It was back to school for Stripey Cats Cards’ founder Jonathan Crosby when he took the card publisher’s success story back to his old classroom.
Jonathan was one of several alumni of St James C of E Junior School in his home town of Whitehaven, Cumbria, asked to take part in an Aspiration/Inspiration day and speak to the pupils about his own career path.
Jonathan, now 41 and living in Manchester, started the award-winning card publishing business 10 years ago. He admitted it did feel “weird going back into your old school as a grown up after 30 years!” but he loved it.
“It was great to work with the pupils; it awoke good memories of my own schooldays there. The children were very creative and fun to be with – a really nice experience for me…and hopefully for them too,” said Jonathan.
It was his old school pal, Andrew Beattie, who is now head teacher of the school, who came up with the idea to ask some of his own former classmates from childhood schooldays to return to St James and talk about the individual career paths they had followed.
Jonathan took along some of his cards (and his Henries trophies), some blank cards and plenty of googly eyes (for which the company is famed) and encouraged the children to create their own interpretation of a Stripey Cats card. “They came out brilliantly…future card publishers in the making!” predicted Jonathan.
Something that took Jonathan by surprise initially was to see so many of the young children wearing red lipstick and bright eye shadow, till he realised that the previous ‘inspirational speaker’ was a beautician and make-up artist!
One of the teachers at the school, Neil Carruthers is another former classmate of Jonathan’s. “It was great to hear Jonathan tell the children all about his work as an artist and graphic designer and also how he got into the industry and had built up his own business from scratch. We were friends all through infants and juniors and are still close friends today, so it was brilliant to welcome him back!” said Neil.
Top: Stripey Cat Cards’ Jonathan Crosby giving some art direction to one of the pupils.