Hey, it’s National Send a Card to a Friend Day! And what’s better than giving a fun greeting card to our loved ones and making them laugh? Giving a greeting card that is 100% green, and that can be planted to transform it into beautiful wildflowers and making them laugh!! How fun is that? The planet needs more innovative ideas to keep our environment green. Enter Nicole, the designer and founder behind SowSweet greetings, an amazing local artist who has made it her mission to throw out puns whilst saving the planet. Yes, you read it right, now you can make your loved ones smile with her amazing and fun cards, and at the same time help the planet.
Nicole’s hand made products have exciting designs that make you have a good laugh. The best part is that these products are not only made with 100% recycled paper, but you can plant them later and see them come to life into beautiful flowers. As Nicole proudly says, “This greeting card business aims to put smiles on faces, and flowers on the ground.”
Here at The Good Tee, we couldn’t be happier collaborating with such an incredible artist! We had an amazing talk with her, where she tells us about how she started out, her creative process, and much more!
I have always been a big fan of illustration and word play, and used to spend lots of time with friends coming up with on-the-fly puns and drawing silly sketches to match. March 2020 I launched SowSweet Greetings as a way to get my puns out into the world in a way that was fun, accessible, and meaningful. My parents have always been big greeting-card-givers and so I grew up in a household where there was a card given for every situation. I grew to love spending time searching in-store card displays for that perfect message, with just the right amount of humour, and tailored to the personality of my recipient. So Sweet was the perfect marriage of these two passions, combined with a strong belief that anything I put out into the world needed to contribute to the greening and cleaning of our planet. With a little Googling and a few phone calls (I’m old-school like that) I was able to put together a product that is not only 100% post-consumer recycled content, but also provides the card recipient with the opportunity to give the card a second life by planting it in soil and growing some wildflowers!
2. How do you work through your design and card making process.
The design process, for me, is the highlight of being in this business. As stated above, I’m a big fan of word play, and am known by friends and family to be constantly kneading words and sentences into cheesy jokes (see what I did there). The process is ignited in one of two ways for me - either I happen to make a joke that I see may translate well to a greeting card, or someone asks me to come up with a message for a particular event, with a particular theme, or for a particular audience. One of my favourite things to do is to brainstorm and doodle, and finding the perfect pun is a high I am always chasing. At this point I have over 75 different designs as a result of this on-going process, with no intention of capping it! Once I have my design ready to go, the next steps are easy - cut the paper, print the card, pop it into the envelope and send it off with love to its witty consumer!
3. Why did you decide to make your cards on plantable paper?
When I first planted the seed (pun intended, obviously) of starting a greeting card business, I knew I had to prioritize differentiation. There’s so much out there in the way of cards, designs, puns, sentiments, etc. and I wanted to find a way to stand out while staying as true as possible to my own personal affinity for all things eco, local, and zero-waste. When I started researching Canadian eco-friendly paper providers, I got very lucky in stumbling upon Botanical Paperworks - a Winnipeg-based seed-paper business whom I currently source all my paper from (envelopes are from another business in Ontario). I remember having to re-read the information on their website multiple times just to make sure I wasn’t misunderstanding, but it actually IS as cool as it sounds and you CAN grow flowers by simply covering the paper with a bit of soil and adding some water and sunlight. This is the most fun thing for me to explain to others who are unfamiliar with the concept of seed-paper; most folks assume that the paper is simply made from seeds and miss the fact that there are seeds embedded within the paper that you can actually plant and grow. This was my way to differentiate, stay true to my green attitude, and support local Canadian-made businesses.
4. Why is art and humour important to you?
In my opinion, art in any form is simply an extension of communication. When words aren’t enough, or even when they are, art has the unique ability to elevate emotion and understanding, broaden perspectives, and connect people. Humour makes life infinitely more manageable, and provides endless opportunities for people to be on the same team, which we always need more of. I can’t imagine a life without either of these. I feel lucky with SowSweet Greetings to be able to get my artwork and my humour out into the world in a format that prioritizes connection and positive communication between human beings.
5. What were you doing and who were you with the last time you had a really good laugh or something punny happened?
Haha, I LOVE this question! For my fellow Torontonians, there’s a new grocery store that’s just opened up in the city called Farm Boy… I went to go check it out with my roommate on opening day and (for anyone who’s ever been inside) all their aisle labels are little puns (eg. The bread aisle is labeled “Bread - A slice above!”). I obviously got carried away and failed to focus on much else other than the endless puns and the gorgeous interior design aesthetic (very rustic and homey-chic, fyi). When asked later on by a friend how the experience was, I explained, “I liked it, punny signage everywhere, and I really liked the brick walls”. He responded saying, “I meant how were the groceries, but glad to hear there’s nice brick”. I absolutely exploded laughing. Goes to show where my priorities lie these days I guess? #PunsBeforeBuns
6. What are you working on for 2021 and beyond that you want us to know about?
Oh boy, I could write a feature length novel here! 2021 has been off to a wonderfully busy start for SowSweet with lots of exciting potential partnerships (including this one with the wonderful GoodTee!) and new business opportunities coming down the pipeline! I actually recently secured a business partner (he prefers to stay clear of the spotlight so I won’t name names) and he has been an absolutely incredible addition to the business. I like to think we are a bit of a dream team with his business mindset and background balancing out my love for the creative process and personal connections. Currently we are working day in and out to get our cards into the hands of many for Valentine’s Day, and looking into a big promotional launch come springtime (when our sales will hopefully be blooming, hehe). If there’s one thing I’d like for the Good Tribe to know about SowSweet Greetings moving forward, it’s that we are 100% committed to keeping our brand true and aligned with the needs of the environment and the needs of people giving and receiving our cards. And as busy as you may be in 2021, don’t forget to always make time for a little pun!
What a fun way to share happiness and help the planet, isn’t it? Here at The Good Tee, we are always looking for new sustainable ideas that will help the planet, and this one is worthy to talk about. We are really excited to team up with SowSweet Greetings, and deliver more funny puns, flowers, and smiles, all in one!
You can check out her plantable punny greeting card on The Good Tee or check our website.
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