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Face painting kit series: the Craft-n-Go, part 3

With face painters continually looking for ways to save time without sacrificing a professional set up, Craft-n-Go has come up with one solution with their Craft-n-Go Pro Workstation. One of the first to embrace the possibilities of the Craft-n-Go, Lenore Koppelman, the Cheeky Chipmunk and new face painting consultant for the Craft-n-Go company, shares her evaluation of this versatile tool for professional face painters.

Lenore's work is characterized by brilliant colors and imaginative designs.
Photo courtesy of Lenore Koppelman, used with permission

Artist spotlight: Lenore Koppelman, the Cheeky Chipmunk
Astoria Queens, New York
Kit of choice: The Craft-n-Go Pro Portable Crafting Workstation

Q: You were an enthusiastic advocate of your Craft-n-Go before they selected you as their face painting consultant. How did you become a consultant, and what improvements can we expect from the new Craft-n-Go kit now that you and Cynthia, the CEO, are focusing on developing kits which are even more practical for professional face painters?

Lenore: Being hired to come on the Craft-n-Go team as their professional face painting consultant was completely unexpected, and I couldn't possibly be more thrilled. I was an instant fan of the Craft-n-Go kit from the moment I got my hands on one. It was so easy to set up and trick out, and I instantly knew that this was almost the perfect kit for me!

But there were a few issues that I could not ignore. Living in New York City, I am one of the thousands of city dwellers who do not own a car. We sold our car as soon as we moved to New York nearly eight years ago. It has been a liberating transition to fully embrace public transportation, but it also means that lugging around a heavy kit can be more than a little bit challenging for me. If I had a car I could pop my Craft-n-Go in, I would love it as it is. But I'm a hard-core city dweller. My reality entails going up and down flights of stairs to get in and out of the subway. It involves clients who are throwing birthday parties for their children inside of their fifth floor walk-ups. Sometimes I'm dragging it fifteen city blocks from one gig to the next, or running down Manhattan streets while trying to hail cabs that are whizzing by too quickly to catch.

Since Craft-n-Go has literally the best customer service of any company I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with, I emailed Cynthia Faller, the CEO of the company. Cynthia was so easy to talk to that I immediately felt comfortable and expressed my few concerns. I was incredibly in love with using the kit, but was struggling with getting it to my various gigs. I wanted something just as wonderful to use, but which was more compact. Something with larger, rugged wheels that were meant for subway stairs and city streets.

Cynthia explained that the kit she designed was originally intended for hobbyists, like scrapbookers, crafters, and jewelry makers, to use in their homes when they were ready to work on their favorite hobby. Now that so many face painters were getting excited about using the Craft-n-Go as their professional face painting kit, she was really interested in creating something specifically with professional face painters in mind.

I offered her a few ideas that I had from my own personal wish-list, and we hit it off. Over the telephone our ideas flowed back and forth as if we could read each other's minds. It felt as if we were old friend who had known each other forever, and we made a great team. A week into May, Cynthia impressed me with how much she was attempting to learn about the art of face and body painting and how passionately she was diving into learning about the profession. She had so many questions for me about what we all desire in a kit. That's when she shocked me by offering to hire me as their official face painting consultant.

I went out of my mind with excitement. This was the perfect project for me. I could indulge my OCD tendencies in trying to help Cynthia come up with creative ways to customize the new kit with two of my greatest passions: organizing and face painting. And since I live in New York City, I live in the perfect location for testing out the prototype on busy city streets. I can give it a run through the subway, or up and down those walk-up apartment buildings, or on the street chasing a speeding cab. I'll get to try out the prototype in a real urban setting and tweak any bugs before it becomes the final product.

I'm so happy that I get to work with such a fantastic team. Everyone at Craft-n-Go is incredibly creative and upbeat. They've made me feel right at home. Cynthia is the best boss ever. She's passionate about giving her clientele what they need, no matter what their hobby or profession might be. I mean, this woman has never face painted in her life, yet she is deeply immersing herself in learning everything she can about the face painting profession. This is one of the things that I admire the most about her. Cynthia has a hardcore passion for creating the perfect kit for everyone. She's living her passion, as I am living mine. I feel honored that she asked me to be part of this project, and I pinch myself over it every day. I am so incredibly blessed.

Q: Over the past few days, you've shared the physical specs which you feel make Craft-n-Go a tremendous workstation for face painters. What are your final comments on your kit?

Lenore: I cannot recommend this kit enough! (Although now that I'm officially working for the company, I suppose I am slightly biased.) I feel organized, which is such a calming feeling. Fewer things make me as frantic right before or during a gig as struggling to figure out where my supplies are. Before my Craft-n-Go, I used to stare into my previous kit and fumble around, desperately looking for my spray water bottle, the perfect color poofer, or my liquid bling. I used to dig around for an important tool and would wonder to myself, "Oh no! Did I leave it at home?" This would completely throw me for a loop, even if I did eventually find what I was looking for. I kept thinking to myself, "Get it together! Stop being such a disorganized mess!" I would take a few deep breaths, smile, and go back to painting until a few minutes later when I needed something else I couldn't easily get to.

I am sure that other people are really good at being organized without a special compartmentalized kit, but I'm just not one of those people. I need all the help I can get. I feel more in control of my gigs now and this great sense of confidence is everything.

I also love the looks on parents' faces when I tell them that they can have all of the tables to themselves at every event. No longer do I have to watch the distressed looks when they realize that the table they had promised to provide me with in our contract would mean that they have one less table for displaying party decorations, food, presents, and goodie bags. No longer do I have to watch a mother's face fall as she looks at me and says, "Oh! The little side table next to the sofa isn't big enough? But I don't have another table to loan you." Or, "Ohhh. You need a table at least as big as this one? But this is where I was going to put the chocolate fountain. Now where am I going to put it?"

Now they can have their chocolate fountain, and the rest of their bells and whistles, too. I have everything I need in one place. On wheels. Ready to go in minutes flat. Ready to impress!

Once I arrive at any gig, all I have to do to get ready is lower the legs and pop that baby open. Voila! Once I do that, I can instantly begin to focus on my passion and share it with the world. Life is far too short to waste my time doing anything but that. My childhood dream of becoming a professional face painter actually came true. Pinch me, please! I still cannot believe it. How can it get any better than this? And what if it actually does? I am excited and eager to find out.

The current Craft-n-Go kit is available through the Craft-n-Go website. However, if you'd like wait for the lighter kit designed for face painters, keep an eye out for the next generation which is scheduled to be released later this year.

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