I get job envy every time I visit Power Creative and see April Brown and Rick Sims doing their jobs. April and Rick are Power Creative’s Stylists/ Set Producers. It is under their creative eyes that every photo and video shoot or social media posting has just the right look: the carefully chosen furniture, the where-did-you–get-those accessories, and the I’d-kill-for-those outfits … all precisely selected to make their clients’ products shine.
What’s it like to shop for a living? I quickly learned it is much more than that. I sat down with April and Rick and got an education on what it takes to be a Stylist / Set Producer.
SRFD: Explain what a Stylist / Set Producer does.
Rick: After we get our marching orders, the assignment, there is a lot of research. Next comes budgeting and planning. (It’s a given that we’ve got style.). After the set is built, or site is chosen, we totally take over and create the entire look.
April: What comes first is communication of what the project goal is, then we gather, explore, locate, research, build, cook … all to create a feel for the style. These days, with all the social media available for everyone to see, it is becoming difficult to be original. Our biggest challenge is creating something unique.
Although Rick and April have been working together for over 30 years (the last 14+ at Power Creative), their roads to becoming Stylists differ greatly. Rick had a friend who was a visual merchandiser at an ad agency and Rick followed in his footsteps. After working in retail doing visual sets, April finished college with a degree in Theatre and worked as a prop master, scenic designer and then started free-lancing.
SRFD: Instead of using the word “shopping” to describe what you do, you two use the words “researching” and “exploring” and get inspiration and ideas everywhere. Essentially, it seems like your job is 24/7. Can you ever turn it off?
Rick and April: (in unison) No.
April: It’s a double-edged sword: I may not turn off, but in today’s world … being able to see so much on-line … can make life/job simpler. I don’t have to leave my chair to shop. I naturally love exploring.
Rick: As time has gone by, I have started to hate shopping, but I am fortunate if I do have to shop for myself, I’ve usually spotted what I want or need while on location or when I’ve been researching for a new photo shoot.
SRFD: What does your dream kitchen look like?
Rick: I live in an old house, so I’m not picky — just not a kitchen that is 40+ years dated. But … I do like a kitchen island with seating and would like to have the kitchen open to a larger seating area. Much like the English Country Kitchen we shot a few years ago.
April: I would want a kitchen that is open, warm and inviting; probably more traditional style, in neutral colors; simple, not cluttered. We created a kitchen last year that sums it up well.
April: It’s hard. Many times I’ve been asked and I take this seriously. I put thought and effort into recommendations, but then get frustrated when they don’t do any of the suggestions I give them.
Rick: Don’t ask me to help you if you aren’t willing for me to tell you the truth. Especially if I’ve had a couple of cocktails …