Now read about the cool couple behind the designs.
Etsy Paper: Tell us a little about yourself.
Paper Freckles: My name is Joe Akers, I am the co-owner of PaperFreckles with my wife Coleen. I design, write, letter and illustrate all of our cards. We live in Richmond, Virginia with our three “Fur Kids” Grace, an Akita and Jude and Max our Great Pyrenees… that’s about 350 pounds of puppy!
Paper Freckles: We opened our Etsy shop in March of 2009.
Etsy Paper: Tell us about your shop.
Paper Freckles: When we first opened our Etsy shop in 2009 we were selling some of my illustrations and some of Coleen’s handmade cards. However, we now sell a full line of greeting cards for just about every occasion and we just launched our “Buttons of Stickiness” line of button magnets as well.
Paper Freckles: I think there are a number of reasons why we love working with paper. It’s tactile for one, regardless of the amazing advancements in technology happening everyday, there’s still a real sense of satisfaction to hold something in your hands and read the message a friend or loved one has written. We love that we’re part of a movement to encourage the art of the handwritten note, to have a much more personal interaction with someone than to shoot off a text quickly to thank someone or wish them a happy birthday. It’s much more meaningful and tangible to take the time to pick out a card, write a thoughtful note and to mail or deliver that card in person and see their reaction to it. And of course, once the card has served its purpose - it’s recyclable!
Etsy Paper: Who is your biggest fan?
Paper Freckles: My wife Coleen is my biggest fan but my Mom comes in a very close second. I think they might arm wrestle to see who’s the biggest fan when they see this. Coleen and I work incredibly well together as a team and we’re always extremely proud of each other’s dedication or when the other accomplishes something.
|Mother/Father's Day Card|
Paper Freckles: We have a number of channels to communicate with folks. We have a pretty vibrant community on Instagram (Stalk us! @paperfreckles) that we love to interact with and we post daily there. We post to our Facebook page and we also like to do craft & art fairs so we can see peoples reaction to our cards first hand.
Etsy Paper: What equipment do you use?
Paper Freckles: Everything starts out analog. I keep a small notepad with me at all times to jot down ideas or sketches I can return to. I will also set aside time to write and work on ideas for cards - just copy though. Then I usually sketch quick thumbnails of the strongest ideas to go over with Coleen. We then decide which ideas work best and then I begin to illustrate and letter the card concept at full size. I then clean everything up, ink the illustrations and then it gets scanned and I finish up the rest of the design digitally.
Etsy Paper: What or who is your biggest inspiration?
Paper Freckles: My biggest inspiration has to be the world around me and the level of seriousness that people display about life in general. I definitely think there’s a time and a place to address things in a tactful and, I guess, a “serious” way. But overall, I think life is so silly and odd and amazing that I prefer to poke fun at it… You know, we don’t create sympathy cards for that very reason - we prefer to make people laugh at life and look at the bright side. There are plenty of other card designers that do a great job with sympathy cards so we’ll leave it to them.
Paper Freckles: The famous jazz musician Charlie Parker once said something like this, “Master your instrument. Master the music. And then forget all that bullsh*t and just play.” I take that to mean you should respect the traditions of what you do as a craft but don’t let it set boundaries to your art.
There’s another one I like, “Grown-ups do not exist. They’re just children who take themselves far too seriously.” I wrote that one :)
Etsy Paper: What has been your favorite comment from purchasers about your product?
Paper Freckles: There’s several but I like:
“Oh my god that’s terrible!” (Said while doubled over laughing)
“This is the perfect opposite of some love-y, mush-y card you find in the store.”
How fun are they! Paper Freckles is an amazingly fun shop.
Until next time,
Etsy Paper Team