The reasons why the Oopsy Daisy Fine Art For Kids brand has become a household name are almost too countless to name. With well over a thousand unique pieces of art from 55 accomplished artists, and a broad product offering extending beyond the giclee print on canvas, including clocks, lighting, rugs, growth charts, placemats, jewelry and clothing, Oopsy Daisy Fine Art For Kids is widely known as the leading manufacturer of children’s artwork today. Last, but certainly not least, the fundamental reason why Oopsy Daisy is the most prominent presence in the children’s art industry is due to the talents of its owner and founder, Karen Capp.
Karen Capp and her husband Tom founded Oopsy Daisy back in 1999. While searching for artwork for their own children’s rooms, they discovered a huge void in the marketplace for fine art for kids. One of Karen’s goals, along with providing beautiful and inspiring artwork, is to instill an appreciation of art in children at an early age. For this reason, Oopsy Daisy includes a brief biography of each artist along with every painting. As a company, they have evolved over the years to offer so many complementary products making decorating a cinch. If you just adore a particular painting, you can now find the matching lamp and nightlight, or rug etc. In addition, most paintings are part of a larger collection so that you can easily pull together the whole look. Depending on space, you can buy just one or two paintings or you can opt to buy as many as ten and hang them in groupings. A few great examples of some of these vast collections are the incredible animal paintings by Meghann O’Hara (it’s almost impossible to buy just one because they are all so darn cute) and the vintage sports series by Aaron Christensen.
I distinctly remember the first time I saw the Oopsy Daisy collection in person, and the sheer glee that I felt as I stared at each painting. Never before had I been so enthralled by children’s artwork and I actually felt a little star struck when I met Karen, the genius behind it all! Even now, years later, every time Karen introduces pieces from new and existing artists, I get a tingle in my toes from the excitement. I find myself thinking, I MUST find a place in my house to put some of this new art! Since I have already covered every bit of wall space in each of my kids’ rooms, I need to live vicariously through our customers as they purchase the new designs.
Something that most people don’t know about Karen, is that she is not only bringing together all of these incredible artists and compiling their work into a collection, but she is a very integral part of the creative process that goes into making each painting. She is choosing colors, suggesting themes, concepts and ideas and really is the driving force behind the designs in most cases. She has such a keen sense of what it takes to make an inspiring and appealing piece of children’s art, and a true understanding for what parents and children are looking for.
When I was decorating my children’s rooms, I had such fun searching through each artist’s collection and finding just the right pieces to suit their personalities. I loved seeing their reactions as we hung the artwork, and continue to enjoy seeing them discover new elements in each painting.
Day at the Bay Canvas Reproduction by Jill McDonald and Our World Mural Banner by Donna Ingemanson hang in my three year old Sebastien’s room. Sebastien loves to point out the various animals on his map, and we usually end up having a brief conversation about them before his afternoon nap.
My seven year old daughter Genevieve is a vivacious child with an incredible imagination. She loves to draw pictures and dream up fantastic stories. For her I chose many bright and colorful pieces from Jill McDonald’s fairy series. When she was three we bought her the Once Upon A Time Canvas Reproduction and it was a great source of fun for her every night to talk about what all of the fairies were doing and which one she happened to like best that day. Later, we added the Fairy Triptych made up of Morning Fairies Canvas Reproduction, Afternoon Fairies Canvas Reproduction and Nighttime Fairies Canvas Reproduction which provide even more entertainment for Genevieve.
I let Gabrielle, who is eleven, choose her favorite pieces when we transitioned to a more mature room design last year. She loves blue and chose several paintings by Gail Kaseguma. We hung Flower Tree, Gumball Tree, Orange Tree and Butterfly Tree all in a row on one wall and the lager Spring Jazz Panoramic Canvas Reproduction on the other. I love that the colors are both soothing and vibrant at the same time, and the designs are playful and sweet.
I am now in the process of finishing Cosette’s nursery. She is approaching three months, and I have been dragging my feet because I almost can’t bare to choose between all of the amazing options in the Oopsy Daisy collection. I have a case of designer’s block and may have to solicit Karen’s expert help with this!
I have long been in awe of Karen Capp and totally in love with the Oopsy Daisy Fine Art For Kids collection, so I am thrilled to be sharing this personal interview with you today. Karen gives 110% in all that she does and it is that effort mixed with a wonderful natural talent that makes Oopsy Daisy one of a kind.
What inspired you to start a children’s art business?
Like many owners of kid related businesses, our first child was our inspiration! While decorating his nursery, my husband and I found we couldn’t find art that seemed more current and pertinent. We wanted fresh and fun, but with a real art feel. Tom (my husband) comes from a family of artists and his mother was our first artist. We started this business together (and yes, we still love working together) and at our first trade show in Atlanta we featured just three artists. Now, ten years later, our business family has grown to encompass more than 80 artists, all with different styles, yet each shares a sense of play and color that makes our line feel cohesive and unified.
Oopsy Daisy carries such a wonderful assortment of art from many different artists. How would you describe the Oopsy Daisy style philosophy?
We look for art that will engage the child, and at the same time art that will flow with the design style of the rest of the home. We live in Southern California where home prices tend to be astronomical, so homes are small and we wanted our kids’ rooms to be tasteful in the same way that our family room or living room was. We really believe that children respond to interesting, well-crafted artwork and color choices. Both my son and daughter interacted with the art we hung on their walls, with no prompting from us. When she was four, she made up names for all the fairies in Jill McDonald’s “Forest Fairies” and made me repeat them correctly each night at bedtime so that kind of backfired on me when I was tired and couldn’t remember…
Also, it is important that an artist put something of themselves and their soul into a piece- that is what makes it special and significant. When Jennifer Mercede started to work on “Together- Animal Kingdom”, I told her to have fun with it. She puts text in many of her pieces and if you look closely at the piece, one of the lines says “have fun! She instructed.” When you look at that incredible piece of wild animals and crazy color, you know Jennifer had a fabulous time with her brush and her paints!
We know you have great taste in artwork. Does this come from an educational background in art? Are you artistic?
I am not an artist but I have (if I do say so myself) a definite sense of color and what works for us. Some of the artists I work with have paid me a great compliment in saying that they find me a very good art director. I don’t have an educational background in art- in fact, before starting Oopsy daisy, Fine Art For Kids, I worked in television news as a reporter/anchor. Go figure… you just never know where life will take you. My mother instilled in my sister and me, a great appreciation for the arts and we grew up going to museums, theater and traveling a lot too as we lived overseas most of our childhood. I like to think that some of that global interest, in cultures and art styles, is reflected in our line too.
What is your favorite part of your daily work … when you reflect on the day, what is most rewarding? Every time a new piece of art is finished, it’s like Christmas for me. I really love working with our artists from the beginning on the concept, colors and sketches- then seeing their final magic. I have to say too, when I am in our studio facility and I see personalized artwork lined up, getting ready for packing and shipping, I can see all the bedrooms the paintings are heading to. Knowing our pieces end up in real kids’ spaces all over the world is a big reward. One time we were house hunting and we went into a home with our realtor and there in the nursery was “Animal Alphabet” by one of our long-time artists, Maria Carluccio. It made us giggle- we sometimes can’t believe we started something from our garage that has now become so much bigger than just ourselves. We are particularly proud of producing the vast majority of our products in the USA. We now employ 35 people in our San Diego facilities and it is important to us as parents and Americans that we are creating opportunity in our country.
Do you have any advice for other working moms?
Well, help your friends whenever you can and they will help you. I couldn’t achieve any kind of balance in my life if it weren’t for my neighborhood friends and our efforts to carpool and schedule together. It is really hard to say “take time for yourself” because that really feels unachievable some days, so just do the best you can. I also think it always helps to remind yourself, “is this a big problem or a little problem” and just focus on tackling one thing at a time. I am constantly reprioritizing my list so I feel like I have a handle on things.
If you had to pick a favorite piece from the Oopsy Daisy collection, what would it be?
I can’t pick between my children, our artists or our artwork. Way too many things to love about all of them!
What sets the Oopsy Daisy art collection apart from other children’s art?
I would have to say both the breadth and depth of our line- we have more than eighty artists and some of those artists have 30 or more pieces in their collection so the options are just huge. At the same time, quality, quality, quality. Our artists are professionals and their education and experience show in the pieces they create for us. Customer service is another thing that we really care about- will this piece of artwork match your fabric, did the gift arrive in time for the birthday. Our service team cares a lot and I believe it shows. Lastly, joy! When people come into our trade show booth and see all the art together, it is a happy place- just like what you would want for your child’s room.
Do you have any news that you would like to share, perhaps about upcoming designs or introductions to your line?
We never stop introducing new pieces- this week in fact we are releasing more than 60 new pieces of artwork to the line. We also very recently introduced table top lamps with decorative art shades and pull charms, wool rugs, jewelry for girls, canvas clocks and infant pant & tee sets. Whew, that was a busy 6 months! We are also introducing new gift packaging for our night lights this April, with gift packaging for growth charts and jewelry to follow.
Now…Just for Fun
Favorite Food Mexican food or chocolate cake!
Favorite TV Show Brothers and Sisters, although sadly I haven’t watched in a while
Favorite Movie I really thought “Slumdog Millionaire” was amazing but I have to admit I normally go for the more “feel good” choices. I can never get enough of a good laugh and “RV” with Robin Williams makes me laugh every time we watch it.
Favorite Weekend Activity Sailing or just relaxing with family and friends
Favorite Band Favorite Band Don’t laugh- I’m a closet rocker. I have classic rock on my iPod like “Sweet Home Alabama” and “Paradise City” but I also really like country- Dixie Chicks, Carrie Underwood and Rascal Flatts.