A Sneak Peek into the World of mrs L cards
As well as showcasing greetings card and giftware products I also like to know a little about the people and brands behind those products. For that reason I’m delighted to be able to share another industry interview, looking behind the scenes of a card & gift business, mrs L cards.
The brainchild of designer Carol Lewcock, mrs L cards is a great example of a small business that started as a hobby but has morphed into something bigger and better; allowing Carol to step away from the 9-5 norm and follow her passion, creating bright colourful products that she loves.
Creativity, international customers, a team of helpers and even awards have followed as the business had grown and Carol has been kind enough to answer a few questions which give great insight into the what goes on behind the designs.
Behind the Scenes of the Business
What inspired you to start mrs L cards?
mrs L cards initially began as a hobby. I am a trained graphic designer and wanted to do something slightly different to what I was doing in the 9-5 job. I wanted to produce something that pleased me rather than a client. I designed about 4 cards using the repetition of an image in different colours. I knew of Etsy from purchasing there myself and could see that I could showcase these designs with little initial outlay. I remember vividly listing the cards on a Saturday and the following day 1 of the 4 had been bought by a girl in the US. I literally screamed with excitement. mrs L cards was born.
What can you tell us about your business? What sets you apart from your corporate contemporaries?
I think a possible difference is that there is a massive amount of passion behind my business. mrs L cards is my baby and each product is a part of me. I think I may be a bit of a perfectionist and this translates within mrs L cards. I want every item that leaves my studio to be perfect. I want every customer to feel like they have dealt with a real human being if they have queries and I want them to also realise that their custom is extremely important, because it is.
What’s your role in the business? What’s your favourite things about your job / running a business?
My role is that of professional juggler! Ultimately I am the designer but I am also an administrator, business planner, stock buyer, customer services etc. By far the best thing about running my business is that I am in control (most of the time) and I am doing it for me. I am the driving force. I remember hearing a quote “When you work for someone else you are working on their dream, when you work for yourself you are working on your own dream”.
Are there other people in your business? What can you tell us about the rest of the team?
Yes, I have freelancers that help me, thankfully! My sister helps me with artwork and accounts plus I have a freelance designer and a freelance packer/organiser who I call upon when its gets super busy.
I believe that independents offer an amazing combination of unique design and high quality. Do you agree? How do you ensure this happens at mrs L cards?
I do agree yes. I believe small indies have to work harder to get seen. In order to do this we have to up our game and produce something that stands out from the crowd and something that is great quality with a corresponding price point. Personally I am always looking to develop products/lines where I can see gaps in the market. From a quality point of view I try always to use local companies or companies within the UK for supplies and services.
The North-East seems to have played an important role in the development of your business. Do you think there is strong support in the area for indie businesses like yours?
I think there is a tendency to believe that all creative talent is in London however I find there are pockets of unique creative people all across the UK. The North East is my home so it is where I feel safe and ultimately happy.
I was lucky enough to win a North East based business award (Best Home Based Business) in 2013 and I think it is wonderful that these kinds of awards exist. They showcase and acknowledge great achievements for both women and for growing businesses.
The mrs L cards Collection
You currently specialise in greeting cards and prints. What inspires you about this area of design?
The thing that I love about greetings cards is that they are a simple, relatively cheap way to show you care. In this world of screens and technology it is so lovely to see that something so “old school” can still mean so much. In fact I think given the modern world it seems to mean more than ever before.
I have plans to extend my current card ranges and also plans of how to develop these ranges into other products. However I think cards will always be at the heart of my company. My main aim of this year is to start offering my cards to trade customers.
Your products often feature bright colour palettes. What attracts you to using bold colours in your designs?
I adore colour, to me it brings happiness so I think I use such colours in the hope they give happiness to others. Colour brightens up any day!
Your collection shows great attention to detail and quality. What can you tell us about the craftsmanship involved?
As previously mentioned I am a trained graphic designer so typography and the good use of it is important to me. Good layout and an understanding of typography is what makes the difference between a graphic designer and someone who simply knows how to use a computer. Where my typography prints and cards are concerned this is paramount.
Which of the mrs L cards collection are the current bestsellers?
My best selling card is a card I was asked to create for a friend a number of years ago, my Baby Bump card. Babies are celebrated when they are born but I think friends and family like to congratulate on the news of a pregnancy too. I think this card is simple and a pretty cute way of saying congratulations to the mum to be.
My other best seller is my personalised family print, I initially created this to give to my family at Christmas. Since then I have designed hundreds of these personalised prints for a number of occasions; a new baby, a new home, Fathers Day, Mothers Day, Christmas. I think people love to capture their family in a unique way.
What are your personal favourite products in your current collection? Why do they stand out for you?
At the moment I like my new birthday collection. They began from a conversation about turning 50 and not feeling older than 22! The first card in this set was “50 and flipping fabulous”.
This range goes up to the age of 90 yet the styling is contemporary and the wording fun. Everyone is young at heart!
What can card senders expect from mrs L cards in the coming months?
At the moment I am trying to spend more time developing my own website, with new photography, product descriptions and SEO. With regard to new products I am working on new wedding and anniversary designs plus some notebooks for children going back to school, oh and Christmas ideas.
Shopping with mrs L cards
Why should people shop with you?
Feedback from previous customers shows me that many of my products offer something that they haven’t seen before. I think this is particularly true where my button range of cards and prints are concerned. The personalised birthday and anniversary cards and prints take the recipient on a trip down memory lane and I have had lots of lovely comments about these. To provoke a happy emotional response from customers is simply wonderful. It makes me very happy.
We LOVE independents and think more people should be supporting them. Why do you think people should shop with independent businesses like yours?
I think the main reason to support indies is to support the economy, the country and the future. Independents such as myself employ the services of other people and other business within the UK. Lots of indies are ethical thinkers and do their very best to buy/source locally or within the UK. There are so many creative people out there with so much to offer it would be such a shame not to be 100% behind them.
Now you’ve read the interview why not take a look at the mrs L cards website.