So, here we go ;) I wanted this Challenge Blog to be different than the rest. I’m sure it will evolve as it grows.

Some people question my way of doing business or my philosophy when it comes to business and customer. That’s just it, to me it’s not business to customer, it’s person to person. I respect you, you respect me, we’re both human. Those of you that have shopped on know what my philosophy is all about, at least I hope so ;) I promise, the blog isn’t going to promote the selling part of with every comment, challenge or DT member. “You can find some wonderful 6x6 pads at…” said with a big smile and a salesperson tone. That’s not what I want to accomplish. Of course the blog will: highlight new products here & there; link products back to the website for easy purchase when desired; and help promote brands/people with guest designers – that’s sort of expected. But, in the end, I want it to be real. Fun, informative, personable & social – that’s what I want.

Enjoy! Rusty

The Oozak Challenge Blog is different –

1.       It’s a month long, here’s why…

a.       I think websites that have weekly or bi-weekly challenges do it so that they are ‘in your face’ every week. It seems that it’s more of a promotional tool for them than a fun thing to do. I want this to be fun. Coffee or tea anyone?

b.      There are a billion challenges out there. Get out and explore the world. Meet new people. See some amazing cards. Discover new techniques. Fill your brain and then share them with us!

2.       A new designer every month. A fresh face with fresh ideas…

a.       Think of the DT as like the cast of your favorite TV show, except I hope that you don’t hate anyone on my DT (you know how it is, there’s always one character you can’t stand!) Just like a well written TV show, characters have to die off once in a while.

b.      The ever changing DT keeps it interesting. Their enthusiasm is contagious for both the DT and players.

3.       Guest designers, guest designers, guest designers…

a.       Even with the ever changing DT, a Guest Designer or Special Guest adds even more variety to the mix.

b.      Would you watch ELLEN if she had the same guest every day? No. My goal is to get one Guest Designer each week! Yes, that’s 52 Guest Designers per year! It won’t happen right away, but that’s the goal ;)

The Oozak Design Team is different –

1.       The DT Call never closes. You can apply anytime to dt at oozak dot com

2.       Designers aren’t selected based on their purchases from

3.       Designers aren’t selected solely on their capabilities. From Newbie to Pro – it’s a new way to be challenged.

4.       When we select a new DT Member…

a.       They will be notified one month prior to joining the team to make sure they are still available.

b.      If they accept ‘The Challenge’, they will be announced on the 1st of the month prior to their debut.

c.       They will be responsible for the next month’s main challenge (in other words, the first month they are on).

5.       On the last month of a DT Member’s term, they will be responsible for the Oozak SMASH Book. The Oozak SMASH Book is a way for the designer to express their experience of being on the Oozak DT and to share that process with the Blog.


  1. This sounds fabulous!!! My only comment would be not to restrict it to cards, although I know that makes more sense with the Copics :)

    I would love to be on the DT btw lol, it sounds like the most awesome DT ever and I love the smash book idea!!

  2. I think this is a very unique challenge. However, a month long challenge is a bit hard. Most card makers need challenges to spur their creative mindset, and anything longer than 2 weeks tends to get forgotten. I've found that art journalers and mixed media people do well with longer challenges, however. I am excited to see how this develops! The smash book idea... wow - blew me out of the water with that idea!

    1. I like the mixed media and that was part if the reason for the month long timeline ;) Mixed media is becoming so popular that I wanted to be ready right from the start.

      I must give credit to anaRy for the Smash Book idea. She was definitely the seed for that adventure. I feel it goes along with the mixed media generation. ~Rusty

  3. I think this sounds absolutely wonderful!

    I really love the idea of a month long challenge. It'll give people more time to play along and even create more than one project per challenge.

    I'm interested to see how the Smash Book idea will work out. I haven't really seen much done with those yet. But then again, I haven't really looked!

  4. I too love the month long challenge - those weekly ones are just too hard to keep up with. And I love seeing the different designers.

  5. Perfectly said Rusty! I like to pay along with month long challenges as it allows me to get the perfect piece together, yet I still miss some?!?its a month long,,,, much more time do I need right??! LOL Your team sounds like it would be a pleasure to be on and if I don't make it, I'd surely love to be a guest!!! Best of luck to u in your new venture!

  6. Awesome ideas Rusty. That is one of the reason we love shopping with you. You are always so nice and treat us special!!! That's why I always tell people to check Oozak out. Love the idea of month long challenge, that way maybe I can get myself together to enter something. Being on the DT sounds like fun too. Maybe I can finally get a chance to try out once I get home back to SC. :-)

  7. When will we find out who the inagural DT members are? Also...if you have submitted samples to be a DT member, do you have to resubmit monthly or will you keep those on file for future spots?

    1. We will announce the first DT addition tomorrow. Applications willl be kept on file for future spots. ~Rusty

    2. AWESOME! Can't wait to see all the "eye candy"!!

  8. The challenges sound really interesting Rusty! I think it would be great if challenges are themed rather than set around creating a card / 3D piece / layout - then it is attractive to all. And a month is perfect - I hate weekly challenges as I by the time I get an idea, create, photograph & post - the challenge has passed!
    Can't wait to hear if I got onto the team and for the eye candy to start :)

  9. Sounds like fun!! I like the idea of monthly challenges, it gives everyone a chance to participate and you can keep it fresh by having different people "remind" us each week of that month's challenge! I'm looking forward to it! :)

  10. Looks and sounds great to me! Can't wait to see what the first challenge will be!

  11. like the idea of monthly - so many of us are already involved in weekly challenges and this will give us time to do this challenge! really looking forward to seeing who the new DT is going to be and the first challenge...have never done a Smash book - very creative idea!

  12. This sounds fun! I like the idea of the month long challenge...although I do like a little nudge from some of the weekly challenges too. So that's whats so great about the many challenges out there!:)

    As for the Smash Book idea - how fun! I haven't seen anyone else do something like that and it would be great to see that come together and be shared with everyone. Nice idea!

    Oh boy, can't wait to hear who the new team will be - I'm sure you found some great people!

  13. This sounds Fun. I am so looking forward to this challenge and I can't wait to hear who is on the DT.


  14. Grabbed the blog badge and placed it on my blog for all to see :) - I'm soooo excited to see the criteria of the first challenge, and... to meet the team! wendy xx

  15. Wow, that's some different and cool ideas, Rusty. As always, you deliver as promised!!! Can't wait to check out your first challenge and see who's on the DT. I love that you are giving people of all skill levels a chance and changing things up within the DT, too.

  16. Rusty, Looks like you've put together something good here. One month is a good choice because more time = more creative cards and posts, I think. The other thing about a one month challenge is that it also gives us more time to go around and comment on everyone's creations, and I'm sure you'll have a lot of participant's card to comment on. Can't wait to get started. Best of luck with this new venture.

  17. Great comments everyone! I appreciate the feedback!

    Please feel free to give me the good and the bad. Your input is the key to the Blog's success. We will evolve!


  18. I have a quick question Rusty - when you say there will be a new DT member every month, does that mean their term still last 4 months as originally posted in the DT call? In that case, adding a new designer every month with a term of 4 months, by Aug 1 you will have 4 designers on the team (not counting Melanie and AnaRy or the weekly guest designers) which will continue to stay at 4 designers as the 4 month term ends and another person fills their place. Just want to be sure I have it right. :)
    Also how long are apps kept? Is there a point someone should resubmit, especially for newbies as they grow and add to their projects/skills?

    1. Great question Melanie:)

      You have it right. For now, the DT will consist of 2 Co-Leads and 4 rotating designers.

      Mary Witter is the first addition to the DT, her term will be May 1st thru August 31st. Her replacement will be announced August 1st.

      We will announce our next DT addition May 1st. Their term will begin June 1st, and so on ;)

      Apps stay on file. Yes, if you would like to send us updates please do so. Like I said before, DT members aren't chosen based on their ability. We will have 'newbies' on our team as well as seasoned veterans ;) We want to encourage everyone to participate. So, if you have advanced, send us your updates so we may 'recategorize' you.


  19. I was soooooo very glad to hear that DTs aren't chosen soley based on whether or not they make purchases from your store. While I am a customer of Oozak, I have applied for other store DTs and found that because I wasn't a customer my talent, knowledge and/or skills weren't consider. I think that it narrows the creative talent pool available to that store. Having only your customers be eligible would possibly bring in the same shoppers compared to new shoppers. Anyways, thank you Rusty (and co-leaders) for being one of the first DTs that I have seen that makes it "fair" for everyone to have a chance to represent Oozak!! :-)

  20. Looking forward to your blog additions. Naturally, I would love to be a DT member or Guest designer for your great products. Nobody does Service with a smile like OOZAK!

  21. I would love to apply for a GDT spot but have never seen a Smash Book here in SOuth Africa! I will continue to be inspired to take part in your challenges!
    luv'n huggz
    Jen Leeflang
    South Africa

  22. My experiences with your store have always been stellar!! Your customer service is A++++++. So happy to have found your blog and the opportunities to be a GDT or even on the DT.

    Hugs and smiles