Marina B reveals what inspires her designs and the big plans she has for her business heading into 2021.
How did you get started in the greeting card industry?
From an early age I lived and breathed art, which led to me pursuing an art foundation course and a degree specialism in Textile Design. I absolutely loved it and knew I wanted to continue my passion into a career choice.
I discovered card making by accident and that offered me the chance to fulfil my desire to create meaningful, personal collections. I started to design some initial cards which were sold locally and since then Marina B hasn’t looked back.
What inspires your designs?
Inspiration can come from anywhere! A walk in the countryside, a cute doggy in the street or even bedtime conversations with my children will spark a few interesting ideas. All my collections are colourful and dynamic, with some of my favourite designs being aimed for children especially.
What makes a great greeting card?
For me it has be pretty and full of life, putting a smile on the recipient’s face is the best feeling. Colour and sparkle are also really important to my aesthetic – rainbows are my favourite!
What has been a highlight of your career so far?
Honestly, it’s launching and keeping Marina B successful. It was so difficult in the beginning trying to juggle a start up with two small children but it’s gotten a little easier over time. The biggest thing I’m proud of is having two of my designs being turned into stamps and receiving letters through the post with them on. The Queen even gave her approval on everything, so I’m really chuffed!
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you started your business?
When it’s your own business it’s all very exciting and exhausting at the same time; the to do list is never finished. I wish I had figured out my time management a bit quicker but I can always work later into the night or get up early.
What’s the biggest business challenge you’ve had to overcome?
Creating a slick process to deal with little everyday orders to a big overseas order. Customer care is very important to me, so the journey from start to finish has to be spot on. I’m still learning new things every day and that’s why I love our industry so much.
What is the key to your success?
Determination! The saying ‘from little acorns, big oaks grow’ is a real motivator for me. And while hard work pays off, I still feel there is a lot more growth left for Marina B, I just have to keep going.
What do you like about working in the greeting card industry?
It’s the best industry to work in, as everyone is so friendly and helpful. Also, a lovely part of card making is that I’m always surrounded by creativity and beautiful designs. Trade shows are always a good giggle too and having a few wines at the end is always a bonus!
What has been the biggest change to the industry during your time?
The environmental aspect has been a huge thing in the card industry. This is a really important thing to me and I can safely say all the boards we use are FSC certified. This means the wood harvested from forests is responsibly managed, socially beneficial, environmentally conscious, and economically viable. We also offer to send cards to suppliers that are naked (no cello wrap) and we’re looking in to finding a compostable alternative to plastic.
What are your plans for the rest the year and into 2021 and beyond?
We are really excited to be working with more overseas companies this year and it’s an amazing feeling to see your designs in different languages and thinking you are bringing joy to someone globally.
We have some other exciting news too, and it’s that we’re branching out into other products! We have been designing and tweaking for a while now but the wholesale collection should launch in the next few months, so watch this space! Here is one of our personalised mugs we are currently testing on the market.
Anything else to add?
I’m Marina B and I create colourful cards and prints from the pretty little village of Great Bowden in Leicestershire. I’m married with two children, Lilly and Jack, and they pop up here and there in my collections. Everything is created in my little studio, so it can get a little hectic on some days!
The idea of composing a design that portrays a special feeling, that adds extra sparkle to a special occasion or supports someone through a difficult moment in their life, is exactly why I do what I do.
All my products are made with love in the UK and I am so proud to be a British company.