Believe it or not our ILLUMINATOR this week is none other than Chief Creative Officer of the North Pole Christmas Co. SANTA CLAUS!
We caught up with the big man while getting our family Christmas photo, and he kindly took some time out to answer some questions.
We discover how a heritage business stays relevant and creatively ahead of the game in order to appeal to an ever evolving and expanding customer base.
What/who/where do you take inspiration from?
I always find music really inspiring, it used to be Brahms, then The Beatles but more recently I've been getting into UK Grime. That Dizzie Rascal was definitely on the naughty list but his beats are so nice. Mrs Claus in a constant inspiration to me, I’m surprised that she didn’t see me as a lost ‘claus’ a long time ago ;)
What does your workspace look like Santa?
Ever since I watched, 'The Minimalists' on Netflix I realised how cluttered my HoHoHeadquaters was getting after around 1,600 years in the job. So I decided to strip my studio right back to a clean white space (the elves jokingly call it Santy's Igloo) and now it feels tranquil. I've also digitised my records and practice mindfulness which has really brought down my stress levels during the busy period.
Briefly describe your creative process and how you generate ideas
I keep it simple and still begin with a piece of paper and a pencil. My pencil of choice is the classic Palomino Blackwing.
Working with my team of elf trend forecasters we begin by mapping out the strategy in January. With the strategy in mind we focus on product development and testing - it's a very collaborative process and these days there's a lot of technology involved. I've certainly had to #upskill to stay relevant but it keeps my mind sharp.
What tools do you use, creative or otherwise?
I’ve certainly embraced the digital revolution and we now have a team of hot Dev'elf’opers (see what I did there) who bring ideas to life.
We use MailChimp to gather our Naughty and Nice lists, it's great being able to segment the lists and see who is really engaging with the Christmas spirit. Then there's the Reindeers but you can’t call them tools, maybe Rudolph, fame really went to his head.
What is your favourite piece of work?
We'll it's not the work exactly more the results, sometimes years later. I delivered Lionel Messi his first Football, and Wes Anderson his first Super 8 camera. I can't really claim ALL the credit for, 'The Royal Tenenbaums' but maybe just a bit.
We hope you've found this week's Illuminator a very merry read. You can catch Santa at a shopping mall near you for a limited time only.
HAPPY SILLY SEASON,
Michael & George.