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The Birth of a French Grinch in 2009
By our fourth holiday season in the bon bon business, we'd come a long way! Our very first Christmas, we didn't have a catalog, just a tri-fold brochure. For year two, we changed our format to a small catalog size and added a holiday story, a parody of 'Twas the Night Before Christmas. That catalog received rave reviews from our customers. In fact, some customers would call us up just to tell us how much they loved the story, without ever placing an order. (Talk about depressing for us - our intention was that our catalog would entertain and sell product too!)For year three, we followed up with a parody on the film Elf. Both Pascal and I appeared as elves in the catalog that told the story of Leon the Bon Bon and the other bon bon elves. When it was time to work on our fourth holiday catalog, I emailed our brilliant graphic designer, Brent Holloman, with a list of possible suggestions for the catalog's theme. Brent liked "Mr. French: The Grinch Who Tried to Stop Christmas!" best, so we immediately began brainstorming ideas.Lucky for me, Brent has a talented illustrator-friend who worked for the most famous animation company in the world. I fondly referred to Brent and Brett as my B-Team. Brent created a rough layout for the catalog, and then Brett drew a series of rough sketches that where meant to look like Pascal (as the Grinch) and me (as Little Charley-Lou). This was the most difficult part of the process for us. I just couldn't see the resemblance in those caricatures; I thought that the very first rendering of me looked like Phyllis Diller! Brett was extremely patient with our vain requests, and considering that we have never met (he was working from photographs), I think he did a great job of capturing our personalities as animated Seuss-like characters. His illustrations are sheer genius (you've got to see the "Hand" that dips the bon bons!)Brett sent his sketches to Brent who colored them in on the computer. I got to spend a few minutes watching Brent color, and it's such a cool process! It looks like even more fun than coloring with crayons. Brent has a great eye for detail, and he added fonts and dividing lines and lots of graphic touches that further enhanced the idea of our French Grinch story. I really do think that the final result would make a wonderful storybook, and it is still something I hope to do one day.