Well, there’s nothing quite like planning and unveiling a exciting new department, only to then upend everything up by taking a few weeks off! Not that I have any vacation-related regrets, mind you, but instead of the four makers I’d envisioned sharing, I just have two today. First up is the vibrant watercolors of She Said It.
As noted above, this is a mother-daughter-daughter team; Mom Kathryn is in charge of most of the business side of She Said It, along with some occasional design work. Kathryn is a former marketing director, turned interior designer and now card maker.
Daughter Anna is a senior at the University of Wisconsin – Madison, and creates most of the She Said It artwork, along with managing its website and social media. She Said It was unofficially born in 2019, when Anna’s freshman year roommate gave her a watercolor lettering book.
Over winter break, Anna gave Kathryn a painting featuring the quote “Know your own happiness,” as Jane Austen is one of her favorite authors. “I absolutely loved it and thought that her design would make a beautiful greeting card,” Kathryn recalled. “From there, She Said It was born!”
“I have always loved nature, so my designs are inspired by the beauty that I see in flowers and plants,” Anna says. “Nature has always been my ‘safe space,’ and my room is filled with indoor plants of all kinds! Often, the quotes I choose for our products are words that spoke to me at the time, whether they motivated me to keep studying hard in school or to continue to be myself regardless of what others think. The words and the women who said them are an inspiration to me, encouraging me to dream big and persevere. I hope that you are able to find some inspiration in their words as well!”
Rounding out the trio is daughter Elizabeth, who assists at farmers’ markets, along with making design and marketing suggestions. Elizabeth finished high school a semester early so she can attend University of Madison with her big sister for the rest of this year! How wonderful. “These quotes give me the courage to persevere and to make the most of everyday,” she explains.
This is definitely a range to watch. Although fairly young, it has already been picked up by Barnes & Noble — as I saw for myself at my local location — which is a perfect fit in my opinion. Their artful, fresh watercolors combined with empowering words from notable women create an utterly magnificent, inspiring punch.
Shop this range of cards, art prints, and stickers here.
If this range looks familiar to you, it may be because Yuko Miko’s amazing work is all over the fall issue of Stationery Trends. Yuko grew up in Himeji, Japan, and moved to the US in 1996. She more recently moved to a 240-acre farm in Arlington, Washington, as part of the founding members of Rooted NW.
“I’m not a “glass-half-full” kind of person, so I make art that makes me happy,” she writes on her site. “I need a reminder to stay positive and find something to be grateful for even if it’s not always obvious. I surround myself with positive art and people to lift me up when things feel heavy. And I hope my creations cheer you up when you need a little boost.”
Yuko describes her brand as a true labor of love. Honeyberry Studios is a one woman shop. “I create all the art and designs myself. I package all my products and do my own marketing. I sell them in my online shop and wholesale to retailers around the country.”
Here is a maker who doesn’t just talk the talk; she walks the walk of incorporating her core values into her brand. “Like many of you, this past year has been a year of reckoning for me,” she writes. “In particular, I realized there are more ways to incorporate my anti-racism values into Honeyberry Studios practices.”
For Yuko, that means continuing to question and examine her own privileges; contacting and researching her suppliers/manufactures and replacing ones who do not share the same values; reviewing her work and messaging more critically through an anti-racism framework; and donating a portion of profits monthly to Seattle non-profits that serve marginalized communities.
Further, “Ecological stewardship is anti-racism,” she writes. “I’m actively re-using shipping/packaging materials and sourcing recycled/recyclable/compostable materials as much as I can. I’m transitioning out of single-use plastic sleeves as I run out of inventories at hand, and I’m becoming more intentional about using non-toxic art materials.
“I take care of myself unapologetically in the face of increasing anti-AAPI racism. I invest my time and energy into supporting my BIPOC sisters, brothers, and siblings. I understand this is a life-long work. I’m also trying to be extra mindful of my self-care because my well-being matters. I take care of myself so I can keep showing up as a whole person. Thank you for being part of the journey. We’re in this together.”
Here’s a link to Yuko’s newest releases, but there are gems throughout the site.
Big thanks as always to the Greeting Card Association for letting me share these — to say nothing of their efforts on behalf of our community. All its efforts, from the GCA Marketplace to *Noted, are crafted to help us all grow as we generate countless inside jokes, to say nothing of lifelong friendships.