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

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

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

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

Bio Coming soon!

NAME: Jed Pettey
POSITION: Print Renaissance Man

biggest dream: 
"Dream a little dream of me." Let me biggest dream...finding my passion in, got a couple of those...peace on Earth and goodwill to all, that has been said, plus what about the women, animals, and plants . . . freedom of religion, speech and sexual persuasion...I live in California when I want to, be around friends and family, help those who need help, and live life with a smile and a laugh, give back a little more than I get - that's a great little dream. I actually dream about this all the time.

something weird:
Life as an identical twin, what could be weirder than that? Twin names - Jed and Jeff. What does everyone ask you— Which one are you? Twin capers—Trading clothes in the boys bathroom in the 1st grade because the principal asked my mother to call every morning and tell them which twin was wearing what. BTW–we never traded girlfriends, although we have been asked several times.

what DO you love about the design process:
”I love, love, love watching the expression on the client's face when they see their idea come to life. That's exactly what I had in mind, only better.”

quick thought on how to stand out: 
There's a book I am reading now about the band, The Grateful Dead, and they are marketing geniuses. Their philosophy is simple. Think of your customers' needs first, and think outside the box to make them not forget you. It is an unbelievable story.

short background info:
I tell people I have ink instead of blood running through my body. I worked at my dad's envelope manufacturing plant at the age of six, changing out the cardboard that caught the ink and glue drips under the presses. At age 8, I was going door to door selling home stationery. Can you imagine someone knocking at your front door and it turns out to be an 8 year old selling something you didn't want and wouldn't take no for an answer? 

I started working with Yellow Pages after college (SDSU BBA marketing), sort of the Google Search back then. Everyone was in the Yellow Pages, until direct mail and targeted marketing programs came into reality. That's when I started designing my own art on a Mac Classic with a 9" screen. While everyone was doing clip art, my designs were changing direction on direct mail campaigns. I was getting a response rate of 25% to 48% when the norm was 2%.

Focus on what the client needs and make it happen, only beyond their expectations.

Clients started talking about websites, email blasts and Google ad-words, which I added to my services. It still goes back to ink. Even though the printing industry has changed, there are people like me who know how to get something printed on-time and on-budget. 

If you have a project for Cowlick Appeal that needs printing or digital marketing, I have just enough grey hairs of experience to make it happen.

More Staff Members 

Virginia JessicaAmieNelsonJed