Joining our short list of greeting card and gift shop companies managed by a boyfriend-girlfriend team is Turtle’s Soup. Showcasing card designs that scream pop culture and geek goodness, Turtle’s Soup is a shop that will never fail to delight. And the people behind the company seem like awesome people, too. The interview below is proof:
Tutle’s Soup is an interesting name. What’s the story behind it?
Turtlesoup originated simply as the online moniker I used for pretty much everything. I tweaked it a bit to “turtle’s soup” as that seemed cuter, with a turtle stirring his own bowl of soup. I love turtles and do not endorse eating them in soups!
Where do you make your cards? Can you tell us more about your studio?
I have a home studio, still fairly simple but always evolving. Two printers, a computer desk for working digitally, a long flat table-style desk for hand-drawn designs as well as packaging and other crafty sorts of things, plenty of storage to organize everything properly, some of my favorite art works on the walls to inspire me, and most importantly, great natural light.
Do you have a background in design and illustration? Tell us more about it.
Nope. I have been passionate about art & design since grade school, but I attempted to be more practical and took my formal education in a different direction. I learn more and more with every day that goes by, and I hope that never changes as I tend to get bored without having something new to try.
Aside from pop culture, where else do you take inspiration for your designs?
I love the ocean and what lives within. My primary artistic medium used to be painting, and nearly everything I’d paint was some sort of aquatic creature. Whales, octopus, pufferfish, turtles, and so on. I still love to paint but it isn’t always easy to translate a painting to a greeting card so it has fallen by the wayside a bit. I did do some hand painted greeting cards for valentine’s day 2013, and while they were quite popular, they were also very time consuming!
What tools of the trade can you not live without?
My iPad+iMac, Adobe Illustrator, Bamboo stylus, Canon Rebel t3, and the best quality card stock I can find.
How do you unwind after a long day at Turtle’s Soup HQ?
This is my day job, along with school. So I don’t have a ton of spare time. After a long day, my boyfriend and I generally end up on the couch with Netflix, but occasionally going out for drinks, and when time permits, going hiking.
Any advice for anyone who wants to start a greeting card business?
Never stop advertising or networking. You can have the most awesome design in the world but it doesn’t matter if no one sees it. I used to get discouraged after I’d finish something I was really proud of and it wouldn’t sell for weeks. Utilize every social media outlet, every blog you can find, everyone you run across in person and eventually it will be recognized. And from there it feels exponential.
Any new products or designs that you will unveil soon?
2013 was all about getting our foot in the door and really just seeing if there was even a market for our stuff. The focus in 2014 is going to be turning into a more full-fledged “gift shop” offering invitations, bags, tags, stickers, shirts and so on. We’ve recently discovered an awesome local screen printing co-op sort of place and look to use that to help bring new ideas to fruition. And of course plenty of new designs for our greeting cards is always at the forefront.
Exciting times ahead! Thanks for your time, Melanie.