I recently interviewed an indie artist/business owner who will soon be new to the Cleveland area. Her name is Julie and she is the designer of specialty cards 4U. Her handmade greeting cards, invitations and announcements have lovely detail and 3D attributes. I especially love the wine tags she designs, though she also has a collection of unique pocket cards that are a hot item! Check out the interview with Julie below then go check out Specialty Cards 4U
1. Please tell me a little about yourself.
I am 42 years old, married to my high school sweetheart, and a mother of 2 teenagers. We currently live in the suburbs of Cincinnati , but are moving to Hudson , Ohio in a few months. (I’m probably a bit on the older side compared to most indie designers!) I love to travel and we do a lot of it (thanks to frequent flyer miles!)
2. How did you come to be to be the designer of Specialty Cards 4U?
About 2 years ago, I took a card making class at a local scrapbook store. I started making cards for family and friends, when someone suggested that my cards were so cute that I should sell them. My mother-in-law, an avid Hallmark customer, became my first sale. She continues to buy all her cards from me each month! In addition to the greeting cards, I create handmade custom party invitations, birth announcements and holiday cards. The month of November is a crazy time!
3. What inspires your art?
Home catalogs and magazines. The color combinations and architecture sometimes inspire my cards.
Also, using items that give my cards dimension – mini-hangers, funky paper clips, silk flowers, ribbon scraps. My kids were learning to tie sailing knots last summer which inspired my nautical themed birthday card. (and, yes, my kids tie the knots for that card because I don’t know how to!)
4. What with your work have you found challenging, and what have you found easy?
The challenging part is selling. I’m not a natural salesperson. In fact, the first time I made a sales call, it took me almost 3 hours of procrastinating to get out the door!
The easy part is creating – my favorite times are spent in the morning, large cup of coffee in hand, totally immersed in paper, ribbons, buttons, brads, and flowers.
5.What have you found to be the benefits of having an online presence?
It’s a fantastic way to showcase my work. Especially the custom designed work. It’s an on-line virtual gallery. However, there’s no substitute for the sense of touch. I always try to include a sample card in any mailing I send.
6.Are there any tips you give to other artists on running a successful art business?
Read and learn as much as you can about the business end of it. The sales, bookkeeping, web building, etc. It’s the backbone of a business. You can’t sell your art successfully if you don’t have the basics.
7. Who are some of your favorite designers (Indie or otherwise)?
I’m stumped on this one! However, as embarrassing as it might sound, I’m a sucker for a large Pottery Barn catalog.
8. What are you looking forward to when you move to Cleveland ?
This might sound wacky, but I’m looking forward to snowy winters! <eek!> Cincinnati winters are dreary and cold without much snow. If it’s going to be cold, it might as well snow! My family loves to ski so we’re looking forward to snow days.
9. How do you think you might contribute to the arts in the city?
By providing a little bit of art & joy in mailboxes. Everyone loves to get real mail – not bills or junk mail. But that special envelope that you can spot out of the corner of your eye in the pile of mail. The one that’s been hand addressed and has a real stamp on it. You open it to find that someone took the time to find a special card just for you. It brightens your day and makes you smile!
10. What types of things would you like to see in the arts scene in Cleveland ?
Hmmmm…..that’s a hard one since I know nothing about the arts scene in Cleveland – yet!
11. Just for fun, what three items could you absolutely not live without?
For my business: my ATG adhesive tape gun, my guillotine paper cutter, and RIBBON! I absolutely adore ribbon!
For my personal life: Chai tea in the afternoon.