Customers We Love, Vol. 1: Caroline Amaba

We say this a lot... but we really do love our customers. (And not just because y'all pay us money, though that's a plus.)

Y'all gave us life, almost literally, by building the company's foundation on Kickstarter. (Not to mention expanding it with another Kickstarter.)

Y'all rode it out with us when we started running (and therefore understanding) sales for the first time in brand history. (That was barely a year ago!)

Y'all gave us your opinion when we asked—and in so doing, y'all practically told us how to execute our first product redesign.

Y'all shared—and kept sharing—all of the colorful, ingenious, intricate, imaginative, and crafty things you've collectively written in these notebooks. 

Again, thanks for the monies... it gives us something to work for (very literally). But we understand something now, and it's personal: a huge part of the satisfaction of running a business is actually liking your customers and getting to talk to them and learn from them.    

So we came to this conclusion: when it comes to our blog and social media, the best thing we can show you is yourselves.


* * * * *


This week, we're creating one way of doing that more directly.

Caroline's exposé here on Ampersand is the first of (hopefully) many. We bet you'll get some ideas, some good questions — and maybe even some inspirations! — from her example in particular.

But we also hope you'll get some sense for what we, as the everyday pilots of this ship, already understand: that the creative people in the Code&Quill family are some of the brightest to ever put pen to paper.


* * * * *


Here's how we found Caroline:

When we asked if she'd like to volunteer as one of our first exposés, she cheerfully obliged.

The following questions and answers have been gently edited for clarity.


1. What is your notebook philosophy?

"I like to have different notebooks for different things. I’ve tried a lot of different kinds, but none are ever 'the one perfect thing' I’m looking for. I have unstarted notebooks waiting for a purpose, and many unfinished ones because they serve a particular ongoing purpose.

I own... A lot of notebooks. Took this while writing something up for @codeandquill.

A post shared by Caroline Amaba (@clineamb) on

"The paper and lines in the notebook will typically dictate to me what it will be used for.
If I find a bigger-gridded one with lots of pages, I think: “Oh, this could be for making dungeon maps.” Or if it’s smaller, I might think “This could be for wireframing digital ideas.” If a notebook has blank pages, it becomes a sketchbook. I usually don’t do ruled paper anymore. 

"I hate spiral-bound notebooks. Yeah, they’re pretty convenient for turning the page back on itself so it lies flat—but sometimes I wanna see both pages and that spiral in the middle is so annoying. And if I have many other things in the bag with it, it’s easy for the spiral to get caught and damaged (which ruins the notebook)."

2. What's your "creative weapon" of choice?

"I typically use pens, even when sketching. Any kind of pen will do, but ballpoint is what I usually can get my hands on. I tend to match the quality of pen to the quality of the paper (nicer pens for nicer paper).

"When it comes to pencils, mechanical is my go-to because they can have such a precise tip. (Also, because no one needs to waste their time using a pencil sharpener anymore… who even still has one?)

"Those are my defaults for writing, but I create in other kinds of media too. I’ve also painted, digitally drawn, lined, and colored."

3. What does being a creative mean to you?

"When I’m being creative it’s just letting my mind loose, writing or drawing whatever needs to come out.

"It’s fine if it’s a mess—often, artistry and creativity happen when you’re just giving something form. I don’t think creativity equates to quality of artistry, either. I’m a software engineer by day and I use creativity all the time when I’m coding; finding novel solutions to problems is a form of creativity that doesn’t necessarily have a visible form aside from its outcome.

"Creativity is pushing to the edges of what you know is possible and crossing the threshold into something new and exciting."

4. What do you do?

This doesn't have to mean your profession!
Do you design, create, build, dance, help, organize...?

"By day, I’m a software engineer at BuzzFeed. I love programming. Computers and technology have always interested me, and sometimes in my off-time I code personal projects. I also have some digital-art projects on deck just waiting for me to dive in. (Oh, and I've written on the BuzzFeed Tech blog about women in Tech and moving from agency work to product work.)

"I’ve recently taking up climbing as an athletic hobby, and I’ve been enjoying it thoroughly. The sport has renewed some of my creative juices. There was a span of time when I wasn’t drawing or painting as much, but now I’m back at those (my most recent “completed” project was paint-penning my climbing helmet).


"I also play Dungeons & Dragons. I’m currently a Dungeon Master for two groups: one uses a pre-made module and the other is a homebrew campaign (i.e. a world, setting, and plot of my own creation). The latter is still on hiatus for a bit, but I’ve still been working on the world content because I mean to use the setting for other projects (like a video game, possibly!).

"I also have run a couple of other, not-D&D tabletop RPGs, so my acting and improv skills have gotten some thorough work."

5. What do you do with your notebooks once they're full?

"I don’t think I’ve ever filled a notebook because of the way I use them for different functions, as I mentioned before.

"I’ve filled a number of sketchbooks, but I think those are a bit different from notebooks. I constantly skip pages in sketchbooks because of whatever medium I used on surrounding pages.

"I think I might have completed one notebook, but I keep them all. Maybe not on display like my sketchbooks—but they’re tucked away for later reference in case there's a gem I remember suddenly." 

6. What would you lose if you lost your Code&Quill notebook?

"I haven’t been running with Code & Quill too long just yet, but I’d be pretty upset. They’re great notebooks.

"Also, I'd need to somehow remember everything that happened in my last D&D session, since my Origin notebook is currently being used for my Curse of Strahd campaign (that's the pre-made module)."

See one of Caroline's D&D Twitch sessions here!

7. Why Code&Quill?

(And how'd you hear about us?)

"To be perfectly honest, a friend got served an ad and showed me the link to a notebook which had a grid on one side and a lined-but-notched page on the other.

"I clicked through and immediately thought, 'These would be sweet for D&D.' Then I read that they lie flat, which is HUGE when I’m at the table and I have three or four other books open to cross-reference things.  

"I picked up the Origin for one campaign to use as a session journal. I also got the Monolith, but I haven’t broken into that one quite yet. The Monolith will be used for the homebrew campaign's maps and central notes and not as a session journal."

8. Last Things About Caroline

First of all, here's a whalephant.

Secondly... here's how to hear more from Caroline! Take a look at her Instagram and Twitter profile at the links and follow along once you're there. =]


Caroline's (first) favorite notebook was the Origin.
Want to grab one for yourself? Check out our store!


Stay tuned for more Code&Quill exposés in the coming weeks!
For now...

If you're in the market for a notebook, head on over to our store!
If you want more than one, check out our discounted notebook bundles!
If you just wanna say hi or look at pictures, come see us on Facebook or Instagram.


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