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Happy Mother’s Day!

August 1988. Quadras was flourishing. The Perimeter Mall holiday catalog would soon be going to press, and I was in Northside Hospital labor and delivery reviewing the final proofs. My first daughter, Alexandra, was born, and two weeks later I was back at work and she was in her nursery down the hall. Fourteen months later, my second daughter, Charlotte, was born, and five weeks later, we were all back at Quadras in the new two bedroom plus a playroom nursery we had built when adding on studio space for the newly awarded Macy’s Cellar account. (A contract that had us producing 50+ pages a week, 52 weeks a year, for 4+ years.)

Each Monday morning I would arrive loaded down with a weeks worth of baby clothes, bibs, diapers, and food, and collectively, we had 4 cribs, 4 high chairs, 2 playpens, and double the amount of toys for life at home and at Quadras.

The girls rode their big wheels through the studio, modeled for lighting tests, swung from Johnny Jump-Ups in the doorways, took their first steps, and had a kiddie pool in the side yard of our building. In their bedtime prayers they never failed to ask God to bless Ray, Rick, Beverly, and the other employees that were their friends and family, they ate their lunches and celebrated their birthdays in the same kitchen that we have today, (renovated several times since!) and they were on a first name basis with our clients.

Jane, then Carlyn, and then Janis were the amazing women that met us there each morning, cared for my children - the self-proclaimed company mascots, and balanced the unusual daytime routine of life in a photo studio and thriving company. One of my most prized possessions is the hand colored (with crayon), Xerox portraits of the girls from when Jane used to place them, face down, in the copy machine.

That routine lasted for seven years, until Alex went into the first grade, and Charlotte into kindergarten. Taking them to work was ofttimes a crazy and harrowing logistical nightmare, but it worked for me. Older and wiser, I know now that they would have also been fine at home, or in daycare, or with a relative, because with any of the options, I would have still been their mother, and would have loved them still, from the depths of my soul.

My girls say they have few memories of their early years here, but I have many; and today, Alex works at Quadras, and her first office was actually in the little room that had been her bedroom when she was a baby.

Work and motherhood is not for the faint of heart, but to all those mothers that seek to find balance between career and home life, and especially those mothers that have made careers at QI, I wish a heartfelt Happy Mother’s Day!

Cynthia A. Morgan
Co-President

MUDPIE FASHION

We love creating videos. there's something about being able to capture a moment and a feeling, possessing the ability to relive it exactly as it was. When it's done correctly, you can truly be transported. We hope you enjoy your 20 seconds at Serenbe Stables, bundled up in your Mudpie attire. If it was over too soon, catch the full length version here (click for link).

The real behind the scenes...

Yep, a week long fashion shoot … “Such a cool, fun, job. I can't believe you get to do stuff like this!” friends tell us. Well, I am sure that none of us would trade it for a desk job, but if only they saw it for what it really is…a LOT of hard work.

But there's something about the finished product of your labor - a beautiful catalog, a gorgeous website, filled with dreamy images, that just fills us with pride. We did it. We created it.

The team woke up at 5 a.m. to catch the perfect sunrise light. Our stylist ran to Whole Foods to make sure everyone had nourishment, and then spent the rest of the day rebuilding clothes to fit just so. Our assistants trekked through the mud with barrels of equipment to make sure everyone had what was needed close at hand. Our models taped hand warmers to every inch of their body to stay warm, while shooting dresses in 30 degree weather. Our photographer climbed trees, lay down in mud, and straddled a fence to make sure he got that perfect angle.

The designers and the art directors can recall the hours they worked, hunched over campaigns, munching on crackers for 6 hours straight because they were too entranced to take a lunch break- “flip this”, “flop that”- the creative tension that makes it all work. And the production artists that insure that everything is “just so”…no details go untouched. 

….Quality control, color experts, the production manager, the group that spends hours sitting in a room with all the clothes from the shoot, fixing, perfecting for a color accuracy that boggles the mind.

And then - the day comes, when our friends get those pretty little catalogues, or look at those online campaigns, and they say, "Wow, you're so lucky to have such a cool, fun, job. I can't believe you just get to do stuff like this."

Well, we can't either.

We've just wrapped up a week long shoot in various locations, and we are here to give a big thanks to everybody that was involved – those responsible for turning those 5 a.m. wakeup calls, stashed heating pads, muddy jeans, cracker diets, and overtime hours into work that meets our client’s expectations, makes us proud, and reminds us why we do what we do.

QI's Heart for Africa

Quadras is proud to announce a new relationship with Heart for Africa, a wonderful organization in Swaziland.  These great people are doing something very special in Swaziland, a country that has the distinction of having the highest HIV rate in the world.  As a result, the children of Swaziland are at risk, and this is where Heart for Africa comes in.  Every 12 days, Heart for Africa takes on the care of an abandoned, newborn baby.  These infants all have horrific stories, because their mothers live in desperate times in Swaziland. We here in America can hardly fathom that kind of crisis.  Quadras is proud to have donated children's clothing that arrived in Swaziland in February 2016. 

   Heart for Africa comes alongside these children, providing a safe haven with food, medical care, education, and housing until the child reaches the age of 18.  11% of the children have HIV, so Heart for Africa gives them their retroviral medical twice a day, and will continue to do so for the rest of their lives.  Some of the babies have required multiple surgeries and international care, and Heart for Africa provides this.  A preschool and kindergarden now operates there, to provide education.  A playground is there for recreation.  Many of the children are on supplemental feedings, in addition to the regular three meals plus snacks each day, again- all provided by Heart for Africa. When care is needed at night, “aunties” are hired to care for them, and they provide almost 500 diaper changes a day! Babies are universally messy- so all 108 of the children have their clothes washed EVERY day. Additionally, the community has a 70% unemployment rate, so Heart for Africa steps up to the plate and provides jobs on their farm, in both the dairy and carpentry training facility. Heart for Africa is a multi-faceted and incredible service to the country and people of Swaziland, and we're happy to have been able to do something that seems so small for us, but is so big for them.

To find out more, you can visit http://www.heartforafrica.org/

Fighting Extinction...

A friend posted this article on Facebook, -"Saturdays at the Store" SOUTHERN LIVING (read article), and it touched me, because although not a southerner, the South has been my home for over 35 years. 

Additionally, Rich's and Belk were among Quadras's first clients, and I recall Sara and I smoking cigarettes, (yes, for real!), while sitting in the office of the Vice President of Marketing for Sakowitz, as she pored through, and complimented our first company portfolio.

It was a different world. And as Macy's, another of QI's earliest and biggest clients, closes 36 stores and eliminates over 2,000 jobs, we have to ask, "are department stores a dying breed?"

When I ask one of my Millennials to write a post on the Southern Living article, this is what she started with: "Crowded stores, the smell of food samples and pretzels, pushy customers, and screaming children. Get in & get out. These are the first five thoughts that come to mind when someone mentions "The Mall". That's why, on one very long car ride, I was so taken aback when my great aunt Frieda began to tell me about how glamorous department stores had once been (in between telling me her rent was also $300.00 a month - yes please!). "Lauren" she told me, "I used to have your Uncle Tom drop me off at Rich's on Saturdays- and boy was that fancy. That was the only place you could go and find a smart outfit. There was so much going on, and everybody who was anybody was there." I honestly thought, "OK, so those were the golden days. That explains why you've held onto the same home decor since then as well."

I asked her to re-write it, but then realized, why should she re-write? This sentiment mirrors the feelings of an entire generation, and I have to admit, that even I feel the same, as much as I would like to have some of those accounts back... 

So while department stores lost their lead to discount stores, including TJ Maxx and Marshalls, those discounters are now sliding under ultra cheap fashion chains such as H&M and Zara, and forecasters predict all will lose out to Amazon in the very near future. That, to me, would be very sad, because again, although I admit to being an Amazon Prime customer, and my monthly Amex statement reflects just how easily they have sucked me in, I believe Amazon is simply the warehouse for what the others are pitching, promoting, and selling.

I am going to hold out for reinvention http://fortune.com/2016/01/20/department-stores-reinvention/. I am going to hold out for the experience, because, although today's experience will be different, that is what wax nostalgia in the Southern Living article, as well as for Aunt Frieda. 

IN WITH THE OLD, IN WITH THE NEW.

If there's one thing we've learned over the last 30 years, it's the perfect balance that is achieved when mixing the old with the new. The old can't be classic without the new, and the new can't be well... new without the "old". 

That's why in 2016 we're adding a dash of new, and stirring in a bit of the classics. We're simplifying our website. Sure, we've got book after book of beautiful imagery & design we could post on our site- but what we want to show you is a small collection that speaks to the meeting point of our developed talent with our fresh eye. We want to show you the direction Quadras Integrated is headed, while being navigated by years of experience - that beautiful intersection of then & now.

So how are we going to do that? Well, our first new years resolution is to practice what we preach. Post // Interact // Connect. After about 4 years of attempting to break through our own social media mold, we've made it. We're going to be sending out bi-monthly e-blasts with updates on what's going on in the studio- so don't be a stranger - sign up for our newsletter!

Beyond that, you can check in here for blog updates or view them on our Facebook page. These posts will include happenings & "going ons" in the ad world, as well as our own world. It's no fun without your voice though- so send us a message, tell us you miss us, or even chime in with your own thoughts on the subject. 

By keeping our website portfolio minimal, you can expect us to keep it updated. We will always be highlighting our latest or greatest on our website. We look forward to 2016 & all that it will bring!

-QI