The Card Designer Spotlight is a series featuring independent makers whose greeting cards you can find in Paper Source stores. Meet and be inspired by a new designer every month on our blog!
Shannon Barnes of Flaunt Cards founded her business before the days of e-commerce. Through everyday inspiration, and commitment to artistic entrepreneurship her truly one-of-a-kind and handmade cards share delight daily and remind us ‘not to take things too seriously’.
How did you begin your card-making career?
I grew up in a family that always sent cards for every occasion, and if lucky enough, a $5 bill was tucked inside. Sending handwritten greeting cards was an important pastime and considered proper etiquette which was fostered by my Grandma and now my Mom. 23 years ago, I made a thank you card for a friend who suggested I consider selling them. She called in a favor and a local trendy shop in Vancouver agreed to carry some of my designs. Within a week I was picked up by a distributor and the rest is history. I, of course, did have to work a “real” job alongside starting the card business for many years. I would also be remised if I didn’t mention that I have never taken an art class in my life. I never saw myself as an artist and still struggle to do so at times. I studied Urban Geography and Sustainable Development in University so the whole card making business was not only a pleasant surprise, but it turned into an ideal career path which enabled me to make my own hours and raise my kids.
Where do you draw inspiration from? Food? Pop Culture? Timeless Motifs? Playful Puns?
Inspiration for me largely comes from everyday life, especially animals and birds which make up over 85% of my line. I am a bit of a travel junkie and love fashion, food, and art in all its forms. All my favorite things and experiences inspire me on a regular basis. For instance, spending time in Positano inspired me to design a card with a lemon on it, hiking in the forest beside my house inspired me to create mushroom designs, and hanging out with my teen girls inspires me to not take things too seriously and to add “fuck” to the occasional cardJ.
What does your day look like as a card designer?
My days are busy, and thankfully usually always good busy. I work from home, I always have, which made the whole covid debacle relatively smooth for me. I am lucky to have a spacious house in Vancouver, Canada and have my office in a bright and airy space tucked away from the regular goings on of the day. My day largely depends on which orders need to go out and what deadlines are looming. Generally, most of my time is spent on quality control, filling orders, sorting inventory and schlepping packages to my local post office. I have a fabulous gal that works for me and is truly the most creative, top-notch human being ever. My two huskies also try to be as helpful as possible.
What does your creative process look like?
I usually start with a doodle idea. I am a horrific drawer so it’s all fairly rough until I start cutting and tearing shapes of mulberry paper and gluing them together. Since we are largely a “made-to-order” business it allows me the flexibility to create new deigns on a whim and cater to last minute retailer requests.
What is your preferred medium?
My cards are all handmade. Legit handmade using printed card stock, hand-torn mulberry paper, glue sticks, paper punches, sparkles, and fabric paint. I’m not sure how I landed on this medium or how this design process even came to be. In the beginning I was truly just looking for another way to make money and this type of work really resonated with people. The buzz around “local,” “ethical,” and “small batch,” really allowed my business to grow at a steady pace reaching those who were looking for something a little different.
What are you most proud of as a creator and card maker?
What I am most proud of is that fact that I am an entrepreneur in its most raw sense. Flaunt was built before e-commerce and while I recognize the importance of an online presence and the power of the internet for making sales, I’m glad that I experienced the world when orders would come in via fax machine, phone chats were frequent, and shop owners would mail their checks in. Landing some great media and some large retailers like Paper Source have enabled my business to thrive and grow steadily. I love and appreciate the support, the collaboration and the creative opportunities that have come my way. I am also proud that I have set a good example for my kids. You never know where life will take you. Be kind, put the time in, do the reps, and enjoy what you do.
Find Flaunt Cards Handcrafted Bear Hug Thank You Card , Handcrafted Age is Irrelephpant Birthday Card and Handcrafted Witch Owl Halloween Card at your local store or online at papersource.com. For more inspiration and behind-the-scenes action, follow @flauntcards on IG.