Studio manager Kate Vines is back ‘in the swim’ of the Paper Rose studio, yet a week ago she was competing in the FINA World Masters Aquatic Championships in Budapest with great success. Here she shares the two ‘different strokes’ in her life.
Kate Vines is not undeterred by cold, murky waters having participated and competed in open water swimming for years. Late last year though she decided to shift her swimming emphasis from the chilly lakes of England to focus on training for the FINA World Masters Championships, an international aquatic competition that took place across in Budapest last week.
The championships saw the best swimmers in the world compete in age groups starting at 25 years and going in five year bands, all the way through to 95 years-old. Among them were several ex-Olympians and many former European title-holders, plus Kate, of course!
How did you do?: “I qualified to race in the 100m butterfly and the 200m butterfly and was delighted to secure a 7th and 6th place respectively in my 40–45 year age group.”
How did it feel to see your name high up there on the scoreboard?: “It still feels pretty unbelievable to be the 6th fastest swimmer in the world in my age group, I was over the moon when I saw the results on the scoreboard! It really was one of the best adventures of my life, such a great event to have qualified for and compete in.”
What happened afterwards?: “As a reward (once I’d managed to get out of my race suit – they take around 20 minutes to put on!) I treated myself to a MASSIVE mojito!”
How did your greeting card life begin?: “I’ve always loved cards and so, when I graduated in 1998, I freelanced on a couple of ranges for Paper Rose. Now, almost 20 years later, I am now studio manager here, having started as a creative artworker 10 years ago. I feel so lucky that my card career started at Paper Rose. The variety of challenges and projects we have the opportunity to work on as a team really do keep things interesting and every day is different.”
What was your life before cards?: “Before cards, I was working in fashion – designing for clients like Warehouse, BHS, New Look, Debenhams etc. This was an ideal background to come from before moving into cards as the two industries can be very tightly linked. Every year I see card design getting closer and closer to current fashion and interiors trends.”
Are there any similarities between your swimming life and your greeting card life at Paper Rose?: “Preparing for the FINA World Masters Championships necessitated a very long hard training programme – it felt fantastic to see that the training had paid off. This is a bit like when at Paper Rose, we are working hard on a new collection and have to hit those print deadlines. It can seem like an impossible challenge at times, but the results make it SO worth the effort!”
What’s looming on the water front for you now?: “Next on the horizon is for me to get back in the open water for some more wild swimming… I’ve really missed the rivers and lakes, and I’m looking forward to a few swims with Philippa Phipps (our design leader for The Art Group) who also loves a lake swim. It gives us a great opportunity to catch up outside of the studio and get inspired by the beautiful, peaceful surroundings… Maybe we should move our team meetings to a nearby lake?!”
What’s top of the agenda in your card life at the moment?: “At the moment the studio is all about Christmas! It is always a challenge to try and bring new looks to the collection while not veering too far from the Christmas look. As studio manager, I am heavily involved in planning our seasonal offerings. It sometimes feels like the world’s most complicated jigsaw puzzle (yep, I’m a jigsaw geek as well as a swim geek!), trying to ensure we publish the best balance of designs and styles across the required captions, but it’s so satisfying when it finally fits together.”
What’s the best bit about your ‘day job’?: “I love working with the team at Paper Rose and The Art Group. We may be small, but every single department within the business is filled with interesting, motivated individuals who all pull together to try and keep things running smoothly. The best bit about my ‘day job’ is most certainly having the privilege to work as part of the studio team, and to feel inspired by the talents each person brings to the group, from our creative director (Reggie Pugh) and little admin team through to designers and our new studio assistant. I know that Reggie works so hard to ensure a creative environment, where ideas can flourish and come to life, that it makes every project a fresh and exciting one to embark upon.
I also really enjoy meeting new artists. There is nothing better than building a relationship with an artist and seeing them grow and develop with every new brief set to them. I think that our On The Cards Project that we run with selected universities is a great example of this.”
Any words of encouragement for those with watery aspirations?: “As a swimming coach I would urge anyone that wants to get involved in swimming to just get out there and get stuck in… masters clubs are a brilliant place to meet new people and get fit at the same time. There’s lots of information online www.swimming.org/masters/.”