• Christine Gardner

Ask me anything!

A fun blog this month! I've asked you to ask me anything you want - and I will answer your questions on work, life and anything else you are interested in. So here we go, enjoy!


What does a day in the life look like for you?

Oooo this one is hard to answer as I have so many different things to do day to day and week to week. I guess a typical day looks like this after school drop off...

I print off labels and pick products for orders. I like to get all my orders packed first so that I can get them posted before 11am.


Some days I get deliveries like these and it's all just moving boxes and product around!


Some days I can get creative and I get to design some lovely new cards for you!


And some days it's admin where I write my blog, newsletters, organise social media posts, get back to customers, trade customers....


A very mixed day and never ever boring!


What thought processes do you have when deciding colour combinations?

I love creating colour palettes! My floral designs are seasonal so I start with the natural colours that fit with the season as I love how nature changes throughout the year. I usually have 3 or 4 'expected' colours in a palette like greens, and say pinks for florals, but then I love putting in a couple of unexpected colours that you might not usually see paired with flowers or plants. I like doing this as it provides interest, of course, adds another level to my outlined drawings and makes them exciting. And, of course, all my colours have to go with gold for the gold foil finish on my cards!

An autumnal palette with expected oranges, deep greens and yellow hues with an unexpected fresh blush pink and fresh green

What do you do creatively that isn't drawing?

I crochet! Every year I crochet an amigurumi animal for the kids in my family (and as presents for friends kids too!). I make at least 5 a year and lots in between. Here is my latest and greatest - Nancy the Bee! I use Toft patterns and Toft wool. Haven't found any other better patterns or wool from anywhere else. You can check them out here: https://www.toftuk.com/

Nancy the Bee! I love crocheting when I'm not drawing.

What is your favourite thing to draw?

Animals and flowers! That's why they are all over my cards. I do want to start drawing birds which I love and I'm surprised I haven't drawn already.


What is your favourite card? And worst!

Eeee hard question! My current favourite is my Party Tiger card as I love tigers! I try to draw all my animals in a playful way but they have to look like the animal and not a cartoon as my daughter will disapprove! This card includes dainty gold foil touches which are my absolute favourite so it's a favourite for many reasons!

As for my least favourite - that got discontinued a long time ago!


How long have you been doing this for?

I've been a graphic designer for 16 years and I moved into greetings card and wrap design 5 years ago. I went full time with my greetings card business in October 2020.


What card companies do you admire?

Rifle Paper - Florals to die for! https://riflepaperco.uk/

Papio Press - Beautiful Illustrations https://www.papiopress.co.uk/

Louise Tiler - Her cards are amazing https://louisetiler.com/

Stephanie Davies - Love her style https://www.stephaniedavies.co.uk/

Katie Housley - Beautiful Collections https://www.katiehousley.co.uk/

Louise Mulgrew - My favourite animal cards! https://louisemulgrew.com/


Tell me a little about you!

I am Christine. I live in a little village in West Sussex in the UK. My business is based at home so I'm like many others across the globe now and work from home - I love it!

I have always liked art and drawing and one of my first memories at 5 or 6 is of my teacher showing my mum a painting of some flowers saying that I had potential - I never looked back from that!

I studied art and design at school and went on to do a graphic design degree. I have been doing that as a freelancer and for companies for 16 years. I decided I wanted to get into illustration more about 6 years ago and that's how I got into surface pattern design and the greetings card industry.

I love all things design but when I'm not doing that you'll find me crocheting, walking, cooking and watching films!


What was the inspiration for your shop? Did it grow gradually, or did you just dive right in?

I needed some christening invites for my daughter. I loved florals but the market was saturated with watercolours and overly pink designs for girls (sigh) so I decided to get drawing myself! I was on maternity leave and wanted to get creative again so it was the perfect opportunity. After the Christening a friend asked me where the invites came from and I said that I drew them and she ordered some right away. I had been thinking about opening an Etsy shop for a couple of months so I opened it up and got her to be my first order! She then came back for thank you cards and it just grew and grew from there really.

Where it all started!

How do you come up with ideas for content and subject matter?

Well I love flowers so if I ever get stuck for an idea I can always rely on them! I try and keep my designs seasonal so that they remain fresh too. I love animals and nature so I usually include those in my cards and I love the odd pun too so I'm using some of those for a new range. I just draw things I love and hope everyone loves them too! I have tried designing to trends and I just felt too much pressure and the designs never looked as good as when I drew from the heart so I just stick with that now!


What is your mission as a shop and business?

To promote happiness! Giving and receiving a greetings card is such a lovely thing. They make people laugh, show people you are supporting them, invite people to big events in your life. I was raised to write thank you cards after every birthday and Christmas and send postcards on holiday so I've always loved the connection it brings and mostly joy to other people.


What is your busiest time of year?

Definitely Christmas! Particularly November. I spend most of my days packing and packing which is one of my most favourite things to do! I spend 7 days a week doing it for a few weeks in the Winter!

Creatively, it is before this time getting new designs prepared for the New Year - I don't have time to design between Oct-Dec.

Lots of posting and packing up Christmas orders!

Are there any books or courses you would recommend for me?

I did a Graphic Design BA at university which really underpinned everything I know now but I have learned all about computer software (I use Adobe) from my employment (on the job!) and just practice, practice, practice. On my journey into surface pattern design I did the Make It In Design Modules and Portfolio Builder which really set me on my new path - https://makeitindesign.com/. I recommend Victoria Johnsons classes too https://www.victoriajohnsoncreateexplore.com/. I really managed to find my style doing her Christmas one and her palettes are amazing if you would like some inspiration. And I have a membership with Skillshare https://www.skillshare.com to top up my skills.


How do you get good pictures for your Etsy shop?

Good lighting, good planning! A professional photographer has taken some of them when I can't capture what I would like.


What kind of marketing do you do?

I am on Facebook and Instagram where I try to post daily 5 times a week.

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/christinegardnerdesign/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/christinegardnerdesign/

I also have a monthly newsletter that goes into a bit more detail on what I do but I prefer not to call that marketing as it's usually me 'chatting' away to my lovely subscribers!

I don't pay for marketing, people usually know when they need or want a card so I just let them find me organically.


Do you mostly stay on Etsy or do you have additional places you sell?

Just on Etsy https://www.etsy.com/uk/shop/ChristineGardnerShop and I have my own website too: https://www.christinegardner.co.uk/


What do you like about Etsy, or don’t like?

I love Etsy's reach. I can sell globally, 24/7 and they have amazing infrastructure that helps me reach these customers. They offer sales statistics, shipping options, financing at your fingertips, marketing if you want it, messaging functions, customisable shop fronts, handbooks, tips and tricks, and the community on Etsy is lovely. I am a customer on there too and the talent on there is amazing!


What TV show character would it be the most fun to change places with for a week?

I'd quite like to be in Brooklyn Nine Nine. Working with Jake would be a laugh!


What should I watch on Netflix tonight?

Ha! Well I don't know what you have watched but I have loved The Queen's Gambit, Last Dance... I haven't watched much recent stuff actually.


A movie sequel you wish for!

Oooo goodness! Am I allowed another Avengers movie that has all the original characters in?!


Tea of Coffee?

A mint tea please.


Favourite thing about what you do

Getting to do something I love and it not really feel like work! Some days I have so much fun that I forget it is work. Packing orders is my happy place within work. I am so grateful for every one and there hasn't been a moment in 5 years that I've been bored with doing that!


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