When I wrote the business plan for Collected Joy in June of 2014, I didn't know how important working with fellow entrepreneurs was going to be to my creativity, inspiration and business growth. Every single time I get to connect with the Canadian makers featured in this Meet The Makers Series, I am smarter, I am challenged, I am better at my job. I want to showcase them in a way that I hope leaves you inspired and more aware of the why and how small businesses start and keep going in Canada. I call them leaders. I call them hustlers. I call them risk takers. I call them economy builders. I call them the hardest working people I've ever met. xo,Sharon
Makers|Creators|Economy Builders: 7-ish questions
- Why do you love what you do for a living? What is your favourite part of your job?
I love the creative process and how free and completely unfiltered this business lets me be. There’s nothing I find more relaxing than sitting outside with ipad in hand, brainstorming card ideas while drinking from the largest possible mug of coffee. My darling pomeranian is usually on my lap resting her face directly on my screen as I try to work and I wouldn’t have it any other way.
Beyond the creative process, my favourite thing about what I do is that our cards get to be part of so many important moments of celebration – birthdays, weddings, anniversaries, baby showers, holidays. The fact that each card is specifically chosen to spread joy and laughter in these special moments just makes my day.
- How did you decide this is what you wanted to do?
I’ve always considered myself a creative person but my career path wasn’t the ideal outlet for that creativity. I went from an MBA to corporate banking and just a few months into my new career, found myself on the hunt for a decidedly un-bank-like creative outlet. Greeting cards were a natural fit. I’ve always been drawn to stationery because there’s something so magical about finding exactly the right words that so perfectly capture what the recipient would love. After making a few homemade cards for friends when I couldn’t find just the right one, on a whim, I decided to post a few designs on Etsy. I sold my first card a few days later and it was THE. BEST. FEELING. These early cards were *very* homemade and scored using a ruler and a butter knife. Once a handful of orders turned into a dozen, the butter knife was eventually returned to my kitchen and a business was born!
- When did you know this was what you wanted to do? (What was the moment? Was it a moment?)
The interesting thing about being a team of one and selling things online is that in the absence of people to bounce ideas off of, it can be easy to second guess your creativity and the meaning behind what you do. I’ve had moments of self-doubt along the way but in these moments it’s the kind words, stories, and reveal videos from my fabulous customers that remind me that what I’m doing has an impact and spreads joy.
My defining “this is the best job ever” moment came a few years ago when I received a photo from a customer showing that her mom had framed the card she was given and proudly displayed it on her fireplace mantle next to photos of her grandchildren. Any time I question what I do I think back to this moment, and our little card, ornately framed and baby photo adjacent.
- If you could do anything else, what would it be?
I’ve found it so empowering to start and run my own creative business and I would love to teach others what I’ve learned from the process and how they can do the same.
- Who inspires you?
I draw a lot of inspiration from self-made creative entrepreneurs and my absolute favorite are the husband and wife team behind Letterfolk. They turned once forgotten letter boards into a massive trend and have since expanded their line into so many fabulous, completely unique joy inducing products.
- Do you have a mentor? What is it they provide to you that you value?
I don’t have a personal mentor but I love learning from podcasts run by creative entrepreneurs.
- What’s next for you and your business?
I’m drawn to so many different styles so I feel like our line is always evolving. I’m looking forward to expanding into abstract gold foil cards and whimsical prints (maintaining our same trademark sass of course ). I would also love to collaborate with other artists in the future.