In my first blog post, I talked about how Helen Walker, our founder, came up with the idea for opening up a revolutionary Stencil Shoppe back in November of 1982. By February of the next year, she was having trouble getting enough stencils from her supplier to keep the walls well stocked! By the stroke of luck, in walked a tall young gentleman with an artist's tablet. He announced that he was a stencil designer!! His portfolio was chock full of historical designs that he hand cut for his projects.
Helen mentioned her problem of getting stencils the two of them sat down at the table and began collaborating. The key was what type of plastic to use. The ones she was buying were hand cut - but the plastic was a closely held secret because it cut so easily with an X-acto knife. My dad worked with plastics as a research engineer at DuPont so he helped in the search. We finally found a roll of clear plastic for window insulation at a small hardware store. We bought a roll and Brian tested it out. We knew we had the right thing when he announced - It Cuts Like Butter!!!
Women that worked in the shop at the time also showed interest in designing stencils, so Helen quickly came up with a plan that allowed all our staff to cut stencils of their own designs at home and then sell them under our label for a commission. With all these designers she could offer a variety of "looks" while giving the designers another source of income. So her "ah-ha moment" came - she needed to call the line DESIGNER Stencils!
Brian ALWAYS had us laughing!
Historical Stencils were popular
Simple bunnies were an early design