing that. So you might be able to make something with origami that doesn't need glue. So yeah, I try and look at what I what I'm kind of aiming to create. Then I'll find the materials and the tools that are available. Then I'll start putting something together and And then once that's all put together, I'll make a video guides and do the final five days for the kit as well. So, yeah, I'm kind of kind of real time, just a little bit of a head of the subscribers, I'm putting in the time to understand the materials and do the design and, and get myself up to a really good level of understanding that craft. So when the kids go out, I'm really invested in those designs, I feel like I'm really well positioned to help people that are learning it for the first time as well.

Claire Waite Brown:

You've already touched on this. But do tell me in black and white terms, what can someone expect when they receive a kit.

Unknown:

So when you subscribe to craft box Club, you'll see the first kit that you're going to get, we send out kits every Friday. So you know, a lot of subscriptions will just be monthly. So you're going to be waiting around for ages before you get your thing. And with this, we want people to be excited about getting their kits, and to get on and do them. Because it's hard enough to find time for for yourself and stuff. Anyway. So yeah, we make sure we get the kits out as quickly as possible. When the kits arrive, you get a lovely presentation books contained within that that's everything that you are going to need to create a craft project. So for example, this month's kit is a an autumn leaves garland, you get two different colours of salt dough mix, which come with earth paints, which I love, love Earth paints, it's like powders, bits of earth that have different colours. So that's super sustainable, and you get to have these beautiful leaf stamps. So you can make really quite realistic looking salt, bay leaves, and then the things to put their garland together. You've also got a little postcard in there, which shows you what you're going to make, and a few of the little top tips, then that links to a video guide with step by step instructions and photos of what you're going to make the bottom of that there's like five to 10 minute in detail really easy to follow video guide that I make every month. And then there's a link at the bottom to help. So if people get stuck after, after all of that, fair enough, you know, I've been stuck in you know, how do I thread a needle or something like that people can reach out and book half an hour slots on the website with me. So we can just go through stuff in detail with a one to one.

Claire Waite Brown:

Wow. Oh, that's wonderful. That's absolutely everything. I love the support afterwards if if needs be, that's brilliant. And the lovely thing about this is that you can get it and you can do it in your own time. And you can do it at home. And you can experiment with different crafts, and maybe touch upon something that you really, really like and you want to explore further. Yeah, I

Unknown:

love it when people go. So a lot of people have reached out and gone. I love the needle felting box, for example, where do I find this wall because it's quite hard to come by and a lot of craft places. So you know, I love sending people to my awesome suppliers. And going you know, this is where you get the really good stuff. I love to support people afterwards and help them carry on a graph that they really love.

Claire Waite Brown:

And it must be there for a really good relationship kind of symbiotic relationship with the suppliers as well. You found them and you can help other people find those plastic free, eco friendly supplies. You obviously enjoy creating the kits. And I'm sure you have business skills from your previous career. Is there anything you have particularly struggled with in starting this creative business or in fact, in maintaining or developing it?

Unknown:

It's definitely skills carried over for sure. And knowing a bit of programming is really helped with doing things like making a database for orders, for example. Yeah, that's helped a lot. I guess there's there's two things, there's the actually doing the crafting, I wouldn't call it a struggle. But it's it because I don't have a strong background in that area. I suppose I do now after a few years. But But initially, I hadn't, you know haven't got a little bit background in it. So it was harder initially to research and find the ideas and have the confidence that I could make something that was actually a really nice thing. To start with. I was I was just kind of messing around with the with materials and doing something that was a bit fun. But I've really moved on to things that I think you know, I've got the designs all over the house now. And I'm really proud of the designs that I've come up with and then been able to make initially I guess I've struggled with the confidence in that area. And then yeah, the the other thing really is marketing. Absolutely no background in marketing and it's Yeah, I guess that's quite alien to a lot of new business owners. For me, it's just been a case of trying kind of everything to get the word out. Yeah, I've been a bit working on doing PR for the last three or four months, I've had a fair bit of success in that area, which has been lovely, and kind of in a nice bit of validation as well. It's all about just trying new things all the time.

Claire Waite Brown:

Yeah, it's, I think, a lot of my guests and people I've met along the way, who have the creative, the artistic bent, do struggle with the marketing side of things and kind of creating a persona, or a lot of the things that you're told about marketing that are creating a brand, it can be quite alien. And the other thing as you say, you do just have to be in people's faces all the time. And just keep it just keep doing it and keep doing it. And it's worth it because the people need to see what you're doing. And it can take a long time for people to see or even register that they've seen what you've got. So we just keep pushing those kinds of things. Can you tell me how the subscription works, and how people can connect with you and connect obviously, with the craft box club,

Unknown:

of course, you can buy a monthly subscription, so that that's for yourself. So if you go to craft books, club.com, then you can buy your monthly subscription there, that's a rolling subscription. You can also buy gift vouchers which go towards a subscription. And they're not the sort of gift vouchers that run out straightaway. And for kind of the wrong amount so that you have a few pounds left out. So they're there for a specific length of time of subscription. You can also buy purse kits individually. The other main place to go is scrapbox club.com. And that will show you that all the process for signing up.

Claire Waite Brown:

Brilliant. Thank you so much, Adam. It's been really lovely to hear your story and also how you're helping other people with these boxes. So thank you so much.

Unknown:

Thank you very much. It's it's been lovely to talk through the story and I love the podcast. It's great to be part of it.

Claire Waite Brown:

Thank you. Creativity found isn't openstage Arts production. If you're listening on Apple podcasts, please subscribe rate and review. If you would like to contribute to future episodes, visit K O hyphen F fi.com/creativity found podcast. If you contact any of the artists featured sign up to their workshops, or buy their products don't forget to mention creativity found podcast on Instagram or Facebook. Follow at creativity found podcast where you'll find photos of our contributors artwork and be kept abreast of everything we're up to