NAME: Virginia Upshaw
POSITION: Co-Founder/Brand Director
EmailLinkedinInstagram
Amelia

biggest dream: 
To sail around the world and learn a language fluently (I’m still working on English - ha!;)

something weird:
How about the time I surprised 15 Asian men in their undies…?  Or when I waited all day under a co-worker's desk to scare her…? Or the time I tried a rope swing and missed it and fell all the way down a ravine? Or the time I worked a PT Cruiser convention and my brother was Elvis?

what DO you love about the design process:
When something or someone sparks an idea leading the group to new places within the brainstorming process. 

quick thought on how to stand out: 
Always make people laugh, and let your freak flag fly high.

short background info:
I have kissed the Blarney Stone, watched a sunset on the Eiffel Tower, climbed volcanoes, had more than one helping of duck blood, brought in the New Year on the Charles Bridge, called Italy home, shredded the powder of Blackcomb, snorkeled in Nassau, ventured to the biggest metal Buddha, swam with octopi in Hawaii, and I'm still hungry for more!

I love making new ideas happen. I co-founded the Cowlick Appeal to engage with people and their brands, and to bring new life into stagnant companies through collaboration and good design. I believe it doesn’t have to be difficult to step out and be different; it’s about the confidence you have in the team that surrounds you.

With over 18 years of experience, I have designed magazines, art-directed photo shoots, re-branded countless companies, created multimedia advertisements for the action sports industry, developed and managed the Life+Gear brand, successfully launched multiple products, and developed strategies for co-branded licensors: Sanrio, National Geographic, and The Collegiate Licensing Company. I have had the extreme pleasure of managing teams in-house and abroad.

NAME: Jessica Cruz-Abalos
POSITION: Co-Founder/Creative Director
EmailLinkedinTwitterInstagram
Jessica

biggest dream: 
Travel the world, live in a foreign country, ride an elephant and hug a wombat.

something weird:
I used to own pet hermit crabs. As a kid, I used to pretend I was an FBI agent because I was obsessed with the show, The X-Files. 

what DO you love about the design process:
I love the research and the team work. Good design isn’t a result of one person, but a group of people. I also love the look on a client’s face when they realize their idea has become a reality.

quick thought on how to stand out: 
Whatever you love–own it. Be passionate and confident about whatever it is, and sooner or later people will notice.

short background info:
What do I love to do in my down time? Hang out with my family, doggies, and husband. I enjoy meat/cheese boards, beer, chocolate and Hello Kitty. I tend to gravitate towards sparkly things, anime characters, bright lipsticks, and Hammer Pants. And, if you must know, I wear black and a leather jacket mostly all year long. 

I have lived in San Diego all my life. I graduated from SDSU with a B.A. in Arts with an emphasis in Graphic Design. Throughout the years, I have gained marketing, product development, packaging, licensing and public relations experience. I have worked with a number of companies and organizations, such as Barona Resort and Casino, Upper Deck Inc., Life Gear and the City of Carlsbad.  I have enjoyed working with well-known licensors:  Sanrio, Marvel, the NHL, the Collegiate Licensing Company, and National Geographic.

I co-founded The Cowlick Appeal to help others and impact people in a positive way...that was actually the main reason why I got into design in the first place. I want to help them  make their dreams become realities through good design and inspiring collaborations. Through this experience, I know I will build lasting relationships and learn a magnitude of things from the people I meet. 

If you really want to see what I am up to, I am constantly taking pictures on Instagram.

NAME: Amie Brown
POSITION: Director of Business Development
EmailLinkedin
Amie

biggest dream: 
To be able to live half the year doing volunteer work abroad and the other half traveling to my heart’s content.

something weird:
Pickles make me really uncomfortable. Anything pickled, really. I don’t care to talk about it. Also, I have a small pink birthmark on my knee that I pretend is a mouth with a freckle above that looks like a lady winking at me.

what DO you love about the design process:
Although I have a background in marketing and a keen understanding of the importance of finding the right message and design strategy to attract customers, I can barely draw a stick figure. Finding creative talent like that of the folks at The Cowlick Appeal was the only way I could bring my big ideas to fruition and, frankly, not get fired.

quick thought on how to stand out: 
Be the best listener in the room. Snorting when you laugh seems to work, too.

short background info:
I’m a single mom, a music festival junkie, a mediocre cook, a fidgeter, and a mid-life crisis aficionado.

I have had a long career within the non-profit sector. I have also had a long career in sales. It’s an odd combination but it works to nourish both my business mind and my philanthropic heart. Working with Cowlick Appeal allows me to provide opportunities for non-profits to benefit from the type of quality work that Cowlick Appeal produces. I dig that.

I am here because I speak customer. That means I have the ability to put my personal business needs on the back burner for a moment to really listen to and evaluate what my potential customer has to say.  I also approach all business decisions by first asking, “How will our customers respond to this?”. If I can’t represent the customer’s side effectively, I should probably just stay home.

NAME: Nelson Abalos Jr.
POSITION: UX Consultant
EmailLinkedinTwitterInstagram
Nelson

biggest dream: 
Travel through space and time.

something weird:
In high school I used to be in the school show choir - you know, like the show "Glee". I made sequence vest and jazz hands look good.

what DO you love about the design process:
I love seeing a static design of a website come to life, most of all I love seeing the reaction of people when they are interacting with a website. The moment a user smiles or goes "ah ha!" I know I did my job.

quick thought on how to stand out: 
Own whatever makes you nerd out! Find your passion and share it with the world.

short background info:
I have been passionate about creating unique interactive experiences on the web since 1995. My mission is to share my passion and inspire others to go beyond their perceived limits. I specialize in front-end development, user experience/UI, and critical problem-solving. I have the combined experience of working within an in-house marketing team and an agency environment.

I have a deep passion for space exploration and all things LEGO. So, therefore, I am always curious, not only as to "how" things work but also "why" things work.

In 2015, I was personally asked by the CEO of Webflow to join their team as a Customer Support Hero. Currently, my title is Designer Evangelist; where I gets to travel around the country working with businesses and creatives to help make the web beautiful. Together with The Cowlick Appeal we push the limits of what is possible when designing for the web.

NAME: Amelia Jordan Lee
POSITION: Copywriter and Content Manager
Email
Amelia

biggest dream: 
To own an eco-luxury wellness retreat on all seven continents.

something weird:
My husband would say everything is weird about me! I am the crazy cat lady and proud of it. There’s also the fact that I love, love, love to dance in the rain during a thunderstorm.

what DO you love about the design process:
Helping people find their voice, overcome their fear and connect to their true passion. I love bringing what seems impossible to the realm of possible. The creation process is fascinating. I love pulling together someones internal dream and bringing that idea to life in an impactful way. A way that inspires and stirs people to action. And makes the world a beautiful place. Design is so much more than pretty fonts and strong imagery!

quick thought on how to stand out: 
Be authentic. Be yourself. Be courageous. Inspire others. Communication is at the heart of the human experience. Embrace that and trust your intuition.

short background info:
Ideas, knowledge and authentic connection drive all of my pursuits. I have been blessed with the bug of travel, the love of people and the joy of creating magic through business. I bring a passion for creative expression and a high level of design aesthetic to the team of Cowlick Appeal. Understanding branding at a deep level, I believe communication is at the core of business success.

Ever heard of a life-long learner? That’s me! I am an avid student of behavioral neuroscience, psychology, personal development, interpersonal communication, leadership, sales, marketing, wellness and business development. As I said, I love to learn! Through the years, I have recognized my natural gift of seeing what’s possible and knowing how to turn that possibility into a reality. I delight in creating a powerful story that makes an impact on the world and am truly dedicated to bringing YOUR tale to life. We have only one life to live, let’s make it a grand one!

I love travel, adventure and inspiring others to be courageous in their lives. Once a championship swimmer, I have always felt most at home near the water and I now live with my husband and three cats (yes, I am a crazy cat lady!) at their home in San Diego, CA.

More Staff Members 

Virginia JessicaAmieNelsonJed